Benjamin Franklin High School will be able to resurface its soccer field and upgrade and enlarge the irrigation system thanks to a $6,300 grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the national model for sports-based youth development programs in underserved communities. Other local schools will also use the soccer field.

“The Franklin community sincerely appreciates this grant and the way that it links with other funding sources in order to create an improved athletic field and facilities,” said Patrick Widhalm, head of the school.

The grant was awarded as part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Safe Places to Play program, which addresses the needs of children in underserved communities facing an acute shortage of safe playgrounds. The program offers children accessible play areas by funding the costs of design, construction, surfacing and enhancement. 

Since its inception in 1994, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has awarded more than $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations across the country. Support for the foundation’s grant process is provided by corporate partners, including AstroTurf, Brock, Hunter Industries, Kwik Goal, Musco Sports Lighting, Soccer.com and Sport Court.

Warren Easton principal to retire

After 12 years at the head of "A" rated Warren Easton Charter High School, Principal and CEO Alexina Medley is retiring.

With over 40 years working in education, Medley leaves a lasting impression on Warren Easton, making it one of the first city high schools to reopen after the 2005 hurricanes and levee failures. 

She was president of the Greater New Orleans Collaborative from 2014-16, and previously was a board member, helping other public schools reopen while the New Orleans Public School System was shuttered or recovering.

Under her guidance, Warren Easton was has continuously improved its test scores and graduation rates while decreasing drop-outs.  

Her duties will be divided into three positions. Warren Easton Charter Board President David Garland said, “She has been a tireless, irreplaceable leader and will be greatly missed. However, she leaves the school in the excellent hands of a team trained by her.”

Medley received a Masters of Education with a major in Educational Administration and Supervision from Xavier University. She is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She also is a fellow with the School Leadership Center of New Orleans

Student parade

St. Pius X School’s Mother’s Club will host the school’s annual Mardi Gras parade at 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6600 Spanish Fort Blvd.

The Shiners will lead the parade of second- and third-grade students while the rest of the student body will line the route to catch throws.

Pet Adoption

Meet adoptable animals from the Louisiana SPCA from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at PetSmart, 2900 S. Claiborne Ave. Adoption counselors and volunteers will be on hand to help you select the perfect rescue pet. For information, visit www.la-spca.org/adopt.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at jensencolumn@gmail.com.