|Istrouma High School|
3730 Winbourne Ave.
|School district||East Baton Rouge Parish|
|Grades||9 - 12|
|Color(s)||Burgundy and Gray|
Istrouma High School is an accredited public school located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States. It was founded in 1917, and is located in East Baton Rouge Parish. Its name is a local Indian word meaning "red stick". Red stick is also the English language translation of the French words baton rouge. The area of north Baton Rouge where the school is located is also known as the Istrouma area.
Istrouma High School began in 1917, in a two-room frame building with a faculty of two. In 1921 the school moved to a larger brick building at the corner of Erie Street and Wenonah Street. The school had its first graduations in 1921, in the form of the grammar school portion having graduations that year. The first high school graduations came in 1924. In 1931 another building was added at the corner of Erie Street and Tecumseh Street. The school first fielded a football team and band in 1935. With increasing enrollment, a third (and much larger) building was added in 1940, at the corner of Erie Street and Osceola Street. The school's name and location were proposed to be changed in 1945 to Franklin D. Roosevelt High School. This name change never occurred, but the school did move to its current location on Winbourne Ave, in 1951. This move and expansion became necessary due to increased enrollment caused by the Louisiana Legislature adding a twelfth grade to school curriculums in 1949. The old school buildings became the home of Istrouma Junior High School, and were later torn down in 2005. Being located in North Baton Rouge, Istrouma High School, was considered for most of its history as the school for the sons and daughters of blue collar plant workers. Its major cross town rival (until 1976) was Baton Rouge High School. In 2012, the school was taken over, and was being running as part of the Louisiana Recovery School District. In October 2013, it was announced that Istrouma High School would close down for at least one year following the 2013–2014 school year. This announcement almost immediately sparked petitions from old and new alumni to keep the school, which was nearing its 100-year anniversary mark, open. The school was merged with Capitol High School and reopened at Capitol High's campus starting with the 2015–2016 school year. The Istrouma High building continues to be used as school board administrative offices. The school re-opened in Summer 2017 to a renovated campus and new academic programs.
The school faculty was made up of 72 teachers in a wide array of disciplines including courses in sciences, mathematics, language arts, physical education, health, reading, marketing education, music, family & consumer science, technology education, business, sociology, social studies, visual arts, graphic arts, special education courses, foreign language (French & Spanish), JROTC, carpentry, and welding.
Historically, Istrouma High was a popular destination for white students mostly from middle class families. However due to nationwide desegregation efforts to ensure more African-American students had access to the same high quality resources and facilities as white students enrolled in public schools, white flight in the Istrouma High surrounding area ensued and the school gradually became more diverse racially and economically. Since the 1980s, Istrouma has been composed mostly with African-American students from working class families.
Istrouma High School currently participates in the LHSAA 4A athletic class for several boys and girls sports.
Some past accomplishments
Istrouma had a wide array of sports, including football, basketball, cross-country, track. The school's football team was founded in 1935. It won state championships in Class 2A: 1938, 1950, 1951, Class 3A: 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962. The school also made unsuccessful appearances in the state title game in Class 1A in 1937, and Class 4A in 1976. It was a Class AAAA member of the LHSAA and competed in District 6. Notable past players include 1959 Heisman Trophy Winner and LSU & NFL star, Billy Cannon. Cannon was named as a high school All-American before graduating and going to LSU. LSU's 1965 TSN All-American, George Rice, also graduated from Istrouma.
The school was closed for the 2014–2015, 2015–2016, and 2016–2017 academic school years due to repeated failure of meeting state standards and drastic falling enrollment. Most students who would traditionally attend Istrouma were expected to attend Capitol Senior High School (ran by Friendship Public Charter School of D.C.) near Downtown Baton Rouge. The state was planning to reopen the school as a charter by the 2015–2016 academic school year starting with only a freshmen class but did not.
In August 2017, Istrouma reopened after $24.1 million worth of renovations and new developments were completed on campus. The school opened with only 9th and 10th graders on campus, with plans to gradually add 11th and 12th graders in the following academic school years. The school revamped its academic offerings and programs to better prepare students for college and employment after high school graduation.
- Billy Cannon - Professional football player and Heisman Trophy winner.
- Woody Jenkins (Class of 1965) - Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from East Baton Rouge Parish, 1972–2000
- Dalton Jones, Former MLB player (Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers)
- Eddie J. Lambert (Class of 1974) - state representative from Ascension Parish
- George Rice - Former LSU and AFL Football player with the Houston Oilers
- Ivory A. Toldson - American academic and former executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities
- Elton Veals - NFL player
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