HISTORY OF LAFAYETTE SCHOOL
(KNOWN AS LARRY C. KENNEDY SCHOOL since the 1981—1982 school year)
The school, which is now know as Lafayette, actually received its name by transference. The original Lafayette School is located approximately one half block west of 28th Street and Flower.
The “original” school has served the community for many years under a variety of titles, doing a number of different jobs and providing services and facilities for a great number of people. It was first a community center and jointly owned by the people who bought homes in the tract known as “Phoenix Homesteads”. In September of 1947 the joint owners decided to sell the building and in August of 1948, the Creighton School District purchased the building and adjoining land.
After alterations the building, now a school, was opened for first and second grade classes. Classroom space was provided for first and second grades until sufficient rooms could be constructed on the present site at 28th Street and Osborn Road. All classes were moved from the”little school” after completion of the third wing of classrooms in 1954-55.
The offices for Creighton District Administrative services are now located at “Little Lafayette”, but many people in the area still refer to it as the “little school” and remember it with affection.
The first thought for the need of a school in the area now served by Lafayette was put on paper at the board meeting on October 12, 1948. It was asked that an investigation be made of the advisability of purchasing ten acres of land in section 26. On November 9, 1948 a lease was secured on ten acres of land at 28th Street and Osborn Road, with an option to buy.
By the bond election of January 27, 1950, voters of the district directed the school board to purchase the land and construct a school plant consisting of not less than eight classrooms at 28th Street and Osborn Road.
The new Lafayette School opened for “business” on Monday, March 12, 1951. Mr. Larry C. Kennedy was the newly appointed principal, succeeding Mr. Paul C. Gillespie, who had been acting in that capacity. There were six teachers on the faculty.
In 1949 the school consisted of one section of first and one section of second grade classes. Enrollment was approximately 70 students.
In 1949-50 enrollment increased to 140 pupils. In 1950-51 grades three and four were added — enrollment increased to 210 pupils. In 1951-52 grades five and six were added — enrollment increased to 320 pupils. In 1952-53 grades seven was added — enrollment increased to 490. In 1953-54 grade eight was added and enrollment reached approximately 600.
Since 1952 special subjects have included Art, Vocal Music, Band and Orchestra, Home Economics and Industrial Arts, and Physical Education. Our school lunch program was started the second year the school was open. A central Library was built and in operation in 1955. Prior to this time Room Libraries were used. The Board of Trustees has been very generous in their allotment for Library Books.
Our peak enrollment was approximately 700 students. For the past three years our enrollment has held fairly steady at 600 pupils.
With the wholehearted support of the Lafayette Community, the school has grown from ten acres and eight classrooms into twenty-seven classrooms and approximately twelve commercial acres. The playground is well equipped and well laid out. The soil is sandy and drains well.
Many, worthwhile projects, both large and small, have been undertaken jointly by the school and the community during their growth. Through the years recreation facilities for the children in the community have been improved and extended. The Men’s Club and the P.T.A. have provided four well lighted baseball and softball fields, complete with backstops, and dugouts with cement floors. A refreshment stand has been completed and furnished with deep freeze, refrigerator, pop corn machine, hot dog ovens, snow cone machine, and an ice machine which provides for all their needs. Outfield fences are permanent and are constructed of stressed aircraft aluminum. These organizations staff and finance a fine summer program for all pupils, public and private, in the Lafayette area. The annual cost of the program is $3000.00 to $5000.00.
Several years ago these parents groups purchased materials and with volunteer labor constructed a large community Youth Building. In addition to an auditorium which seats 200 people the building is used as a meeting place 25 for all youth organizations and civic groups. Permanent storage facilities are available for the Men’s Club, P.T.A., Instrumental Music instruments and equipment, and eight youth organizations serving boys and girls in the areas. These facilities are in constant year-round use.
We have made every effort through the years to develop a “child centered” school. We have always scheduled Parent Teacher Conferences at least twice a year. We sent home with the children a Weekly Bulletin to parents which included the weekly cafeteria menu, a schedule of events in the school and community for the week and other information we felt would be helpful and of interest to parents. These things were done for several years before they were district policy. We have been completely departmentalized in seventh and eight grades for about ten years. We know this has strengthened our instructional program and feel that it better prepares our pupils for high school. We have attempted to direct all of our training and efforts to developing the strongest possible instructional program. We have experimented widely, and we hope wisely, with various methods of ability grouping, and with a wide variety of materials and methods.
We keep our school and grounds neat and attractive because we feel that it helps to develop school and community pride, and that it contributes to our instructional program.
(Written approximately 1958)