2024 Teacher Awards Finalists

United Way of Acadiana is excited to announce finalists for the 2024 Teacher Awards presented by Love Our Schools. With nearly 5,000 nominations this year in Lafayette Parish, United Way of Acadiana selected educators and support staff who stood out among the rest. Nominations are separated into elementary school, middle school, high school, and inspirational categories. This year, the inspirational category expanded to include nominations for educational support staff. 

Elementary School Category:


Hannah Briggs – J. Wallace James Elementary

Alyse Etie – St. Cecilia 

Beth Bolinger – Woodvale Elementary

Raegan Abshire – Prairie Elementary

Middle School Category:


Garrison Turner – L.J. Alleman Middle

Hailey Gauthier – Edgar Martin Middle 

Maya Harness – Paul Breaux Middle

Brian Langlinais – Sts. Peter and Paul

High School Category:


Jill Ardoin – St. Thomas Moore 

Dixie Gaspard – Acadiana Reinassance Charter Academy

D’yonne Jones – Carencro High

Melanie Lowry – Lafayette High

Inspirational Category:


Linda Robin –Acadiana High

Asia Freeman – Lerosen Preperatory School

Paula Graffeo – J. Wallace James Elementary

Kelly Brandt – Lafayette High

Teacher Awards will take place on March 1, 2024 at the UL Men’s Basketball game at the Cajundome.

On Friday, March 1, 2024, at 7:30 p.m. United Way of Acadiana will celebrate nominees and recognize finalists at the final UL men’s basketball game of the season team during the half-time presentation against Southern Miss. After halftime, the winner of each category will formally be announced to the crowds.  

United Way of Acadiana has reimagined this annual celebration. By shifting from a formal awards program to a more casual and family-friendly event at a larger venue, this will encourage more community spirit and participation. A basketball game is a family-friendly, energetic place for fans to show how important educators are to the community. Get ready for a fun night to cheer, show your spirit, and celebrate our educators.

 We will gather at 6:15PM to create a loud, spirited, cheering human tunnel to welcome these amazing teachers as they enter the dome at 6:30PM. Tunnel participation is free, and you can purchase your discounted tickets available at the Cajundome box office using the code “TEACH”.

Let’s cover our teachers with gratitude and the red-carpet experience!

About UWA’s 2024 Teacher Awards

This initiative is designed to celebrate the outstanding contributions of education professionals who go above and beyond in shaping young minds. Each year we encourage community members to nominate exceptional teachers who have made a significant impact. From inspiring lesson plans to fostering a positive learning environment, we want to honor those educators who stand out for their dedication and passion. Nominees must be an active, full-time educator in a Lafayette Parish public, charter, private, or parochial school system.

We also know that there are other individuals that help shape the lives of students. So, this year’s inspirational category is open to anyone who has served as an integral part of school and student success. If there has been someone at your school that has made a difference in your life, we want to recognize them!

2024 Teacher Awards Sponsors