Washington Montessori Celebrates 80 Years of Excellence


When it came time to plan the 80th anniversary celebration of Washington Montessori, there was really only one way to honor a school that’s meant so much to the Kenner community.

“We wanted it to be like a reunion, a family reunion,” said Washington Montessori Principal Darlene Turnbull, “where  everyone who has had anything to do with Washington can come out and celebrate.”

Washington Montessori spent the weekend of April 22-24 “Celebrating 80 Years of Excellence.” The three day celebration included a festival for students and the community on Friday, a reunion gala on Saturday, and a celebration service on Sunday. Alumni, former staff, and community members from far and wide were invited to the weekend events. Guests even included members of the first graduating class.

“For our Mardi Gras parade we had one of the (former) teachers,” said Turnbull, who also attended Washington as a student. “He just walked around reminiscing about what things were still the same and what things were different. So, it’s just been really humbling.”

25976424464_bac4fc2dc7_zJudge Marc E. Johnson chaired the committee than planned the celebration. Like the school, Johnson’s family is deeply rooted in Kenner. As the school has evolved and changed names over the years, it has maintained its important role developing leaders in the community.

“Washington’s history has been so important to not just Kenner, but to Jefferson Parish and this whole area,” said Johnson. “At one time, kids from St. Charles Parish and the outlying parishes actually came to Kenner and came to Washington for school. So it tells you how deep this site has been and how important it has been to this entire area.

A number of community organizations, the City of Kenner, and the Jefferson Parish Public School System were just some of the groups that played a role in the successful weekend. Johnson said the event “electrified” the community, and that plans are already materializing for future celebrations.

“We plan to do it next year, and the next year, and next year,” said Johnson. “As a matter of fact, one of the committee members was actually talking about the 100th birthday celebration.”

Click through our photo gallery below to see sights from the student festival on Friday.