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Ms. Kit Becnel
Graduated 1978

Home:
119 Hathaway Drive
Lafayette, LOUISIANA

Work:
Lafayette Parish School System - Carencro High
721 Butcher Switch W.
Lafayette, LA 70507
kabecnel@lpssonline.com

Home Phone: --
Work Phone: 337-896-6675
Fax: 337-896-7592
Email: kitbecnel@yahoo.com

Former Volleyball: Becnel Receives Lifetime Achievement Award – Lafayette students, educators recogn

Nov. 14, 2013, Morning Advocate, Acadiana Bureau

Acadiana bureau report – http://theadvocate.com/news/7575254-123/lafayette-students-educators-recognized

LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish school system’s Schools of Choice program recognized its community partners and Students of the Year during its annual showcase, Fall Frenzy, at the Cajundome Convention Center.
South Louisiana Community College and lawyer Brandon Letulier were recognized at the Nov. 9 event for their contributions to students enrolled in the Schools of Choice program with the Community Partner of the Year award.
The community college joined with the school system in 2008 to create the Early College Academy, a high school program that enables students to graduate with a diploma and associate’s degree.
“This organization has been the poster child for the model of partnership from the very beginning,” said Randall Domingue, Schools of Choice recruitment and marketing coordinator, in a news release.
Letulier, a partner with the NeunerPate law firm, is a mentor and coach for students involved in Northside High’s legal academy and its mock trial team.
Letulier recently accompanied the team to Cambridge, Mass., for the Harvard Mock Trial Association’s training seminar for high school students.

“Our community partners provide a valuable resource to our academy students. With their guidance and involvement, we are able to ensure that the Schools of Choice programs offer industry and postsecondary-focused educational opportunities for the students of Lafayette Parish,” said Burnell LeJeune, director of Schools of Choice.
The Schools of Choice program includes areas of study that allow students to explore their interests in foreign language or career fields ranging from health and biomedical fields to performing arts and design.
Students and teachers also were recognized at the Fall Frenzy event for their contributions during the year.
The winners include:

Elementary School Student of the Year: Elias Rashmawi, of L. Leo Judice.

Middle School Student of the Year: Caleb Washington, of Carencro Middle.

High School Student of the Year (tie): Taseen Karim, of Lafayette High, and Josiah Price, of the Early College Academy.

Jeff Debetaz, principal of David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy, was named Educator of the Year

Kit Becnel, director of the Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts in developing that program, which the National Academy Foundation recently named a model academy.

* * * * * * * * * *

ABIZ Monthly – September 17, 2013

To Boldly Go – ABiz puts a face to the innovators driving Lafayette’s ambitious goal to become a top city for tech startups by Patrick Flanagan / Photos by Robin May
(Kit was one of the features in this story).

You do tech. In layman’s terms, what do you do?

Since we opened our doors in 2004, I have been the Academy of Information Technology Director and workforce preparation teacher/internship coordinator for the Schools of Choice program at Carencro High School. Our program prepares young people for college and career success, equipping them with skills, knowledge and experience needed to thrive.

How did you get into your area of tech?

UL Lafayette laid my foundation in preparing me in the fields of technology, business and education. It was that one elective course — FORTRAN programming — that got me hooked into the IT field. Dr. Terry Walker, who was the author of our textbook, was my professor. My practical workforce skills prepared me to better mold and shape my students with rigor for the IT workforce environment; therefore, it was a natural fit for me to head up LPSS’s IT career-themed academy program. I am thankful for the hard work of my co-director, faculty, and staff at Carencro High, including my supervisor and district who have supported my goals, mission, and vision for our program. In 2003, I was selected by both my principal and assistant principal at Carencro High to become the director of this brand new National Academy Foundation program here in Lafayette.

Of your current projects, which are you most excited about?

I am most excited about our ongoing summer IT internship program with more than 81 participating businesses, entities, organizations, higher educational institutions, governmental branches and non-profits, all of which have participated. We have a 100 percent placement rate for eight straight years of our academy IT interns, which occurs during the summer before their senior year earning the student one Carnegie unit. Our graduation rate for those who have interned with our program is 100 percent, and the average GPA is a 3.0. Those students can be dually enrolled earning college credits, and leave with at least two industry based-certifications, and academic and/or tech diploma endorsements. This work-based learning opportunity is a pivotal point in many students’ lives and careers both from a personal and academic point-of-view. In fact, our work-based learning program is so successful, in September I was selected to meet with NAF’s national board of directors in discussion about our highly-effective and successful internship program and how we achieve our 100 percent placement goal yearly.

Some call Lafayette a tech town, do you agree?

Certainly, I do think Lafayette is a tech-savvy town with room to expand and grow, especially with all of the resources available to our community. However, I feel more qualified to speak from the academic perspective. Our community is eagerly willing to engage, to reach out to help our young people, to promote, and support our culture, our community, and to establish an IT workforce pipeline here locally to better connect globally. We have all the right elements and assets in place to become a more prominent tech-savvy town, but part of our success is that we build upon and establish relationships within our community. Relationships are what set our community apart from other communities.

What does Lafayette need to become a stronger tech town?

Fully utilizing fiber-to-the-home would be an answer to part of this equation. We haven’t begun to tap into the endless possibilities in fully utilizing the power of this resource. I would like to see more technology married with the arts in all areas.

