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Statement from NOLA Public Schools on the Passing of Tessie Prevost


(New Orleans – July 9, 2024) — It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of Tessie Prevost, a courageous civil rights pioneer whose impact resonates profoundly in our community and beyond. Alongside Leona Tate and Gail Etienne, Tessie Prevost bravely integrated New Orleans' McDonough 19 on November 14, 1960, at just six years old. This historic moment not only marked a pivotal stride towards desegregation but also symbolized resilience and determination in the face of adversity.


Years later, Tessie Prevost, along with her fellow trailblazers, transformed McDonogh 19 into The TEP Center, a beacon of education and history. This center stands as a testament to their enduring commitment to civil rights and serves as an invaluable educational resource, chronicling their remarkable journey through the Civil Rights Movement.


In September 2023, The TEP Center hosted the traveling exhibition "The Trail They Blazed," offering visitors a poignant, multisensory experience that vividly portrayed the significance of their contributions. Tessie Prevost's unwavering spirit and dedication have left an indelible mark on our city's history and continue to inspire generations.


"On behalf of NOLA Public Schools and the Orleans Parish School Board, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Tessie Prevost's family, friends, and all who were touched by her remarkable life," said NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams. "May her legacy of courage and commitment to justice forever inspire us to uphold the values of equality and inclusivity in education and beyond."

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About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 67 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams, the first woman in the District's 181 years to serve as its permanent superintendent.


For more information, visit www.nolapublicschools.com. For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools.

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