On October 5, 2010, which would have been April Gastal Winner's 29th birthday, her husband Wayne, parents Jenny and Danny Gastal, former Dozier Elementary Principal Elizabeth Gremillion and the Dozier Elementary student body and staff gathered for a special memorial. 

Greeted by a beautiful autumn day outdoors, those gathered on the school grounds paid a special tribute to her life.  The program was dedicated to sharing “messages of love” for an educator who made a difference in the lives of the students and faculty members at Dozier Elementary.

The ceremony was to honor her birthday, memory and love of music. Under the leadership of Dozier Elementary Principal Karla Toups, Assistant Principal Natalie Hebert and teachers Claudell Thibodeaux and Angie Detraz, a special ceremony was planned.

Student memories were shared by Alyssa Hebert, Mackay Suire, Jennah Detraz, Bailey Hebert, Brae Leigh Suire, and Camryn Hebert.  Dozier’s Band Director Mike Vizier was on hand to lead the students in song, while Principal Karla Toups shared a special message about the tree planted in memory of Winner who passed away on September 10th.

This was the second project for Winner that Dozier Elementary was involved in since school began. In August, the school decided to send personal messages of love to Mrs. April in their own voice. By fusing newly earned technology resources and their feelings toward their music teacher, the group decided to video unique messages using their new flip video cameras.

When many people think of messages, the Hallmark saying “When you care enough to send the very best” comes to mind. However Dozier's school leaders, faculty members and students decided on a unique route to send their messages of love that even a Hallmark greeting card could not match. 

The school wide video project was the brain child of Pre K teacher Ashlie Landry.  Principal Karla Toups commented that “(Ashlie) Landry and 3rd grade teacher Stacy Broussard were the two who spearheaded this unique school wide project.”

During the week of August 23rd, small flip cameras floated from the office down each hall for everyone to film personal “Dozier Loves You Mrs. Winner” video clips.  Messages emerged in a variety of ways. Classes sang, others sent class wide messages, the remainder relayed individual hellos while students filmed each other with their tiny video cameras.  

One parent, Christine Hebert shared a few video clips and photographs she had taken at one of Winner’s concerts.  All class clips, concert clips and photos were compiled into one special DVD and brought to Mrs. Winner and her family.

Though not a traditional greeting card, the Dozier group used their own words and voice to show how much they cared about Mrs. April.  In short the school feels “they cared enough to send the very best when opted to send a part of themselves.”  Sadly, a few weeks after the special gift was delivered, Mrs. April passed away.

Many Dozier Elementary staff members and students have stated they “felt fortunate they had the privilege of working with her.”  With a goal in mind for both projects, they were able to share messages of love for their music teacher” which obviously came full circle from April Winner’s own legacy and the love of music she left behind.

Sample of the video

Mrs. Winner's Birthday Ceremony on October 5, 2010

Dozier Elementary Principal Karla Toups greets the student body and members of April Winner's family for a special birthday dedication ceremony on October 5, 2010. Back row: (April Winner's husband, Wayne Winner, her parents, Jenny and Danny Gastal. Special guest Liz Gremillion, Assistant Principal Natalie Hebert, Angie Detraz, Claudell Thibodeaux and Principal Karla Toups.
4th grade student Alyssa Hebert is shown with Dozier Elementary educators Angie Detraz and Claudell Thibodeaux at Winner's special birthday dedication ceremony on October 5, 2010. 4th grade student Brae Leigh Suire is shown with Dozier Elementary educators Angie Detraz and Claudell Thibodeaux at Winner's special birthday dedication ceremony on October 5, 2010.
Jennah Detraz is shown with Dozier Elementary educators Angie Detraz and Claudell Thibodeaux at Winner's special birthday dedication ceremony on October 5, 2010. Camryn Hebert is shown with Dozier Elementary educator Claudell Thibodeaux at Winner's special birthday dedication ceremony on October 5, 2010.
Two of April Winner's former Dozier Elementary students Bailey Hebert and Jennah Detraz are shown with Principal Karla Toups during the ceremony. Camryn Hebert is shown with Dozier Elementary educator Claudell Thibodeaux at Winner's special birthday dedication ceremony on October 5, 2010.
Dozier Elementary Band Director Mike Vizier lead the students in song at Winner's birthday ceremony on October 5, 2010.
MacKay Suire is shown with Dozier Elementary educator Claudell Thibodeaux at Winner's special birthday dedication ceremony on October 5, 2010.

Messages of Love (August 2010)

Chaz Lapointe is holding a DVD filled with special Dozier Elementary messages for their music teacher April Winner. The leaders, school educators and students used the school flip cameras to video special electronic messages they wanted to share with her. (Back row) Karla Toups, Lane Toups, McKenzie Boudreaux, Diamond Levine. Kate Champagne, Natalie Hebert. (Row 2) Hannah Granger, Sage Suire, Dax Broussard, Owen Stutes (Bottom) Emma Mayard, Chaz Lapointe and Raleigh Landry.

3rd grade students in Stacy Broussard's class is shown filming personal video messages to Mrs. April Winner their music teacher. Pictured are Mackenzie Boudreaux, and Jenna Dirk.

 

Using a flip camera that the school earned last year, Lane Toups and Camryn Abshire are filming video clips for their music teacher Mrs. April Winner.  The two students are Dozier Elementary 3rd graders in Stacy Broussard's class.

Dozier Elementary students Luke Leblanc and Janiah Pillette are filming video messages for their music teacher Mrs. April Winner using one of the school's flip cameras. The students are in Stacy Broussard's 3rd grade class.

 

 

Video Tribute

 

Dozier Elementary
415 West Primeaux
Erath, LA 70533
Phone: 337-937-6915
Fax 337-937-0630

 

 

Webmaster Stacy Bodin

http://www.vrml.k12.la.us/dozier