[StBernard] New St. Bernard school replaces storm-damaged one

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Aug 12 18:57:31 EDT 2009

New St. Bernard school replaces storm-damaged one

03:51 PM CDT on Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jill Hezeau / Eyewitness News

jhezeau at wwltv.com

CHALMETTE, La. - Like any typical first day of school, the teachers are
there to greet the students - and so are the construction crews.

Video: Watch the Story

Administrators chalk it up to a minor inconvenience, when you think of how
far they've come in four years.

"A lot of sacrifice went into getting this building," said Wayne Warner,
principal of Chalmette High School.

This is what the site of Chalmette High's Ninth Grade Academy, the former
Lacoste Elementary, looked like just days after Hurricane Katrina.

"I don't think I could envision anything like this across the nation," said
Charlotte Mayne, the site administrator. "This is unbelievable what we have
here, and I'm really grateful to be a part of it."

Unbelievable for not only Mayne, but for the students too.

"I didn't think they would rebuild this fast after Katrina, but they got it
up and ready," said student Roy Smith.

Officials say there is more to come, including a gym, Olympic size swimming
pool, 400 seat auditorium and two libraries. The school can hold up to 600
students, and so far administers say the school has 354 students registered,
with more signing up everyday.

"It's a big school and it's a small parish, and a lot of the kids are going
to be here," said student Kristin Sercovich.

And that's the goal of administrators, to encourage families to move back to
St. Bernard Parish and for their children to have an easier transition from
junior high to high school. And by targeting ninth graders with a $50
million, state of the art facility, officials hope to prevent them from
dropping out.

"Research shows that if a student is going to drop out of school, by the
time they go through the ninth grade they've pretty decided if they might
stay or leave," Warner said. "And it might be that they don't drop out at
the ninth grade level, but their mind is made up and they will not really
participate in school."

"People will see this and say, like, oh my god, I love high school now,
because all of the different activities and everything, and they will want
to stay," said student Baili Sagnivine.

It's all part of what the school hopes is a rebirth for the parish.

More information about the StBernard mailing list