U.S. flags

Student leaders pose Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at Roy J. Smith Middle School in Killeen with congressional field representative Don Nicholas, at left, and KISD Superintendent John Craft and Smith Principal Chad Wolf, while holding certificates. The flag flew over the U.S. Capitol building on Sept. 11 of this year and was donated to the school by U.S. Rep. Roger Williams.

Todd Martin | Special to the Herald

Reaching out from the corridors of the U.S. Congress, a Central Texas congressman delivered a pair of special flags to two new schools in the Killeen Independent School District on Friday.

First at Roy J. Smith Middle School and then at Alice W. Douse Elementary School, both in Killeen, field representative Don Nicholas of U.S. Rep. Roger Williams’ office made delivery of folded, cased flags to the schools.

The flags each flew over the U.S. Capitol building on Sept. 11. An official certificate verified the flags’ authenticity.

In brief ceremonies at each school, KISD Superintendent John Craft greeted Nicholas and told students and staff that Williams is a good friend of the school district and the community.

His support of federal Impact Aid and other programs directly benefits the public school system, Craft said.

At Smith, he told students that such aid is critical for starting programs like the Middle School STEM Academy located at the new Smith Middle School.

Anytime a new school opens in Williams’ congressional district, Nicholas said the congressman intends to donate a flag flown over the Capitol building. Any school, he said, can request one.

Both Nicholas and Craft encouraged students to continue to work hard and to provide leadership at their schools.

The superintendent pointed out to the assembled students, primarily from each school’s student council, that they took on especially important roles as leaders in first-year schools.

Smith eighth-grader Tori Gaskell, the school’s student council president, told the congressional field representative she hopes to be elected president of the United States.

“This flag is a big deal,” Gaskell said. “This might not happen at all schools. This gift represents our country.”

The eighth-grader said her father brought home a portion of a tattered U.S. flag from Dubai following a military deployment. “Flags are a big deal,” she said. “It’s a great honor for our school. We know how to respect the flag.”

“I think it’s good for our students to be part of such a great event,” said Douse Principal Pamela Disher. “I was honored to be part of it. As a new school we have experienced a lot of firsts and it’s exciting to be part of that.”

She said the students taking part in the flag ceremony in the school library represented student council and served as school ambassadors. Many also took part in a recent toy drive to benefit a children’s hospital.

Both Disher and Smith Principal Chad Wolf said the cased flags and certificates would be displayed in the schools’ trophy cases.

Douse Elementary and Smith Middle School are both located in fast-growing residential subdivisions in south Killeen. Both are also named for longtime, distinguished local leaders.

Roy J. Smith was a World War II-era military veteran and bank president in Killeen. The first Smith Middle School opened in 1976 on Fort Hood and was repurposed in 2016 as KISD’s Early College High School.

Alice Douse was a beloved KISD educator and the first African-American female principal in the school district. Her education career spanned from 1964 to 1996.

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