Two St. Joseph’s Academy student-athletes signed scholarship papers on May 9 and will compete at the collegiate level next year. The signing ceremony was held in the school library.
Tanzi Stafford will be part of the rodeo team at Panola College in Carthage, Texas. Caroline Starns will play beach and indoor volleyball at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Stafford has been competing in rodeo since the age of 6 and began riding horses from the time she could walk. She competes in high school rodeos nearly every weekend and has finished in the top 10 in the state every year since 2015. Her events include goat tying and breakaway roping. She was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Marcelle Veillon and Shai Stafford.
“I am most looking forward to traveling all over Texas and Louisiana and competing as a team with people who share the same passion as me for our sport,” Stafford said. “I am also looking forward to being able to compete at a higher level.”
Starns is a four-year letter winner on the SJA volleyball team. She was named to the LVCA All-State Team in 2018, the All-Metro Team in 2017 and 2018 and the All-District Team in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, she was the co-MVP of the All-District Team. She was joined at the ceremony by her mother, Candace LaPlace, stepfather Stuart LaPlace and father Ryan Starns, as well as numerous other family members.
“I’m looking forward to playing with girls who love the sport enough to continue playing in college,” Starns said. “I know from experience that sometimes it gets tough, but the girls who stay devoted all the way up to the collegiate level are the ones who really love it.”
WAFB and WBRZ covered the signing ceremony. The student-athletes were also supported by a large gathering of administrators, teammates, coaches, friends and faculty/staff members.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine