LAMP Program Celebrates Silver Anniversary

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -  The floors may creak a little and the window panes show signs of age, but principal Liz Norman wouldn't have it any other way.

"We all know it's all about teaching and learning," Norman said.

Mary George Jester started LAMP or Loveless Academic Magnet Program at Lanier High School in 1984. It moved to Loveless School in August of '99. Looking back Jester remembers having the jitters but saw it as an opportunity of a lifetime.

"Most teachers who have taught long enough always say if they would give me my own children it would be perfect, and I thought 'hot dog!' this is my chance," said Jester.

And so, 25 years and scores of wall plaques later, LAMP is celebrating its silver anniversary this year.

Chris Colvin was a member of the second class at LAMP in 1985. Today, Colvin teaches speech and debate at the school.

"The work could be overwhelming but I survived, and there's no question it prepared me for college," said Colvin.

When LAMP opened it was the city's second magnet school program. Jester's job was to hit the ground running and spread the word far and wide.

"It was my job to tell the country 'we're here,'" said Jester.

Not only did universities get the message, but national news magazines took notice as well.

"Last year the school was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 5th best magnet school in the country and the 25th best high school in the country," said Norman.

School officials say the courses here put students one year ahead of their grade level and 90% of the graduating seniors receive some kind of scholarship.

25 years ago Mary George Jester was given an assignment to start a new magnet school program. Mission accomplished. Now she's laying plans to help remember a program that's all grown up.

"We're meeting next Tuesday to select our LAMP Hall of Fame," Jester said.

The celebrations begin October 8 with a hall of fame banquet. The next day a school celebration and a class reunion on October 10th.

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