William W. Stewart High School, Basile, LA

History of William W. Stewart High School

The Black School began in Basile in 1917. Classes were held in the Golden Light Baptist Church. The first teacher was Miss Morris. At this time a school session consisted of only seven months.

There was no school for black children in 1918, but the school reopened in 1919 and again was in session for only seven months. The teacher this year was Miss Bettie Fisher.

Again, the school closed for one year and was reopened in 1921, but classes closed after only a three-month session. The teacher for these three months was Miss Dottes.

In 1922 school was held at the late Larry LaFleur’s place. (Mr. Adam LaFleur’s father). Miss Dottes again served as teacher.

In 1923 classes were held at the Golden Light Baptist Church for three months under Miss Mable Fisher who served as the teacher.

In 1924 classes were moved back to Mr. LaFleur’s place with Miss Fisher serving as teacher again.

In 1925, the black students finally had a rural schoolhouse. It was a one room building located on Highway 190 and it was called the Roldan School. The teacher was Miss Hall.

In 1926, the school session lasted six months under teacher Mr. E.K. Roy.

In 1927 and 1928 Mrs. Annie Sinette was the teacher for two six-month sessions.

The teaching staff increased to two in 1929 with Miss Annie Siment being joined by Miss Mildred Gallison (who later became Mrs. Mildred G. Williams, serving many years). In 1929 Miss Sinette was considered the school’s first principal.

From 1929 to 1932 Miss Sinette and Miss Gallison remained as the two teachers for sessions of six months each year.

Roldan School held its first seventh grade graduation in 1932. The members of the class were Frank Guillory, Viola Guillory, and Walter Guillory.

In 1933 Miss Biggs and Miss Tessie Davis replaced Miss Sinette and Miss Gallison as teachers. They remained the school’s only two teachers for the next six years.

IN 1939 Mr. Figeroe became principal and Miss Briggs and Miss Davis were replaced by Miss Bernice and Miss Avell. Mr. Figeroe was replaced as principal in 1943 by Rev. Joshua Frank.

Miss Girther Green served as principal from 1945 until 1948 when Mrs. Mildred G. Williams became principal.

In 1949 the last seventh grade graduation was held and in 1950 Mr. T.D. Martin became principal.

During this year, the eighth grade was added and in 1951, the first eighth grade graduation was held.

During the next four years, there was an increase in grades each year. Ninth grade was added in the fall of 1951, tenth grade in the in 1952, eleventh grade in 1953, and twelfth grade in 1954.

Four seniors graduated in the summer of 1955 for the first high school graduation for black students in Basile. The graduates were Leola Graham, Wilbert Graham, Bertina McIntyre, and Yvonne Ivory.

On Sunday December 13, 1963, a dedication program was held for W.W. Stewart High School in the present gymnasium and in 1965 the school was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Mr. T.D. Martin remained principal until integration in the 1969-70 school sessions. The class of 1969 was the last class to graduate from W.W. Stewart High School.

In August of 1969, Mr. Curley M. Dossman became principal of what is now referred to as W.W. Stewart Elementary School. He remained principal until his retirement in 1983. Mrs. Christine Bacon became the principal in 1983 and still serves in that capacity today in 2000.

At present a new W.W. Stewart Elementary School is under construction just west of the present site. The school is expected to open for the 2001-2002 school year.