Lincoln Prep celebrates history with ribbon-cutting ceremony

Photo by T. Scott Boatright

By T. Scott Boatright

History was made in Grambling Monday morning as a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the official opening of Lincoln Preparatory School.

And to help those in attendance understand the history made, Lincoln Preparatory School Gordan Ford  began by talking about the school system in Grambling and how it evolved over the years to come what is known today as Lincoln Preparatory School.

He talked about Grambling State University founder Charles P. Adams coming to Grambling in November of 1901 and founded the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School.

“It began as a primary school, eventually becoming a public high school, a state junior college, a four-year college and eventually, a university,” Ford said. “Throughout all those changes, the primary and secondary school mission continued. 

“In 1948 Grambling High School became a second division of the university and over the last 75 years we have been known as Grambling High School, Alma J. Brown Laboratory School, the Grambling Laboratory Schools – Alma J. Brown Elementary, Grambling Middle Magnet and Grambling Lab High School – and now, Lincoln Preparatory School.”

Grambling State University President Rick Gallot, who matriculated through those old Grambling Laboratory Schools, was on hand to extend his congratulations to all.

“Today marks another milestone in our rich educational history here in the city of Grambling,” Gallot said. “‘The establishment of Lincoln Preparatory School stands as a testament to an unwavering committment to provide exceptional educational opportunities for the young minds of today and tomorrow.

“This school represents more than just bricks and mortar. It represents a beacon of knowledge, a sanctuary for learning and a nurturing environment where our students can thrive. It stands as a symbol of program and innovation, providing students with the tools they need to succeed academically, socially and personally. I want to acknowledge the visionaries and leaders who spearheaded this remarkable initiative, the faculty and staff for their dedication and committment toward providing an inclusive and nurturing learning environment, and especially the students and their families who have made Lincoln Preparatory School home.”

In his introduction of the keynote speaker – Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder, Ford credited Schroder for playing a key role in making funding for the creation of Lincoln Preparatory School happen.

“Not only did he advocate for the policies that led to the Bond Commission to have the authority to approve this, but as chair of the Budget Commission he helped to shepherd out project through the bond commission not once but twice to ensure we received the funding we needed for the children of Grambling,” Ford said.  

And Schroder credited Ford for his never-say-die attitude.

“This guy is persistent, I’ve got to tell you,” Schroder said after Ford introduced him. “What my bio didn’t say is that I was a kid publicly educated coming in school and college. My wife is a retired administrator and if Louisiana is ever going to get up off that mat, it’s going to be through our public education and what we can do in our rural communities. 

“I have been a big, big proponent of charter schools across the state, and man this is some kind of impressive. Worth the five-hour drive.”  

He also talked about how Ford’s persistence paid off.

“The phrase nothing worth having comes easy certainly comes to mind today,” Schroder said. “And standing here with all of you right now I can definitely say this new home for Lincoln Prep is definitely something worth having.

“I’m told it’s been more than 40 years since the last K-12 school was built in Grambling and nearly 70 years since a full-school complex was constructed here. So today is a true success story many years in the making and as chair of the state Bond Commission, I’m proud of the role we played in making this beautiful education complex possible.” 

After thanking a number of governmental officials, Schroder credited Ford for being the driving force behind the school becoming a reality. 

“I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t give special acknowledgement to your principal and your leader in Principal Ford,” Schroder said. “He really is and has been an outstanding leader and someone that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know and now I get to see what he was telling me about, and it’s amazing.”

Schroder also gave credit to the students, staff and families of Lincoln Prep. 

“Saying it was difficult to shuffle from location to location the past three years is surely for these students, teachers and administrators,” Schroder said. “But the students of Lincoln Prep are blessed to have leaders like Principal Ford and all the teachers who stayed focused on their role as educators no matter where they had to relocate. 

“It didn’t matter whether they had to move from the church, to the movie theater to vacant buildings – wherever they went, every place became a classroom. No matter where they were, the students’ education came first. And now you have this beautiful new home that’s not moving anywhere anytime soon.”