NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) — Emanuel Harding has come home.

Once a student at New Iberia Senior High, today he is the first Black principal at his old alma mater.

“Being that I can lay the foundation for all students and especially our young black students who just have aspirations. To give them hope and know that they can achieve anything they want to as well.”

Raymond “Shoe-Do” Lewis, an Iberia Parish School Board member, expressed how important Harding’s hiring is for Iberia Parish and how happy he is with the superintendent decision.

“I applaud the superintendent for giving us not only a shakeup, but giving us a qualified young man to come and take over the largest school in the Iberia Parish School District.”

Before working as an educator, Principal Harding worked in the oil field and says after realizing his aspirations were in administration, dreamed of ending up at his old school.

“It is definitely a surreal experience. It is something from my wildest dream. I have always envisioned myself getting into administration but I always knew I wanted to land here if possible. When it happened I pretty much could not believe it.”

Principal Harding says his main goal is to bring his school to an “A” status in every possible aspect. 

“I want to be academically at an A school but we want to have a successful sports and extracurricular programs as well.”

He said many students they aren’t athletes can provide so much more whether it is student government whether it’s beta club, whether it’s debonair club.

“In my 5-year-plan I believe N-I-S-H has the ability to become an A school. We are working every day to meet that goal and head towards that direction.”