After the horror that faced the Santa Fe High School students and faculty last week, it’s time for some good news in the world of education. This afternoon the late Gov. Bill Clements provided the news. With his daughter Nancy Seay and granddaughters Margaret Napier and Clements Foundation President Pauline Neuhoff present in an SRO assembly at the Highland Park Independent School District’s administrative offices, Highland Park Education Foundation (HPEF) Board President Ann Fielder announced that the Foundation had given $10M to the HPEF.
While that was breathtaking, it only got better. The funds are to “establish the William P. Clements Jr. Fund designated to meet the needs of teachers in the Highland Park Independent School District.”
According to Ann, “After we invest the principal of the gift, a portion of the annual income from earnings will be available to help meet teacher needs across the entire District.”
Pauline recalled her grandfather saying, “Highland Park is a wonderful place, second only next to heaven.”
She added that her grandfather recalled how teachers like his Armstrong history teacher Willie Shook had made such an impact on his life, and that the hope was that the gift would inspire others to support the school system as well.
BTW, this wasn’t the first and only time that Gov. Clements impacted a school. In addition to gifts to other education institutes like SMU, Dallas Morning News‘ Carolyn Barta reported that it was back in 1971 that Clements transformed the “oldest public school in Dallas and oldest brick building downtown” — Cumberland Hill School — into his SEDCO headquarters.
After getting over the surprise announcement about the largest gift in the HPEF’s and District’s history, HPEF Board Liaison Kelly Walker told the group, including HPISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg, Jan Peterson, Lauren Holloway, Carolyn Ray, Jack Harkey and Bob White, that in addition to Clements having graduated from Highland Park High School in 1934, he was voted most popular boy by his class. Raising her hand to her heart, she added, “All I have to say is he is first in my heart.”
Congratulations to the Clements Foundation for making an investment in those who are on the front lines of education. The governor would be proud.