Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Early Years of Madisonville Elementary

Here is some information about the early years of Madisonville Elementary, taken from a 2008 Powerpoint presentation. 

The Rosenwald School

The original school buildings were known as the Rosenwald School.  The main classrooms and office building opened for children in 1959.  The cafeteria was a building previously located on the site since 1957. The principal was Professor Wilcox who was followed by Mrs. Sarah Gaines.  

Mrs. Gaines and her husband, Alvin, were also teachers of the 7th grade.  Mrs. Gaines reports that the bathrooms were outside and that there was a pump for water. Mrs. Gaines was principal through spring of 1968 school year.

The original buildings were closed after the 1967-68 school year. During that time the main school building was empty.  Items such as doors, windows, removable supports and fixtures were vandalized and burglarized.  

The Graduating Class of 1965

Seated: James Gray, Blanche Lee, Kenneth Collins, Dee Dee Peterson, Middle Row:  Roy Baham, Priscilla Weedon, Sharon Guzman, Dennis Austin, Last Row, Sandra Cooper, Roger Sheridan, Eric Baham, Calvin McGary.  Priscilla Weedon is the sister of custodian Shirley Weedon and Sharon Guzman is the mother of para-professional Latonya Haynes both of Madisonville Elementary.

School Reopens

     With the population growth moving north and west of the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway, the St. Tammany Parish School Board of 1977-78 reviewed a feasibility study to reopen the Madisonville Rosenwald School as Madisonville Elementary School.  The Board and community recognized the need to move the kindergarten through third grade to its own facility and added four additional classrooms to the site. 

Ms. Patty Jones’ 1st grade class in 1984, Mr. Leroy James, Principal from 1978-1986

Madisonvillle Elementary PTO in 1978. Left to right: Patti Jones, Leona Glass, Debbie Lemons Morris, Peggy Graham Brewster, Marilyn Pelloat, Susie Stein, Pat Pelloat, and Leroy James.

According to Shelly Jones, a teacher at Madisonville Elementary, Mrs. Jean Emmert was principal of the school in 1988. There were eleven people on staff with one hundred fifty-six students. All grades ate together in the cafeteria. There was the main classroom building, cafeteria, gymnasium and two portables behind the old wing.  The parking lot was gravel. There was no slab. "We had a huge playground and field. The school mascot was the Mustangs," she said. 

Mrs. Jean Emmert: Principal 1986 through 1999

The Original Classroom Building

The main classroom building from the early days is still in use today.  Up until 2006 it also held administration offices and a teachers’ lounge. Today it houses some kindergarten, first grade and second grade classrooms in addition to speech and art.  An new addition to the building was made in 2006 when a new administration building was added. The new part of the building  includes the PTA workroom, conference room, and the teachers’ lounge.

The Old Cafeteria

The Old Library

Jenny Davis, a paraprofessional Madisonville Elementary, submitted this photo to the school for its Powerpoint presentation. 

"In the picture above are my father-in-law, James A. Davis and his grandsons Demille and Dylan Davis.  Demille and Dylan are students at Madisonville Elementary in the first and third grade.  My father-in-law is a lifelong resident of Covington and went to state funded welding school when it was located at the site where our school is today.  He went from February to August of 1976.  While there he constructed a bar-be-que pit.  He passed it on to my husband last year.  

My father-in-law says the welding school was part of the unemployment system, as he was newly out of the Marines and looking for work.  He remembers that he was paid $107 a week while he was learning the trade.  He welded for a while, and then later worked for St. Tammany Parish School Board, then the Post Office until he retired in 2005."