Teen running for spot on Avoyelles Parish School Board

Published: Aug. 9, 2018 at 10:40 PM CDT
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With elections coming up in November the Avoyelles Parish School Board has several candidates looking to win a seat at the table.

But, one in particular is a bit nontraditional. As if his plate wasn't already full, he is a full-time consultant, college student, and nonprofit worker.

Stanley Celestine Jr. is taking all of this on at 19 years old.

"I've always been one to kind of go against the status quo," Celestine said.

It's ambition not commonly seen for his age.

"I haven't necessarily gotten any crazy looks, maybe just some mixed emotions from some certain members of the community," Celestine said. "But, I can say from district five, the community has been very welcoming. Most of them know of my prior experience of working with children and families."

Since high school, Celestine has worked to change the lives of youth in the area, now the CEO of 'Truly Thrive'.

"I actually founded a nonprofit that operated a STEM education program that ended up becoming a nationwide model for engaging students of color," Celestine said.

All experiences he feels makes him a good candidate.

"Within all of my work, I've been able to understand the issues that are affecting young people," Celestine said.

"He is only 19, but he is wise beyond his years," said his colleague Jessica Couvillion. I think he would bring a really fresh perspective as a school board member."

Couvillion said he will bring the same fire he brings to the office, to the board.

"He is very familiar with challenges and the issues that face youth today from bullying to social media," Couvillion said. "He is one of those people that will be very unique and useful."

Avoyelles Parish Superintendent Blaine Dauzat couldn't say much about the election but said it's up to voters.

"I will respect the people of district five and I will work with him the best I can," Dauzat said.

If elected, Celestine wants to be the students' voice.

"Schools are designed for young people, they are designed for students," Celestine said. "So, we need to create an environment where they are the decision makers."

He Hopes to create change for district five.

"I am running for one reason only, and that is because I stand for kids," Celestine said. "There are numerous elections going on for school board in different districts. I encourage everyone to get out there read and follow up for every candidate. Even if you don't want to vote for me, still continue to be civically engaged in your community."