Sunday, September 4, 2011

Monument dedication of first black high school

Monument dedication for first black high school set Saturday

A group of citizens led by graduates of the 1951 class of Hahnville Colored High School will see erected on Saturday afternoon a monument in memory of that school.

A brief ceremony is planned at 3 p.m. in front of the Hahnville VFD station on the site of the school at Lincoln and Pine Streets to unveil the monument.

The first high school for Negro children was established in St. Charles Parish beginning in 1947 when the existing school at that site added on grades.

In June 1951, eleven students graduated, becoming the first colored graduating class in the history of St. Charles Parish, according to the marker.

Emcee for the ceremony will be former Superintendent of Schools Stanley Berard. Parish President Albert Laque will deliver a welcoming address and remarks will be made by  Supt. Thomass Tocco.

The graduates included Gladys Alexander, Ernest Boyle, Norman Boyle, Clayton Byrd, Norbert Green, Lorraine Mathieu, Alvin Pierre, Earl Robertson, Joyce Rousseve, Andrew Smith and Bernice Turner.

Teachers included Mary C. Allen, Jessie M. Bryant, Delores Crandell, Gwendalyn Rachell, Lester Relf, Bertha Sorapuru, Marie Weber, Edna M. Williams, and Sadie Willis. Principal was Helen B. Smith and supervisor was Raymond K. Smith. Superintendent of schools at the time was Richard Vial, Jr.

Smith will be on hand as well to give a history of the school, as well as Helen Smith, principal of the school. Former student Bernice Turner Champagne will also deliver an address and District One School Board Member Alfred Green will make closing remarks.

The granite monument was cosponsored by St. Charles Public Schools, St. Charles Parish Council and Parish President Laque.

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