That line from St. Landry School Board President Huey Wyble succinctly summarizes the parish public schools becoming a unitary desegregated system.
The fact that it took 45 years to accomplish it can’t be changed.
What will be, Wyble and others pointed out at Friday ceremony celebrating an end to the federal case against the board, is the resolve going forward.
“We’re making history today. But we are just starting. We must make sure we don’t go backwards. That is the challenge,” Wyble told a gathering of public officials, school system employees and the general public.
Wyble, who recalled his early opposition to some of the changes that had to be made to accommodate the government and the plaintiffs, said, “Let us remember and learn from the past, for a better future.”
U.S. District Judge Tucker Melancon on Monday signed the order closing the case, declaring St. Landry had met the six criteria required.
Part of that declaration is an agreement by the board to accomplish agreed-to projects that are part of the settlement.
Supt. Michael Nassif, who attended Palmetto High with the original plaintiff in the litigation, noted the historic occasion and said it reflects schools and community committed to education for all students regardless their race, creed or nationality.
“This could have been, and should have been, done years ago,” he said, noting the challenge now is “to fulfill our commitment to the court.”
Other speakers included Dist. Atty. Earl Taylor and board attorney Gerard Caswell.
Emcee was Marcelle Fontenot, a product of St. Landry schools and a Lafayette television personality.