NEW ORLEANS-- It's the end of the school year and for one historic New Orleans institution the future is bright, even though that future was in jeopardy just a few years ago.
St. Katharine Drexel Prep is graduating it's first full class. 6 years ago the school, formerly known as Xavier Prep, was rocked by an announcement many Catholic schools in our city have faced.
Alumnus Judge Edwin Lombard says, "I love this place I've always loved this place and I was really shocked by and saddened when we heard the news that the nuns were closing the school for financial reasons."
Upon that announcement, five of the school's alumni sprung into action to for the 5116 Magazine Corporation non-profit to save the school. Xavier Prep started as coed, but today educates predominantly black girls in our city.
For 'Prep' slums this place will always be special. Alum Keith Doley of the
5116 Magazine Corporation said, "Prep gave me the foundation to be able to move on into life and to be able to deal with the skills I needed for college and then further on to law school."
For generations, the school founded by St. Katherine Drexel has produced leaders and that tradition continues with over 5 million dollars of college scholarships going to this graduating class alone. And while the graduates are ready to move on, they also cherished the time here.
"Finishing a chapter of sisterhood, but beginning a new chapter, of learning and growing, and experiencing new things," said senior Connor Joseph.
Carlyn Track, another senior says, "Overall being at prep I've experienced nothing but greatness, I've created relationships that will last a lifetime"
As for the school, the turnaround of Drexel Prep has taken a lot of work, but support for their success exists throughout the community, says principal Jacob Owens.
"We have every person in the spectrum living in our community, but they support the school, they love our students, and I think the New Orleans community has shown it's support for our students," says Owens.
St. Katharine Drexel Prep is one of the many non-profits in our regions participating in tomorrow's GiveNOLA Day. Click here to support your favorite.