The history of Opelousas High School is extensive and quite comprehensive. The long history of the school parallels the city's long and illustrious past, serving in the prestigious capacity of the third oldest city in the state. Opelousas, a name taken from the Appalousa tribe of Indians and whose name means "Blackleg", is the seat of imperial St. Landry Parish.
St. Landry High School started in 1893, the first public high school in the parish. In 1895, the school saw its first graduate. Miss Isabel Dupre. In 1914, the name of the school was changed to Opelousas High and the school was moved to Vine Street. In 1952 the third building to house Opelousas High was built on Market Street. By 1962, the student body had almost doubled in size and thus a new building was needed. By 1964, the present building housing OHS was completed on a 30-acre tract of land on Judson Walsh Drive, land that was donated by Kenneth and Helen Boagni. This new building, completed at a cost of 1.5 million dollars, was the first fully air-conditioned building of its kind in the area, truly on the cutting edge. It featured a 1200 seat auditorium, permanent stage, and state of the art labs, and physical education facilities.
In 1969-70, Opelousas High School and J.S. Clark High School underwent fall integration. As a result, 9th and 10th graders were housed at Opelousas High School #2 (the former J.S. Clark) and the 11th and 12th graders attended Opelousas High School. During the 1970-71 school term, the 10thgraders joined the 11th and 12th graders at OHS, with the 9th grade becoming part of either Opelousas Junior High (the old Market Street school) or East Junior High School (formerly J.S. Clark). In 1996, the OHS Field House was added to the school plant. In 1996-97, the ninth grade returned to OHS, and a 3-classroom addition was built behind the school
Opelousas High School has had several very popular principals. Among them are: (the year signifies the year each was appointed principal)
- V.K. Irion – 1894
- Charles Shaffer – 1894
- T.H. Harris – 1896
- Edwin F. Gayle – 1900
- W.B. Prescott – 1901
- W.C. Perrault – 1916
- Paul D. Pavy – 1919
- Payne Mahfouz – 1952
- Leroy Ortego – 1971
- John Hurst – 1982
- George Richard – 1984
- Raymond Duplechain – 1986
- Raymond Cassimere - 1992
- Rodney J. Johnson – 2000
Throughout its rich history, OHS has served its community well and proudly. OHS has been the home of many doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, engineers, businessmen and women, journalists, military personnel, accountants, blue collar workers, and principals.
Opelousas High has enjoyed many successive years of outstanding academic and athletic prowess. The athletic program has just moved up to class 5-A, the largest in state athletics. Competition at that level should be a challenge to our generally successful programs. The Tigers have traditionally fared well on ACT, district and state literary rallies, essay contests, and other such academic competitions. OHS faculty members continue to share their expertise with student teachers on an annual basis. Campus clubs and organizations enjoy successful programs and contribute greatly to the school and to the community with service projects.
Most notably, OHS now has a very strong Biomedical Magnet Academy with nearly 200 students enrolled. Academy students will succeed in advanced course work aligned to LA Core 4 Academic Curriculum, have post-secondary opportunities before graduation, and will have integrated learning experiences to enhance opportunities in the fields of biomedical sciences. The future looks bright for academic programs and continued academic success at OHS.
Opelousas High School has a proud past and a promising future. In sustaining its tradition of excellence and integrity, OHS celebrated 100 years of existence in 1994. The next 100 years should be even better.