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HECK OF A TIME School celebrates 40th anniversary

HUNTER DWORACZYK [email protected]

A Taylor Independent School District campus enjoyed a milestone this week.

T. H. Johnson Elementary School invited former students and staff to return to its halls to celebrate the school’s 40th anniversary Monday, Jan. 22.

The school was dedicated and opened in 1983, but organizers decided to host the festivities on what would have been the namesake’s 123rd birthday.

“We have such a rich heritage in Taylor, in Taylor ISD and right here at T. H. Johnson Elementary,” said Tim Crow, the district’s communications and community liaison. “I’m so happy to see the pride in that heritage.”

B. B. Sanchez, a longtime T. H. Johnson teacher, cuts the ribbon during the school’s 40th anniversary ceremony Monday, Jan. 22 while current principal, Andy Basche, holds it. Photos by Hunter Dworaczyk
Marco Ortiz (middle), Taylor Independent School District Board President, poses with honorary plaque with former trustees Frank Rivera Jr. (left) and S. R. Moses (right).

During his remarks, Crow discussed Thomas Heskill Johnson, the campus’ namesake, and reminisced about many memories involving Johnson and the school.

Johnson served at Taylor ISD for 40 years as a coach and teacher before later assuming the role as superintendent.

Crow described Johnson as a historian, a great mentor and someone who thought teachers were the most important part of the school district.

Crow also recounted a personal memory of when Johnson would visit the Taylor Daily Press office and often bring peacock feathers to certain staff members, who would call him by the nickname of “Heck.”

“I think it’s important to remember that T. H. Johnson is more than just a building,” Crow said. “T. H. was a person, and there’s a reason that this school was named after him.”

Besides listening to remarks by city and school leaders, attendees were acknowledged if they had a connection with the school. Guests also looked through photo albums of old pictures taken at the school.

Superintendent Jennifer Garcia-Edwardsen, who began her role in November, said her goal is for students who graduate from Taylor High School to return to the district to celebrate moments like that anniversary.

“If I were to turn back the time and the clock, I would want to be a Taylor Duck, honest truth,” Garcia-Edwardsen said. “This is amazing what we have here, the pictures and the camaraderie … it’s really amazing and very unique. This doesn’t happen at every community.”

The program concluded with a ribbon cutting organized by Rachael Westerman, membership and operations director for the Taylor Chamber of Commerce.

“I also have a daughter that was a student here at T. H. Johnson, so this is a big deal to me,” Westerman said. “I do find so much respect in a school district that has served so many students and employed so many staff members for 40 years. That is something I cannot wrap my head around.”

B. B. Sanchez, the only teacher from the original T. H. Johnson staff who is still teaching at the school, had the honor of cutting the ribbon.

Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell gives T. H. Johnson anniversary proclamation to Principal Andy Basche.

Photo by Hunter Dworaczyk


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