SPONSORED: Go Sharks!

Before Southside High School in Youngsville opened its doors this August, nearly 50 years had passed since a new high school was built in Lafayette Parish. Back then, the city of Youngsville was still a village — much different from the thriving community it is now with nearly 700 students enrolled in the city’s first public high school.

“The growth in Youngsville has been so rapid in the time I’ve been in office,” said Mayor Ken Ritter. “We’ve tried to shift the paradigm to be about quality and not quantity and the school will help define our community.”

That community has already been identifying with Southside. With sports beginning ahead of the first day of class and parents enthusiastic to be part of the school’s first class of students, the Southside spirit is strong with Sharks apparel on just about every corner! The school is considered marvelously modern, built around a new way of learning, driven by technology. The visuals alone differ from any other high school in the region. “We’re proud to have it in Youngsville,” Ritter said. “It was certainly needed and was a collective effort of a lot of people from the leadership of the school board and the superintendent who made it a priority.”

The mammoth project only took 14 months to complete with The Lemoine Company at the helm. “It’s a campus that everyone in the parish should be proud of,” Ritter said. “It’s very modern.” The look of the building and the disparity between it and other Lafayette Parish public schools has come under fire, by some. Something to which Ritter is aware. “There has been chatter that it’s too much money and some criticism there. But, I think that’s short sighted,” Ritter said. “It makes me wonder if the same argument was made 50 years ago when other schools were built. What was the issue at that time? They didn’t want to put in air conditioners?”

Ritter says the campus, equipped for a technology-driven learning experience from glass-walled classrooms and lockers with chargers that are more the size of a safety deposit box than the traditional size, is better prepared for the future. “Historically, we ask people why they move to Youngsville — the quality of schools has been a top reason. All our schools are A or B rated,” Ritter said. “Southside High will propel that forward.”

We wish every new student, parent, faculty and staff member a wonderful year at Southside High School.

Go Sharks!

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