SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - This coming school year, Fair Park High School students will combine with the students at Booker T. Washington and become one school.
"We can't reverse it, but what we can do as alumni is make it easier on the kids who are coming," said Robert Jackson, an alumnus of Booker T. Washington.
It's been several months since the merger between Booker T. Washington and Fair Park High schools was announced, and to prepare the kids for that transition school officials are turning to football to make the change easier.
"If there was nobody on the field but Booker T. and Fair Park students, this would be a major success," said Jackson.
With school a little more than a month away, school officials are doing everything they can to make the transition easy for the children.
One thing school officials and Booker T. Washington alumni are doing to help, host a football camp for the players. On July 29, former Dallas Cowboy and Booker T. Washington High School Lion, Roosevelt Collins will host a football camp for the Booker T. Washington players. It's called "The Better Together Camp." It's a way to bring not only the players but the school together ahead of the first day of school.
"To have NFL players come back to Shreveport Louisiana and to show to these young people that we really care about you. And to have Fair Park and Booker T. Washington come together, that was icing on the cake," said Collins.
There has been a lot of pushback since the school board announced the merger earlier this year. Many weren't happy with the new transition.
"I listened to some of the people in the community and I know there was a, I don't want to say a disconnect, but a little friction between bringing Booker T. Washington High School together and Fair Park High School together coming from different communities. Differences don't mean deficits. These young men have a lot more in common than they do separately. And part of my job is to let them know that football is a great thing that brings all us together," said Collins, who graduated from Booker T. Washington in 1986.
Organizers say one of the most important parts about this camp is making the kids feel comfortable in advance of the new environment that will be at Booker T. Washington come August.
They're turning to barber shops and community leaders to spread the word to everyone in the two communities.
"We just hope and pray it will be a smooth transition, and we believe it will be. They've got good administration across the street at Booker T. Washington," said Craig Pollard, the owner of Headquarters Barber Center.
"It's going to need a positive atmosphere opposed to negative. Because if we don't reach out to get these kids to understand that together we stand and divided they'll fall," said Larry Black, an alumnus of Booker T. Washington.
This is Collin's "Hometown Weekend" and it's his first camp in his hometown of Shreveport. It is technically three camps in one: The Better Together camp, The Byron Williams "Next Level" Advance camp, and the Hometown Youth Minicamp. Former New York Giants player, Byron Williams will take high school age players, 13 and up, and help them hone their skills in his Byron Williams "Next Level" Advance camp. The Hometown Youth Minicamp is for ages 8-18 to learn the fundamentals of football from the pros.
The camp will be held Saturday, July 29th, from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Leonard C. Barnes Stadium on Booker T. Washington's campus. It is free for kids 8-17.
Anyone with questions about the camp can call (214) 695-1129
If you want more information, you're asked to call (214) 695-1129 or e-mail email@example.com.