Erath 4th of July Celebration

2013 Grand Marshal

Stacy Bodin

 

     Longtime Erath educator and historian Stacy Bodin has been selected to serve as Grand Marshal of the 67th Erath 4th of July Celebration.  She will reign over the grand parade that will roll through the streets of Erath on July 4th at 5:00 PM.

    Bodin is a lifelong resident of Erath.  She is the daughter of Larson ďCapĒ and Gertie Hebert Bodin.  She enrolled at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now UL Lafayette) after graduating from Erath High School in 1977.  She graduated from USL in 1981 with degree in Lower Education.  She taught one year at Jesse Owens Elementary in Gueydan.  Bodinís dream was always to return to Erath and teach at Dozier Elementary School.  Her dream was realized a year later when she began teaching second grade at Dozier.

    Dozier Elementary has always had a special place in Bodinís heart for several reasons.  Her great-great grandparents, Phillip and Eugenie Richard, originally owned the property where the school is located. They sold the property to the Vermilion Parish School Board in the 1940s for the construction of a school to educate black children.  Bodinís grandparents lived a block from the school.  She and her cousins would go and play on the school grounds while visiting with her grandparents.  Bodin states, ďit was like she was returning homeĒ when she began teaching at Dozier.  She retired from Dozier in 2007.

   Bodinís love of history lead her to explore the history of Dozier Elementary and its founders, Robert and Frances Dozier.  It took her nearly twenty year to document this remarkable story.  Robert Dozier, a former slave, moved to Erath with his wife, Frances, and their ten children.  In 1911, there were no schools in this area for black children.  Determined that his children would have an education, Dozier hired a teacher and turned his home into a school.  They began educating other local children.  Five years later, the school was moved to the Beard Congregational Church.  In 1941, the Vermilion Parish School Board purchased land from Bodinís great-great grandparents for the construction of the first black school in Erath.  Bodinís efforts have ensured that Robert and Frances Dozier remarkable story, is preserved as a permanent part of Erath history. 

    In 1999, the Town of Erath celebrated its 100th birthday.  Bodin was working on a timeline of Erathís history with her Dozier students.  Jackie L. Vincent, the chairman of the Erath Centennial Celebration, approached Bodin with the request to have Erath schoolchildren be involved in the important events in Erathís Centennial.  The date of the celebration was only three weeks away.  Bodin was able to put together a program that involved over 250 children.  Bodin served as Co-Chairman and Historian of the Erath Centennial Chairman and wrote a series of newspaper articles that detailed Erathís history.

     Bodin also has a great love for photography.  She was given a camera by her grandparents when she was a young child.  This started a lifelong love of photography.  She has been taking photos of her students and events in the town of Erath for decades.  She is loving known as the ďcamera ladyĒ to generations of Erath students.

     In 2005, Hurricane Rita flooded Dozier Elementary School.  Bodinís heart was broken when she discovered that she had lost countless photographs.  She began scanning pictures to create a digital backup of the pictures to ensure that these images of Erathís history will be available for the next generation.  She loves sharing these images with people on the internet, and her Facebook sites have become hugely popular with area residents. 

     Bodin embraced technology while teaching, and has become a self-described ďtechieĒ.  She served as the technology specialist at Dozier until her retirement.  Once retired, she began an effort on Dozierís behalf to upgrade the technology available at the school.  She has helped draft grant applications that have resulted in purchase of new computers, Promethean Boards, iPads, and a mobile computer lab.  It is her deepest belief that technology is our future, and the earlier we get it in the hands of students, the more successful they will be in life.  She continues to serve as Dozierís part time tech specialist and schoolís webmaster.   She shares her talent for designing and operating websites by serving as webmaster for the Erath 4th of July Celebrationís and the Town of Erathís website, as well as ten other Vermilion Parish Schools. 

    Bodin has a deep love of Erath, and its citizens.  Itís a fire that burns deep in her heart.  Her love of history and her talent in photography has led her to preserve history for future generations.  She is a beacon of light for all of her former students to follow.  What a wonderful world this is with Bodin leading the way, camera in hand.

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