Cordelia M. Washington
Biography & History of Cordelia Matthews Washington
Cordelia Matthews Washington was born in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana in January 1876. She was one of eight children born to Mr. Dave Matthews (a laborer) and Mrs. Matilda Brown Matthews (a housekeeper). Cordelia, being the eldest daughter, helped to raise her siblings, but her overwhelming desire was to get an education. Cordelia’s parents allowed her to enroll in the American Armstead Missionary School in New Orleans in response to her desires.
Cordelia attended Strait College of New Orleans, LA in the 1890’s, which is currently Dillard University of New Orleans, LA. Cordelia successfully completed her education earning a Bachelor of Education degree. She then pioneered and championed a move to open a school to educate the children of the community in which she lived, namely, Lafourche Parish. In 1902, a graded public school (The Negro Corporation Training School) was erected on Narrow Street in Thibodaux; boundary streets being Ninth Street & Lagarde Street. There the journey to educate black children of the area began.
As this school began to receive exposure, so did the interest of those who desired an education for their children. That interest extended to Terrebonne and Assumption Parishes. Parents in these parishes discovered ways to allow their children to live with relatives or friends to attend school during the week, but return home on the weekend to work.
Ms. Cordelia M. Washington was so respected that she was invited in 1918 to deliver words of encouragement to seventy African American soldiers as they prepared for departure to serve in World War I. In attendance was a reporter from the local newspaper who marveled at Ms. Washington’s eloquence. He wrote, “She has a fine command of language and understands how to deliver her utterances effectively, being, we presume about the best educated colored woman in the parish”. Her character was believed to be so outstanding and her resounding speech so impressive, that it impacted the school board and community. Her speech was also printed in the newspapers of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, as well as, the local paper of Thibodaux in its entirety.
To honor Ms. Washington, the school board voted to change the name of the “Negro Corporation Training School” to “Cordelia Matthews Washington Colored School!” Ms. Jesse Weber, who knew Ms. Washington well and also worked as an instructor and librarian at C.M. Washington, stated this fact as she addressed the body of the alumni and community on Sunday, July 2, 2000 at the Reunion 2000, Historic Site Celebration.
In further action by the school board of Lafourche Parish, under the leadership of Superintendent R.O. Mocla, an excerpt from the minutes of a regular scheduled meeting, a motion by Mr. Riviere and seconded by Mr. Naquin, the decision was made that the existing buildings, as well as, any other new additions were to remain under the name of C. M. Washington Elementary and High School, named after Cordelia Matthews Washington, a pioneer and leader in negro education in the Thibodaux area. As a school forged as a unit with education and community involvement there was always a commitment of high degree to making a difference. Superb leadership engaged the school to be a power house to be reckoned with as we manage to fill three large trophy cases to capacity in the areas of academics, music, and sports.
Ms. Cordelia M. Washington was highly regarded as a pioneer, leader, administrator, and instructor in Lafourche Parish. She devoted her entire life to educating children. She knew that education was the cornerstone to a more excellent way of life. Her philosophy: Be the Very Best that You Can Be! She also served the community, being a woman of sterling moral character.
Ms. Washington passed away on June 6, 1937, leaving a legacy of tremendous worth that span into three parishes. The Lafourche Parish community shall forever remember and value this remarkable woman, as well as her contributions.
Gina Johnson, Principal
Aimee Angle, Assistant Principal
Nicole Guidry, Master Teacher
Alison Boudreaux, Mentor Teacher
Faith Albert, Special Education Mentor Teacher
School Hours & Bell Schedule
"C. M. Washington will promote a positive learning environment by striving for high standards to build responsible citizens & transform lives."
Principal's Message - Welcome to C. M. Washington Elementary School!
The vision of C. M. Washington Elementary is to provide a quality education to all students. Our mission is to promote a positive learning environment by striving for high standards to build responsible citizens and transform lives. I am proud to be principal of such a dedicated, persevering faculty and a remarkable student body. At C.M.W.E.S., we will create a climate conducive to learning, build positive relationships, care for your children and do our best providing them with high, quality instruction. At C.M.W.E.S. we have Panther Pride! We are Proud, Respectful, Intelligent, Determined, and Engaged! Our motto is, “Be the Very Best that You Can Be”. We will encourage your child to be the very best that he/she can be. It is important that we build relationships with our community and parents to promote student success. I encourage all parents to remain involved in your child's education. We have many opportunities for parental involvement throughout the year. We have a Parent Center on our campus with many resources for parent access. Your child is our top priority, and I want to thank you for selecting CMWES for your child. Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have. I look forward to an awesome, successful school year!
Ms. Gina Johnson
School Report Card
August 7, 2019-Meet & Greet from 2:30 PM-3:30 PM
August 8, 2019-Students 1st Day of School
We Are A Title I School!
Family Engagement Quick Links
All students will be served lunch and breakfast at no charge at C.M. Washington Elem. School for the 2019-2020 school year!
2018-19 CEP Media Release State Revised.pdf ---(Click link for more information on free lunch & breakfast)
According to the Lafourche Parish School Board, students who live one-tenth of a mile or less from our school will have to walk to and from school. No bus service will be provided!
Walkers A: Students that live on Bell St., Bryant St., and the back of Ledet St. are to enter and exit the campus at the corner of Ledet St. & School St.
Walkers B: Students that live on Iris St., Sanders St., and Rock St. are to enter and exit the campus at the corner of Iris St. & Rock St.
Walkers C: Students that live on Martin Luther King, Truman Circle, Moses Daycare, Iris St., the front of Cardinal Drive & Federal Circle are to enter and exit the campusat the corner of Cardinal Drive & Iris St. Students that live on the front of Ledet St. are to enter and exit the campus at the corner of Iris St. & Ledet St.
Walkers D: Students that live on Lee St., the back of Cardinal Drive, East Park Drive, the back of Federal Circle, and Lee St. are to enter and exit the campus at the crosswalk on Cardinal Drive between buildings D & E.
Please be outside for your child, both morning and afternoon.
Important information will be sent home regarding bus rules and regulations.
Send correct address and phone number to school in case of bus emergencies.
School Calendar & Lunch Menu!
2018-19 Teacher of the Year
2018-2019 Student of the Year!
2018-19 Support Person of the Year
To Report Child Abuse and Neglect
To report child abuse and neglect, call the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) child protection hotline at
1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Education of Students with Exceptionalties
We have Panther Pride! We are Proud, Respectful, Intelligent, Determined & Engaged!
Louisiana School and Student Safety Act
The Lafourche Parish School Board is committed to providing a safe environment for the students and employees of its schools. The school board shall take immediate action to address any potential threats of violence or terrorism to students and employees as required by the Louisiana School and Student Safety Act. (La. Rev. Stat. Ann.§17:409-17:409.5)
Elementary training videos
Learn Gun Safety with Eddie Eagle and the Wing Team
NetSafe Episode 3: Tell an Adult
NetSmartzKids- It’s OK to Tell