How do you see our tech scene evolving over the next 10 years?

From the educational standpoint, I want to fully utilize more long distance and virtual learning, connecting both local and global educational institutions, industries, organizations, governmental entities and non-profits. Any virtual internships, project-based learning virtual environments and simulations would be what I would want next. For our tech scene to evolve in the next 10 years, I envision industry leaders and community stakeholders as mentors and coaches speaking to and teaching our young people in a seamless, virtual environment in real time.

* * * * * * * * * *

Update June 24, 2013

My wonderful daughter, Chea Matherne who resided in Chicago became Mrs. Chea Kelly on April 20, 2013 marrying Liam Denis Kelly from Long Beach, Long Island, New York in St. Helena, Napa Valley. A mass was celebrated at 2:30 p.m. at St. Helena Catholic Church with three days of magical celebrations with family, friends, and loved ones at Solage Calistoga, Mumm Napa, and in St. Helena.

By Kit Becnel

**********

Presently, I serve as the National Academy Foundation Advisory Board Leadership Council 2011-2013 as the ABLC Academic Officer. In addition, I serve on the President of NAF’s Network Council 2011-2013.

By Kit Becnel June 24, 2013
******************

Education

Students take classroom training to the courts

By MARSHA SILLS
Advocate Acadiana bureau
Published: July 30, 2010

LAFAYETTE ��” Fifteen-year-old Daniel Solieau made a basketball goal Thursday afternoon in the park.

�He made that,� said his teacher, Kit Becnel and she wasn�t talking about the basket.

The basketball court and the park it sits in was designed and created virtually by Solieau and a team of his fellow Carencro High Academy of Information Technology students.

The students are part of a project called FiberKids that creates and researches ways to harness fiber optic technology to enhance classroom learning.

The setting for the virtual park: the nearly 100-acre University of Louisiana at Lafayette-owned green space known as the Horse Farm.

While the students used the Horse Farm as their inspiration, students built in versatility to enable other schools to replicate the model and localize it for their own community, explained Becnel, who is the director of the Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High.

Using the context of the game, the students worked together in a lab as a team, but also collaborated virtually with students at Apex Senior High School near Raleigh, N.C., and De La Salle Institute in Chicago.

Students worked intermittently throughout the summer and for the past two weeks daily with ULL Create, a collaborative of faculty and researchers focused on interactive graphics and virtual realization. Team members, as well as industry experts, worked with students as mentors.

�They�re experiencing what I can�t offer them in my classroom,� Becnel said. �They�ve been working in a more of a work environment. I can mimic that in the classroom, but this is the real deal.�

The students have also been mentoring each other and learning valuable lessons in teamwork and problem solving, Becnel said.

As part of the project, students have also been documenting their work in a video and on a web blog.

The game is timely. On Thursday, City-Parish President Joey Durel proposed that the city purchase the Horse Farm to move forward on plans to develop a park there.

Durel�s welcome to play the game when it�s done, joked Becnel and Dirk Reiners, an assistant professor with ULL�s Center for Advanced Computer Studies and ULL Create.

While the player can choose and place amenities, the game also educates the player about

the property�s history. The game includes a virtual museum with pictures and video about the history of the farm.

Learning how to edit in Final Cut Pro, the industry standard, has been an invaluable part of the experience, said Elijah Parker, 17, and an incoming senior at the academy.

�It�s different than what we learn in class because I had an industry expert come in and mentor me,� Parker said.

Players can also take a virtual tour of Lafayette. Academy of Information Technology grad and ULL visual arts major Jake Barousse worked with the team to build virtual 3-D models of some of the city�s landmark buildings. On Thursday afternoon, he finessed a model of Borden�s ice cream shop.

The academy directed him to his current path at ULL, where he�s studying animation and 3-D modeling, he said.

�I don�t think I would have heard of Maya, (a 3-D animation software) outside of the academy, and it helped nurture my interest in it,� Barousse said.

Nurturing that talent is part of the reason why ULL faculty have partnered with the academy, Reiners explained.

�One of the issues we have at UL is to get good local grad students,� Reiners said.

The majority of graduate students in CACS are from India or China, while most of the undergraduates are local students, he explained.

Reiners said he hopes students� early exposure to the technologies and opportunities available in emerging fields such as interactive graphics may entice them.

�Hopefully we can get them excited and interested in this field,� he said.

* * * * * * * * * *

Inside Report for April 6, 2010

Carencro High pioneers in fiber optic education
By MARSHA SILLS
Advocate Acadiana bureau
Published: Apr 6, 2010 – Page: 7B

Technology has changed the way classrooms look, how educators teach and how students learn. And one group of students, at Carencro High, is shaping the next generation of changes in the classroom, using fiber-optic technology.

For the past year, students in Carencro High�s Academy of Information Technology have been part of a project called FiberKids.

The project pairs the students with Louisiana Public Broadcasting, the Lafayette Utilities System, Bay Area Video Coalition and Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise to test broadband capabilities in the classroom.

The project is intended to test live streaming, high-definition capabilities for school conferences, lectures and field trips.

Students are encouraged to explore the uses of fiber-optic technology in the classroom.

On March 20, the FiberKids project was recognized by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with its My Source Education Innovation award in Washington, D.C.

The national accolade was recognized closer to home during a recent joint meeting of the Lafayette Parish School Board and Lafayette Consolidated Council.

�Hopefully, we will be able to replicate what we�re doing across the nation,� Academy Director Kit Becnel said at the meeting.

Becnel and the FiberKids project are known in the broadband community, council member Don Bertrand said at the meeting.

Bertrand, City-Parish President Joey Durel and other city officials were invited to a broadband public interest workshop at Google�s Washington, D.C., offices.

�We did not have to tell them who you were,� Bertrand said to Becnel. �She�s setting the course in the entire country on the use of broadband in education.�

During the meeting, School Superintendent Burnell Lemoine noted: �Why us? Why Carencro High School?

�The response was: We were the only academy set up or in the position in the United States to do this kind of project.�

The school is tapped into the supercomputing power of the LITE Center, a link on the statewide fiber-optic network called the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative.

Louisiana research centers are linked to a larger fiber network, the National Lambda Rail, which links research institutions across the country.

Those connections set Lafayette apart from other communities, said Joaquin Alvardo, senior vice president of diversity and innovation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, on a visit to Lafayette last fall.

The FiberKids partnership extends 2,100 miles to the Bay Area Video Coalition, a public media access station in San Francisco.

This summer, students will deliver content using the high-speed connections from Lafayette�s public media access station at Acadiana Open Channel to the Bay Area Video Coalition.

�This will be the first project of its kind where students will have high-definition, real-time interaction and push their data sets and content back and forth,� Becnel said.

Students will �push� or deliver content from one site to another with students at each site contributing to the project.

�It will be as if they were in a classroom working side-by-side on a project,� Becnel said.

This summer will provide the �real test-bed� for the project, Becnel said.

The attention of the national honor by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is expected to attract more partners to the project, Becnel said.

�I think not only nationwide, but globally, all eyes are on Lafayette and the capabilities: fiber to the home, education, public media, online, on the air,� she said. �This is going to be huge � as far as education and education redesign goes.�

Marsha Sills covers education for the Acadiana bureau. She can be reached at msills@theadvocate.com.

* * * * * * * * * *

Tech efforts getting noticed

Amanda McElfresh � amcelfresh@theadvertiser.com � March 28, 2010

Lafayette’s cutting-edge technology and its use in one local high school are helping the city gain national recognition.

Last week, the Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High School, along with Louisiana Public Broadcasting, received a My Source Education Innovation Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The award recognizes a public broadcasting station’s use of digital technology to serve the educational needs of its community.

Kit Becnel, director of the academy, said during Thursday’s joint Lafayette Parish School Board and City-Parish Council meeting that more of those kinds of partnerships are already in the works. If everything goes as planned, this summer, 10 local students and 10 students from the San Francisco area will use high-speed connections to work on three different projects.

Becnel said the projects will be a combined effort between the school, Acadiana Open Channel, Louisiana Public Broadcasting and other entities.

“I’m real proud of this. We’re the only academy in a position in the United States to do this kind of project,” said Lafayette Parish School Superintendent Burnell Lemoine. “I think this is a major, major recognition because we’re the only school in the United States that has that capability at this point.”

Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Don Bertrand said that when he, City-Parish President Joey Durel and Lafayette Utilities System Director Terry Huval recently visited Washington, D.C. to talk about broadband technology, many of those invited to the event at Google’s headquarters already knew about the academy and Becnel’s work.

“The pioneering spirit exists in Lafayette with our LUS Fiber and the work and energy of people like Ms. Becnel,” Bertrand said at the meeting. “You’re going to hear her name again and you’re going to hear it a lot. The entire United States is envious of what we’ve done. It’s no small feat.”

The invitation-only event in D.C. was a workshop on broadband and the public interest, and was co-presented by the Ford Foundation and the Paley Center for Media, Huval said. Among the attendees were officials from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the president of the American Public Media Group, the executive director of the Bay Area Video Coalition and the chief information officer for San Francisco, among others.

“Their purpose was to talk about how digital public media networks should advance in broadband and enrich connected communities,” Huval said. “We talked about various things, mainly public media, like public radio and public television, and how those can be used to provide more information to the masses.”

Lafayette officials discussed LUS Fiber, including how it is used in all Lafayette Parish public schools and is expected to be throughout the whole city by this summer. As the infrastructure portion of it nears completion, Huval said the focus will turn toward how fiber can be applied in both schools and the community.

“You could have the ability for a French immersion school to work on a project with students in Paris, France, and have this real-life collaboration,” Huval said. “The technology now allows you to have the exchange of ideas and understanding that you could only get in-person before. This is only the beginning. To have this little oasis of Lafayette, La. have the ability to do these kinds of things is really exciting for a lot of people.”

* * * * * * * * * *

LPB show to profile Carencro program

By MARSHA SILLS
Advocate Acadiana bureau
Published: Nov 6, 2009

LAFAYETTE ��” Students involved in Carencro High�s Academy of Information Technology will be featured in an upcoming edition of �Louisiana Public Square,� a monthly public forum produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

LPB visited the academy this week to interview students and teachers about the academy program, said Kit Becnel, academy director.

It offers students hands-on experience and internships with businesses in the community.

The academy has joined with LPB, Lafayette Utilities System, the LITE Center and the school district�s information technology department for a project called Fiber Kids.

The project encourages students in the academy to explore the uses of fiber technology in the classroom.

�We�re really excited to be highlighted as part of this technology segment,� Becnel said. �We�re grooming our students for a work force to stay here locally in Lafayette.�

The academy is hooked into the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, a fiber-optic network that connects research institutions across the state to a national network, the National LambdaRail.

There�s a movement to make similar connections with other kindergarten through 12th-grade schools in the state, according to Randy Ward, director of engineering at LPB.

�The wonder of that would be that the schools could communicate with one another without having to go through the Internet,� Ward said.

The LPB show will focus on technology and explore the status of technology in the state.

It was taped at the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise Center for a 7 p.m. Nov. 25 broadcast on LPB and participating public radio stations. The show airs locally on LPB and radio station KRVS FM-88.7.

According to the Public Square Web site, other confirmed guests for the technology segment include University of Louisiana at Lafayette economics Professor Anthony Greco; Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission; Jacqueline Beauchamp, chief executive officer and co-founder of Nergyzed Entertainment; and Joaquin Alvarado, senior vice president for diversity and innovation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Students will take part in the panel discussion from the classroom via the academy�s fiber optic link to the LITE Center, Becnel said.

* * * * * * * * * *

Academy offers options

Tina Marie Macias � tmacias@theadvertiser.com � October 17, 2009

Each school day is entrenched in technology for academy students at Carencro High School.

Creating a video to go along with an English project while learning the basics of Web design and digital animation is a normal day for a sophomore in the Academy of Information Technology.

The academy has been called one of the top academies in the National Academy Foundation and hosted other foundations last week to share its successes.

Although the academy requires students to complete extra work, they said they love working with technology.

“I like Photoshop and PowerPoint, and we just do a lot of fun things with software,” 10th-grader Ian James said. James was set to attend Northside High School but chose Carencro for the academy program.

Other students said they like the people and appreciate that they attend classes with the same students most of the time.

“It feels like a small school,” sophomore Loreaelle Linton said. “It’s like a school within a school.”

By the time an academy student graduates from Carencro High School, they could have mastered video-game production and Web design, as well as earned A and NET computer certifications.

Along with video game technology and Web mastering, academy students are dabbling in something new this year: fiber-optic technology.

The academy partnered with Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, or the LITE Center, Lafayette Utilities System and Louisiana Public Broadcasting for the project.

The students are testing the ways greater bandwidth offered by fiber can improve learning, Carencro High School Principal Annette Samec said at a Lafayette Parish School Board meeting last week.

Faster streaming video and online classrooms are just a few of the enhancements of fiber-optic technology that eventually could be offered in other schools and classrooms through the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative and the National Lambda Rail.

As a part of the academy program, students are expected to participate in a paid internship in the summer after their junior year.

* * * * * * * * * *

Students lead fiber optic work

Carencro academy showcases program

By MARSHA SILLS
Advocate Acadiana bureau
Published: Oct 15, 2009

CARENCRO � High-speed fiber optic technology offers a new frontier in computing. Among the explorers: students at Carencro High School�s Academy of Information Technology.

�The increase in speed and quality will revolutionize everything we do in the classroom,� said Elijah Parker, 17, a junior at Carencro.

Parker is among the students in the academy being groomed by local tech professionals to use fiber technology through a project called FiberKids.

The project is a partnership among Carencro High and its academy, the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, the school system�s information technology department, Lafayette Utilities System and Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

As part of the project, students are exploring the ways the greater bandwidth can enhance learning.

The possibilities are endless: live streaming high-definition video for school conferences, lessons taught by experts and virtual field trips.

�That�s just the beginning,� said Kit Becnel, director of the Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High.

�It levels the playing field; we can be in a big city or a rural area like Carencro and have the same opportunities,� Becnel said.

The academy is tapped into the fiber network via the LITE Center.

Across the state, research centers, such as LITE, and universities are connected to the statewide fiber optic network known as the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative.

The network initiative is part of a larger network, called the National Lambda Rail, that connects research institutions across the country to the network.

And Carencro High is tapped into it. The work under way is the first step in a long-term goal to connect every K-12 school in the state to the network, said Randy Ward, director of engineering at LPB.

Ward said the Louisiana Broadband Alliance has submitted a $7.2 billion federal grant application that could help make it happen.

Now, low bandwidth available at schools limits teachers� access to videos available for instructional purposes from LPB, Ward said.

And access to live events is hit-and-miss, he added.

�Connectivity is key. We have to have schools connected to the backbone to appreciate the services.�

The project has the attention of Joaquin Alvarado, the senior vice president of diversity and innovation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

He attended the Lafayette Parish School Board meeting to commend the effort.

Alvarado was familiar with the project through his previ-ous position with the National Public Lightpath initiative.

Its goal is to connect public media, education, and technology sectors into a national fiber optic network.

The area is a leader in the next generation of technology, Alvarado told the board.

�We�re starting to see a surge in key communities that are not waiting for innovation to occur. They�re making it happen,� Alvarado said Tuesday.

While adults work on the infrastructure issues, students are focusing on learning new software to enhance creation of content for their peers.

Over the summer two academy seniors, Tim Treuil and Aaron Touchet, both 17, interned at LITE and impressed the staff with their skills on Maya, 3-D modeling software.

They created a 3D data set that recreated a hot air balloon ride experience for the LITE Center�s six-sided visualization cube.

The cube enables researchers to immerse themselves in data.

The students� program offered a hot air balloon ride over hills and houses they created.

