The History of Ponchatoula HighWilliam Akers probably watched Ponchatoula come alive from his home in what is now the 700 block of West Oak Street. Ponchatoula was part of Livingston Parish and was one of the first six stations built along the tracks. As population grew, the need for schools increased and school buildings were built all around town. They got their names from their founders. But it wasn't until Robert Cloud introduced his Klondike strawberry and W.A. Sisemore arrived that the need for Ponchatoula High School existed. The strawberry industry was doing so well that the town grew because of it. With the new people came their children and the need for a school. Sisemore stepped in here and work immediately began on a three-story red brick building to be used as a combination grammar and high school. It was completed in 1913, one year after Ponchatoula High School produced its first official graduate, Sadie Aders.
The structure cost $13,000, and the land on which it was built adjacent to the 1900 wooden structure cost $3,500. The townspeople complained that it was too large and that it had too many rooms that would never be used.
Soon after WWI the "eternal wood" cypress was discovered in the swamps, and two lumber companies were erected. By 1919, the school was already too small, and it was time for a new building.
By 1923, the town of Ponchatoula was the owner of a three-story brick structure, complete with auditorium, built-in gymnasium, and home economics department. The cost of $100,000 encouraged the old complaints that the building was too large.
The first principal of the new PHS was C.C. Pittman. He served from 1922 to 1930. The "too large" building filled by 1926 with an enrollment of 900 students and 23 teachers. When Pittman left, J.S. Vaughan became the next principal. Then Ralph Shaw followed him.
By 1936, the original brick structure was in bad shape and the school was overcrowded. The new principal, Will Ed Butler, stepped in and complete reconstruction began. A home economics cottage, a surrounding chain-link fence, and the home football stadium were built.
In 1950, a 12th grade was added to the school's curriculum. In 1952, the set of stairs in the middle of the school's lobby were removed. The stairs acted as an informal border that divided boys from girls.
As the years went on, the school got too small and was starting to be too old. Rumors of a new school off Highway 22 began . A few years later it was decided that a $12,000,000 school would be built. It was to be ready for occupancy in August 1985. This is where P.H.S is located to this day.
* In 1925, the Ponchatoula Greenwave football team were state champs.
* During WWII, the federal government asked Ponchatoula High School to work on a homeroom wartime guidance program. The report, which Principal Will Ed Butler submitted, was the basis for the national high school victory corps in which youngsters all over the country collected scrap metal and worked to add their bit to wartime efforts. PHS collected the largest amount of scrap in Louisiana. The collection drive lasted about four to five weeks. The US government gave the school about $1400 for the scrap, and Mr. Butler gave the kids a holiday. The army had to use over fifty trucks to haul away the scrap metal. A year later, Mr. Butler received a letter from Washington, D.C. A warship was to be christened the MS Ponchatoula in honor of the students' efforts.
* In 1963, as students arrived on campus one morning, they were greeted by a 9' alligator in the front yard. Mike and Jimmy Bankston wrestled the beast down.
Information derived from
the 1985 Greenback "The Last Hurrah "