Two Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) graduates have established themselves as some of the nation’s leaders in the armed forces. Lenny Richoux (’85) and Stacey Hawkins (’87) have recently been conferred as Major Generals in the U.S. Air Force.
Richoux, originally from New Orleans, enrolled at LSMSA in 1983 and graduated with its first class of students. As a sophomore, Richoux met Dr. Bobby Alost, LSMSA’s first executive director, where he was invited to attend a brand new school that was intended to give gifted students an environment that would both challenge them academically and grow them as individuals. While mom was not so comfortable – Dad seemed okay with the idea, and at the start of the next school year his parents drove him to Natchitoches for this experiment that was LSMSA.
“It was tough for us,” he said, “no high school building, no cafeteria.” Maj. Gen. Richoux was appreciative of his experiences at LSMSA, feeling as though the school had prepared him well for a life of duty and service to his country. “It grew us up really fast, but in a responsible way. We’ll never know all of the things they did behind the scenes to help us succeed,” Richoux said of the school’s original administrators.
After graduating from LSMSA, he received a degree in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Richoux’s first assignment was Air Force pilot training in June of 1990. Of his many military positions, Richoux was tasked, after 9/11, with leading the first integral C-17 squadron deployment to the Middle East. In August 2019, he was appointed Director of Manpower and Personnel for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he provides counsel and support to General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
From Bastrop, Hawkins joined LSMSA in 1985 and, upon graduation, continued on to the U.S. Air Force Academy. In 2007, Hawkins became a White House Fellow and was asked to stay on after the 2008 election. For two years he worked with Vice President Biden as Special Advisor for Defense Policy and Intelligence Programs. “It was a great opportunity,” Hawkins said of his time at the White House. He is now the Director of Logistics, Civil Engineering, Force Protection and Nuclear Integration at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command in Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
“The sole reason for my appointment was because of my time at LSMSA,” said Hawkins, who believes that LSMSA gave him the tools he needed to succeed in both his personal and professional life. “Character building is a big part of basic training, and because of my time at LSMSA, I didn’t have to learn character,” he continued. With his uncle serving in Vietnam and his parents working as teachers, Hawkins was called to a life of service. “Serving something greater than myself was always a theme in my life,” he said. His illustrious career in the Air Force has been a testament to that.
With a combined 57 years in service, Maj. Gen. Richoux and Maj. Gen. Hawkins have performed their duty and their successes reinforce the effect LSMSA has in establishing the fundamentals necessary for professional life.