Hinson state finalist for Student of the Year: ‘I didn’t think I would make it this far’

Published 8:40 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

VIDALIA, La. — When fifth-grade baseball player Tayde Hinson was interviewed by a panel of judges for Student of the Year, he knocked it out of the park.

Hinson was first named Student of the Year at Vidalia Upper Elementary School, then Student of the Year for Concordia Parish. Now after impressing the judges regionally, he is a finalist for Student of the Year for the State of Louisiana.

Hinson said he was satisfied with the first title and shocked at the others.

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“I didn’t think I would make it this far, and I didn’t know that I’d have to partake in competitions,” he said.

Hinson first wrote an essay describing himself and later put together a portfolio highlighting all of the organizations he is involved with and his accomplishments. Then he was interviewed. The judges asked him about himself and who his role model is.

Hinson’s mom, Kayce, helps him manage his tasks and his dad, Brett, inspires him to never give up. “My daddy went to prison and then made a full recovery,” he said. “He’s an amazing person and a deacon at our church.”

As a fifth-grader, Hinson has a busy schedule. He’s best known as a pitcher and first basemen on the baseball team, though, “I can play any position,” he said. He is also involved with basketball, soccer, boxing and jujitsu; is the president of his school’s 4-H and Student Council clubs; and is a member of the National Beta Club.

“Monday is baseball, Tuesday is jujitsu, Wednesday is boxing, Thursday is jujitsu, Friday is baseball, Saturday is jujitsu and we’re fixing to start baseball on Sundays too,” Hinson said.

Hinson enjoys his math and science classes and dreams about playing ball at Louisiana State University and becoming a major league baseball player.

When asked about his favorite team and player, Hinson said Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros without a moment of hesitation.

Bregman also started his baseball career at LSU.

Hinson’s backup plan is to be an engineer for NASA, he said.

“I’d like to design a spaceship.”

Having already submitted a written essay, Hinson waits to be interviewed again virtually by a panel of judges from all over the state on Feb. 21 and then travel to Baton Rouge on April 10 to see if he won.

“If I don’t win Louisiana Student of the Year, I’m just pleased that I made it as far as I did and excited for the opportunity,” he said.

Kayce Hinson said she is very proud of her son and her younger daughter Kyler, who is the queen of the Vidalia Lower Elementary Mardi Gras court this year.

“I’m getting choked up,” she said. “I’m just very proud.”