�They did the project in three weeks. That�s pretty impressive in the grand scheme,� said Marty Altman, chief creative officer for LITE.

The two seniors played down their skills on the software while working on another 3D project to show at the school district�s Fall Frenzy on Nov. 7, the showcase of all the schools of choice programs.

As the students help the adults prepare for the possibilities fiber will offer students, they�re preparing for their own future, Altman said.

�If kids are learning how to create content, they�re learning how to communicate with each other and collaboration skills,� Altman said.

�They�re having to hit a deadline and deliver a piece of content. That�s a huge step up no matter where they go or what they do.�

* * * * * * * * * *

By MARSHA SILLS
Advocate Acadiana bureau
Published: Oct 2, 2009

LAFAYETTE � Carencro High�s Academy of Information Technology will showcase its program and community partnerships next week during a workshop for other career-based academies across the United States.

Carencro High�s academy was selected by the National Academy Foundation, a consortium of the 500 career-themed academies, to host an ASPIRE Design workshop Oct. 6 through Oct. 8.

The academy�s innovative partnerships with parents and businesses piqued the interest of the National Academy Foundation, said Patti Smith, senior director of network services for the foundation.

�They do an excellent job of engaging their community. It�s something that we want the rest of our network to be able to know about,� Smith said.

Academy staff, advisory boards and businesses associated with academies in San Francisco, Miami, New York, Waco, Texas, and Apex, N.C., have also been invited to the workshop.

Each academy will have an opportunity to learn from each other�s best practices, Smith said.

The academy model provides students with industry-vetted curriculum, but internships and work-based learning experiences are imperative to a student�s success, Smith said.

�We know that we can only do these things when we have a strong connection to the community outside the school,� Smith said.

Carencro�s Academy of Information Technology boasts a 100 percent placement for its students in paid internships, said Kit Becnel, the academy�s director.

The record is �unheard of, especially during these economic times,� Becnel said.

�We have no agency helping us with placement. It�s the community: parents, advisory board, parents, students, faculty,� she said.

Those strategies will be shared during the workshop.

�ASPIRE really encourages high-performance leadership and leading us to the next level,� Becnel said.

* * * * * * * * *

Women Who Mean Business – Kit Becnel, Volleyball 1973 – Honored

Auguest 26, 2009

Women Who Mean Business
Mothers, daughters, friends, wives, entrepreneurs, teachers, community activists, role models. This year’s group of WWMB honorees and Trailblazers embody the best of Acadiana.
Kit Becnel

When the Ford Foundation visited Lafayette and the LITE Center last October, it was blown away by a presentation from a Carencro High faculty member so much that it views Carencro High as a possible recipient for funding based on the work of its computer and business program.

That program is the Academy of Information Technology, and that faculty member is Kit Becnel, its director.

Becnel, a Destrehan High grad, moved to Lafayette in 1973 to attend USL (now UL Lafayette) and never really left. With a bachelor�s degree in business education, a computer literacy certification, teaching experience in the area and a lifetime of computer and business experience, Becnel has spent most of her life immersing herself in the framework and infrastructure of the business world here in Lafayette. So it was no surprise when then-Carencro High Principal Don Aguillard and Assistant Principal Annette Samec asked Becnel to become the director of the AOIT in November 2003.

She spent the rest of the �03-�04 school year planning the program, which included having AOIT join the National Academy Foundation, which helps build career academies in several fields that include finance, engineering and hospitality/tourism; there are more than 550 such specialized academies nationwide. In its six years of existence the local academy has garnered numerous accolades. On top of winning the prestigious Aldo Papone award for high school reform, one of six given nationwide, and the ASPIRE Cohort award, one of 24 awarded nationwide, both in 2007, the AOIT under Becnel has a perfect 100 percent placement rate in its internship program. Now that�s unheard of.

The IT paid internships happen between the students� junior and senior year, when they work 180 hours at their designated business. Becnel, with the help of her advisory board, parents and others, places the interns herself, unlike other academies that have agencies handling that task. When you can have up to 75 students to place, that can be massive undertaking.

In October, Becnel and the rest of the academy will host the ASPIRE Design Showcase, where other academies will come in to view and critique the work they are doing, to help move the program forward. The NAF thinks so highly of Becnel that its director personally invited her to the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco in early March to attend a design showcase in anticipation of her showcase.

�I really think that by today�s standards, watching how I can help mold and shape tomorrow�s workforce gives me great pleasure,� Becnel says.

By The Independent Staff
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

* * * * * * * * * *

Obituary

Beatrice “Sis” Lehmann Becnel
March 31, 1924 – July 21, 2009

NORCO – , 85, died Tuesday, July 21, 2009.

She is survived by one son and daughter-in-law, James Craig Becnel and Catherine Ory Becnel; two daughters and one son-in-law, Beatrice Chris Becnel Pratt and Douglas Anthony Pratt, and Kit Anne Becnel; four grandchildren, Celeste Ann Bourdonnay, Bridget Catherine Lee, Jared James Becnel, and Chea Michelle Matherne; two great grandchildren Hanna Ren� Bourdonnay and Caleb Anthony Lee.

Preceded in death by her husband of 64 years and 11 months, John Clarence “Lut” Becnel; and her parents Bryan Joseph Lehmann Sr. and Beatrice Thelma Dibos Lehmann.

She attended a business school in New Orleans and was an All-State basketball player. Beatrice was a loving wife, devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was a member of the Bayou Retiree Campers who loved traveling. She was an excellent cook and strong in her religious beliefs.

Special thanks to Family Home Health Care, all the doctors and nurses of Kenner Regional-Oschner Hospital and Joyce Jones.

Visitation will be held Saturday, July 25, 2009 from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church 401 Spruce Street, Norco, LA 70079 Funeral Mass following at 11:30 a.m. Entombment will follow in St. Charles Borromeo Mausoleum, Destrehan, LA.

H.C. Alexander Funeral Home of Norco in charge of funeral arrangements.

Published on July 24, 2009.

* * * * * * * *

April 22, 2009 12:25 PM

Witnessing the Future of Education in Lafayette

Writing from Lafayette, LA, over the last few days I’ve witnessed an amazing confluence of events that suggest the future of education is being built down here in Cajun country.

Moving forward in my trip to last night I had the good fortune to be invited by Kit Becnel to attend an experiment in using online technologies to connect students on different sides of the country.

The setup was at a local public library, with cameras on the students in Lafayette and a screen showing video from students in San Francisco.

The application they used was called Vievo, which enabled both videoconferencing as well as the ability to view what was playing on computer screens remotely.

The agenda started with the San Francisco kids taking turns showcasing the work they’ve done creating 3D models using software called Cinema4D. The two projects they’d worked on were first a short animation of moving text that said, “My name is X, and in ten years I want to be a Y.” The other project was to create what they think their bedroom would look like in 10 years.

Their teacher stressed that the students built all their 3D models from scratch, and there was some really impressive work going on in there.

Then on the Lafayette side they showed off the Metaplace world that one of Kit’s students had helped create at the previous week’s Digital Workforce Conference.
Throughout the students were asking each other questions.

This experiment really started showing the potential of what’s possible by establishing collaborative relationships between classes in different cities. I could see the students on both sides being not just intrigued but also inspired by the work their counterparts had done.

That being said, I should also admit that this experiment also highlighted how far we still have to go to make this a reality. For example, despite both endpoints having lots of bandwidth, at some point out on the Internet the stream was getting choked causing some significant issues with the video stream. And both sides experienced local technical issues that caused the stream to break.

Luckily Kit had some great help from Kris Wotipka, who volunteers his time and technical expertise to the FiberKids project, and Adam Melancon, Lafayette’s library system network guru. So these were only minor bumps, and overall I think everyone involved felt like this was a really positive first step towards establishing a collaborative relationship between these classes using fiber networks.

As a quick reminder, the FiberKids initiative has grown out of Kit Becnel’s Academy of Information Technology program at Carencro High School, and it’s setting out to enable a framework through which Lafayette students can become a testing ground for educational applications, in particular those that leverage the capacity of their fiber network. It’s a tremendous program with unlimited potential, and you can look forward to hearing a lot more about that in the near future.

To that end, while I can’t provide all the details as of yet, I can say that the final big event regarding the future of education being built here in Lafayette was a presentation and discussion I was able to participate in earlier on Tuesday about establishing a series of pilots in Lafayette to showcase a new model for 21st century classrooms that leverage the capacity of fiber networks.

I’m not yet at liberty to go into more details about this initiative, but do know that there’s some significant energy behind doing this, that it should be moving within the next few months, and that it’s not just going to involve Lafayette but also a global network of classrooms. I wish I could say more, but you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer.
Until then, know this: the future of education’s being built in Lafayette, LA.

That future means a world where students aren’t limited to what’s in textbooks, where they can collaborate not just with their classmates but with their peers around the world, where they’re able to not just regurgitate data points but synthesize and create new things, where the technologies that capture their attention out in the world are brought into their classroom to facilitate teaching that’s more interactive and engaging.

It’s a future that won’t be easy to achieve and still requires a lot of work, but fixing our education system is a challenge that we should all want to see tackled. And I know I for one am going to be doing what I can to help Lafayette and other communities bring about this new paradigm in how we educate future generations.

Posted by Geoff Daily, writer from Washington D.C., on April 22, 2009 12:25 PM

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John Becnel’s Obituary: Father of Chris & Kit Becnel

John Becnel

NORCO, La. – John Clarence “Lut” Becnel, 85, passed away Monday, Dec. 24, 2007, in Metairie, La.

He is survived by his wife, Beatrice “Sis” Lehmann Becnel; one son and daughter-in-law, James Craig Becnel and Catherine Ory Becnel; two daughters and one son-in-law Beatrice Chris Becnel and Douglas Anthony Pratt and Kit Anne Becnel; two brothers, Joseph Sydney Becnel Jr. and Peter Harry Becnel; three sisters, Grace Marie Keller, Theresa Marie Weber, and Mary Ann Braud; four grandchildren, Celeste Ann Bourdonnay, Bridget Catherine Lee, Jared James Becnel, and Chea Michelle Matherne; two great-grandchildren, Hanna Rene’ Bourdonnay and Kaleb Anthony Lee.

Preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Sydney Becnel Sr. and Marie Bossier Becnel; two sisters; and three brothers.

