Plaque will soon honor 1962-63 and 1965-66 Allen High School state championship teams

Published 12:07 pm Thursday, April 11, 2024

A commemorative plaque will soon be unveiled honoring two state championship basketball teams at the old Allen High School.

Family, friends, former students and teammates will gather at the site of the old Allen High School, also known as the Allen Parish Training School, on Ballard Road at 10 a.m. May 18 to unveil a plaque saluting the 1962-1963 and 1965-1966 state championship basketball teams nearly 60 years after their victories.

“This is long overdue,” alumni Henry Antoine said. “There’s no history of us winning the championships and the school is long gone.”

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Antoine. who played basketball at the school and graduated in 1966, said there is a lot of history revolving around the school and the barriers students had to overcome to succeed

The school opened in the mid-1920s and was torn down after it closed in the late 1960s, so only an empty lot remains on Ballard Road, he said.

“For whatever reason there is no record of the school or winning the championships,” Antoine said. “It’s important to us to bring it up and let people of the community know what we did in winning the basketball games. It was an important part of the community.”

He said people need to understand and remember the school’s history and what it meant, especially to the African American community.

“We played basketball in the cities, but we couldn’t walk into a restaurant and order anything or use the restrooms,” he said. “That was just part of the times we were living in, but winning those state championships lifted us up as students, faculty and a community. To achieve that back in those days it was a great achievement.”

He said very few people know about the accomplishments of the school’s basketball teams and its drill teams because most of its history was not recorded.

“We want people to come out to experience it and let them know what we achieved and how proud we are still to be Allen High yellow jackets,” he said, referring to the school’s mascot. “Even though most of our history has been lost, we want people to know we existed.”

“We want our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to know we had a history that was rich and we had heroes that died in Vietnam, yet we couldn’t go into a restaurant to get our own burger.”

The main sport at the school remained basketball with teams playing on everything from a dirt court to a gym.

He said the school had some great basketball players who could have become professionals in the NBA, but they couldn’t go to McNeese, LSU or anywhere because they were black.