More than 100 Eagle alumni returned to the nest at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts to put sweat equity back into the campus during the school’s 12th annual Social Service Weekend over the weekend of July 6-8. Alumni from the classes of 1985-2018 painted parking lots, cleaned the dorms, constructed the school’s Christmas parade float, pressure washed several of the buildings, recovered furniture, cleaned desks, worked on landscaping and more.
The 172 LSMSA alums and their families were joined by Rep. Beryl Amedée, R-Houma, for the second consecutive year. “LSMSA is not just a place. It’s my family,” said Kari Calhoun of Baton Rouge, class of 1998. Coordinators were Laura LeBlanc Bourque (1992) of Scott and Brittany Taraba (2007) of Swartz.
Alumni and their families paid a $12 fee that covered meals and had the option of staying in one of the residence halls, Prudhomme Hall, at no cost. “My LSMSA experience shaped my life in a way and magnitude that nothing else ever has,” said Stacy Carpenter of Haughton, class of 1992. “I want to play a part, however small, in the same thing happening for others.”
It was a sentiment echoed by many other alumni, who also credit the school for changing their lives. “As each year passes, the profound impact this school has had and continues to have on my life becomes clearer and clearer,” said Tanya Voorhees, of Gulfport, Miss., class of 1985.
Volunteers also provided childcare for returning families. While the alumni worked, their children did arts and crafts, science experiments, ran an obstacle course and more. “It isn’t just about us … our kids have grown up with the other kids. They shine a little brighter when they all get back together,” said Maggi Bienvenu, class of 1995.
For school staff, it’s not just about getting things done, but about seeing LSMSA alumni reconnect. “I think the most important benefit of SSW is to give our alumni a chance to return home and continue to contribute to the ongoing development of the school,” Executive Director Steve Horton said. “We all feel good about giving back to those things that positively impacted us over the years. Service to LSMSA is a lot more than that — it not only allows us to walk the halls again, but it allows for a few days to unwind and reconnect with those who had such an impact on our developmental years.”
The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts is a public, residential high school for high-performing, highly motivated sophomores, juniors and seniors. Located on the campus of Northwestern State University, the school offers a unique living-learning environment for more than 300 students.