Riverside Academy opened on September 18, 1970 and included first through twelfth grades. The pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes were added later. Initially a facility that included a few buildings built by the volunteer hands of Riverside parents, today the school has developed into a campus with many facilities for both academics and athletics. Volunteers continue to assist with Riverside’s upkeep.
The first principal of Riverside Academy was Mr. Clyde A. Gisclair. The list of former principals includes Mr. Englade, Mr. Snyder, Mr. Tarzetti, Mr. Heltz, Mr. Barton, Ms. Sinibaldi, Mrs. Tomeny-Duhe, Dr. DiCarlo and Mr. Coburn. The current principal is Mrs. Holly Haase.
The school has changed in many ways since 1970. Before a new elementary building was constructed in 1983, all elementary classes were held in the Reserve Bantam Recreation building. Students ate their bag lunches outside, and they did not wear uniforms. Two years later, in 1985, a middle school addition was completed, and not long afterward in 1994, a new Pre-K facility and the current cafeteria were built, partly due to an increase in enrollment.
A new high school wing was completed in 2002 that included technology labs and administrative offices. The original Rebel Football Den, which still stands, is now a storage facility. The new Rebel Den was built in 2002, which includes a weight training room and other amenities. The original gym was destroyed by a tornado in 2003 and consequently rebuilt. Recently, a wooden gym floor and basketball bleachers were added to enhance the gym’s appearance. A baseball locker room was also added in 2009. The Riverside Academy School Board along with parental volunteers and community members raised the necessary funds to ensure Riverside Academy’s consistency in remaining an excellent educational institution and coordinated the construction of all of these facilities.
The school’s athletic tradition began in the 1970s. While part of the LISAA (Louisiana Independent School Athletic Association), the Rebels earned many state championships in various sports. In 1986, Riverside Academy became a member of the LHSAA (Louisiana High School Athletic Association) as a Class-A participant. The tradition of fielding competitive teams in all sports has continued. The teams merited state championships in baseball, basketball, softball, and track. The Rebels advanced to three state football championships played in the Louisiana Superdome and numerous volleyball, soccer, and golf playoffs.
The Marching Pride of Riverside – which consists of band members, the Southern Sweetheart Dance Team, and auxiliary units – marches in many Mardi Gras parades, band competitions, and travels to numerous venues to perform. They have been performing halftime shows for numerous years at all home football games.
The Carnival Ball and Spring Fest remain two major school fundraising activities. The first Carnival Ball was held for elementary students only. During the second year, a high school Carnival Ball was added. The funds from these events are used to enhance Riverside Academy’s success and continue to assist in creating a rich dedicated Riverside Academy family history.
Over the years, the curriculum has expanded to include the addition of electives and advanced courses, with a number of AP offerings. RA students have benefited from the addition of both technology and science labs. Today, classes are equipped with LCD and Elmo projectors, and many classrooms have Mimio boards as well.
Along the way there have been successes achieved in state and national academic competitions. Many students have advanced to compete in the state Literary Rally while members of Mu Alpha Theta have represented RA well by earning state and national placements. Over the years, Riverside graduates have received scholarships to attend countless universities, colleges, and technical schools.