GSA Supports and Honors Katrina Ravaged High School

Posted December 15, 2006

Just across Lake Ponchartrain from New Orleans in the town of Slidell sits a high school, which until recently, was known for its football prowess. The story of Salmen High School is a tale of adversity and recovery. Due to the overwhelming damage from Hurricane Katrina, local officials began the process of closing the school last year. But Principal Byron Williams – a Salmen graduate himself – went door to door in the community to ask families to bring back Salmen students and rebuild the school. Working with FEMA and local contractors, a temporary campus of modular buildings and trailers was erected and school opened at Salmen last August. Today, in temporary buildings, more than 80 percent of Salmen’s students have returned.

Earlier this year, GSA donated approximately $326,000 in excess office supplies for distribution to school systems in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Global Supply Division of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service identified surplus items that could be used by school systems affected by the hurricanes. Donated supplies included pens, paper, folders, and posterboard. Salmen High is part of the St. Tammany Parish School System, which received over $43,000 worth of donated materials.

GSA Administrator Lurita Doan visited Salmen High School, and met with Principal Williams and several classes of students on December 12th as part of GSA’s continuing efforts to help the Gulf Coast region ravaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“Principal Williams did a remarkable job in terrible and tragic circumstances,” Doan said. “His work to keep the student body intact and ensure Salmen High’s comeback has been an inspiration to the entire community.”

In recognition of the perseverance and dedication that went into rebuilding the school and community, Administrator Doan presented Principal Williams with a pair of flags that were flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of Salmen High.

“These flags represent the ability to survive and overcome adversity," said the Administrator, noting that the students and faculty of Salmen High were great examples of the American spirit.

In its continuing effort to be an effective steward of taxpayer dollars, GSA determined that the cost to the government to warehouse the surplus materials exceeded the value of the supplies. GSA decided the public would be best served by donating the excess supplies under GSA’s program to dispose of surplus property to schools in the Gulf Coast area declared federal disaster areas.

Administrator Doan was in New Orleans to speak at a HUBZone Small Business Conference. GSA has continued to encourage and facilitate the use of small businesses in Gulf Coast recovery and reconstruction efforts.

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