With more than a dozen Mayfield family members on hand and a ceremony enhanced by numerous student performances, School System officials and other dignitaries cut the ribbon for the new Henry L. Mayfield Elementary School on Friday, March 30.
Superintendent W. L. “Trey” Folse, III welcomed the more than 100 guests, saying he had been looking forward to the ribbon cutting for the new school for quite a while. He commended former Assistant Superintendent, the late Henry L. Mayfield, as a dedicated academic leader for the School System, serving in many capacities over his career. “He helped build the School System into what it is today,” Superintendent Folse stated. “For his efforts, we are very grateful.”
Adele Mayfield Davenport and Henry L. Mayfield, Jr., spoke about their father’s passion for education and his work in bringing parents, children, and educators together, with his ground-breaking work recognized throughout the state. His son said that the magnificent new school was a great accomplishment honoring his father, adding that the meeting room they were in that morning was much larger than the entire one-room school that their father had started out in many years ago.
Superintendent Folse praised the work done by Mayfield Principal Arlana LeBlanc since the beginning of the school year, noting that she had conducted Mayfield classes at two other schools until her own campus became available. “She worked non-stop over the Mardi Gras holidays to get the new school ready for her students,” he said, adding that he was looking forward to working with her and her staff for years to come.
Ms. LeBlanc said it was truly an honor to serve as principal at the school honoring the tradition of Mr. Mayfield. She thanked her wonderful PTA members for always being there to help, and gave special recognition to the two principals who shared their campuses with her and her Assistant Principal Mary Lou Boudet for serving as her administrative partner. Superintendent Folse introduced the two principals from Carolyn Park Middle School, Tony Esposito, and Bayou Woods Elementary School, Mrs. Linda Bankston, and thanked them for hosting the Mayfield students on their campuses this year while the new building was being finished.
Student Alex Allen read Henry Mayfield’s biography, offering an overview of his career, which included beginning as a teacher at Madisonville in 1927, serving as a teacher and principal at Waldheim, and then principal of Slidell Grammar School, the largest school in the parish at that time. He became the first instructional supervisor with the Central Office in 1935, continued his own professional education, and was named Assistant Superintendent in 1964. He retired from the School System in 1968, but served as Executive Director for the St. Tammany Council on Aging for three years after that.
School Board members present for the ceremony included Stephen J. “Jack” Loup, John Lamarque, Mary K. Bellisario, Robin Mullett, Peggy Seeley, Robert “Bob” Womack, Ray A. Alfred, and Willie B. Jeter.
A large number of former administrators and supervisors were also on hand for the occasion, including Ronnie Pogue, Hank Ferrer, Simmie Fairley, Ralph Menetre, and Marian Arrowsmith, as well as Dr. James Stafford, also a former BESE Board member.
Malike Batiste led the Pledge of Allegiance, the Mayfield Elementary Band performed three numbers, and several students read portions of essays they had written, each excerpt standing for a letter in Mr. Mayfield’s name. Students throughout the school had written essays for the special occasion, and they were all presented to family members in a souvenir scrapbook.
At the end of the ceremony, seven students said good-bye to those present, each in their own language, including French, Arabic, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese.
The entire ribbon cutting ceremony was repeated later in the afternoon for the benefit of the 588 students in the school who had not been a part of the earlier presentation.
Several years ago, a committee of Mayfield’s friends and professional acquaintances was formed to encourage the naming of a school in honor of him. That committee was made up of Hank Ferrer, Troy Jackson, Ralph Menetre, Dr. Clea Parker, Ronnie Pogue, and Dr. Stafford.
The school features 41 classrooms, a covered bus drop-off site, special education classrooms and music rooms, a spacious cafeteria and gymnasium, and outdoor play areas, as well as a turning lane to help facilitate traffic into and out of the facility. The campus is located midway between Slidell and Lacombe, three miles west of the Northshore Mall, and consists of a new 87,000 square foot facility located on 71 acres adjacent to Tammany Trace.
View File (jpg)