LIVONIA, La. (WAFB) - Hundreds of high school seniors in Pointe Coupee Parish are getting a head start on their road to college, but these aren’t just any seniors. They’re the first graduating class of the STEM Magnet Academy of Pointe Coupee.
The school opened in August of 2016 as a way to entice parents to return to the parish’s public school system. Prior to its inception, students left Pointe Coupee Parish to attend schools in districts with better academic standings or to attend private schools.
The first class was comprised of about 320 6th through 9th graders. The academy lives inside of Livonia High School, which used to be Pointe Coupee Central High. The school district spent approximately $1.2 million to renovate and develop the program’s curriculum.
Cisco, a multinational technology corporation, is a partner of the program. The Cisco Networking Academy framework gives students the option to learn computer engineering and cybersecurity.
Brant Dosramos is a part of the robotics competition team. He’s excited about the program’s integration with an engineering career pathway at LSU.
“I love building,” Dosramos said. “I’ve always been around my dad, who loves building things and being able to program the robot and see all its different functionalities.”
When the seniors graduate in 2020, they’ll join their other classmates from Livonia High School for the commencement
“It’s a unique situation,” Pointe Coupee Parish School Superintendent Kim Canezaro said. “This program falls under Livonia High School, so their diploma will say Livonia High School, but when they graduate, they will have their endorsements from the pathways they have chosen here at the program.”
Canezaro says the students have to earn the opportunity to be on the STEM academy’s campus by maintaining a minimum 2.75 GPA and a clean disciplinary record.
Canezaro, a product of Pointe Coupee Public Schools, has stuck with the system for decades, like many of her coworkers.
“It’s a great place to live. It’s a great place to work. It’s family,” she said. “The people that stay are very loyal to the district and we love these students.”
For students like Dosramos, that loyalty will hopefully translate into a successful chemical engineering degree.
“It was a blessing for me,” he said. “Really.”