A graduate of Destrehan High School and Delgado Community College. A U. S. Air Force Veteran of WWII, a sargent of 737th Air Material Squardron, 9th – Airforce. His tour bringing him through Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. He received the ATO Medal, EAMETO Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and WWII Victory Medal. A Past-Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus St. Charles Parish Council, former Fire Chief of St. Charles Parish, community volunteer, retired employee of Shell Oil Refinery with 42 1/2 years of service, a member of Bayou Campers 1972-2007, and a loving father and devoted husband.

Visitation will be Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Norco, La. from 9:30 a.m. until Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m.

Entombment will follow in St. Charles Borromeo Mausoleum, Destrehan, La.

H. C. Alexander Funeral Home of Norco is in charge of arrangements.
Published on December 27, 2007.

Athletic Network Footnote: John is the Father of Chris (Sweethearts Dance Team) and Kit (Volleyball).
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Academy earns national buzz
Amanda Bedgood
abedgood@theadvertiser.com
October 3, 2007

The Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High School has become a model for schools across the country and could be chosen as one of 20 campuses in the country for a special study.
Studies like the one AOIT is up for and the evidence it could provide can influence policy and legislation as Congress looks to renew the No Child Left Behind Act.

Members of the National Academy Foundation, of which AOIT is a member, and a nonprofit research and policy organization called MDRC, toured the Carencro High School campus Tuesday to see what the school is doing that works and to see what the school can do to improve.

“We know this is a good academy. How do we make them really great?” said a project director for the National Academy Foundation, Jon Reinhard.
Janet Quint, a senior research associate with MDRC, met with students and teachers Tuesday. She works to identify strong schools and make them even stronger using research. The proposed project will track students in and out of the academy for four years.

“We can then understand the difference that investing in an academy makes in improving students outcome,” she said.

Two things that could improve the future for students are academies and smaller learning communities, according to national and state level conversations about how to better reach students.

The Academy is both. Both are concepts that are cropping up in national education talks as the renewal of NCLB nears and in Louisiana as the state works to revamp high schools to make them more relevant, keep kids in school and prepare them for the future.

Academies are themed schools – like Schools of Choice in Lafayette Parish -which center around special interests in the hope of keeping kids in school and successful by integrating something in which they are interested into all parts of their curriculum and giving them tools for higher education or the workplace.

Students are getting that workplace experience before they graduate from high school with an internship program that is part of their curriculum.

Fast facts

The first academy from the National Academy Foundation was founded in 1982 in New York City.

This year will be the first graduating class that attended the Academy of Information Technology at Carencro High School for four years.

There are more than 510 schools in the National Academy Foundation. Three of them are in Lafayette Parish: AOIT, Academy of Finance at Acadiana High School and the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism at the W.D. Smith Career Center.

The National Academy Foundation is in the process of adding engineering to their group of academies, which could later produce a partnership with Northside High School’s Academy of Engineering.

A closer look

What does the NAF offer academies?

Strong partnerships with local business, community leaders and Academy parents

Motivated students who know that the Academy prepares them for college and for their careers

Industry training for teachers and students

Involvement in the NAF National Network, and access to a national network of committed education and community leaders

Ongoing support for each NAF course, as well as help with advisory board and internship development

A vehicle for whole-school reform: many district leaders have restructured their schools around career themes, using the NAF Academy as a model.

Daily Advertiser, October 3, 2007

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2theadvocate > News Font size: S M L

Carencro High may join research

By PATRICK COURREGES
Advocate Acadiana bureau
Published: Oct 3, 2007 – Page: 1BA

CARENCRO � Carencro High School�s information technology academy � already having gained national recognition this year � hosted a team from the National Academy Foundation in town to evaluate the school for participation in a model school research project.

Rebecca Privett, central regional manager for the foundation, said Tuesday that the two day visit by officials with the group was to size up the academy for inclusion in a multiyear study on such academies and how best to make use of their practices to prepare students for careers.

Privett said a key part of the foundation�s model is making use of an advisory board made up of members of the business community to help guide the academies in teaching students the skills companies will need.

She said that of the 520-plus academies the New York-headquartered foundation works with across the country, Carencro High was one of 24 to make the short list prior, with a final cut down to 20 schools for the study yet to come.

Privett said the main purpose of the trip to Lafayette Parish was to have a good look at the students, teachers and methods the school uses in following the foundation�s academy model in preparation for possible recommendation for the research project.

She said Carencro High has already proven itself noteworthy, having won the foundation�s Aldo Papone Leadership Award for high performance.

�They are definitely doing a good job,� Privett said.

She said the support for the academy�s mission is evident from the district level to the administrators of the school.

�They definitely have the staff in place and have the vision and are headed in the right direction to be a model academy,� Privett said.

Kit Becnel, director of Carencro High�s information technology academy, said Tuesday that the foundation�s consideration will add to the national name recognition the school has already received from its performance award.

She said the information the academy receives from the current process will help make a strong program even stronger.

�We will take it now to the next level,� Becnel said.

