McDonogh No. 35 High School – Sophomore Class 1931

McDonogh#35- Sophomore Class 1931

McDonogh#35- Sophomore Class 1931


Seated (left to right): Milton Becnel, Elizabeth Moody, Mildred De Sargant, Scott Anderson, Lambert Boissiere, Edwina Boyer, Marie Boyer, Onelia Sayas, Onelia Bazenac

Standing (middle row): George Adams, Andree Lawrence, Wilbur Llado, Ethel Lyons, Elmira Richards, Ida Lawrence, Alice Dungey, Alice Fortune, Dorothy Jolissant, Mildred Fauria, Alphonsine Watts, George Armstrong

Standing (top row): Claudia Gasper, Anna Moore, Hilda Gautier, Wilfred Alexis, Pellam Calhoun, Andrew Haines, Sterling Jacobs, Althea Hart, Olivia Jourdain, Camille Polk, Maxine Cooper.

When McDonogh #35 opened its doors in 1917, it became the first black public high school in the city of New Orleans. In 1900 students of color could only receive an education up to the fifth grade. By 1909, under constant pressure from black community leaders, the school board was forced to add a sixth grade; and a seventh, four years later, in 1913. Finally an eight was added in 1914. As a result, graduates from 8th grade, now had the preliminary requirements needed for a high school education.

It was not until white leaders realized that if society was going to remain segregated, as they so desired, the black community would need its own physicians, teachers, lawyers, and clergymen. As a result, a black high school was needed to begin to train such professionals.

Although McDonogh #35 was the first of its kind, students were not given a new building nor all the equipment and supplies they needed. McDonogh #13, an all white school, was converted for their use and the students attending McDonogh #13 attended a newly built school.  In spite of all these obstacles, the students at McDonogh #35 made tremendous progress academically. So much progress that in 1923, the New Orleans School Board voted to suspend the teaching of Spanish, Chemistry, and Physics at the school. This action definitely jeopardized the school’s standings as a college preparatory school. It was only through the protest from the black community that the decision was reversed one year later.

The students pictured above were taught by such outstanding educators as George  Carpenter, Charles Rousseve, E. Belfield Spriggins, Louis and Osceola Blanchett, Oralee  Baranco, and George  Parker.  The principal of McDonogh#35 was the legendary Lucien V. Alexis. Through the hard work of these teachers and through their own determination to succeed against all odds, the students of this sophomore class went beyond  high school and became well known teachers, principals, and business leaders throughout the New Orleans area.

Sources: The Roneagle – 1931; Crescent City Schools (Devore and Logsdon); Cherrie Family Collection; Mrs. Marie Boyer Brown (pictured above) supplied students’ names.

Lolita V. Cherrie

57 thoughts on “McDonogh No. 35 High School – Sophomore Class 1931

  1. Great info. My mother taught there in the 40’s Edith Winand Thomas. This class has several of her friends.

    • My mother was Hilda Gautier (Adams). This is now the earliest picture of her that our family has! My niece found this site yesterday.

  2. Does anyone know what year was the first graduating class and their names? I seem to remember my daddy saying that he had graduated from Mc 35. He was born in 1903, but I don’t know what year he graduated. His name is Ira J. Cantrelle.

    • Since the school opened in 1917, I assume the 1st graduating class was around 1920. The 1st Roneagle yearbook was not published until 1928. I will check the 1928 book for your dad but he was there in the earlier years if he was born in 1903. I’ll also check in several archives to find out if student info before 1928 exist.

      • Thank you so much. Before the storm I had his graduation invitation, but I don’t have it any more. However, I think there were 10 people in his class. I am sorry that I didn’t take better care of his documents.

  3. This is so wonderful. My grandmother also attended this high school, but I cannot find a year book which includes her. Can you please look up Geraldine Higginbotham in your copy? Her brother’s name was Luther Higginbotham, and he was also a student there, they were born in 1912 and 1915 – I’m certain at least one of them is in there. Please let me know if you can. Much appreciated.

