The highlight of the celebration was the ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the rededication of the band room in honor of Dr. Ernest G. Chachere and the gym in honor of Ted Washington. The unveiling of the Booker T. Washington History Project was also a significant moment.
Organizers held the event as a reminder of the school's illustrious history and the vital role it plays in the community. It was an opportunity for the community to come together, reflect on the past, and look forward to the future. The rededication ceremony was a symbol of the school's resilience and its commitment to providing a high-quality education to its students.
Proclamations from the City of New Orleans and Mayor Latoya Cantrell and U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, were presented in honor of the school's history.
The celebration included remarks from several distinguished speakers, including Nolan McSwain Jr., president of Booker T. Washington Alumni and Friends, Louisiana State Representative Delisha Boyd, Louisiana State Senator Royce Duplessis, Dr. Fateama Fulmore, Deputy Superintendent of New Orleans Public Schools, Charlie Wade, Miss Booker T. Washington High School and Class of 2023, Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, CEO of KIPP New Orleans, Julius Feltus, Class of 1978, and Rob Corvo, principal of Booker T. Washington High School.
The speakers highlighted the importance of education, the school's legacy, and the need to continue to provide support to the students.
Duplessis spoke at the event and highlighted the importance of the school's legacy and history. "So much can be said about what this institution means. We talked about the legacy, and we talked about the history but one common theme throughout is the pride, and that's why Booker T. Washington is known as the ‘Pride of Uptown," he said.
Dr. Fulmore spoke about the future of the school and the importance of continued community support. “When I think about 80 years ago and here we are today, we are truly standing on the shoulders of what you all have built and what you all have made," Fulmore said. "To whom much is required more can be asked, and so I say to you today, we are asking more of you to continue to be present, to continue to be a force, to continue to be the village that our children need to be successful. The history is important and now is about the future," she said.
Principal Corvo emphasized the importance of the values the school community instills in its students. "May we also rededicate ourselves to our values. Let us continue to do what this community has always done, teach our young people. Not just algebra and literature, but values. The values of - the importance of education, doing what is difficult without giving up, promoting togetherness and leaning on our elders," Corvo said.
Wade spoke about what it means to be a part of the school community today. "Being a Lion to me is a deeply rooted legacy filled with 80 years of pride. And this is why I wanted to attend Booker T. My parents graduated from Booker T, and many of my relatives. I also came to Booker T to join the dance team and to keep a legacy going," she said. "To be a lion means to be a part of a community that reassures us as Lions, surrounded with endless amounts of love and support; joining a legacy that is more than just a building but a family that has been present for generations."