TFAE Celebrates Distinguished Scholars and Inspirational Educators

UPDATE: LOCATED – Houma Police seeking public assistance in locating wanted man
April 7, 2021
Michelle Gordon
April 8, 2021

Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence (TFAE) is celebrating the 2020-2021 Distinguished Scholars and Inspirational Educators a bit differently this year. Due to COVID-19, the local education foundation could not hold its annual TFAE Celebrates Excellence event. Students and teachers will be honored through a special video, found below.


Each year, eleven students are honored as TFAE Distinguished Scholars, chosen for their ability to overcome challenges and obstacles in their life to still achieve academic success, be involved in their school and community, and serve as an example of leadership to their peers. Nominated by their schools, selected students submit an application and an essay to be considered by a local panel of community members. Two students from each high school and one student from Bayou Cane Adult Education Center are named Distinguished Scholars.


Each scholar then selects their own Inspirational Educator, a teacher who has provided encouragement and inspiration in their life. Many scholars thanked their Inspirational Educators for being great motivators for them to do well in school and achieve their goals.


The 2020-2021 Distinguished Scholars and their Inspirational Educators are:

  • Bayou Cane Adult Education Center – Andrew Woody Carlos and Diana Treuting
  • Ellender Memorial High School – Louie Woods and John Haslitt
  • Ellender Memorial High School – Vanessa Valadez Luevano and Ginny Prejean (Terrebonne High School)
  • H. L. Bourgeois High School – Jayden Bradley and Renee Rochel
  • H. L. Bourgeois High School – Mallarie Bishop and Jeri Overley
  • Louis Miller Terrebonne Career & Technical High – Curtis Pierre and Nicole Hawthrone (Grand Caillou Elementary)
  • Louis Miller Terrebonne Career & Technical High – Tyler Bourg and Jeremy Boudreaux
  • South Terrebonne High School – Caroline Bergeron and Summer Skarke (Lacache Middle School)
  • South Terrebonne High School – Emma Ledet and Sheri Ledet (Lisa Park Elementary)
  • Terrebonne High School – Beyonce Arne Henry and Rayemona Boyd
  • Terrebonne High School – Justin Boudreaux and Katlyn Daigle


Terrebonne General Medical Center assisted with recording and creating videos of our honorees to share. Links to their inspirational videos are here:


Traditionally at the TFAE Celebrates Excellence event, TFAE also names the James J. Buquet, Jr. Award of Distinction recipient. The award is given annually to a Terrebonne Parish public high school graduate recognized for vision and excellence in their chosen field or other areas of personal endeavor. This individual has provided service unselfishly to his or her community, state, nation or internationally. The award is named in honor of Mr. Buquet’s commitment to public education.


This year’s honor was given to Paul Labat. Mr. Labat has dedicated his life to serving the residents of Terrebonne Parish and retired from the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government. He was named 2006 Terrebonne Parish Most Useful Citizen. He is a wealth of information and a guiding force in local government affairs. He is involved with numerous local civic and charitable organizations. (Mr. Labat is pictured above receiving his award from members of TFAE and the Buquet family. Pictured left to right are: Ricky Murphy, Glenny Lee Buquet, Paul Labat, Ashlee Champagne Barahona, Carlton Casey, and Allie Casey.)


TFAE will also be recognizing the 2020-2021 Teachers and Principals of the Year.

The Principals of the Year are:

  • Monica Breaux, Elementary
  • Sharri Mcguire, Middle/Jr High School
  • Matthew Hodson, High School


The Teachers of the Year are:

  • Jennifer Boudreaux, Elementary
  • Shane Willis, Middle/Jr School
  • Stephanie Pellegrin, High School


Each Distinguished Scholar, Inspirational Educator, Principal of the Year, and Teacher of the Year will receive gifts purchased from local restaurants and businesses thanks to sponsor Hancock Whitney Bank. The bank has served as the underwriter of this event for many years. Additionally, each Inspirational Educator will gift an inscribed book of their choosing to their Distinguished Scholar thanks to a sponsorship by the Houma Times.

“We are honored to spotlight these determined students and inspiring educators,” Ashlee Champagne Barahona, TFAE Executive Director, said. “They have worked extremely hard over the years and overcome many challenges to reach this point. We are immensely proud of them and hope the community will join us in congratulating them.”

TFAE is an independent local non-profit organization that strives to positively affect academic achievement and to fundamentally improve education. TFAE has awarded more than $1.2 million grant dollars to Terrebonne Parish public school teachers since 2012.