Steven Oubre, Woodlawn High’s ProStart teacher, was named the 2017 Louisiana Educator of Excellence by the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation earlier this month. Oubre was chosen by the board of directors of the LRAEF based on his community outreach programs for his students along with the numerous students who leave his program with additional industry certifications.
Oubre, a native of Patterson, Louisiana, is in his seventh year at Woodlawn High. After graduating from Patterson High School, he attended Nicholls State University. Oubre received his degree in Culinary Arts & Sciences. He began working as a Sous Chef at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans before branching out on his own, starting a private chef company. From there, Oubre moved on to Woodlawn High School.
Students competing at the ProStart Invitational in March of 2016.
Oubre took over the ProStart program during his first year at Woodlawn. The program consisted of three students. Since that time, Oubre has grown the program to over 120 students. Each year, Oubre has brought students from Woodlawn to the LRAEF Louisiana Seafood ProStart Invitational in New Orleans at the Convention Center in which he once worked. The Invitational, which is held in March of each year, awards scholarship money to the top three teams in both the Culinary and Management categories. Students compete for scholarships up to $40,000 each. Twice Oubre’s teams have placed fourth in the Culinary category, just missing out on top three finishes.
Along with the March competition, Oubre brings ProStart students to the State Capital each year to cook for the House and Senate. His students are also looked to by athletic programs on campus, catering pregame meals for the football, boys and girls basketball, and softball teams. Oubre’s students have catered Honors Breakfasts, Senior Breakfasts, JROTC Military Balls, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board events, numerous parent nights, and even catered a wedding for a former teacher.
“Receiving this award was extremely special to me. It is nice to be appreciated and recognized for the hard work that you do. It was a great honor to be recognized, even considered, for this award. There are over seventy ProStart teachers in the state, many of them great teachers, so it meant a lot to be chosen for the award,” said Oubre.
In May, Oubre will travel to Chicago to the National Food and Restaurant Association Show. Oubre will compete against teachers from around the nation to be named the National Educator of Excellence. He will also be given the opportunity to discuss ProStart curriculum, strategies to improve the program, and upcoming changes in the program.
ProStart is the premier culinary arts program for high school students. ProStart gives students the opportunity to learn about the art of cooking and managing restaurants by training with professional chefs and receiving valuable classroom instruction. ProStart students are also given the opportunity to earn college credit and make money while still in high school.
The LRAEF is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1995 and is governed by a board of directors made up of restaurants, industry experts and educators in the hospitality industry. It exists to enhance the industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. Visit the LRAEF website at www.lraef.org.
by Madisyn McAlister, Staff Reporter, ’18
In the aftermath of the tragic flood, Woodlawn High School rose up to provide support to victims of the flood.
Woodlawn High School faculty and students came together to help students, teachers, and the community affected by the flood.
“I instantly offered help,” says Heidi Fendlason, junior at Woodlawn, when asked about her experience with the assistance offered by the school. This assistance included offers of clothing, food, and gutting her house. The faculty even collaborated to create a check-in Google doc to assess need amongst faculty and students.
Morgan Watkins and Johnasia Smith help distribute food.
Starting the Tuesday after the flood, Woodlawn High School began handing out food to flood victims and quickly started collecting donations to hand out school materials, cleaning supplies, and basic necessities. At least 1,500 meals were donated by City Pork, The Chimes East, Cast Iron Kitchen, and Tramonte’s. Woodlawn’s own Mrs. Pearl and Mrs. Switzer also helped by cooking spaghetti. Donors of other food and supplies include the Stevens family, The Screen Shop, LSU History Department, the Jett family, Pelican House, University United Methodist Church, Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, Peak Performance Fitness, Spectrum, Woodlawn Middle School, Kelly Slate, and Pam Brown. The school has received over $2,990.00 in total monetary donations. A large donation of $1,025.00 and cartloads of school supplies came from Jacksonville State University. A small go fund me account was also created to raise money to go towards supplies and collected donations from people around the country; this effort raised $1,965.00. The school has also partnered with local churches for assistance in handing out supplies.
