On Friday, May 11, the Class of 2018 received their diplomas, signifying the conclusion of their high school careers. The ceremony was personal and intimate and families were able to view images of the fun of high school, listen as the class sponsor, principal and students encouraged and challenged the graduates. Valedictorian Katelin LaFollette and Salutatorian Grace Scharfenstein sang a duet about holding on, and moving forward.
The Class of 2018 may be small, but they are mighty! Five of the seven will be heading to a four-year college in the fall, with awards totaling nearly $250,000! One student will be attending cosmetology school in the fall and another is actively pursuing a career as a Commercial Fisherman, Crab and Shrimper, and is currently in employed as one. We are expecting great things from this class! Congratulations to the Class of 2018!
The First Baptist Christian School 12th grade Digital Media class competed in ACSI's annual A-TECH and Desktop Publishing competition. Jessica Caillouet submitted a fictional restaurant menu for Desktop Publishing and the entire media class submitted a fictional movie trailer (which they entitled Frankenstein Reborn) for a sequel to Mary Shelley's book Frankenstein. The movie trailer placed 3rd in the South-Central Region, which includes schools from the St. Louis area, New Orleans area, and the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
The FBCS Media class entered the annual TeenDrive365 Video Challenge (sponsored by Toyota and Discovery Education). They entered a commercial-type video that presents the consequences of distracted driving. High school students all over the nation submit videos for the competition, and all are available for viewing on YouTube. Cash prize winners will be announced in April.
Image: The FBCS media class: L to R: Madelyn Jennings, Grace Scharfenstein, Jasmine White, Hailey Glasgow, Jessica Caillouet, Katelyn Lafollette
First Baptist Christian School believes that showing compassion for others is an important part of growing, learning and sharing the love of Christ. Mrs. Melissa Billeaud, our high school English teacher, felt compelled to take that a step further. After the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, she learned that the school was reaching out to everyone to write letters so that when the kids returned to school, every single student, teacher and staff member would have a letter of support from someone in the community.
After class discussion, Mrs. Billeaud led the students to create cards and letters of encouragement to send to the Florida school. It was very moving to see all of the thought, love and Scripture verses that were put into the cards. Every student took it seriously, too. The seniors also decided to add their Instagram and SnapChat contact information to reach out even more. As a result, a student, and their mother, has reached out to the senior, thanking them for their words of encouragement and hope.
First Baptist Christian School held their National Beta Club Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, January 24. To be eligible for membership in BETA a student must have a 3.2 GPA (for the year in 5th – 8th, semester in 9th – 12th). The student must possess integrity and good conduct in and out of school.
Sr. Beta sponsor, Mrs. Alyson Batten, explained the criteria for membership and read the mission statement for National Beta Clubs. The Four Keys of Beta are Achievement, Character, Leadership and Service. Four of the seniors, Katelin Lafollette, Grace Scharfenstein, Maddie Jennings and Hailey Glasgow, read the four keys of Beta to those in attendance.
Mrs. Batton then led the Sr. Beta Inductees in the Beta Club Pledge. Mrs. Melissa Billeaud, Jr. Beta sponsor, led the 5th – 8thgrade inductees in the Jr. Beta Pledge. FBCS inducted 27 new members to Jr. & Sr. Beta. The total number of students in 5th– 12th grades with membership is 67. This represents 47% of the total 5th – 12th grade students! Congratulations for being students of integrity and excellence!
Dr. Casey Stark, pastor of FBC, Slidell, shared from scripture the importance of service to others. He challenged not only the Beta members, but all students and adults present, to look for opportunities to serve others. Not just to serve, but to do so with humility, without notice, without requiring recognition. What a difference that would make in our world!
Photo left: Jr. Beta 2018 Inductees: Back row, L to R: Talon Lemoine, San Johnson, Jason Knobloch, Avery Burgoyne, Burgan Luther, Kendall Speer, Caroline Thirstrup, Christian Adams, Asher Blakeman, Anabel Peck. Front Row, L to R: Ashlynn Berns, Kayleigh Lasley, Shelbi Varnado, Maya Okoro, Marcelle Holley, Jordan Lumetta, Brady Van Geffen, Kanyon Baker, Eli Petrich, Peyton Moschell. Not pictured: Ingrid Alexander, Rylee Galloway and Kasey Pinac.