    • Good news! I found your great uncle, Luther Higginbotham, in the 1931 yearbook. He was president of his 10th grade class.There were seven 10th grade classes and he was in 10 B-1. There are two group photos of him. In the first he is posed with his classmates of 28 students. In the second one he is with other class presidents. Hopefully, you can identify him since all the names are listed but they are in alphabetical order and not according to where the students are located in the photo. If you’d like, I’ll scan the two and send them to your personal email.

  4. My mother graduated from “35” in 1942. Her name is RUTH ASHLEY. Could you look in the 1942 Roneagle to see if her picture is there? She is 88 years old now, and I know she would be thrilled to see it. Thank you so much.

  5. Wonderful article. My grandfather also attended No. 35 and graduated in either 1924 or 1925 (John Gardina). I wonder if I could also trouble you for a lookup?

  6. I stumbled over your site while Googling my grandmother, Hilda Gautier (Adams), who is listed as a student in this photo. Thank you so much! This is the only picture I’ve ever seen of her as a teenager. Who could I talk to about getting a copy of that photograph? Are there any other photos of her in the yearbook? Pretty please? And thank you again for posting the picture and the history of McDonough 35. I’ve learned a lot this evening.

  7. Hi Lisa,
    I have looked through my copy of the 1931 yearbook but there are no more pictures of your grandmother. My mother-in-law is also in that class. Hilda Gauthier would have graduated in 1932 since the 11th grade was really their senior year at that time. I have not been able to locate the ’32 yearbook at UNO, Xavier or the Main Library. I’ll send you a personal e mail about possibly obtaining a copy of this photo. Thanks so much for letting us know how much this photo meant to you. You and others are making all our hard work so worthwhile.

  8. My father (and his siblings) also graduated from McDonough 35. After serving in the army in WWII, he returned to New Orleans where he attended and graduated from Xavier University, then went on to Meharry Medical Coolege where he earned degrees in medical technology and then dentistry. He moved his young family to Los Angeles- like so many other residents of the 7th Ward- where he established and continued in a thriving dental practice until he died in 1996.

  9. Thank You so much for this wonderful site~~~Was trying to find a picture of my mother who attended McDonogh#35 in the 30s~~~She was born in 1915 and passed in 2011~~~I am doing some research and wanted to see if a school picture was available for her~~~I believe she graduated in 1931 or 32~~~Her name was Virginia E. Young~~~Any info would be greatly appreciated..

    • I found your mother in my 1931 McDonogh #35 yearbook. She is in Grade 11B-3 which is a senior class. It is a class photo of 18 students. Get in touch with me at Lolitac454………..Lolita Villavasso Cherrie

      • Lolita V. Cherrie, THANK YOU so much for my mother’s senior class picture from your 1931 McDonogh #35 yearbook~~~It is the earliest picture I have ever seen, now have of her in her youth~~~As the family historian it means the world to me to have this picture and the McDonogh #35 story to add to the family history and my mother and unsung hero, Virginia Evalena Young Collins, legacy.

        I appreciate you and the CreoleGen group for this wonderful site and all the work that you do in researching and documenting the lives of ethnically diverse Louisiana and Gulf Coast Creole families.~~~Again thank You so very much.

        Peace, Love and Blessings

    • My sister and I have a 1931 year book of the Roneagles and it’s in real mint condition inside and out. This book is a real legacy of New Orleans and the school and the people in it.This book is 83 years old.

      • Is there any way to get a copy of the McDonogh #35 1931 yearbook for purchase? Also, would like to know if my mother’s photo (Virginia E. Young) in the 1929 and 1930 yearbooks.

        Thank You

        • Lydia,
          The 1931 yearbook from McDonogh #35 is very rare to find, not unless Ms. Folse is interested in selling you her copy. I found your mother’s photo in a group photo on page 45 in the 1931 yearbook but I may have sent you a copy of this picture in the past. Please check and let me know. If not, I can scan it for you and email to your address. I could not find her in 1929….Lolita (CreoleGen)

  10. Looking for my grandfather in any photos at 35 in think her graduated in 1929 or 1930 not sure hope you can help. Name Herbert (Hebert) Radford.

