Teen wins election for Avoyelles Parish School Board

Image Source: KALB
Image Source: KALB(KALB)
Published: Nov. 14, 2018 at 11:01 PM CST
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The Avoyelles Parish School Board has a new member joining in January who is wise beyond his years.

Last week Stanley Celestine beat opponent Carolyn Bonton for the District 5 seat, with 65 percent of the votes.

Now the 19-year old is excited to represent his alma mater, Cottonport Elementary.

"It's an honor," Celestine said. "I attended Cottonport Elementary throughout my kindergarten to sixth grade years. I really don't view it as being responsible for the school. I really view it as advocating for the school."

With two months to go until he is sworn in, Celestine is already busy meeting teachers and principals in the community. He stopped by Cottonport on Wednesday.

"It hit me with excitement, but it also hit me with knowing the challenges that our schools face," Celestine said. "And what we are going to have to do to better support our teachers, our administrators, our students."

He is the youngest school board member ever elected in Avoyelles.

"He is so young, but he is a very intelligent young man," said Cottonport Principal Monique Gaspard. "I was his assistant principal at LASAS."

Cottonport is the only school in District 5, but Celestine will have a hand in all 10 parish schools.

"Due to majority to minority transfers and kids being bused long distances, some of the kids that live in my district actually attend a school in another district," Celestine said.

It's a big responsibility to take on, but Gaspard is confident he can get the job done.

"He is working from his heart, this is something that is really in him," Gaspard said. "He is thinking about his community, he is thinking about these children at this school here."

He hopes to start with mental health.

"Cottonport Elementary has the most neediest students in our district," Celestine said. "So, some of the things in which I've shared with the superintendent and also with school administration is bringing in as many supports to address some of those social and emotional issues that our students face."

Most of all, he wants to spread positivity.

"I love to focus on their strengths, but sometimes people want to focus on the weakness of our schools," Celestine said. "I believe for every weakness there is a strength."