‘Louisiana Young Hero’ has Bogalusa connections

Published 2:28 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2021

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

“Each year, we are proud to honor an incredible group of young people and this year is no exception,” LPB President Beth Courtney said. “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.

One of this year’s Young Heroes has multiple connections to Washington Parish.

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, but she has suffered the unexpected death of her mother.

Hannah’s grandfather is Bogalusa attorney, R. Bradley Lewis. Her maternal grandmother is Pam Duncan Jackson of Varnado. Her aunts are Tonia Deleon of Pine, Deanne Keating of Bogalusa, and Jennifer Stricker of McNeill, Miss. Growing up, she spent a lot of time visiting relatives in the Bogalusa area during holidays and the summer.

Hannah’s father, Robert Lewis, grew up in Bogalusa. Her mother, Shannon Mechell Duncan Lewis, grew up in Varnado.

Despite her grief after her mother’s passing, Hannah continued 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.

Hannah remains very involved in many academic, civic and community activities, including volunteering to help organize the Merryville Heritage Festival. She was 4-H President, Senior High Beta Secretary and Treasurer, involved in Future Business Leaders of America, her high school drama club, science club, and choir, and in local community theater.

The other Young Heroes are Jackson Cantrell of Mandeville, Kathryn “Lexie” Davis of Hammond, Ivory Gipson of Baton Rouge, Elliott Gomes of New Orleans, and Michael Vizena of Elizabeth.

A story about Hannah Lewis’ achievements is also on the YouTube website, at the URL of “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEa5x6Tsy7U.”