Richwood High School, Monroe, Louisiana

Richwood High School Photo

Richwood Ram

Richwood High School History

In the late 1800’s a determined group of sharecroppers moved to this community, which at that time was a wooded and undeveloped region.

 The soil seemed unusually fertile. The sharecropper thought that they could build their homes and rear their families from the resources from the land. The settlement and a good beginning and the area grew and developed into a community.

                As the community grew, the need for a school became evident. The citizens felt a need for a school, and having no one to turn to, they formed a committee to work out plans to structure a building that could be used as a place of worship on Sunday and a school during the week days.

                Everyone worked hard to build this church, which was known as Pleasant Green Chapel, named in honor of the community’s founder. The structure was a framed building with inadequate heating and lighting, but the citizens had done their best.  The school board sent a teacher to teach in the church.

                Later when the school year was extended to seven months, the Odd Fellows made available their hall for educational use.  With this and the growth of the community, the eighth grade was added in 1936, For twenty year-six years, the children of the community were taught and educated in the community church or lodge hall.

                Feeling a need to expose their children to the same type of educational facilities that were available in other surrounding communities a parent-teacher association was organized. They worked out the plans to build the first school building.

                According to Mrs. Malissie Wesley, a student at the school at that time, three groups were organized to raise the first $500.00. In 1939, the late Mr. Napoleon Brown Sr. donated the two acres of land to the Ouachita Parish School Board. The first school building was erected.

                The school was named Richwood because the site donated was so fertile and located in a wooded area. This frame building served until 1951.

The first brick structure was created in 1951. The school’s name was changed from Richwood to Terzia High because the donation and contribution which was made by Terzia Lumber Company of Ouachita Parish. The school’s program continued to develop and grow. The main building was destroyed by fire in 1960 and the church across the street was used for classes, and the library was converted to classrooms. In 1961, the present structure was erected. To perpetuate the memory and noble contributions of the founders of the community and school, the name was reverted to Richwood High upon request from the citizens of the community.     

                The first six grades were moved from the school in 1963, leaving thee school with grades seven through twelve. The increase in enrollment brought about the addition of Toston hall in 1964 and science Hall in 1965.

                During the 1968-69 school year, the framed vocal music and athletic building was destroyed by fire and a portable building was placed on the campus for vocal music instruction.

                Ouachita Parish School records reveal that from 1913-1930, eleven different people served as principal. The term served was from one to two years, with only one serving two consecutive terms.

The enrollment during this period from 65-120, and promotions from 2-70. In 1930, Mrs. Eula Hobson was hired as principal and she served until 1934. The higher enrollment during this period was 109. The average number promoted for the same period was seventy-eight.

                Mr. J. w. Patterson was hired as principal in 1934-1944. In 1933, Mr. Robert Payne, Sr. was hired as principal, but after one month of hard work and no increase in pay, Mr. Payne resigned the position. He chose to remain at the school as the agriculture instructor.

                Mrs. Mary Francis Goins succeeded Mr. Payne and served from 1944-1969. During this time the enrollment grew, the faculty increased, and the curriculum expanded.

                The first secretary, Mrs. Etta B. McCoy, was employed in 1966, and Mr. Mackie Freeze became the first assistant principal in 1976. Mr. Robert L. Payne, Sr. became the first Guidance counselor.

Probably one of the last important events of Mrs. Goins’s administration was the integration of the faculty. In 1967, Mr. Mr. John Youngblood, joined the faculty. Mrs. Ester Yearling and Mrs. Helen Thomas joined the faculty in 1968.

                Mrs. Goins was succeeded by Mr. Abe E. Pierce, III, in 1969. Enrollment continued to grow, and ten additional portable buildings were used.

                In February, 1970, the faculty was thoroughly integrated (70-30). The student body had 62 Caucasian students. Mr. Robert Warner was promoted to assistant principal to serve with Mr. Mackie Freeze. Mrs. Tina Danti was promoted to Guidance Counselor with Mr. Payne.

                 The final event of Mr. Pierce’s administration was the construction of the field house for athletics. In 1973, Mr. Pierce was promoted to supervisor and moved to the central office.

                 August, 1972, Mr. Ray O. Wright succeeded Mr. Pierce. The improvements to the school’s facility included the construction of a music building for vocal and instrumental music, the expansion of the Home Economics facilities, providing additional laboratory space and a home living area.

                Mr. Wright’s administration was interrupted briefly in 1983 when he took a leave of absence to work in the State Department of Education. Mr. Theodore Brown, Jr. was appointed acting principal for one year. Mr. Wright resumed the position in January, 1984, and he retired in May, 1985. He was followed by Mr. Charles H. Johnson in August, 1985.

                The Richwood High School Community has enjoyed and reaped benefits as a result of the educational and cultural institution (the school) since 1913.          

                In 1977, a bond was passed by the voters for a new school facility for the Richwood community. As time passed, the construction lagged. The construction and site of the school became a court order designed to close the school, one grade has been lost each year since 1981. Presently the grade structure is ten-twelve with less than three hundred students.

 Richwood High School  Year Books