Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tchefuncte Middle School History

A history of Tchefuncte Middle School, located in Mandeville, LA,  was created more than 10 years ago by school personnel. Here is the text and some of the photos from that presentation. It was called "A Brief History of the School That Was Chinchuba."

The school opened in 1994, some twenty five years ago.


Like most schools Tchefuncte Middle School was conceived out of need. St Tammany Parish was and had been experiencing a population growth unprecedented by any other parish in the state. This population growth began when the first span of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway from New Orleans to St. Tammany was opened in 1956.

With the opening of a second causeway span in 1969 St. Tammany growth percentages began to double and in some cases triple. Although growth seemed to to slow by 1990, St. Tammany Parish continued to be the fastest growing parish in Louisiana and one of the top areas for growth in the nation.

St. Tammany Pop. Growth
1950 - 26,988 14.2%
1960 - 38,643 43.2%
1970 - 68,585 77.5%
1980 - 110,869 61.7%
1990 - 144,508 30.3%
2000 - 191,268 32.4%
2006 est.- 270,000 41.2%

Echoing the percentage growth of St. Tammany parish, St. Tammany Public Schools were experiencing extraordinary student population growth. Student increases translated into increased faculty, staff, and facilities. Steps had to be taken to meet the demands of increased growth.

In the early 1990’s the St. Tammany Parish School Board proposed a bond initiative to the voters of St. Tammany parish, monies dedicated foremost to address the concerns of growth. After passage of this bond initiative St. Tammany Public Schools began construction of many new school facilities to answer the student growth question.

The opening student population for the new middle school was to be drawn from an overcrowded  Mandeville Middle School (1496 students). Along with students a number of the faculty and staff for this new school was to come from Mandeville Middle as well.

Choosing the Name Hits Snag

A name was needed for this future school. Names were chosen by committee of students, parents, and faculty for placement on a student ballot. The future student body selected the Choctaw name for alligator: “Chinchuba”.

Due to a recognition conflict with the Chinchuba Institute for the Deaf the name was changed. In deference to the Tchefuncte River, not far from the campus, the name was changed and has remained... Tchefuncte Middle School. Tchefuncte Middle is located on West Causeway Approach roughly one mile from the entrance to the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

Tchefuncte Middle, built alongside Pontchartrain Elementary, was and still is a unique school plant concept. The two schools are a mirror image of each other sharing a gymnasium and a cafeteria preparation/serving area. There are several connecting hallways between the two schools.

Through the years Tchefuncte has had many programs, activities, and organizations offered to students. Some occur in-school and are curriculum based while others take place after school and are for student or community enrichment.

Some examples are 4-H/Ecology Club, Accelerated Reader, After School Care, After School Drama Club, After School French, After School German, After School Spanish, Band, Book Fair, Builders Club, Chess Club, Chorus, Circle of Friends, Drug Abuse Resistance Education  (D.A.R.E.), Family Night, French Exchange Program, Gator Bank, Gator Parish Post Office, Jumpin' Gators, Literary Magazine: Gator Tales, National Geography Bee, Science Fair, Social Studies Fair, Spelling Bee, Student Government Association, Triple A, Williamsburg Trip, Walk-A-Thon, and the Yearbook: The Gator.

The Tchefuncte Middle School Motto is "Laying Foundations for the Future,” and the mascot is the alligator. Tchefuncte's first Principal was Bill Brugmann, 1994-2001, then Ms. Roxanne Lagarde, l: 2001-2007, and then Ms. Laura Norsworthy, starting in 2007. 

Here are some photographs from the school's early days. Click on the images to make them larger.