It was a beautiful day to celebrate an impressive milestone for Humble ISD. Dignitaries, employees and community members joined together at the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center to mark the culmination of the school district’s year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary.
- Marker aptly placed at former Charles Bender High School -
The special ceremony was held to dedicate a Texas Historical Marker awarded by the Harris County Historical Commission. The marker is mounted in a flower bed freshly installed by the City of Humble in the front of the center, which was the original site of Charles Bender High School. The building then served as the Humble ISD Administration Building from 1974-1992 and as the Curriculum and Staff Development Center from 1992-2003. After sitting vacant for several years, the building was renovated in 2014 and opened as the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center in 2015.
The ceremony began on the theater stage shortly after 9:30 a.m. Thursday, April 25 with a rendition of “Honor and Glory” by the Humble High School Chamber Strings, directed by Andrew McCallum.
District Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen introduced several dignitaries in attendance, including City of Humble Mayor Merle Aaron, and acknowledged and thanked several building leaders and department leaders from the school district “because we are blessed in Humble ISD to be leaders, to serve this community and today we take a moment and be reminded that as leaders in Humble ISD we stand on the shoulders of giants. Many, many leaders, teachers, staff members who came before us, city council members and others, who have built this into an incredible community, a community that is desired by parents and children, teachers and principals alike, a community that is a fast-growth community and one of the things that makes me most proud to serve Humble ISD as superintendent is represented in this building. In Humble we don’t forget the past, we don’t allow it to become dilapidated or torn down, we celebrate the past, we care about it, we remember it, we preserve it and the City of Humble has done an incredible job with this particular Charles Bender Performing Arts Center.”
Fagen then turned the floor over to Aaron, who said, “All of these years, HISD and the City of Humble have been partners in a lot of different things, this building just being one of them. We also offer this building back to the school many times a year for performances free of charge. We always look forward to what happens in HISD because it certainly affects the City of Humble. We have a council that is very conscious of not only the needs of the City of Humble but the areas that we are close to, especially our school district, and we try to be a big part of the decision making …”
He continued, “Most of all, I want to thank the school district for the 100 years that they have been in existence … How many lives has HISD prepared for the students’ future? It’s incredible the amount of them! When we look back at the students that have gone through this school district, and what they’ve accomplished over all the years, it’s just staggering.”
Aaron went on to note that his children, most of his grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren have gone to school in the district, and thanked those present on behalf of the city council.
Fagen then introduced Humble ISD Historian Dr. Robert Meaux, the driving force behind the centennial celebration.
“This project actually began three years ago, so think 2016 is when we started planning,” Meaux said. “We put together three big committees … and they worked hard and came up with some great ideas. Then it took us a couple years to implement those ideas. As the project kept growing, it kept sucking in more people into the project. So by the time we got to the point where we are now, it’s almost impossible to recognize everybody, because it is most everybody.”
He recognized members of those committees along with the Humble Museum board of directors, who provided items displayed during the event. Meaux then proceeded to give an informative and sometimes humorous talk about the history of Humble ISD, giving snapshots of what life was like through the decades.
Special recognition was given for this momentous occasion by representatives of three local officials: Clarissa Perez with City of Houston Councilmember Dave Martin’s office, Hector Morales with Harris County Precinct 2 County Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s office, and Kennedy Purser with Harris County Precinct 4 Commisisioner R. Jack Cagle’s Office. Brooke Searcy, a sophomore at Kingwood Park High School, sang a lovely version of “God Bless America” before the historical marker was presented by Debra Blacklock-Sloan, the Harris County Historical Commission marker dedication chair, and Paul R. Scott, the commission’s state marker chair. Scott noted the hard work that Meaux put in bringing the anniversary and marker dedication to fruition.
Attendees then moved outside and gathered around as the historical marker was unveiled. Plenty of photos were taken of the monumental event as Meaux read the wording on the marker, a brief summary of the district’s 100 years of existence. Those interested were invited afterward to enjoy refreshments provided by Humble ISD culinary art students under the direction of Chef Daniella Jenkins, a teacher at Summer Creek High School, and take guided tours of the historic performing arts center.
To learn all about Humble ISD’s history, visit humbleisd.net/history. The website was created and is maintained by Meaux, who also wrote a book on the City of Humble’s history titled “Humble: Images of America.”