  11. Ok, special thanks to alumni Charlene Gorden. I am the granddaughter of a #35 grad. Her Name at the time was Marie Ora Comacho (Camacho). She was born in August of 1923 and was one of the first to graduate as a married student. She and the other young lady were Val and Sal at the time. Originally, the school put my grandmother out because of the marriage. But, then let her back in and actually gave her a scholarship. $5 big ol dollars! She would have been 15 or 16 at the time of graduation and she said their ceremony was held in the new Booker T Washington auditorium. And that the Booker T students were upset because #35 used it before they did. She will be 90 this August is God says the same. Treschere.. if anyone can assist. She married Henry Fulton.

    • Hi Trescher, If your grandmother’s graduation was held in Booker T. Washington’s High School she must have graduated in 1942 since that is the first year B.T.W. opened.

  12. My cousin just sent this page to me. Do you have year books for the mid-late 1930’s? My mom, Angela V. Epps, would have graduated around 1936-37, and my dad, Joseph A. Adams, two years earlier. His brother, George, is in the above picture. Thanks for any help obtaining pictures of my parents in their early years.

    • I only have the 1929 and 1931 yearbooks, but I know of a few others at the Main Library, Uno, and McD#35. I will check through mine and some others and will get back to you in a few days.

    • Yes, your mom, Angela Epps did graduate from McD#35 in June of 1936. Unfortunately, I have only a list of names of those graduates and nothing else which I obtained from Univ. of New Orleans. There were two graduations that year; one in January consisting of 143 students and one in June consisting of 236 students. The yearbooks from the 1930s are very difficult to find, but I will continue to search for her and Joseph. So glad you found your Uncle George.

      • Wonderful to know the month and year! Let me know if there is any thing I can do online to help with any search – mine or others. I don’t mind sifting through data.

  13. Ms. Cherrie,
    I can not thank you enough for the pictures and research you have posted. My Grandfather was Isadore Wolf, pictured on the Roneagle Yearbook Staff. Since the hurricane, our family has lost a lot of the photographs my grandmother kept. She has since past away. My Grandfather past away before I was born. It is truly priceless to be able to share this photo with my children so they can better relate to the stories they hear from my mother about her father and their Great grandfather. What you have shared is more than I could have dreamed, but if you have any additional photos, facts or stories to share, I would be forever grateful. — Janelle

  14. I believe my Grandfather, Morris Jeff graduated form McD#35 in 1933. I have seen a yearbook but that was before the storm. My Grandmother, Thelma Evans graduated in 1936, 50 years before I did. Would love to see any pictures of them. Thanks so much

  15. Hi,
    I am looking for info on Claude Ratleff. I am not sure what year he graduated but I know that it was in the thirties.
    Thanks, Lois Jones

  16. I know my Father attended McD#35…all of our records and everything we had went with Katrina….Benjamin J. Johnson….then went on to XU…then Loyola Uni….Peoples Life Ins Co…a brilliant man…gone too soon….

  17. My mother was Cleo W. Thompson. She was born in 1916 and attended McD35 in the 1930’s. I would appreciate if you can find any pictures or information on her.

  18. Hi Patricia,
    I will gladly check my McD#35 yearbooks from 1929-1931-1932. If I find any photos of your mother, I will contact you. Thanks for reading CreoleGen.

  19. Hi Patricia,
    I have searched through my McD#35 yearbooks and have not located a picture of your mother as a student. I did locate some other students with the last name of Thompson that may be related. They are: (1929 Yearbook) Virginia, Mildred, Weenonie, Frances, Thelma Thompson. (1931 Yearbook) Myrtle, Thelma Thompson. (1932) Ethel, Myrtle, Henrietta, Tessie Thompson. Just let me know if any of these are of any interest.

