Killeen residents from all walks of life packed a meeting of the Killeen Independent School District’s board of trustees Tuesday night to make their case for naming the district’s 33rd elementary school.
The standing-room-only crowd filled the room, with more than 12 of them electing to speak during the meeting’s public forum to make their case for naming the school, which is set to open its doors to students for the 2014-2015 school year.
A large contingent of the crowd included teachers, parents and former students of Fowler Elementary School. The district is considering closing the small campus, sparking calls from the tight-knit Fowler community to transfer the name to the new campus.
“We can carry on this Fowler tradition at another building as long as we have the Fowler name,” said Renee Revis-Rice, who read a letter penned by the school’s teachers, staff and parents to board members. “We can become an even bigger school with an even bigger heart.”
Other speakers who advocated for Fowler at the meeting included former principal Becky Smith and Joseph Fowler’s son, Dr. Andy Fowler.
“To hear all the support of the legacy of my father, it does my heart good,” Fowler said.
Kimberly Hornsby also spoke to the trustees, and asked them to consider naming the school after her husband, Killeen police officer Robert Hornsby, who was killed in the line of duty in July.
“Bobby served his community with mercy, grace and integrity,” said Hornsby, after tearfully recounting the circumstances of her husband’s death. “I think it would do him a great honor to have his name adorn the school.”
Still other speakers asked the trustees to consider naming the school after longtime Killeen teacher, principal and community member Alice Douse.
Douse worked as, among other positions, principal at Haynes Elementary School. She was one of the first African-American principals in the district.
Former Killeen school board member Fannie Flood-Lewis addressed the current board members, recounting Douse’s contributions both inside and outside the district.
“She’s honored us by giving us all that she had,” Lewis said. “Let’s honor her.”
Killeen Parks and Recreation Director Brett Williams, who attended Haynes while Douse was principal, agreed.
“As a young 5-year-old, the first leader I knew in life was Alice Douse,” Williams said. “She’s a tremendous part of who I am.”
Other advocates who spoke on Douse’s behalf included two of her four daughters, former Killeen City Council Member Rosa Hereford and Killeen Branch NAACP President TaNeika Driver-Moultrie.
Another community member asked trustees to consider naming the school after another longtime educator, Bernice Moland.
The board members did not make any comment on who they plan to name the new school after, and a vote on the matter was not on the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting.