LEESVILLE- In a planned site tour to Leesville High School after a standing room only luncheon for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) hosted by Fort Polk Progress, the Senator congratulated students, faculty and Vernon Parish Superintendent of Schools Jackie Self on the new facility now under construction at Leesville High School.
The school, which is approximately 40 percent military, according to Self, is currently undergoing significant renovation and new construction. The project, undertaken at the request of the Army and with the Senator’s support, has been and will continue to be a major investment by local taxpayers who are utilizing more than 85 percent of the school system’s total bonding capacity to renovate this one facility.
Sen. Landrieu, along with other elected officials, toured the facility Monday afternoon, visiting the new science rooms and a number of other classrooms, where students, faculty and staff greeted her. Wampus Cat cheerleaders led an impromptu cheer at the Senator’s request before the group of students, most of whom will return as seniors in the fall, posed for a photo with Sen. Landrieu.
“What a privilege to attend your senior year in a new school,” Sen. Landrieu remarked to the seniors, noting the investment by the community into their futures.
According to Self, Leesville High School has the largest population of military students of any school in the parish.
If the Department of the Army implements cuts at Fort Polk, the Vernon Parish School system will lose millions of dollars per year. A decision about troop strength at Fort Polk is expected to be announced at the end of June.
The tour of Leesville High School followed a special luncheon during which Fort Polk Progress honored Sen. Landrieu for her efforts on behalf of Fort Polk.
“We have a better chance today at securing the future of Fort Polk, the future of this region, because of the strong leadership, aggressive resourcing, constant encouragement, and unwavering support of Sen. Mary Landrieu,” said Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese during Monday’s luncheon.
“I really am very touched and honored by this turnout,” Landrieu told the crowd at the Landmark Hotel.
Keynote speaker for the event was James Carville, who volunteered, he said, out of a sense of duty to soldiers and because of the strong ties he has with people in Vernon Parish. Carville noted that growing Fort Polk “makes sense” for the Army.
Carville is credited with guiding William Jefferson Clinton to the United States Presidency in 1992. That same year, Carville was also honored as the Campaign Manager of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants for his leadership of Clinton’s campaign.
“I’m hopeful, but I know we’ve got a fight,” Carville told reporters afterward about efforts to grow Fort Polk.
Reese concurred that Fort Polk Progress is fully engaged in the fight to not only sustain Fort Polk but to grow the base. He assured supporters that Fort Polk Progress would continue to keep the public informed as new developments occur in the process. He also thanked the many individuals and groups across the region who have shown such united support for the cause.