Living legend returns to Kennedy Elementary School


Posted on February 24, 2010 at 7:43 PM

Don't take the time to waste time.  That is the motto of Lena Warders.

You may not recognize her name but you won't forget her story.

WHAS11's Renee Murphy found out more about a woman who was a leader among men.

In honor of Black History Month, Kennedy Montessori Elementary School in Louisville honored their first principal.

She is a small woman with a heart the size of the city, but what she did in the 60's still amazes kids and adults today.

In 1961, Lena Warders became the first principal of Young Street Elementary School.

She was an African American female principal at a time when Louisville schools weren't even integrated and at a time when few women held leadership positions in education.

After the assassination of President Kennedy, she pushed to have Young Street Elementary named after him.

Wednesday, at the current Kennedy Elementary School, students honored her as part of their Black History Month program.  She is a living legend they don't have to read about in a history book.

“It’s been a push and a pull but every push and pull that I had made me stronger and helped me along the way,” says Lena.

 “I was overwhelmed with how she was in the building with us,” says 5th grader Laree Shontee.

“To have someone around that’s an African American female that has her faculties that can get up in front of students and command their respect, it’s like nothing I've ever seen,” says current Principal Opal Dawson.

Lena Warders retired from Kennedy in 1981.

Her parting words to students were to take some time to help people along the way.