|The school, presently known as Jesse Owens Elementary, originated
in the Church
of God in Christ building in the late 1800's. After having school in this
church for several years, Jesse Owens, along with other African American leaders
of the community, worked to secure land and a building for a school in
the early 1900's.
At this time, the elementary school for African
Americans was a two-room wooden building
located south of the present site. Around 1940, a third classroom and a
cafeteria were added due to an increase in population. Three teachers taught
grades one through eight. This new school was named in honor of
because of his leadership in the establishment of a school for Black children
in Gueydan. (Read more about the life of
Jesse Owens here.)
This section is part of the present structure and is occupied
by grade one, the parenting room, and music room.
The new school continued to house
African American students in grades one through
eight until integration in 1967. At that time approximately fifty African
students were integrated into the Gueydan High School. During the 1968-69
school session, the building was occupied by the Headstart Program. In
the fall of 1969, the building housed Headstart, Follow-Through, first
and second grades. When the Follow-Through Program came to an end in the
spring of 1970, the two first and second grades occupied the four-room
brick structure, and the Headstart Program moved to a different location. This system continued as such until October, 1973 when a fire destroyed
the elementary section of the Gueydan High School, which housed grades
three through six. From 1973 to 1975, a platoon system was put into effect
whereby the junior high and high school section of Gueydan High School
were used as classroom space by grades three through twelve. Classes were
conducted in the morning for grades seven through twelve, while students
in grades one through six attended afternoon classes. Jesse Owens continued
to house grades one and two during the first year of the platoon system.
During the 1974-75 school session, when kindergarten first began, the two
rooms previously occupied by the second grade were transferred back to
Gueydan High School for the remainder of the platoon system.
After tolerating the platoon system for nearly two years, students
in grades kindergarten through sixth grade occupied the present new brick
building for the first time during the 1975-76 school session. Fifteen
classrooms and a library were added on to the previous four-room structure.
Although the new elementary building was constructed in 1975, it
remained a part of Gueydan High School until the fall of 1976, when Jesse
Owens became a separate entity. Ned Robinson served as principal from the
fall of 1976, until his retirement in the spring of 1989. Ned Richardson
was appointed to the position .
The sixth grade was transferred to Gueydan High School in 1990. In
1992, a Pre-K class was added. The 1993 school year saw the addition of
a self-contained special education class. A Non-Cat Pre-k was available
for the 1996-97 and 1997-98 school years. The 1996-97 school
year saw the school wired for Internet access in all of the classrooms
and the library. In 1998 a multipurpose building was added,
providing a music room and auditorium. The latter provides space
for indoor Physical Education on inclement days.
Ned Richardson retired in June of 1999. Jonathan Williams was
appointed to replace him. The 1999-2000 school year began with the
2 fifth grade classes merged into one and the Self-Contained Special Education
teacher also serving the resource students. In the 2008-2009 school year we once again had two sections of fifth
grade. The 2010-2011 school year began with only one section of Kindergarten.
Jonathan Williams died in October of 2009 and
Anita Freeland Dupuis, a
former teacher at Jesse Owens, was appointed to replace him.