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Wisner-Gilbert High School History
The Wisner -Gilbert High School was erected in 1955 out of a $950,000 bond issue. The school taught grades 7-12. This was brought about through consolidation. Prior to this time in 1955 there were four high schools in Franklin Parish for Negroes. The Gilbert Colored High School and the Wisner Colored High School were consolidated in January 1956 to form the Wisner-Gilbert High school. The two previous high schools Wisner and Gilbert then became elementary schools.
Many individuals played important roles in the beginning of the Wisner Colored School. In 1934
the realization of a dream came true. The colored children for the first time attended school in a building that was built for school purposes. Before this time school was conducted in the local churches and the length of the school terms was three to four months each year beginning at the end of the cotton harvesting season.
The land for the original school was donated by the T.B. Gilbert Company. It consisted of approximately two acres. Mrs. Lizzie Bailey, Miss Florence Lee, and Mrs. Amelia Green were active in raising money to build the original building that consisted of four rooms. Rev. Perry Smith was the carpenter. The first faculty consisted of the following persons:
Mrs. Florence Lee, Co-Principal
Mrs. Amelia Green, Co-Principal
Miss Isabella Slamn
Miss Willie Douglas
Beginning in October 1935, Jesse Ernest Jr. became the school principal. The school then consisted of Grades 1-7. The length of the school term was six months. Teachers were paid $40.00 per month or $240.00 per year. The principal was paid $55.00 per month or $330.00 per year. The school was heated by a wood burning stove. On many cold days school was cancelled or dismissed because there was no wood available for heating. The School Board only furnished a few textbooks and crayons during this time period. Parents had to contribute some school supplies and other essentials. During the next 20 years from 1935 to 1955 improvements and progress was made including the addition of grades 8-12. The school added a Home Economics Department, an Agriculture Department, and a Business Department. Wisner -Gilbert was approved by the Louisiana Department of Education as a four-year high school in 1956.