Baton Rouge Parents Magazine

Inspiring Ownership and Student Success at Collegiate Baton Rouge

Student ambassador programs are generally found on college campuses and serve as a tool to increase school awareness, student engagement, and overall campus culture. With those same goals in mind, the Louisiana public charter school system, Collegiate Academies, has implemented a high school ambassador program at each of its five campuses. At the Baton Rouge campus, Collegiate Baton Rouge (CBR), LaShara Trahan serves as the Director of Student Recruitment, where since October 2021, she has achieved notable program success.

Trahan has a long background working with children primarily in education-adjacent spaces. She is a three-time AmeriCorps alumna and has worked in various roles in schools and at the Boys and Girls Club before joining CBR. With a passion for youth development and leadership, Trahan used her background to elevate the student ambassador program at CBR. Typically, these programs involve student ambassadors leading campus tours and presentations. However, inspired by her background, Trahan decided to elevate the student ambassador program to give students more ownership, professional development opportunities, and mentorship.

The program has a “zero tolerance” model that holds students to a higher standard, such as having a 3.0 minimum GPA, but Trahan isn’t only concerned about student’s grades. Her goal is to create a holistic program that touches many areas of a student’s life. “I try to tie everything that they’re doing into real life, or how they can use it in the future. I try to make sure that they take advantage of the opportunities that they have,” said Trahan.

Joseph Coleman, a recent graduate of CBR was a student ambassador for 4 years. After signing up as freshman, Coleman quickly grew an appreciation for the program stating, “the program gave me a lot, inside of school and outside of school.” Coleman received many opportunities through the ambassador program including 3 years on the CBR Royal Court, joining the Baton Rouge Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, and early graduation.

In addition to professional and resume building opportunities, senior student ambassador, Destiny Devers, describes the personal development she experienced in the program. When Devers interviewed for the program, Trahan recalls her struggling to “even say her first and last name.” Devers said she was “shy” and felt a lack of purpose before joining but the program taught her skills such as public speaking and academic accountability. Today, Devers can “talk to anybody” and will fearlessly “own the room,” according to Trahan.

“I try to make sure that the student ambassadors are a reflection of every aspect of the school,” says Trahan, “I don’t shy away from working with kids who may have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan.” As an open enrollment public charter school, CBR does not turn away students that may experience barriers to entry at other schools. For this reason, it is a priority for Trahan to stay authentic to the mission of CBR by recruiting students that represent the complete student body, encouraging students that, no matter where they are in their education journey, they can succeed. Her vision is for student ambassadors to excel in every area, from those participating in football or band to those who have overcome dyslexia and can assist other students in doing the same.

The ambassador’s responsibilities position them to be the “biggest points of influence around the school,” said Trahan. This includes connecting with incoming students which is both Devers and Coleman’s favorite part of the ambassador program. Coleman loves traveling to middle schools to “make an impact before they even reach us.”

Right now, CBR is the only one of Collegiate Academies five campuses that has a full-time director of the student ambassador program. To learn more about Collegiate Baton Rouge and the impact the campus is achieving, visit,