By Wendy Gragg

Killeen Daily Herald

With music, memories and much loyalty, Fowler Elementary Schools past and present came together to celebrate the campuss 50th anniversary Tuesday.

Chants of Fowler rose from the schools blacktop as the campuss current students watched 50 red and white balloons make their lofty ascent. The young spectators continued their celebration, diving mouth-first into Fowler cupcakes. A trio also entertained the students with golden oldies, giving them a taste of the music that was popular when Fowler opened its doors in 1956.

Light-hearted fun aside though, Fowler campus instruction specialist Julie Burke said Tuesdays celebration took on extra significance, considering that 2005-06 could have been the schools last year.

Last spring, school district officials were discussing closing Fowler in order to maximize the use of other facilities.

Fowler supporters turned out in force at a May school board meeting. Teachers, administrators, parents and former students begged that their small, but strong, school remain open.

The board later shelved the idea of closing Fowler and KISD Chief of Staff Barbara Adams said Tuesday that there is currently no talk of closing the school.

Reaching this point makes it even more special, Burke said.

KISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Hawkins commented Tuesday on Fowlers ability to stay vital through 50 years of service. He credited the schools strong past for its strength today.

It says that tradition is important and we can only do as much as those who came before us, Hawkins said. Weve got shoulders to stand on.

Many of those shoulders, from the schools first PTA president, Ray Lott, to its first principal, Gene Parker, turned out to celebrate Tuesday. Andy Fowler, the son of the schools namesake, Dr. Joseph Fowler, also was present with kind words for the school. He thanked the Fowler Elementary family for making the school something his father would be proud of.

The schools cafeteria looked more like a reunion than a birthday party. Former faculty greeted former students and many of the former students were accompanied by their own children now Fowler students also.

Burke said those kind of relationships and connections are Fowlers key to success. She should know.

Burke, like other faculty, attended Fowler. Her mother, Lynn Thomas, taught at Fowler and her father, Dick Thomas, was a Fowler principal. Burke said it seems like everywhere she goes, people have connections to Fowler. That kind of close-knit atmosphere is Fowlers niche, she said.

Were small enough we can focus on the kids and have a family feeling, she said.

Contact Wendy Gragg at

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