AFTER 41 YEARS, SCHOOL'S OUT
When Betty Schouest was a student at Immaculata High School in Marrero in 1962, latecomers filled out a paper tardy slip as they checked in at the office.
When Betty Schouest LeBlanc retired as a secretary from Academy of Our Lady last week, girls who dashed in a few minutes late scanned laminated ID cards and went on to class.
A lot has changed, LeBlanc reminisced last week between watching her beloved LSU Tigers beat Sam Houston College in Baton Rouge.
But, even as mothers went to work, iPads replaced paper notebooks and Immaculata merged with Archbishop Blenk to become Academy of Our Lady, one thing always remained the same, she said: the Catholic school’s family atmosphere.
LeBlanc was a big part of that atmosphere, starting as a substitute teacher and later moving into bookkeeping, fundraising and attendance, said Sister Maria Colombo, the school’s principal.
“We will all miss her,” Colombo said. LeBlanc stayed busy all day with office duties and answering the phone, but she was kind and patient with every caller, the principal said.
LeBlanc grew up within walking distance of Immaculata and was the school’s first homecoming queen. Two years after graduation she married her high school sweetheart, Milton LeBlanc, who was also a 1962 Immaculata graduate in the days when the school was co-ed — and her date to the junior-senior prom.
After graduation, LeBlanc worked as a secretary at Avondale Shipyards and later at the Jefferson Parish Housing Authority. When her son and daughter were small, she started substituting at Immaculate Conception Elementary School, a job that eventually led to substituting and then working fulltime at Immaculata.
“I always loved working at the school,” she said. “I loved being around the girls and their families. I know a lot of the families. I knew their mothers, I know their children and now their grandchildren.”
Through the years, the LeBlanc family has had 12 family members graduate from Immaculata High School and Archbishop Shaw High School, its male counterpart. The roster includes siblings, in-laws, and two children, Dawlyn LeBlanc Scholl and Milton LeBlanc III. Granddaughter Kayla Scholl is a student in the class of 2016.
LeBlanc is looking forward to following the LSU Tigers, playing Scrabble and traveling to visit relatives with her husband, who retired two years ago.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to retire,” she said, “but after 41 years I got tired of getting up at 5:30 in the morning.”