United Way of Acadiana got to surprise some local educators yesterday as finalists for their 2024 Teacher Awards presented by Love Our Schools.

After nearly 5,000 nominations were submitted this year in Lafayette Parish, a selection committee chose the educators and support staff who stood out the most.

United Way of Acadiana
United Way of Acadiana

Nominations are separated into elementary school, middle school, high school, and inspirational categories. This year, the inspiration category was expanded to include nominations for educational support staff.

Nominees must be an active, full-time educator in a Lafayette Parish public, charter, private, or parochial school system.

Here is the complete list of 2024 Teacher Award finalists:

Elementary School Category

  • Hannah Briggs -- J. Wallace James Elementary School
  • Alyse Etie -- St. Cecilia Catholic School
  • Beth Bolinger -- Woodvale Elementary School
  • Raegan Abshire -- Prairie Elementary School

Middle School Category

  • Grayson Turner -- L.J. Alleman Middle School
  • Hailey Gauthier -- Edgar Martin Middle School
  • Maya Harness -- Paul Breaux Middle School
  • Brian Langlinais -- Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School

High School Category

  • Jill Ardoin -- St. Thomas More Catholic High School
  • Dixie Gaspard -- Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy
  • D'yonne Jones -- Carencro High School

Inspiration Category

  • Linda Robin -- Acadiana High School
  • Asia Freeman -- Lerosen Preparatory School
  • Paula Graffeo -- J. Wallace Elementary School

United Way of Acadiana will celebrate the nominees and recognize the finalists at halftime of the final UL men's basketball game of the season against Southern Miss on Friday, March 1, 2024, at 7:30 pm. After halftime, the winner of each category will formally be announced to the crowd.

This annual celebration has been reimagined this year. They've shifted from a more formal awards program to this more casual and family-friendly event at a larger venue that encourages more community spirit and participation.

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