Our Lady Queen of Heaven School hosted its third annual Baron Walk Tuesday welcoming the return of former students who will soon graduate. More than 70 students returned to participate in the event, cheered on by a host of family, friends, former teachers and current students as they paraded down the school's breezeway.
The tradition was started two years ago as an effort to inspire younger OLQHS students to begin thinking about their future, Megan O'Quinn, director of advancement, said.
"The seniors are larger than life," she said. "It inspires our students to look ahead to their own future and begin setting those goals."
The Baron Walk is also an opportunity to remind the graduating seniors of the lasting support they have from their pre-K to eighth-grade school. "We want to congratulate our OLQHS alumni and give them a loving send off for college or wherever the next chapter of their life may take them. No matter how old they are and where they move on to, OLQHS is always a place they can call home," O'Quinn said.
The home-like feeling was felt by former student Madeline Fontenot, Alfred M. Barbe High School senior. "It felt like family," she said describing the day's celebration. Fontenot will attend Louisiana State University in the fall and said the elementary and middle school was direct support in her success.
"It was the teachers, they were hard on me. They really focused on their students and it really helped me. They had time to put all the effort into everyone," she said.
Kelly Demolle, middle school coordinator, said the academic rigor is one of several important components to the school's recipe for success. "We're big on discipline. We're big on academics. We're big on spirituality ... Once they leave this school they leave with all the tools they need to be successful young adults. These kids are proof of those tools being in place," she said.
Alyssa Clause, former student and Barbe senior, plans to continue her studies at Loyola University New Orleans. She said her experience at OLQHS directly motivated her choice for a Catholic university. "I wanted to go to a catholic school because of my education here. I feel like it prepared me well especially with the religion classes. I feel like I'll be able to take a lot from what I learned here and apply it that to college, which is crazy because it's middle school."