Taking Groundbreaking Education to Baton Rouge

Great Hearts Harveston September 30, 2022

Harveston RenderingThe morning sun, cool breeze, and clear skies made for perfect weather in Baton Rouge for the Great Hearts Harveston Groundbreaking Ceremony, hosted by the Founding Head of School Samuel Heisman and the Great Hearts Harveston Team. Baton Rouge leaders and community partners made their way to their seats under the event tent at the construction site that will soon be home to the newly built campus located in the master-planned community, The Preserve at Harveston, near Bluebonnet & Nicholson at 11801 Bluebonnet Blvd.

This is the first Great Hearts Academy to break ground in Louisiana and will open in August 2023 to grades K-7.  Guests enjoyed refreshments as they perused renderings of the completed building displayed along the concrete slabs of what will be the parking lot, as crews continued to work in the distance where the school building will sit.  You could hear the hum of construction vehicles and power tools in the background as each speaker took to the podium.

Great Hearts co-founder and CEO Jay Heiler opened the ceremony and welcomed guests.  “Even though we have been in business for 20 years, we are standing here before you with all the enthusiasm and wide-eyed energy of someone who is brand new at it.  Because, here, we are brand new at it.  We will carry that spirit forward as we go on bringing this building into existence.”

Guests at Harveston GroundbreakingGreat Hearts Harveston Board Member Adonica Pelichet-Duggan addressed the group as both a local advocate and a representative for the new academy. “This step is another day in a long journey to improving educational outcomes for children in our community,” said Pelichet-Duggan.  “Almost the last 20 years of my career have been focused on improving the educational outcomes for Baton Rouge students, so this day is especially emotional and meaningful for me.  Schools like Great Hearts Harveston represent opportunity.  They represent opportunity for families, they represent opportunities for students, and they represent opportunities for the Baton Rouge that we can become.”

Pelichet-Duggan continued, “[Great Hearts] is first rate, it’s free, it’s public, and it’s open to everyone. Equitable access to high quality schools will help us deliver on the Baton Rouge that we can become and help us deliver and make this a more amazing place to live and raise a family.  I have been incredibly impressed by the humility of the Great Hearts team as they have been thoughtful and service-oriented in their approach to getting things right for Baton Rouge students. They have focused on doing things in partnership with families they seek to serve and learning from the wisdom of this community.”

“I think it is only appropriate to break ground in a spirit of gratitude,” announced Founding Head of School for Great Hearts Harveston Samuel Heisman.  “We are honored to have been welcomed to your home, and we pledge to make sure that we continue to make good on our promise and offer a community, a home, worthy of the welcome you have shown us.”  Read more about Heisman and his journey to Baton Rouge.

East Baton Rouge Parish School Board Member Michael Gaudet spoke on behalf of the EBR School Board and Superintendent Narcisse.  “We are excited to welcome Great Hearts to our district.  We will do our best to help them prosper and we hope to learn from their unique approach.  A thriving and strong public school system is a building block for what makes a city great.”

The brief program concluded with the ceremonial breaking ground as Heiler, Pelichet-Duggan, Heisman, and Guadet were joined by Great Hearts Co-Founder and Academies Officer Dan Scoggin and others as they dawned hard hats with gold shovels in hand.  Although construction has already started at the site, this was truly a celebration of the groundbreaking classical education that Great Hearts will be bringing to the area. It is also indicative of the groundbreaking partnerships that are being formed through this endeavor.

Rewatch the livestream from the event:

Be sure to tune into the Great Hearts Harveston Virtual Information Session Livestream on October 6th at 6pm (CDT) to learn about the classical, tuition-free academy.

Open Enrollment for the ’23-’24 school year begins on October 8th. Submitting an application during Open Enrollment gives you the best chance of receiving an offer to our brand new, tuition-free, classical academy.  Visit https://harveston.greatheartsamerica.org for more information.

Do you have a story or know of a story that you would like to see featured at Great Hearts?  Please contact jmoore@greatheartsamerica.org.

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