    • Thanks for checking. During the 1930’s were there any students with the first name Cleo, Cleofus with a middle name of Winifred? I know you receive many requests. Will appreciate whenever you find the time to research.

  20. Can someone check the 1931 yearbook for Anaïse Raphael? She would have been in either the Junior or Senior class.

  21. My grandmother Olivia Hope went to #35 She was born in 1911 so I think she graduated some where between 1930 – 31 if someone has her photo please email it to me. Thanks

    • Hi Bryan,
      I have not been able to find your grandmother, Olivia Hope, In neither the 1929-1931- or 1932 yearbooks. She may have attended McD#35 a little earlier. There is a 1928 yearbook but I do not have it. I will check it when I get to the archives.

  22. My Grandmother, Valtoria Madiera Thompson graduated in either 1931 or 1932. She was born in 1915 and our family lore says she finished “early” in December. If someone can find her, I would really appreciate it. I live in Washington, DC so I don’t really have access to alot of New Orleans stuff anymore.

  23. If you have time could please check for the DeLavallade surname… We are having a family reunion this year in N.O. and it would be great if we had copies of the siblings that attended McDonogh #35. The oldest was born in 1909 and the youngest in 1928; I’m not sure which ones besides Florence and Dorothy Mae that attended McD #35…


  24. Hi Patricia, This is what I found….

    Myrtle DeLavallade has a small individual photo in the 1931 edition of the Roneagle. Josephine DeLavallade may be in a small group photo with class 11B-4. Her name appears here but several students are missing in the class picture so I’m not sure if she is here. Dorothy DeLavallade was in a baby contest at McD#35 in 1931. Her sponsor was Josephine. You can see this photo on CreoleGen dated June 2, 2014 and determine if Dorothy is shown there. You can contact me further at

    • Hi Lolita,

      Yes, that is my Aunt Dorothy Mae DeLavallade… Left 2nd row, 2nd child. I downloaded it last year.

      Can I please get you to email the other photos you have for Myrtle and Josephine.

      Thanks I really appreciate this.

  25. I am looking for the Roneagles yearbook for 1933 from Mcdonogh 35 High School. My 99 year old friend, Mildred Edwards, is in that yearbook. Do you have a picture of the 1933 class? Thanks for any consideration given to this matter. Gloria

  26. Hi Gloria,
    There is no yearbook for McDonogh#35 for 1933. The school discontinued all publications from 1933 to 1943. (See our post dated Sept. 9, 2013). Luckily I looked through my 1932 yearbook and did find a group photo of Grade 11B-1 with a Mildred Edwards. Names of students are included but they are not written in the order in which students are positioned in the picture. I will send it to your personal email address. Please let me know if your friend is able to locate herself.

  27. This is great history of McDonogh #35….Thanks to all the contributors!! My mother was a student in the late 40s, is there a place to look for yearbooks in the city?

  28. Hi,
    My maternal grandmother Valtoria Madeira ARMSTRONG graduated from Mcdonogh 35. She must have graduated around 1932,1933, or earlier. I just read a post on here from one of my relatives who was asking for information ,but he listed our grandmother as Valtoria THOMPSON.THOMPSON was her married name, and isn’t the name she had when she graduated from 35. Any information you have on her would be greatly appeciated. Thank you so much for doing these look ups. God Bless You!

  29. Hi Anya, I have found two photos of your grandmother in McDonogh 35’s yearbook of 1932. She was in Grade 10B-1 and would have graduated in 1933,. Unfortunately there was not a yearbook published in 1933. The two photos I have are not individual ones but of an entire class group. All names are listed but not according to where the students appear. You will have to search for her. Please let me know if you would like me to scan them and send. Send your response to

  30. I would love any information, specifically pictures, on my Aunt Eugenia Duvernay, or any other Duvernays, that might be in the yearbook. I saw a picture of my Aunt Eugenia on another post about McDonogh #35, from the 1928 Roneagle. Eugenia was born in 1911, and had several siblings. She was the youngest.
    Thank you!

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