The weather is going to stay on summer vacation longer than the students, so call us for that pre-Labor Day AC Tune Up. When you carpool (or drive past) the numerous public schools of Tarrant and Denton counties, we’re willing to bet you’ll recognize many of the names, as your alma mater or otherwise. But, do you know anything about those namesakes besides the fact that they represent halls of lockers and jungle gyms? We thought, in the spirit of learning, we’d highlight a few of those institutions and the people after whom they’re named. Class is in session!
Vandagriff Elementary School
Jewell Elaine Vandagriff (1923-2017) is the namesake of this school, active well into her 93 years and best known for her work in education. She taught 1st grade at Aledo for 26 years. Weatherford College selected her as Woman of the Year in 1977 and Weatherford High School chose her as distinguished alumnae in 2003. A graduate of Weatherford High (class of 1941), she was a “Rosie the Riveter” at Consolidated Aircraft during WW2. She was a Phi Theta Kappa at Weatherford College and graduated from Howard Payne College in 1950 before earning an MA in Religious Education at Southwestern Seminary. An avid writer, she served as society editor for the Democrat in 1952 and 1953, and wrote a history of Aledo. She taught Sunday School and played the organ at Eureka Baptist Church. Hundreds of students benefitted from her patience, passion and commitment to education.
Juan Seguin Elementary
Going back a few years, Juan Nepomuceno Seguín (1806 –1890) was a Spanish-Tejano political and military figure during the Texas Revolution. Born in San Antonio, as a young man, he formed a militia of Texans to resist President Santa Anna’s oppressive rule. As a soldier, he joined fellow Texans at the Alamo, narrowly escaping death when Colonel William Travis asked him to seek reinforcements outside of the tent. He helped to establish the independence of Texas and was the first Tejano to serve in the Republic of Texas Senate. In 1840 he was reelected mayor of San Antonio. It was a time of increasing tensions between the Tejanos and the growing numbers of Anglos settling in Texas. Seguin’s business dealings in Mexico aroused suspicion, causing him to be labeled a traitor. He fled to Mexico in 1842 for safety. Seguín was finally able to return to Texas in 1848. Numerous institutions are named in his honor.
To add a little razzle dazzle, Mary Martin Elementary is named after Mary Virgina Martin, a Weatherford icon and Broadway star, famous for her roles in Peter Pan, Sound of Music and South Pacific. In 1989, Mary Martin was honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Little known fact: Mary was the mother of Larry Hagman, the actor made famous by “I Dream of Jeannie”, and, of course, “Dallas.” JR!!!
Check out Mary, and more famous Texans here:
So give a nod as you breeze past these schools this school year. And remember, the children of today are the legends of tomorrow. May the namesakes of their schools inspire greatness.