Senior staff writer
An active and concerned Emmerich Manual High School Alumni Association continues to enthusiastically support the historic school through its darkest years.
The association’s membership has been part of Manual’s golden years of high academic and athletic achievement and has saved many programs particularly due to the state-mandated takeover five years ago.
“Everything at Manual is going in the right direction,” association President Alice Hughes Glover said. “The association has always been supportive of the school; I mean forever supportive.”
When most alumni association members attended Manual they were supportive through their academic achievements and participation in extracurricular activities at the school.
The football team won city and mythical state championships, and the basketball team with the famed VanArsdale twins reached the state finals in 1961.
The association has helped Manual’s students for many decades. In recent years the organization has increased scholarships while most significantly saving its music programs, yearbook and JROTC.
The association solicits advertisements for the yearbook and also purchases a yearbook for each graduating senior. Alumni members return for football and basketball homecomings, and they support FFA and volunteer for many student programs.
The alumni room at the high school has yearbooks dating back to 1895 plus many artifacts that provide insights for teachers and students into Manual’s proud history.
“Today’s teachers continually ask about the traditions of Manual,” said Hughes Glover, who explained the value of the alumni room. “So many of the teachers are young and not familiar with the school’s traditions and history.”
The association fought for the retention of extracurricular programs after Indianapolis Public Schools attempted to send those programs to other IPS high schools.
Manual is the oldest continuously accredited high school in Indiana, dating back to 1905. The school observed its centennial celebration in 1995.
The association is devoted to the perpetuation of the school through thick or thin. The organization has been instrumental in helping students and faculty recover from its academic woes, which placed it under state intervention.
Manual’s state ranking under Charter Schools USA, known as CSUSA, has improved from an F to a D-plus. The CSUSA contract goes through June 30, 2018.
What happens after that date is up to several entities: the Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Board of Education, Indianapolis Public Schools and particularly CSUSA.
Manual and other IPS schools under state intervention were not listed in the latest grade configuration that was approved by the IPS board last month.
Acknowledging the CSUSA contract, IPS Deputy Superintendent for Academics Wanda H. Legrand stated, “As the potential end of Manual’s takeover status nears, Indianapolis Public Schools will coordinate with state leaders to ensure future plans for the school are appropriately addressed by our district leadership.”
The board determines when a school has raised its performance to the extent that state intervention is not necessary.
Under state law, if a school remains under state intervention for a fifth year, the board must return the school to the school corporation, take steps for charter school status or implement a new intervention.
CSUSA, administrators and faculty at Manual contend that students have benefitted in recent years through an emphasis on discipline, a credit recovery system, access to tutoring, various academies and retention and expansion of JROTC, music and drama and sports.
With the improvements made under CSUSA, it shows that the management team will be involved for the long haul.