Photo right: Sr. Beta 2018 Inductees (all freshman): L to R: Celia Moschell, Destiny Guillory, Misty Sauro, Colin Havard
First Baptist Christian School had 6 students that placed in the top 15 in the St. Tammany Parish Fair Essay Contest. The students wrote creative essays between 500-800 words on the subject "What is the Best Way to End Bullying in Schools?" Over 100 essays were sent to the St. Tammany Parish Fair Association by several area schools. The following FBCS students and the rank they placed in the contest are as follows: Sydni Stewart-11th place, Peyton Moschell-7th place, Karis VanGeffen-6th place, Sunny Howard-4th place, Emma Hodges-3rd place and winner of $50 cash prize, and Reagan McVay-1st place and winner of $100 cash prize. The essays written by the students who placed 1st and 3rd place, Reagan and Emma, will advance to the state competition in February at the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals.
Image: L to R: Sydni Stewart, Peyton Moschell, Karis VanGeffen, Sunny Howard, Emma Hodges, Reagan McVay
A copy of the article published in the Slidell Independent Newspaper by Kevin Chiri on September 10, 2017.
SLIDELL – With a recent study predicting growth in St. Tammany Parish to skyrocket in coming years, First Baptist Christian School in Slidell is ready to get ahead of the curve after a generous donation of over $500,000 has enabled them to purchase 30 acres of land directly next to the existing church and school property.
The land purchase was completed with school growth in mind and Principal Mona Nelson said it is tremendously enhancing the plan they already had to enlarge the school which now has nearly 250 students.
First Baptist Christian School (FBCS) opened its doors in 1989 to offer a private education with Christian values to local students. Now offering first through 12th grades, the school operates in a facility with 17 classrooms with school leaders working on a plan in recent years to build 24 more classrooms.
First Baptist Church and School sit on approximately 20 acres of land on Pontchartrain Drive and began hosting meetings with church members interested in expanding the school.
With a 30 acre parcel of land directly next to the existing land, south of their current footprint, Nelson said she was sitting in the meeting when a church member surprisingly offered to put up the money for the land—approximately $550,000.
“At first there were two men who were talking about splitting the cost, then suddenly he leaned over to me and said ‘I’ll buy the entire thing.’” Of course I was so surprised,” she said. “The only way to react is to say that God is amazing.”
Incredibly, the school has a theme for the 2017-2018 year that had been selected long ago: “God is on the move.”
Nelson and her Assistant Principal Lisa Brooks said it seemed so appropriate to have such an incredible donation for the school when that theme was already selected.
The church member making the donation asked to remain anonymous, Nelson said, but she noted “he wanted to help the school grow and was matter of fact about offering that amount of money. It’s truly an amazing thing—God has always provided for this school and we saw it happen again.”
Nelson also announced that the school recently achieved two important certifications that continue to show their commitment to excellence. With Brooks’ assistance the school spent the past two years meeting all the standards to be accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and were also certified as an Advanced Education school. They had received Louisiana state certification in the early 2000s.
“These certifications are important to us to since it confirms to parents that we are doing all the right things,” Nelson said. “We knew that we were—but to have an outside, independent organization come to your school to see it all assures parents that we are meeting very high standards.”
They received the recent ACSI accreditation after months of filling out reports and forms, and displaying to the organization they were meeting many top rated standards. Topics included School Foundation, Philosophy, Governance, Executive Leadership, Community Relations, Instructional Programs and Resources, Student Care, Character and Values.
“The final step to pass was when ACSI officials sent a team to our school to talk to parents, teachers and students over a four-day period, and to see first-hand that we were doing all the right things,” Brooks said. “We knew we had all the things in place, but this was a rubber stamp to show others that we aren’t just saying it, but have it confirmed by an outside organization that it is all being done.”
Brooks, with 28 years in Christian and public schools, came on board to First Baptist three years ago and had previously gone through an ACSI approval process.
Nelson, with 22 years in education and the past 11 years as principal at First Baptist, said the school is now ready to move forward for the next major phase in its history. They expect to have a new building site plan ready in about two months that will include a new gymnasium, cafeteria, library, 24 buildings and administrative offices.
With the current school situated behind the church as it faces Pontchartrain Drive, the new school buildings will also be situated further off the frontage of the 30 acres so all school facilities are next to each other. In the past two years First Baptist recently constructed a youth center and also built a track.
The school currently offers sports that include basketball, swimming, volleyball, track, cross country and girls softball. The question about ever adding the expensive football program is one that Nelson said she is asked on a regular basis.
“We are very aware of trying to have a football team one day, but that is a big undertaking. For now, the top priority is to construct the new buildings so we are ready for the growth that is coming,” she remarked.
Nelson said they also hope to construct a softball and baseball field in the next expansion project that is expected to cost “several million dollars.” The school has maintained an ongoing building fund and is currently evaluating total cost for construction and what it will take to get it done.
Passionate about the Lord, our students and our school!