McDonogh 35: A choice not an echo

McDonogh 35: A choice not an echo
Posted on 08/08/2019

As McDonogh 35 scholars entered the building for the start of the 2019-20 school year, they were greeted with smiles, high fives, and “good morning” from staff and more than 50 Roneagle alumni who showed up to cheer them on and set the tone for the year.

“I’m humbled and excited to serve the scholars and the legacy of McDonogh 35. Roneagles set paths in the city of New Orleans, and our current students will do the same,” said Principal Lee Green.

As the first public high school for African-American students established in 1917, McDonogh 35 serves as an historical part of New Orleans history and legacy and staff and alumni are committed to ensuring its legacy continues well into the future. 
In July, the school officially became part of the InspireNOLA Charter Schools network, which has been partnering with McDonogh 35 alumni and parents to assure that students know what it means to be a Roneagle in the city of New Orleans and that they understand there is a support system for their success.

“Preserving the school’s history and legacy is important to all stakeholders of McDonogh 35,” said InspireNOLA CEO, Jamar McKneely. “We want these students to understand that they are part of something bigger. We want them to see the success of the Roneagles who came before them and to believe that they too can and will excel.” 

“You will know 35 is a choice, not an echo,” Green told students. “Today, we start the work necessary to put ourselves back on top.”

Assistant Principal Romero Stewart, who is also a McDonogh 35 alumnus, made a promise to students, saying, “I charge to do my best every day so that our school will continue to be the beacon of education it’s always been.”
This commitment to students goes beyond the classroom and into the community.

“I’m a Roneagle, and I’ve always been a Roneagle. McDonogh 35 is a part of my life and always will be,” said Dr. Louvinia E. Wallace, Class of 1966. “I want students coming after me to have an even better educational experience. I am going to be accountable, available, and ready to serve.”

This dedication to the future generation is part of what makes Roneagles special and why so many were willing to start their day off by welcoming the scholars back to school.

“I’m here because I know how important it is to feel loved and supported. I just wanted to come support the kids and encourage them to excel and let them know they have a big support system,” said Patrice Kelly, Class of 1988.
The alumni also joined the students in the auditorium where they lead them in singing the school’s Alma Mater.

“We’re glad to be here. We want you to have the best year ever,” McDonogh 35 Alumni Association president Gertrude Ivory, Class of 1967, told students. “You’ve already earned your As. You’re amazing, astonishing, astounding, and awesome. We want you to be even better than we are and do better than we did and be the best you can be. You will go out and change the world.”

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