Kailie Carrigee Named Valedictorian of DHS 2022

All the hard work paid off.

“It’s definitely been a goal of mine to be valedictorian since day one as a freshman,” said Destrehan High School Class of 2022 graduate Kailie Carrigee. “The way I found out I had it was when Mr. Madere called me. I had just finished my AP Calculus exam and was exhausted and sitting at home. He said that he was just letting me know that all my hard work had paid off. It was a really rewarding feeling to know that all my hard work had been recognized.

Carrigee said her father was actually the first member of the family to find out about the good news.

“My dad called me and said, ‘If you get a call from a random number, make sure you answer it,'” she said with a laugh. “There was a plethora of qualified candidates. I knew it was going to be a tight race, but I knew I was still aiming for excellence and I knew I had a good shot.

In the fall, Carrigee will head to Louisiana Tech University on a full National Merit Scholarship. She worked extremely hard to earn the honor of becoming a National Merit Scholar, Carrigee said.

“I always wanted to achieve this, but it became a difficult task when the pandemic hit,” she said. “I’ve basically spent almost every day during the pandemic studying…I’m a very motivated student.”

At LA Tech, Carrigee will major in biomedical engineering and perform on the college’s dance team – The Louisiana Tech Regal Blues.

Carrigee’s years at DHS were filled with dancing, as well as a host of other activities, awards, and accomplishments. She danced for four years on the Desty Darlings dance team, serving as captain in her senior year and co-captain in her freshman year. In his senior year, the team won the national championship in the national small game category – a first in school history.

Carrigee was a four-year member of the Interact Club and Fellowship of Christian Students, and served one year as vice president of each. She was also the media officer for the Fellowship of Christian Students. During her first and only year in the National Honor Society, Carrigee served as the club’s vice president.

Carrigee has also been involved as a student mentor at Norco Elementary School and as a member of the National English Honor Society, Southeast Louisiana Youth Council, Team Wildcat Mentors, Student Council, Mu Alpha Theta, the Beta Club, the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and the Newsletter Club. She has held various management positions in many clubs.

She served as senior class president, junior class president, Sophomore class president, and freshman senator, as well as part of the school district’s Gifted and Talented program.

Carrigee, an advanced studies student, has also been a competitive dancer for Kelli’s Kreative Dance for the past decade.

Volunteering has been an important part of Carrigee’s life. She has completed hours of service as an assistant teacher at Kelli’s Kreative Dance and Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry, Senior Citizen Christmas Dinner, Alligator Festival, Little Red Church Festival, Luling Living Center, New Sarpy Elementary School, Toys for Tots, various sporting events at Destrehan High School, New Generations Forum, Inclusive Prom at Ormond Plantation, Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, parent-teacher conferences and back-to-school parties, Thanksgiving basket drives, day camp Archbishop Rummel’s Summer and Louisiana Youth Seminary.

Plus, every year Carrigee turns her own birthday party into a way to raise money for charity.

“When I was 9 years old I realized how blessed my life was and I wanted to help people who needed food, clothes, shoes and those basic things that people take for granted,” she said. “It kind of took off from there.”

Carrigee collected donations for Children’s Hospital, Coreluv, Wounded Warriors, St. Charles Parish Head Start, Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry, RK Smith Middle School, What You Give Will Grow and Second Harvest Food Bank during her campaigns birthday.

And while she’s excited to embark on her college journey, Carrigee said she knows there will be huge changes ahead.

“It will be an adjustment not to see these same faces every day in the halls of Destrehan,” she said. “I just want to sincerely thank all of my teachers, parents, family and friends who have helped me get to this point. This achievement was not mine alone…I want to acknowledge all the efforts of everyone who helped get here.

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