BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE - Shannon Mathers, a fifth grader at W.T. Lewis Elementary School and daughter of Geanie and Col. Russell Mathers, was named Bossier Parish elementary student of the year Tuesday.
Shannon received a personal visit from D.C. Machen, Jr., Bossier Schools Superintendent, who personally delivered the news.
"This is such a great opportunity," said Shannon. "It shows if you work really hard and set goals, you can achieve them."
Many factors went into Shannon's win including: grade point average, teacher recommendations, written essays and one-on-one interviews.
"We are ecstatic about Shannon's win," said Kim Hawn, W.T. Lewis Elementary school fifth-grade teacher. "She is very dedicated and self motivated. She represents what a student of the year should be. She is definitely who we want representing our school and parish."
Though this is her third school since kindergarten, Mathers feels that her travels have only strengthened her as a person and student.
"I'm certain the experiences Shannon have helped her grow and be selected for this award," said Colonel Mathers. "She has been able to travel throughout the Western Pacific, including Korea, China, Thailand and Australia. She's knows what it is like to be the newcomer, and is very inclusive bringing other kids into activities. And she's experienced what it is like to live as a minority in a foreign culture, so she is a pretty mature 5th grader!"
The three parish winners will also advance to the regional competition March 5, which is being hosted by Bossier Parish Schools, and compete among parish winners from 12 other school districts. The next stop is state.
"We're very proud of her, and blessed," said Mathers. "My wife and I are also very happy the Bossier schools integrate the military children so well."