“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence.”
Colin Powell - retired four-star general United States Army
Franklin Parish students of the year share common characteristics: love for family, church and community, willingness to work hard and a desire to be successful.
Christian McHand, a fifth grader at Crowville School, was selected as the 2019 Franklin Parish elementary student of the year and learns while pursuing his love of travel.
Dillan Bryant, an eighth grader at Crowville Middle School, was selected as the 2019 Franklin Parish junior high student of the year and has a love for people even though they may be different from him.
Bruce Cordill, a Franklin Parish High School senior, was selected as the 2019 high school student of the year for the parish and his persistence and loyalty in Boy Scouts have garnered him an Eagle Scout badge.
The recipients were recognized at the School Board’s regular meeting held March 4.
Christian McHand has filled his 10-year life with God, family, traveling and working hard at school, and through his faith, support from his family and work ethic, McHand was named 2019 Franklin Parish elementary student of the year.
McHand said his family influenced his life and was the most important.
“My family is important to me because they take care of me and help me do things that I am not able to do by myself,” McHand wrote in his autobiography to student of the year judges.
“I love playing with my little sister, Mollie. I like spending time with my family, and I am so blessed to have the family that I have,” he added.
Seeing and experiencing new culture and activities through his travels with his family has influenced his life, McHand said.
“I’ve been to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Gatlinburg, Orlando and Houston,” he wrote. “I really enjoy seeing plays. We have seen ‘Wicked,’ ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Beauty and the Best,’ but my favorite play that I have seen was ‘Aladdin.’”
McHand’s faith in God has impacted his life in many ways.
“I really enjoy attending church at River of Life,” McHand said. “I gave my life to Christ and was baptized there when I was five years old. I love learning about Jesus.”
In the future, McHand wants to turn his love of building and his creativity into a successful career as an architect.
“Whenever I grow up, I want to be an architect,” McHand said. “I want to be an architect because they draw buildings and design things. They make models of what they have designed and drawn.”
McHand stays busy with many school, church and community activities.
He has been a cast member in productions at River of Life and Magnolia Baptist Church, sound booth technician and vocalist at River of Life, participated in Winnsboro Dixie Youth baseball and maintains a 3.8 to 4.0 GPA.
McHand is the son of Scott and Karla McHand.
Dillan Bryant, the 2019 Franklin Parish junior high student of the year, cares about people no matter their color or their location.
Bryant wrote in his autobiography to student of the year judges, “All human life is important, so assaulting a person because of their color is like assaulting someone in your own family. Jesus calls us all to love one another, and I wish more people would follow that example.”
Bryant is a seasoned actor, participating in several Princess Theater productions. He believes acting is an exit to the troubles that overwhelm many people in the world.
“Every time you turn on the news or check social media there is another story about a tragic event that has happened,” Bryant said. “This is one reason why I enjoy acting. Acting brings smiles and laughter to people and allows them to forget their troubles for a short time.”
As a Christian, Bryant feels sorrow for those around the world who are being persecuted for their beliefs.
“The last issue that’s influenced my life is the persecution of Christians around the world,” Bryant said. “It makes me realize that we should not take the freedom of religion that we have in the United States, for granted. It is important to stand strong in what you believe in, no matter the cost.”
Bryant is the son of Daniel and Kristin Bryant and is a member of BETA Club, Fellowship of Christian Students and Franklin Youth Tennis League.
He volunteers at many events and organizations throughout Franklin Parish including SpEd Christmas event, Upwards Soccer, Vacation Bible School and the Veteran’s Day program at Crowville School.
Bruce Cordill can now list 2019 Franklin Parish High School student of the year as an accomplishment in his life.
The selection is listed with hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, diving in the oceans around Cuba and journeying in the delta of Botswana, Africa.
But Cordill does not want his accomplishments to “define him,” rather he wants his relationship with Jesus, his hard work he learned from his father and his leadership skills he learned from the Boy Scouts define his life.
He names his father, Joey Cordill, as his biggest hero and supporter. They both share a love for tennis and a bond found on the courts.
“My entire life he has been right beside me encouraging me to do better,” Cordill wrote in his autobiography to student of the year judges. “So, trying to fill the shoes he’s left for me is one of the biggest goals.”
A connection was formed on the tennis court between Cordill and his father and this is where his father instilled many of the important philosophies that guide his daily life.
“When we play tennis together, we are as close as we can be,” Cordill said. “Every match I play I try and fill my dad’s shoes.”
Cordill added, “He always tells me to put the last point out of my mind but not to forget it. This translates to learning your lessons from the past, but don’t let it weigh you down. For me, taking the court and remembering all the things my father has taught me is one of the highest ways I can honor him.”
Cordill’s love for Jesus and his church has opened opportunities to travel the world in missionary work.
“In the summer of 2016, I got the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Belo Horizonte, Brazil,” he said. “This mission trip was eye opening and horizon broadening. It gave me a new compassion for people and a renewed sense of gratitude for how much I have been blessed.”
Cordill is resilient in whatever he sets his mind to do. His resilience has showed in becoming an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts.
“Staying the course and becoming an Eagle Scout has brought out the natural leader in me,” he said. “Being a leader is one of my most important personality traits.”
Cordill’s mother is Brandi Cordill. He is a senior at Franklin Parish High School.
Cordill is a volunteer soccer coach and referee in the Upward Soccer program, vice president of FP’s BETA Club, vice president of competitive events for the Future Business Leaders of America and tennis instructor of the Stay On Court Not In Court program.