Students ready for testing after rally

<p class="p1">Combre-Fondel Elementary students, teachers and supporters took part in a testing pep rally Tuesday at the school. Students were encouraged to make a strong effort on upcoming tests through motivational speakers, music and cheering.</p>Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer

<p class="p1">Combre-Fondel Elementary School held its annual Testing Pep Rally on Tuesday. 

<p class="p1">Radio personalities from KZWA-FM (104.4) provided motivational hits for the students as they celebrated this week’s start of LEAP 2025 testing. With dance competitions, cheers and chants, Cary Chavis, Combre-Fondel alumni and host of KZWA’s “The Cary Chavis Experience,” encouraged the students to take the test seriously and to have confidence in their ability to succeed and perform.

<p class="p1">Washington-Marion Magnet High School student council members also cheered the students on for success by sharing personal, proven test-taking strategies. 

<p class="p1">Courtland Williams commanded the attention of the students by reassuring them to take their time while testing, eat a good breakfast and go to bed early. Taylor Trahan reminded students to enter the testing environment with a clear, focused mind and to utilize the process of elimination if they come to a particularly difficult question.<p class="p1">Students speak during a pep rally at Combre-Fondel Elementary in Lake Charles on Tuesday.</p>Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer

<p class="p1">In keeping with the Combre-Fondel Little Braves mascot, Chavis reminded students to “be brave, even if you’re tired.” Mildred Smith, principal, agreed saying, April can be a particularly tiring part of the year for students and faculty. She believes the pep rally is a great strategy for testing success because it “reminds students that school isn’t over now that testing has started.” Rather, the goal of the rally is to “rejuvenate students and give them a new mindset for the coming weeks.”

<p class="p1">Stephanie Young, master teacher, praised the efforts of the school and the community for hosting the rally. She explained, there’s a tendency for students and staff to become overly tense and stressed about testing. The Testing Pep Rally reminds students that “it’s just a test — something they do quite often,” said Young. It alleviates the pressure, thereby allowing students to truly show what they’ve been working towards all year long.<p>During a pep rally at Combre-Fondel Elementary in Lake Charles, La., Tuesday, April 10, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)</p>Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer

<p class="p1">Combre-Fondel’s school performance rating moved up from an F to a D during the 2016-2017 school year. Such a movement requires committed teachers, engaged administration and confident students considering the many state-regulated metrics involved in school performance scores. Smith is confident in her school’s continued success saying, “If we could do it last year, we can do it this year.”