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Louisiana Young Heroes 2021 airs Friday, July 16 at 8:30PM on LPB and features each Young Hero in their own words, as well as interviews with family members, teachers, and mentors.

Louisiana Young Heroes 2021

Louisiana Public Broadcasting is celebrating the achievements of six exceptional students with a program that shares their stories with viewers statewide. Louisiana Young Heroes 2021 airs Friday, July 16 at 8:30PM on LPB and features each Young Hero in their own words, as well as interviews with family members, teachers, and mentors.

LPB President, Beth Courtney, “Each year, we are proud to honor an incredible group of young people and this year is no exception. LPB’s Young Heroes are smart, hardworking, and mindful of the needs of others. We are delighted to share this program about hope and inspiration.”

Now in its 26th year, LPB’s Louisiana Young Heroes Program recognizes high school students who inspire others by overcoming adversity, exhibiting heroism, or giving freely of their time to help others in their communities.

Meet these role models Friday, July 16 at 8:30PM on LPB. Louisiana Young Heroes 2021 will encore Sunday, July 18 at 5:30PM.

The 2021 Louisiana Young Heroes are:

Jackson Cantrell of Mandeville is a National Merit Scholar, whose research into the lives of enslaved and Native groups began when he installed two historical markers at Fontainebleau State Park, a former 1800s sugar plantation. He discovered 153 names of family members held in bondage. He documented these findings, as well as information on local indigenous nations. State historians published both works online and papers are also on file with Amistad Research Center. Jackson, Eagle Scout of the Year, has contributed 400+ hours in public service.

Kathryn “Lexie” Davis of Hammond is an honor student, who also studied at the ProStart & Culinary Arts foodservice management program. Lexie provides meals to patients at the North Oaks Dialysis Center and volunteers with the Red Cross and her church. During the pandemic, she also volunteered with “Meals for the Multitude,” a program through N. A. James Funeral Home, and then began her own community meals program, “Food For The Souls.” She’s a role model for all who encounter her.

Ivory Gipson of Baton Rouge has maintained a near-perfect GPA while being a three-sport varsity athlete in baseball, basketball, and football; a Baton Rouge Youth Coalition Fellow; and vice president of the Goal Society, a college-focused school club. Ivory dedicates almost as much to the Northeast High community as to his family. His proudest accomplishment is caring for his four-year-old niece since she was born. He’ll attend Skidmore College on a full scholarship. His potential is limitless because his determination is unmatched.

Elliott Gomes of New Orleans is an honor student, who consistently sees the good in everyone. Elliott especially loves World War II history and was invited to speak at the Airman Veteran Conference. Even in challenging situations, Elliott is determined to be part of the solution. He provided free weekly online tutoring to children in his neighborhood during the pandemic, and led fundraising efforts to provide tuition for an orphan at the Petals School of Africa, build a well in Tanzania and to feed the homeless in New Orleans.

Hannah Lewis of DeRidder is a straight A student, who is involved in many academic, civic and community activities. In the last year, Hannah has not only had to endure two hurricanes causing major damage to her home, she has suffered the unexpected death of her mother. Despite her grief, Hannah continues to be an inspiration. Through her church, she has done yard work for the elderly, made stuffed animals for the Hug-A-Bear project and promoted service dogs for veterans. Hannah has been awarded the Outstanding Student Merit-based Scholarship to Louisiana Tech.

Michael Vizena of Elizabeth began his journey in foster care at age 3. At the age of 9, he finally found his forever family. His kind demeanor and positive spirit were evident from the start. Diagnosed with Leukemia at 14, he completes his treatment in January 2022 and hopes to become a Child Life Specialist. His community has adopted a "Michael Strong" outlook on life. Michael worked with community and local businesses to host blood drives though LifeShare Blood Center. Over 150 units of blood have been donated in his name.

(Full bios in links)

The Louisiana Young Heroes Program is being presented this year with the generous support of AmeriHealth Caritas Louisiana, the U.S. Army, Baton Rouge Recruiting Battalion, Community Coffee, and East Baton Rouge Parish Library with additional support from Hotel Indigo and DEMCO.

For photos and more information about each of the 2021 Louisiana Young Heroes visit lpb.org/heroes.

About Louisiana Public Broadcasting:

Since 1975, Louisiana Public Broadcasting has been the public television network for the state of Louisiana with stations in Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and Shreveport. LPB’s mission is to improve the lives of all Louisianans with the highest quality programming that educates, enlightens and entertains and that showcases Louisiana’s unique history, people, places and events reaching audiences over-the-air, on the web, in the home and in the classroom.