Fifth grader with Jackson Parish roots named Louisiana Student of the Year

Do you recognize the young lady in the banner above? If not, please be introduced to the 2021-22 Louisiana Elementary Student of the Year, Ellen Kate Semmes, or Elly as she is called by everyone who does know her.

If you are not familiar with this vivacious young lady, don’t beat yourself up to bad. She does not live in Jonesboro or even Jackson Parish for that matter. Elly is lives in West Monroe, LA and is a fifth grader at Kiroli Elementary. If you have lived any time at all in Jackson Parish though, you most likely know many members of her family.   

Elly is the daughter of Bobby and Cathy (Layfield) Seemes. Cathy and her brother Matt are Jonesboro-Hodge High School graduates. Elly’s grandfather is recently retired Jackson Parish Sheriff Deputy Randy Layfield, who will also be recognized as the son of Jonesboro residents before their death, Luther and Edna Layfield . Her grandmother was Ellen Mathews Layfield, who died in 2008 after a battle with cancer. She was the daughter of Sarah and Armed Mathews, who is also deceased after a long career as a JHHS coach and educator 

After being recognized as Kiroli’s honoree, Elly competed locally for district honors. The competition included writing an essay and interviewing with a panel, as well as composing a portfolio highlighting many achievements. For regional competition, Elly once again had to write and interview. Elly was recognized as the Region 2 Elementary Student of the Year and continued on to interview and write for state competition, where she achieved the number one spot.

An honor student with a perfect 4.0 GPA, Elly is currently the student leader for Kiroli’s Fellowship of Christian Students and student team member for Kiroli’s Positive Behavioral and Support Team. She also enjoys dancing and for the last three years has been part of the Twin City Ballet Company.

Elly has also participated in the Miss Louisiana Organization for the past four years. She enjoys helping her community and reaching out to those in need, participating in many service projects.  One that became very personal to her was when she raised money for St. Jude’s Children Hospital. On her own, she raised over $3,000, mostly from making bracelets and mask chains.

During her spare time, Elly enjoys playing piano, participating in church activities, hanging out with her friends, family, the family dog Milly, and sharing her love of Christ with others.


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