Morning Advocate, October 3, 2007

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Kit Becnel’s daughter Chea is special graduate at Tulane University, May, 2007
Tulane University Graduate �07, Chea Matherne,
Receives Exclusive Top Senior Honor Awards from both The Murphy Institute
and the A. B. Freeman School of Business

Chea Matherne received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy from the Murphy Institute, Tulane University, and received her Bachelor of Science in Management from the A. B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University on May 19, 2007. Matherne received the exclusive top senior award The Charles H. Murphy Prize �Outstanding Student for Political Economy� honored for superlative records of academic achievement, scholarship, leadership and commitment to academic integrity from The Murphy Institute, Tulane University. Also, she graduated with Mortar Board Honors. In addition, Chea received the A. B. Freeman School of Business exclusive top senior award the Tulane Association of Business Alumni Award, in the opinion of the dean, the administrative staff, and the officers of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni, displayed exceptional intellectual ability, leadership, self-motivation and a sense of responsibility to peers, the school and the community. She received the TABA Community Service Award and graduated Magna Cum Laude with Beta Gamma Sigma National Scholastic Honors for academic performance and to those selected students who demonstrated the greatest promise in their future careers. Chea Michelle Matherne is the daughter of Kit Becnel and Lee Matherne Jr. In the fall, she will attend DePaul University�s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago to receive her degree in Master of Accountancy.

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Former Volleyball: Carencro High School’s Academy of Information Technology honored

Progressive program plans to graduate first class in spring 2008

By Jefferson Hennessy
timesedit@timesofacadiana.com

August 16, 2007

In mid-July, Carencro High School’s Academy of Information Technology Director Kit Becnel and Co-Director Joel Hilbun traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the National Academy Foundation Summer Conference workshops and present technology created by their students.

At the conference, Becnel and Hilbun were awarded the Aldo Propone Award for Leadership in Academy Performance, which recognizes excellence among schools considered to be on the cutting edge of high school curriculum reform.

Initially, the idea to create the Academy of Information Technology — a school within a school — for each Lafayette Parish high school was recommended by Burnell Lemoine, the current acting superintendent of Lafayette Parish, and Burnell Lejeun, career and technical education instructional supervisor.

“We’d been looking at creating academies in our schools for years,” says Lemoine. “Both Kit and Joel had a background and interest in technology, so that’s why we approached them about starting an information technology academy at Carencro. And today it’s terrific to see the amount of work they’ve done. The potential for their students and this community is incredible.”

“Our initial challenge,” says Becnel, “is that we had to sit down and write a framework for something we were unfamiliar with. The NAF gave us guidelines, but they want you to create your own unique program. We had to envision what we wanted — which books, software, hardware, how do we let people know about it, and how to get the funding. There were many dedicated hours asking lots of questions. We started from ground zero in fall of 2002.”

Even with the encouragement of the NAF, it took a full year for Becnel and Hilbun to put together what they believed would be a successful technology academy program that would be fully funded, meet all NAF curriculum requirements, and be supported by parents and the local business community.

As a direct result of their hard work, the first 75 freshman Academy of Information Technology students who launched the program in the fall of 2003, will graduate in the spring of 2008. These initial 75 have experienced what has become a celebrated odyssey toward fulfilling a challenging four-year program in the study of networking, computer hardware, digital media, programming, database and web design.

With their first graduating class scheduled to be released into the competitive world of information technology this spring, Becnel and Hilbun plan to offer more certification opportunities that will allow their students to choose a profitable path to success right out of high school.

“Our emphasis this year,” says Hilbun, “will be more industry-based certification opportunities so they can go straight into industry work, or to higher education. They will have the option. We want them to be able to use what they know to start earning money right out of high school.”

The Times of Acadiana, August 16, 2007

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From the College Notebook of the Daily Advertiser, August 20, 2006.

Chea Michelle Matherne was initiated into the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society at Tulane University’s Newcomb College this past spring semester.

Matherne is in the honors program at Tulane and is majoring in political economy and accounting.

She is also the recipient of the university’s Zide Chalker Cole Benedict Scholarship.

She plans to attend law school next fall.

She is the daughter of Kit Becnel and Lee Matherne Jr. and was a graduate of St. Thomas More High School.

Carencro High’s Becnel to Appear in �International Who’s Who�
The International Who’s Who Historical Society announced that Carencro High School Academy of Information Technology Director Kit Becnel will appear in the 2005-06 edition of International Who’s Who of Information Technology because of her accomplishments and contributions to the technology field.
Becnel began her tenure at Carencro High in 1988 as a business computer teacher. This eventually led her to the position of academy director. She has also attained four national/international computer certifications.
She heads one of the district’s most popular academy programs designed to give students more individualized training in a field of their choice.

Presently, I am the Academy of Information Technology Director for the Lafayette Parish School System.

I have one daughter, Chea Matherne, who is attending Tulane University. She completed her freshman year as a Tulane Honor Scholar and a National Society Collegiate Scholar who is presently on the Dean’s List. She is majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Spanish with hopes of going onto Law School. Chea tutors disadvantage students and is a Green Wave Ambassador for Tulane.

I was selected as the Outstanding Business Education Student for my graduating class of 1978, received the Business Education Merit Award, the National Collegiate Association Secretary Award and voted as the outstanding National Secretary Collegiate Association Alumni for ULL.

While attending ULL, I was selected as an Outstanding Greek on campus, a ULL Favorite, ULL Mardi Queen, Veteran’s Club Queen, and Who’s Who Among College Students. I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1978 with a B.S. in Business Education with a minor in Distributive Education. Later, I received my Computer Literacy Certification from ULL in 1987. In the summer of 2003, I received my National Certification Internet Web Master from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the Dean’s list for four years, the Commerce Honor Society, Kappa Delta Pi (honorary), Circle K, and Kappa Delta Sorority.

My biggest accomplishment I feel is I was a National Merit Semi-Finalist in 1973.