Peabody Magnet High School
2727 Jones Ave


United States
Coordinates31°17′36″N 92°26′14″W / 31.293342°N 92.437098°W / 31.293342; -92.437098Coordinates: 31°17′36″N 92°26′14″W / 31.293342°N 92.437098°W / 31.293342; -92.437098
TypePublic magnet high school
MottoScience and technology of tomorrow at your fingertips today.
Established1895; 127 years ago (1895)
School districtRapides Parish School Board
PrincipalDennis Stewart
Teaching staff40.00 (FTE)[1]
Enrollment686 (2018-19)[1]
Student to teacher ratio17.15[1]
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)Kelly Green and white    
  • Warhorses (for boys)
  • Lady Warhorses (for girls)

Peabody Magnet High School is a public magnet high school located in the South Alexandria subdivision of Alexandria, Louisiana, United States, the seat of Rapides Parish and the largest city in central Louisiana. The school is named for one of its benefactors, George Foster Peabody (1852–1938), whose charitable foundation provided a grant to create the school.[2]


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Mr. J. B. Lafargue founded Peabody Industrial School in 1895, with the assistance of his wife, Mrs. S.C.B. Mayo Lafargue.[3] Peabody was the only public school for Black students in Alexandria with grades 1 - 7 for many years. The school was named Peabody because of a grant that was given by George Peabody, a wealthy philanthropist and head of the George Peabody Foundation.

The first school was a wooden two-story hospital building located at Third and Bogan Streets, the current site of Peabody Sixth Grade Center. In 1918, Mr. Lafargue added eighth and ninth grades to the school even though the US Department of Education did not approve the upper grades for Negro schools. Construction of a three-story building began on the location at Third and Bogan Streets in 1923 and was completed in 1925. In addition, a wooden building was constructed to serve as an auditorium. Two more grades were added to the school in 1930.

In 1931, the State Department of Education (Negro Division) sent Beatrice Wallace Spottsville to the school to serve as a teacher trainer and Supervisor of Negro schools, making Peabody a training school. Peabody became a state-approved public high school in 1933. Mr. J.B. Lafargue served as principal of the school from 1900 until he retired in 1937.[citation needed]

Mr. D.F. Iles, who was a student at Peabody Training School in 1918, left in 1925 to attend high school at Leland College, due to the lack of high schools for Blacks in Rapides Parish at that time. After completing high school, he remained at Leland College, where he received his college degree in 1933. Mr. Iles returned to Peabody in 1934 to teach social studies. He later became assistant principal, then in 1937 began his tenure as principal. Mr. Iles ended his tenure at Peabody as principal in 1972 when he accepted a position at the Rapides Parish School Board. The first school building at the current Broadway Street site was completed in 1952, with D. F. Iles as principal. Mr. Iles transformed Peabody from an Industrial Training School offering training in home economics and industrial shop to a comprehensive high school offering courses in algebra, geometry, social studies, science, physics, chemistry, art, music, band, Spanish, French, business, auto mechanics, mechanical drawing, woodwork, sheet metal, distributive education, cooperative office education, and speech with an array of extracurricular activities. In August 1972, Mr. Iles retired as principal of Peabody and accepted a position at the Rapides Parish School Board's Central Office.[citation needed]

Mr. Samuel McKay, a distinguished chemistry teacher and community leader, succeeded Mr. Iles as the principal of Peabody from 1972 until 1981. Under his leadership, a physical expansion program to remodel the girls' gymnasium, construct a new boys' gymnasium, and construct an athletic field was initiated. Mr. McKay remained principal until 1981 when he accepted a position as Director of Magnet Schools at the Rapides Parish School Board's Central Office.[citation needed]

In November 1981, Dr. James Cleveland became the second principal of the newly formed Peabody Magnet High School. Under his leadership, the curriculum was enriched by the addition of the following courses: the LD program, vocational programs, building trades, horticulture, and the honors computer-based classes. Dr. Cleveland retired in 1987. Clayton P. Williams became principal the following year. In 1991, Mr. Williams resigned and was succeeded by Mr. Dennis Frazier. Mr. Frazier's leadership efforts were directed toward getting a new school built in 1995. On November 3, 1998, voters approved the bond for the construction of a new two-story Peabody at the current Broadway site. Mr. Frazier retired in 1998.[citation needed]

Segregated schools

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Prior to desegregation, separate local schools were maintained for black and white students in Rapides Parish. Peabody was the high school available for African American students in Alexandria while white students attended nearby Bolton High School. Neighboring Pineville, a smaller town located north of Alexandria, across the Red River, hosted a similarly segregated Crepe Myrtle High School with white students attending Pineville High School & Tioga High School; in neighbouring Boyce, Louisiana, to the northwest of Alexandria, black students attended Wettermark High School with white students attending Boyce High School.

During McKay's tenure as principal of Peabody, the federal court mandated changing the school to Peabody Magnet High School with the goal of integrating the public school system in Rapides Parish. Busing was implemented to bring white students to Peabody. To enhance Peabody's ability to attract students, the following courses were added: welding, computer science, nursing, math and Chemistry with college credit as well as an array of honor courses. The Gifted & Talented program was also established at Peabody during this time.

In July 1998, Mrs. Peggie L. Davis, a 1968 graduate of Peabody High School was appointed principal and given the job of overseeing the building and development of the new Peabody Magnet High School. In November 2000, a groundbreaking ceremony was conducted. This marked the start of the massive demolishing of parts of the old 1952 structure and construction of the new state of the art Peabody Magnet High School.[citation needed]

In October 2001, Mr. Lee A. Dotson, Jr. became the new principal of Peabody Magnet High School.

Magnet Program

Peabody Magnet High School is one of two high schools in Rapides Parish with magnet concentrations, the other being Pineville High School.

The Magnet classes offered are:


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The high schools sports teams, the Peabody Warhorses, are members of LHSAA. The basketball team is the most popular at the school, having won seven state championships in boys, and two in girls. The Warhorses also participate in football, track and field, baseball, softball, soccer, swimming, and cheerleading. The schools powerlifting team has also added two District, one State and two National Championships in 2011-2012.

Notable alumni

This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (December 2020)

Peabody Magnet High School principals

Since 1897, Peabody has been served by eleven principals:


  1. ^ a b c "Search for Public Schools - Peabody Magnet High School (220129001067)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  2. ^ Klein, Miranda (June 12, 2017). "Do you know who these schools are named for?". The Town Talk. Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Lafargue founded what would become Peabody High School in 1895. They secured a grant from the charitable foundation of George Foster Peabody to create the school for black children in grades 1 through 7 to attend. Peabody Industrial School was located at the current site of Peabody Montessori Elementary. It was the first public school for black students in Alexandria. The new Peabody Magnet High School was built around 2000, but the school's first building at the current Broadway Street site was completed in 1952.
  3. ^ Howard, Corey. "Peabody Magnet High School's impact on the Black community".
  4. ^ "Israel "Bo" Curtis obituary". The Alexandria Town Talk. February 24, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  5. ^ "Natalie Desselle, Comedic Heart of 'BAPS' and 'Eve,' Dies at 53". The New York Times.