Though every faculty member helped out any way they could, Ms. Heyer commented, “I reached out to Ms. Miller and Ms. Smoo on a daily basis” when talking about assistance regarding organization of the donations and making sure every student and teacher had access to anything they needed. This also included a ‘Panther Pop-up Shop’ set up here at school. This temporary clothing store provided high quality professional wear for the Woodlawn faculty who lost clothing in the flood.
Many clubs, teams, and other organizations within the school were heavily involved in flood relief efforts. Woodlawn High School’s football team spent many hours helping flood victims clean out their damaged homes. Panthrobotics accepted donations from other robotics teams throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas at their annual Red Stick Rumble event, as well as helped teammates clean out their homes. The school’s cheer team, Pantherettes, Beta Club, National Honors Society, and Youth Legislature sorted out the many donations and often helped pass out food to victims.
Although on-campus efforts ended August 19th, Woodlawn and the Old Jefferson community continued to provide meals on the weekends and supplies as needed.
by Sierra Johnson
April 8th was the start of something spectacular! Four groups participated in the student vs. teacher basketball game: freshmen (black jerseys), juniors and sophomores (white jerseys), seniors (purple jerseys), and teachers. There were three games total, each consisting of two, five minute matches. The first two games acted as an elimination games to see what grade level would play against the teachers.
The first game was the freshman vs. the juniors and sophomores. The juniors/sophomores started the game with two lightning fast scores. Freshmen were able to grab hold of the ball, but it was snatched back by the juniors/sophomores and they scored once again. Each team performed some nice spins while chasing after the ball, but the juniors/sophomores obliterated the freshman with a final score of 21 to 6. The second game was between the juniors/sophomores and the seniors. Right off the bat one can see that was going to be a close match; the juniors/ sophomores and seniors went back and forth until the juniors/sophomores got the first point. At one point during the game, the juniors/sophomores performed an outstanding dunk; however, they do not get the point. The game ended with the senior’s victory of a final score 14 to 9.
After an amazing half time performance by the cheerleaders, the final game arrived: seniors vs. teachers. This had to be the best game out of them all. The seniors did a good job blocking the teachers, but the teachers found a hole and made the first score of the game. This was a close game, much like the last one. One person who stood out in particular was Coach Lewis. He was, by far, the best blocker and proved to be a huge handicap to the seniors by scoring five times. The final score was 12 to 9, with the teachers being victorious.
by Sarah Hayden
On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, the Woodlawn junior class experienced a mock crash to raise awareness about drunk driving. Students participated in this event. The Louisiana State Police Department also helped in the event.
It started with a deputy announcing the scene of the crime. A 16 year old intoxicated female was driving home with her 16 year old male friend from graduation party. Suddenly, she swerved into oncoming traffic and collided head on into another driver. The passengers were injured on impact. The diver had a neck injury and the passenger’s legs were pinned under the dashboard. They were rushed to the E.R. and the female who had her legs pinned lost her legs. The 16 year old male died on impact and was put in a body bag and pulled away in a hearse. The police deputy had to inform his mom and the emotion from the mother was intense; it was as if it really happened.
The morale of the story is that you should be careful with who you get in a car with. If you are drunk then you should call an adult to come get you. A car crash can happen to anyone. At the end of the event students received bracelets that read, “U Drink U Drive U Walk” and then we said a prayer for all those effected by drunk drivers.
by Alexis Martin
Tuesday, February 9th was the end of the Mardi Gras season. There were five Krewe parades scheduled to be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana: January 30 Krewe of Mystique and Krewe of Orion, January 31 Krewe of Mutts, February 5 Krewe of Southdowns, and February 6 Krewe of Spanish Town. An interesting fact about the Krewe of Mystique is that they are the oldest parading Mardi Gras Krewe. The Krewe of Orion is known for bringing one of a kind entertainment, family oriented fun, public service, and economic stimulation to the Baton Rouge community. The Krewe of Mutts has CAAWS volunteers elect a dog to be king, queen, prince, and princess of the parade every year. In the parade includes dogs of people who sign up to be in the parade. There is also usually the spectator’s dogs on the sidelines watching the parade as well. The 2016 theme for the Krewe of Southdowns was “Under the Big Top”. The new judges for the 2016 parade, Krewe of Spanish Town, are Whitney Vann, Laken Boudreaux, Gerald Woods, and Tom Sylvest. We hope you visited the Krewe’s parade routes and celebrated Mardi Gras!