Roosevelt ribbon-cutting, school's open for students

"Hello Rough Riders!"

After many years and a $140 million renovation budget, Roosevelt High School, home of the Rough Riders, opened for students on Monday, August 22nd. The new class will graduate in 2021.

The renovated high school features state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, a brand new interior and beautiful architecture. The west main entrance off of 13th Street, closed for years to students, is now open once again. The school features a dual language program, aligning with the Spanish-English programs at Powell and MacFarland Middle School (which, by the way, will open this year to 6th graders, to 6th and 7th graders next year, and then 6th through 8th graders the year after). 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was on Friday, August 19th with many DC government officials in attendance, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd and a few members of the DC State Board of Education, including Kamili Anderson, Ward 4; Karen Williams, Vice President and Ward 7; and Mary Lord, At-Large Boardmember. There was a large crowd of alumni, city officials and press outside, all with a high-level of excitement and anticipation. The Roosevelt fight song was sung a few times. People have been waiting for Roosevelt to be brought back and brought up to the level needed for students.

Aqueela James, principal

Aqueela James, the new principal of Roosevelt, spoke about the work that went into the school, and talked about the excitement of reopening. John Davis, the Chief of Schools and the new interim DCPS chancellor, said the renovated school is "outstanding, and exactly what our students deserve to see on Monday."

John Davis, incoming interim school's chancellor

Anthony Clark Arend, a Georgetown University professor collaborating with DCPS, spoke (quite animatedly) about the potential of the school, saying, "Just as Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel Peace Prize, I expect a graduate of Roosevelt High will do the same!"

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser

Mayor Bowser said that it's been "25 years since our kids could walk through the front door [of Roosevelt]. Well, come Monday, our children will walk through the front door!" The Mayor thanked the residents and commissioners of ANC 4C (Commissioner John Paul-Hayworth from 4C07 attended on behalf of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission).

The Mayor said that "It's not the building, it's the people," referring to what will make the school a success. She wrapped up saying that a renovated "Roosevelt is important for Ward 4, and for all of DC. When there's a weak link in our system, the system is weak." She looked around the crowd and said, "Coolidge, here we come!" 

Cutting the proverbial ribbon...


Be sure to check out Martin Austermuhle's article and interview about Roosevelt from WAMU: "Diane Rehm and Isabel Wilkerson Remember Roosevelt High Over The Years."

Related Petworth News article:
 - A look at a new Roosevelt: a long-overdue renovation (January 30, 2016)


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