Let's hear the DrumRoll
Congratulations Semoine Augustus, Krystle Beauchamp, Destiny Berry, Annette Callagain, Dereka Duncan, Yurmajesty Garret, Cassandra Dyson, Calvin Hart, Khalil McKnight, Darlene Moore, and Daryl Moore
Semoine Augustus, who was the first LSU female student-athlete to have a jersey retired, became the first female LSU student-athlete to have a statue. Her number was retired in 2010 and on January 15 fans gathered at the PMAC in the plaza to watch the unveiling of her statue. The Capitol High graduate played at LSU from 2002-06, where she has a strong argument as the greatest player in program history. 2,702 collegiate points, a No. 1 overall draft selection. She spent 15 years playing professional basketball, and was a four-time champion and eight-time all-star in the WNBA. She was also the 2011 WNBA Finals MVP and later won three gold medals (2008, 2012, 2016) as a member of the United States Olympic Team. Her statue joins those of Bob Pettit, Shaquille O’Neal, and Pete Maravich.
Shreveport native and Caddo Parish spokesperson Krystle Beauchamp has been selected to serve as a NASA Solar System Ambassador. After a rigorous interview and selection process, Beauchamp was selected to serve as a volunteer liaison on behalf of NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to engage with the public and communicate the science and the excitement of NASA’s space-exploration missions and discoveries. As an ambassador Beauchamp will be hosting multiple public engagement events throughout the year, with the assistance of NASA’s training and support. Beauchamp said she is one of several ambassadors in Louisiana, and the only ambassador in the Ark-La-Tex.
Grambling student Destiny Berry’s play, “The House That Falls,” was presented as a staged reading by the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in their Black Seed playwrighting project. This project provided a voice for aspiring playwrights from HBCUs to be seen on a bigger stage. It was the second year of the project’s existence and the second year Grambling participated. For her participation, Berry earned a $500 honorarium.
A Japanese film crew from NHK World traveled to New Iberia earlier this month to interview attorney Annette Eddie-Callagain who has helped Japanese mothers for more than 28 years. The New Iberia native is a former military lawyer for the US forces who seeks child support from the military fathers after their return to America from Okinawa. She owns E -C International Law Office in New Iberia. Callagain, who has been called “a voice for the voiceless,” is the first African American attorney to practice law in Japan. The television crew visited the Bayou Teche Museum and The Iberia African American Historical Society Center for Research & Learning. There, Callagain shared the history of the Shadows-on-the-Teche and its history as a sugar cane plantation. She is a graduate of Southern University Law Center and after retiring from the military, she opened a center to help mothers in Okinawa. She has handled more than 300 cases, many without charge. The segment aired on NHK in Japan and can be watched at https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/3016142/
Port Allen science teacher Dereka Duncan recently earned national recognition as a 2022 Milken Educator Award recipient, winning an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Called the "Oscars of Teaching," Milken Educator Award also comes with a lifetime membership to a national network of educator excellence. The fifth-grade science teacher at Cohn Elementary School in West Baton Rouge Parish leads hands-on investigations of coastal erosion, where students research invasive plant species, explore local ecosystems and experiment with variables that affect plant growth. She has taught many subjects and weaves math and ELA into her science curriculum with ease. Duncan earned a bachelor’s in elementary education in 2012 and a master’s in educational leadership in 2015 from Southern University and A&M College. She is the second recipient of Louisiana's 2022 Milken Educator Award class. First-grade teacher Elise Frederic from Prairieville's Lakeside Primary School was also awarded on Jan. 24. Duncan and Frederic are among up to 40 elementary educators nationwide to be recognized this school year.
Hammond Eastside Magnet Upper School boasts district-level wins for both their Student and Teacher of the Year. Yurmajesty Garret, the HEM Upper Student of the Year, competed and won at the District Level for Tangipahoa Parish Schools Middle School Student of the year. The selection process included a portfolio, written essay, and interview. She said it is important to her to use her gifts and talents to make her community a better place. Garret plans to attend Howard University in Washington D.C. and fulfill her biggest dream of performing on Broadway. The Hammond Eastside Magnet Upper School Upper Teacher of the Year Cassandra Dyson was named the Tangipahoa Parish Schools District Middle School Teacher of the Year. “My goal as an educator is to assist students in making informed decisions about their well-being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life,” Dyson said.
Calvin Hart has been promoted to vice president of Nucor Steel Louisiana. He began his career with Nucor in the warehouse at Nucor Steel Hertford in North Carolina. There, he held several positions in the roll mill before transferring to Nucor Steel Louisiana in 2012 as a shift supervisor. At Nucor Louisiana, he was an instrumental part in safely building, commissioning, and starting up the largest DRI facility in the world. As Day Supervisor, Hart helped Nucor Louisiana build a strong, resilient, and world-class team. In 2018 he was promoted to operations manager at Nucor Steel Louisiana, and in 2021 became general manager.
Hammond High Magnet senior Khalil McKnight and Calvin Alexander of Caddo Parish Magnet High School are two of 60 candidates nominated for the 2023 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Art. McKnight is a visual arts student at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Alexander is a classical music student. The U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts nominees are actors, dancers, singers, songwriters, classical musicians, photographers, filmmakers, visual artists, designers, and writers. Once selected, the 2023 awardees will join a distinguished group of YoungArts and U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts alumni.
Pastor and artist Darlene A. Moore is a new art teacher with the Louisiana School of the Visually Impaired and Deaf as part of a grant from the Greater Baton Rouge Arts Council. Moore embraces the school’s motto, “Kids Come First” and plans to share her own, which is “Art is without limits and full of possibilities.” Moore, who lives in Baton Rouge, is originally from Mandeville and is a graduate of Dillard University and Gammon Theological Seminary. She retired after serving more than 30 years as a fulltime pastor in The United Methodist Church.
Daryl Joseph Moore is the new dean of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of the Arts. He served as dean of the College of the Arts and Communication at William Paterson University and was founding dean of the College of the Arts at California State University, Stanislaus. He chaired the Department of Art and Design and was a faculty member at Montclair State University. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures and Commerce in London. He has also been a visiting scholar at East China Normal University and is a visiting scholar at the Shanghai Institute of Technology School of Art and Design. The California native has extensive visual arts professional and is also a prolific researcher, author, and speaker.