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Tidbit of Opelousas History – J. S. Clark High School

CAROLA LILLIE HARTLEY
Contributing Writer

What began as the St. Landry Training School over a century ago, became J. S. Clark High School in Opelousas during the 1950s. When the old wooded structure that housed the school for four decades on the corner of Vine and Academy streets outgrew its use, a new building was constructed to house a more modern school for Black students. That school became  J. S. Clark High School in 1953, named for Joseph Samuel Clark (1871-1944), the Louisiana educator who worked to advance educational opportunities for Blacks in Louisiana and served as president of Southern University from 1914-1938

J. S. Clark was a school that excelled in many ways. The school had several sport championship teams over the years, with several talented athletes participating in their football, basketball, track and field, tennis and other sporting activities. One of the teams that had an impressive record was the 1957 J. S. Clark Bulldogs football team. That team beat Henderson of New Iberia by a score of 65-0. A hero of that game was a player named Clarence “Little Moe” Merrick. The Bulldogs won their District crown and went on to win the Bi-District championship that year. The archives of the Opelousas Daily World on December 4, 1957 has a photograph of that 1957 championship team.

J. S. Clark and Opelousas High School were merged in 1969-1970 and both schools became Opelousas High School (OHS).