Peabody Magnet High School

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For similar named schools, see Peabody High School (disambiguation).
Peabody Magnet High School
2727 Jones Ave.
Alexandria, Louisiana, 71302
Coordinates 31°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
Type Free public
Motto Science and technology of tomorrow at your fingertips today.
Established 1895
School district Rapides Parish School Board
Principal Lee A. Dotson
Faculty 52 Teachers
Grades 9 - 12
Enrollment 784
Campus type Urban
Color(s) Kelly Green and White          
Mascot Warhorses (for men), Lady Warhorses (for women)

Peabody Magnet High School is a secondary educational institution located in the South Alexandria subdivision of Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish and the largest city in central Louisiana. The school is named for one of its benefactor, George Foster Peabody (1852–1938), a London capitalist who promoted the furthering of education in the Southern United States.[citation needed]


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

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.

A new school for a new generation[edit]

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. Although the job is a great one, Mrs. Davis possessed remarkable administrative credentials and the experience necessary to bring forth the dynamic changes that made Peabody Magnet High School the premier school for the new millennium.[citation needed]

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. Mr. Dotson, who comes to Peabody following his retirement from the feeder school, Arthur Smith, has the pleasure of watching his students grow to maturity. Upon arrival at Peabody, he had the profound task of overseeing the final demolition of the old edifice and implementation of the move into the new edifice. Mr. Dotson continues his philosophy of strict discipline and increased academics for the students of Peabody Magnet High School.1234

Magnet Program[edit]

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:

  • Engineering Studies, equipped with many new science labs.
  • Pre-Law Studies, equipped with a full courtroom.
  • Media Communications, equipped with a full radio station and television studio.
  • Medical Studies
  • Animation Design, equipped with light tables, animation testers, animation software, digital cameras, and sound mixers.


The high schools sports teams, the Peabody Warhorses, are members of LHSAA. The basketball team is the most popular at the school, having won 7 state championships in boys and 2 in girls. The Warhorses also participate in football, track and field, baseball, softball, soccer, swimming, and cheerleading. The schools Powerlifting team has also added 2 District, 1 State and 2 National Championships in 2011-2012.

Notable alumni[edit]

[Isiah "Ike" Leggett] was born on July 25, 1944, in Deweyville, Texas, and grew up with eleven siblings in Alexandria, Louisiana. In Alexandria, he played football for Peabody Magnet High School. He attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, working through school as a groundskeeper in a work-study. He was elected president of his class during his senior year and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the first intercollegiate fraternity established for African-Americans. In 1968, Leggett served as a captain in the United States Army during the Vietnam War as a public affairs officer with the 7th support Battalion/199th Light Infantry Brigade. He did not serve in combat. He was awarded the Bronze star for Service. In 1974, he received Master of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C., graduating first in his law school class, followed soon after by a Master of Laws degree from George Washington University. He returned to Howard as a professor in their law school in 1976. Leggett later served as a White House Fellow under President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

In 1986, he became the first African-American elected to the county council in Montgomery County, Maryland, and served on the council through 2002. He remains the only African-American ever elected to that body at-large.

For two years, Leggett served as the chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party before leaving that position to run for office once again. Leggett was elected County Executive of Montgomery County in 2006, the first African-American to hold that office.

Leggett is currently serving his third term as County Executive of Montgomery County, Maryland.

  • Dee Wagner - named 2012 Louisiana SportsWriters Association’s Farm Bureau/Mr. Basketball
  • Markel Brown - An Oklahoma State University basketball player, Brown was named to ESPN All-American second-team 2008-2009, Louisiana Sportswriters Association's Farm/Bureau Mr. Basketball 2010
  • Janice Joseph-Richard - 2-Time All District, 4-Time NAIA District 30 and all GCAC teams, 2-Time American Women's Sports Federation first team All-America, NAIA Final Four appearance in 1986, Louisiana College's first NAIA All-America, GCAC and NAIA District Championships in 1985 and 1986 & third in the nation in scoring averaging 25 points per game. She collected more than 2,300 points and 700 assists at LC and as a senior (1985–86) set the GCAC season record of 283 assists. Entered the collegiate coaching ranks in the early 1990s Xavier of New Orleans 159-34 in six seasons, seven years at San Jose and Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2001-02 and finished her Coaching career at Louisiana College with a 16-year record of 307-163. The Wildcat Athletic Association proudly inducted Janice Joseph as a charter member of the Louisiana College Sports Hall of Fame on February 22, 1992.
  • Coach Charles Smith - 2010 ESPNHS Coach of the Year, 6 State Championships, 21 appearances in the Top 28 State Tournament, 800+ wins
  • Raymond Jones - 1966 graduate was selected in second round of the 1970 National Football League draft as a defensive back by Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Layon Gray - African-American playwright, director, best known for his Off-Broadway play Black Angels Over Tuskegee, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. A native of Louisiana, he quickly ascended as one of Los Angeles’ premiere playwrights earning more than 60 nomination and awards for his works since 2000. Among the honors are 2012 NYC Inspire Award, 2012, Al Sharpton Man of Vision Award, 2012 PCTF Award(Best Director) 2010 NYAUDELCO Award (Achievement Award for Excellence); 2009 NAACP Award (Best Ensemble Award); 2009 Hollywood ADA Award (Best Ensemble Award); 2008 MATCHLIFE Artist of the Year; 2007NAACP Award (Best Producer, Best Play); 2007 MITF Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director, Best Producer); 2006NAACP Award (Best Play); 2005 Hollywood ADA Award (Best Play); 2004. Hollywood ADA Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director); and 2003 Los Angeles MADDY Award (Best Play, Best Writer, Best Director, Best Ensemble).

Peabody Magnet High School principals[edit]

Since 1897, Peabody has been served by eight principals:

  • J.B. Lafargue, 1895–1937
  • D.F. Iles, 1937–1972
  • Samuel McKay, 1972–1981
  • Dr. James Cleveland, 1981–1987
  • Clayton P. Williams, 1987–1991
  • Dennis Frazier, 1991–1998
  • Rita Touchton, 1998-1999
  • Peggie L. Davis, 1999–2001
  • Lee A. Dotson, 2001
  • Jamie Henagan, 2014


  1. ^ "Israel "Bo" Curtis obituary". The Alexandria Town Talk. February 24, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]