East Baton Rouge Schools announces three Students of the Year

East Baton Rouge Schools announces three Students of the Year
Monday, February 13, 2012 - 1:48pm

The East Baton Rouge Parish School System recognized its 2012 Students of the Year at an awards reception held February 8 at the Professional Development Center.

All the schools in the district were eligible to enter a student representative for the awards. There were 10 finalists this year. The three students recognized for each level (elementary, middle and high school) as students of the year represent the best and brightest in the School System. The three now will go on to compete at the regional level. The winners are:


Anusha Zaman, Fifth Grade, Buchanan Elementary School

Parents: Zakia Perveen and Md Hasanuzzaman

She is a Gifted student who has studied Talented Art and a member of Girls on the Run and has volunteered for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, the Centroplex at Baton Rouge, the Bengali Cultural Event and the Islamic Center of Baton Rouge.

Her awards include: honorable mention in the district’s EBR Mania Talented Art Exhibit, second place in the MAS Qur’an Institute Competition, 2nd place in the DeBose Fine Art Festival Poster Contest and second place in the Louisiana Music Educators Association Strings Competition, among others.

She plans on attending Harvard Medical School, hopes to become a surgeon in the field of neurology and enjoys math and science.

Her father is from Comilla in Bangladesh, where he walked 3 miles to school. Her mother is from the village of Nilphamari in Bangladesh and walked 1.4 miles to school.

Both studied at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, and her parents went on to study at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, where they had scholarships.

She was born in Japan and lived there half her life, speaking and writing in Japanese.
The family moved to the United States in 2005.


Samhita Rao, Eighth Grade, Glasgow Middle School

Parents: Chandrika Rao and Dandina Rao

Each summer, she takes a trip to an orphanage in India to discuss the children’s goals. She has been a Grade Level Ambassador for three years. She is the speaker of the House in the 2011 Youth Legislature. She is the No. 1 alto in the All Parish Children’s Choir.

Her volunteer work includes: Builders Club (as vice-president) Clean Up Day and the 4-H Club.
She also is a member of the Glasgow Middle School Choir, the Parish Wide Children’s Choir and Volunteens and takes East Indian classical dance and voice lessons.

She placed in the finals for the 200 Breaststroke recently as part of the Tiger Aquatics Swim Team, and won first place in Piano Duo for 2011 in the LMTA Piano Concerto Competition.

Other awards include: first place in the 2011 Regional Social Studies Fair, Naval Research Award at the Regional 2011 Science Fair, fourth place at the 2010 Catholic High Math Tournament, qualified for the Duke TIP Talent Search and second place at the 2009 School Social Studies Fair, among others.


William Cassidy, 12th Grade, McKinley High School

Parents: Laura Cassidy and Congressman Bill Cassidy

He is president of the National Honors Society, team captain of the Quiz Bowl Team and the school Beta Club’s Quiz Bowl Team and president and founder of the school’s Chess Club.
He has participated in and captained Quiz Bowl teams that have been ranked second and third in the state, respectively. He also led the Chess Club team he founded in a competition against the best chess programs in the state and tied for first place.

He is a student in the Gifted Program at McKinley High School and a National Merit Semifinalist and Advanced Placement Scholar.

Will scored a 2270 out of 2400 on the SAT. His sub-scores were a perfect 800 for Critical Reading, 750 for Mathematics and 720 in writing. He has taken a demanding curriculum and more than 10 college-level classes.

At the State Rally, hosted by Louisiana State University, he was the State Division II World Geography Champion and World History District winner.

Because of Will’s outstanding performance at Model United Nations, he was invited to attend the Conference on National Affairs which only a few students from each state attend each year.
As an amateur chess player, he is rated 1714 on the Internet Chess Club (ratings up to 2800) and has volunteered to teach chess at the Baranco Clark YMCA and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

He plays cello and piano and has been assistant principal cellist for the All-State Orchestra, principal horn for the Louisiana Youth Orchestra and a member of the Talented Orchestra.

He plays first court for his high school Tennis Team and is rated 36th in the state’s under-18 division. He qualified to attend the statewide high school championship tournament last year.
He plans to major in International Relations and Economics.

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