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Alumni welcome Roosevelt students on the first day of school

Alumni welcome Roosevelt students back to school

Contributed By:The 411 News

Ominous signs about the future of the Roosevelt program at the Career Center

Television cameras rolled as Roosevelt alumni formed a welcoming brigade for Theodore Roosevelt College & Career Academy students arriving for the first day of school at the Gary Area Career Center Monday.

Alumni’s shouts of ‘Welcome back to school,’ ‘Have a good year,’ ‘We support you’ and other words of encouragement brightened the faces of the students whose home school has gone through a tough year. Roosevelt High School at 25th Avenue and Harrison is nearly 100 years old and the school building’s heating system didn’t survive the freezing temperatures of February’s polar vortex.

Since then, classes have been held at the Career Center. Plans for the students return to their home on 25th Avenue in the new school year were scuttled when the Gary school district announced in July that repair costs could amount to over $10 million.

Roosevelt alumni galvanized soon after the building closed, forming the Gary Roosevelt Alumni Community Organization. Initially formed to spur alumni and supporters to save the school and turn it into a community center, the organization aims to help the current students at the Career Center.

Some of its members are involved with other alumni organizations that have been providing financial support for scholarships and student activities at Roosevelt school since it came under state control in 2012. EdisonLearning is the state’s partner in Roosevelt’s management and operation.

Arica Buchanan, president of the Alumni Community Organization, spoke to the students at Monday’s opening session in the school cafeteria. “We will be here with you during and after school to support you in your programs and sports activities. Please feel free to reach out. We are here for you.”

On Tuesday, alumni will lead a motorcade from 25th Avenue to the Career Center in time for the Gary school district’s monthly meeting. Alumni are keeping the closed building in the public’s eye, seeking answers from the school district’s administration about the building’s future.

An ominous sign about the future of the Roosevelt program at the Career Center was the number of students showing up for the first day. Close to 150 seventh through 12th graders is an approximate number. When Roosevelt principal Joshua Batchelor dismissed the morning convocation, grades 11-12 left first; they were nearly half of the student body.

Remaining in the cafeteria were grades seventh through 10, leaving half of the students in the remaining four grades. Roosevelt’s student numbers in the lower grades are directly opposite the usual high school student configuration in which grades 7 through 10 greatly outnumber students in grades 11 through 12.

Roosevelt lost nearly a million dollars in state student financial support this year because of a drop in student enrollment in the 2018-19 school year from the 2017-18 school year.


Roosevelt alumni and Calumet Township Trustee Kim Robinson, left, with officers of the Gary Theodore Roosevelt Alumni Community Organization: Carmelita Perry, Arica Buchanan, John King, and Judy Mead.


Alumni welcome Roosevelt students on the first day of school

Story Posted:08/13/2019

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