Their high school experience may have gotten off to a less than stellar start, but 14 Bossier Parish students who turned their lives around were recognized as “Rising Stars” by the Bossier Optimist Club at a banquet March 7 in their honor.

“Bossier Schools congratulates these young adults for embracing a positive mindset and making better choices that will pave their way to success,” said Sonja Bailes, public relations liaison for Bossier Schools.

Each year, the Optimist Club of Bossier City works with Bossier Parish Schools to single out and recognize a male and female student from each high school that have exhibited improved school behavior, attitude and grades for turning their lives around.

The students were praised at the luncheon by school administrators as their proud family members looked on. Bossier Optimist Club President Charles Beckham encouraged each of them to remember the acronym, PMA — which stands for positive mental attitude. Beckham said he instilled that mindset in his own children and it continues to be his mantra.

“We also thank the Bossier Optimist Club for its unwavering support of our students, educators and district,” Bailes said. “Optimists truly live up to their organization’s motto, ‘Friend of Youth.’”

Honorees include: Tavian Gill and Savannah Betford from Airline; Jayree Anderson and Ashley Below, Benton; Donnie Williams and Andreuna Coleman, Bossier; Yasmine Snow and Donovan Brittain, Butler Educational Center; Blake Stevens and Chere’ Granath, Haughton; Tyler Campbell and Mone Crow, Parkway; and Shawn Thompson and Nygie’ Boyd, Plain Dealing.