NEW ORLEANS (August 9, 2019) – This week, KIPP New Orleans Schools (KNOS) celebrated the official name restoration of two of New Orleans’ most iconic high schools, Booker T. Washington High School (BTW) and Frederick A. Douglass High School (FDHS). Additionally, KNOS celebrated the return of BTW to the Original Lions’ Den. Alumni networks hosted and participated in festivities to support, inspire and excite students.
“Over the past few years, we have been engaging stakeholder groups including school leaders, teachers, parents and community members as we worked to embrace the things that make us special,” said KNOS Chief Executive Officer Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise. “Based on deep dialogue with our community and a long-term commitment to the buildings and neighborhoods we are honored to be a part of, we have proudly restored the names of both of our high schools. We know that we stand on strong foundations at both of our high schools; our alumni networks are proof of this. We look forward to continued achievement and success at both Frederick A. Douglass High School and Booker T. Washington High School.”
KNOS Chief Strategy Officer Joey LaRoche said, “Both of our high schools hold such significance in the New Orleans community. It is our job to preserve and honor the legacy of these schools. We recognize the importance of building upon a strong legacy to make something great. In the high school world, honoring the legacy and returning these institutions to greatness does not require KIPP in front of the name; we are confident in the work of our students, teachers and staff. Beyond the name, we are relentless in our academic goals and providing unlimited opportunity for every student.”
FDHS OFFICIALLY RESTORES NAME
After a two-year process, KNOS has proudly restored the school’s name to FDHS from KIPP Renaissance High School (KRHS). In 2010, when KRHS was started, KNOS prioritized creating something new. However, after listening to the community and engaging stakeholders, KNOS switched its focus to building on the strong legacy of FDHS. The bobcat is the root of the FDHS identity; through this identity, past, current and future students will have a community to stand with.FDHS Principal Towana Pierre-Floyd said, “On behalf of the entire school, I am excited to have our school name restored to Frederick A. Douglass High School. Douglass was a believer of equity, hard work and community – all things we stand for today. We’re incredibly proud of our accomplishments as KIPP Renaissance and we are excited to build on the Douglass legacy with our class of students.”
The Nicholls, Douglass, Renaissance (NDR) Bobcats Alumni Association was present to welcome students during their first week of school and celebrate the name restoration. Students were greeted with a brass band and high energy.
NDR Founder/President and 1981 Nicholls Graduate Lisa Arcenaux Cobb said, “We couldn’t be more excited for the name restoration back to Frederick A. Douglass High School. Across all generations of the schools, one thing that has remained constant is the bobcat. It is the shared identity of all three names. This has brought new energy to the alumni network and I encourage all of our alumni to get involved.”
BTW RETURNS TO THE ORIGINAL LIONS’ DEN
Since 2016, BTW has been operating out of the Carter G. Woodson building (2514 Third Street New Orleans, LA 70113). After years of renovations, BTW proudly returned to the original “Lions’ Den” (1201 South Roman Street New Orleans, La 70125) for the 2019-20 academic school year; this new building features a number of major improvements including new state-of-the-art classrooms, gymnasium, community health clinic and other amenities. Academically, students will have access to improved resources including updated computers, science equipment and college credit through the school’s partnership with Southern New Hampshire University. Additionally, this will be the first year of graduates for BTW under KNOS.BTW Principal Robert Corvo said, “Booker T. Washington High School is known as the ‘Pride of Uptown’ and holds a special significance in our city. We are elated to be returning to the original Lions’ Den which include a number of upgrades to improve the learning experience of our students. We are also excited to restore our name back to Booker T. Washington High School. Our students deserve this experience especially as we prepare for our first graduating class under KNOS. This year is set to be a great one for our school and we are thankful for each of our partners who have helped us to get to this point.”
As part of the return, the name of BTW was officially restored from KIPP Booker T. Washington High School.
BTW Alumni Association President and 1965 Graduate Wayne M. Jones said, “The original Lions’ Den has so many memories and stories inside the walls and we couldn’t be more excited to have these students return with a full name restoration. We are truly proud of our legacy and these changes mean a lot to alumni far and wide.”Nearly 200 alumni from across the country cheered students on as they arrived to school. Additionally, students were greeted by a brass band and other exciting festivities.