WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita Falls’ own Booker T. Washington Elementary school turns 100 years old this October, and Booker T. alumni celebrated in a big way with a program to celebrate the school’s centennial anniversary.
“Booker T. Washington is like rich soil, very rich soil,” President of the Booker T. Washington Alumni Association Gwendolyn Mitchell said. “That foundation is strong.”
Gwendolyn Mitchell, of the Booker T. Washington class of 1970, said having the chance to come back to the very foundation of Booker T. Washington Elementary school means the most to her and her former Booker T. classmates.
“It just gives you a feeling of, the way I can describe it is, it just put a smile on my face and some memories came back,” alumni association member Lanell Brooks said. “We went to the cafeteria, and I can still see myself there in the cafeteria.”
Booker T. Washington has a long history. In fact, the school began as an all-black high school and remained so until Wichita Falls public schools integrated a few years later, leading to the school becoming a junior high school.
Because of that decision, classmates Reverend Ronnie Brooks, Lanell Brooks and Jackie Davis didn’t get to graduate from Booker T. Washington, but they still feel a sense of pride when they walk the halls of their old school.
“We all had each other when we were kids, and we still got each other,” alumni association member Davis said. “It’s that spirit.”
“It was just outstanding, and you know, my wife and I and Jackie, we were all here together, and now here we are — back again 51 years later,” alumni assocation member Ronnie Brooks said. “It’s a blessing.”
Booker T. alumni consider the school a blessing that continues to guide their lives even today.
“We still have a lot of pride about the Booker T. Washington leopards. We’ll always be leopards. We’ll never be anything else,” alumni association member Diann Scroggins said.
Community leaders in attendance of the centennial celebration also said this 100-year legacy will be around for many more years to come.
“We have blood in this school,” WFISD School Board President Mike Rucker said. “The school’s staying here, period.”
“And although the names, locations, grade classifications have changed throughout the years, we’re still here, so happy birthday Booker T. Washington,” alumni association member Cassandra Harris said. “And we wish the school many more years of learning and success.”
Former students said they are always looking for more people to join the Booker T. Washington Alumni Association, and you didn’t have to attend the school to become a member.
If you’re interested in joining, find out more on the group’s Facebook page.