A BRIEF HISTORY OF WEST JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL
"HOME OF THE BUCCANEERS"
West Jefferson High School opened its doors to students in the fall of 1955. The original school plant consisted of seven buildings: the main building (containing the school offices and classrooms) facing north on 8th Street with east and west wings, and a rear building containing the cafeteria, a library, and classrooms. On the west side of the campus is an auditorium, a gym, and a garage classroom building. The 25-acre campus is bound by Brown Street, Maple Avenue, West Bank Expressway and faces 8th Street in Harvey, Louisiana. Under the administration of Mr. Lemuel W. Higgins, Jefferson Parish Superintendent, the consolidation of Gretna, Marrero, and Westwego High Schools was completed. On the night of November 10, 1955 West Jefferson High School officially opened the doors and dedicated one of the largest high schools in Louisiana. In attendance were Mr. Loney J. Autin, president of the Louisiana State Board of Education, Mr. Shelby M. Jackson, Louisiana Superintendent of Education and many other distinguished guests. Mr. Joseph J. Martina and Miss Lucile Cherbonnier were chosen principal and assistant principal, respectfully. Succeeding Mr. Martina were Mr. William Donner, Mr. O. H. Guidry, Mr. Percy Bell, Mr. Eldon Orgeron, Dr. Etta Liccciardi, Mr. Arthur Majorie, Mr. Charles Garrison, Dr. Lisa Mowen, Mr. Lale Geer, Ms. Jacqueline Ducros, Dr. Christine Templet and Ms. Vanessa Brown-Lewis. The legend of Jean Lafitte was such a deep part of the area, West Jefferson chose the Buccaneer, as the school's mascot and the name of the school yearbook. The colors that were chosen to represent the school were scarlet red and silver gray and the title given the school's newspaper was the Jolly Roger. West Jefferson's first graduating class of 1956 consisted of 283 seniors and they wore gray caps and gowns with red tassels. The first graduation was held in the school auditorium. There were a number of venues where the senior graduations were held. Among the locations were West Jefferson High School Auditorium, Harvey, Louisiana, Municipal Auditorium and University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana, Pontchartrain Center, Kenner, Louisiana and Alario Center, Westwego, Louisiana.
- 1958: Buccaneers win their first baseball district championship.
- 1960: The student body numbered 1430. To accommodate the growing population a new classroom building addition was completed. The newly constructed building was attached to the rear of east wing and the cafeteria.
- 1961: The new West Jefferson Buccaneer Stadium was dedicated. The 8,500 capacity structure cost $350,000 when completed. The stadium was built at the rear of the school on the West Bank Expressway and Brown Street. The first football game in the new stadium was played on October 13, 1961 with a final score West Jefferson Buccaneers 13, and the Bogalusa Lumberjacks 06. The Buccaneers win their first boys basketball district championship.
- 1962: Buccaneers win their first football district championship.
- 1963- 64: The tradition of Mr. Buccaneer began. A student was chosen to represent the school's mascot and was presented at the first pep rally of the year. A new wing of eight classrooms was constructed and is located on the farthest east side of the main building on 8th Street.
- 1967: The 1st Clancy Trophy, which is passed to the annual winner of the East Jefferson/West Jefferson football game, was permanently awarded to the Buccaneers in 1967 by defeating East Jefferson for three consecutive years.
- 1968- 69: Higgins High School opens with the 9th, 10th, and 11th grade females from West Jefferson.
- 1969- 70: West Jefferson and Lincoln High Schools are combined and West Jefferson becomes an all male high school. 1970 was the first male senior class. Higgins High School accommodated both West Jefferson and Lincoln High School females.
- 1970: West Jefferson Buccaneer Stadium was dedicated to the late Harold Memtsas on Friday, October 23, 1970. On December 11, 1970 the Buccaneers made history by winning the first Louisiana 4-A state football championship in Jefferson Parish and at West Jefferson High School. The Buccaneers defeated the Bogalusa Lumberjacks by a score of 17 to 0 at West Jefferson's Memtsas stadium. The championship accomplished by Coach Raymond Latoof and staff who succeeded Harold Memtsas, after his untimely death, earlier in the football season.
- 1972: With the student population growing, a new administration building was completed. It was built on a site west of the main building near the school auditorium. The area previously occupied by the administration was converted into classrooms.
- 1982: A new school library was dedicated in 1982, located on the front east campus facing 8th Street. This freed additional space for needed classrooms.
- 1982- 83: West Jefferson return’s to a co-educational school with a 1983 male / female senior class.
- 1999: West Jefferson's graduation returns to the Westbank as it hold its commencement at the new Alario Center in Westwego, Louisiana
- 2004- 05: 50Th Anniversary of West Jefferson High School. Major renovations were instituted with the installation of red window panels and painting of the school buildings. West Jefferson and East Jefferson did not compete in football for the first time in the school's history in 2005.
- 2007: A new football/soccer artificial turf was added to the school's stadium during the summer and fall of 2007. An on-campus portable health unit building opened October 2007.
- 2008: Construction has begun on a Buccaneer athletic building for West Jefferson. Ground breaking for the new permanent health center building was March 7, 2008.
- 2009: The new stadium athletic track was completed February 2009. The new “Henry Crosby” athletic building, located in the north end of the school’s stadium, was completed in the summer 2009 with the dedication held August 28, 2009. A $3,000,000.00 renovation began on the school stadium.
- 2010: The permanent health center building was completed in early March with a grand opening celebration on March 30, 2010. The health center is located on the northeast corner of the campus facing 8th. Street.
- 2013: The refurbishing of the school’s gym was completed with the painting of the interior and resurfacing of the floors.
- 2014: West Jefferson’s Advance Path Academy began October 2014 with renovations and new technology to classrooms above the school’s cafeteria. A major interior renovation of the school’s auditorium began in 2014 and should be completed during the 2015-2016 school year.
- 2015: This year marks the 60th Anniversary of West Jefferson High School. West Jefferson has returned to playing East Jefferson in football after a ten year hiatus.