Reagan Principal Karen Clark Recalls the Old 'North Ward'
John H. Reagan Elementary School, located at 1600 Volney, is one of the original schools in San Angelo. The 380 student school has a fairly rich history and is one of the oldest in the city.
“We were the North Ward,” said Karen Clark, Principal of John H. Reagan Elementary School. “They called them Wards back then.”
San Jacinto was the East Ward, the original Fort Concho School built on the parade grounds of Fort Concho was the South Ward and the West Ward was near Santa Fe Park.
“The only two that are still standing are Reagan and San Jacinto,” Clark said. “All four schools looked exactly the same.”
Clark explained that the two story schools had four class rooms in both stories as well as the basement. Reagan, named after Texas Senator John H. Reagan, was first built in 1909 and very little of the original design is left after many renovations.
Clark mentions that she still sees a little of the old design in the front of the building, but it hardly looks the same without the bell tower. The school does, however, have a bell in one of the front hallways set upon a wooden pedestal.
“Some say it was the original bell, so we go with it, it’s more fun that way,” Clark laughed.
The bell tower was taken down long ago, but many other changes have been made since then. Clark was particularly excited about elevators and the new library renovations.
“Before, the library just ran across the hall and there was no way to lock it up,” she explained. “Now it has its very own little space.”
Further down the hallway hang the banners of many universities, meant to foster awareness of college to the young ones.
“We started really talking to the kids about college three or four years ago,” said Clark. “I told the teachers, ‘I’m going to buy a UT banner, if you want yours represented it's up to you’.”
Reagan also brings in Jazmin Hernandez from Angelo State University to talk with their fifth graders and their parents about what options there are for colleges. They also send the fifth graders on field trips to ASU.
Venturing past the college hallway, one finds the self-contained special needs rooms, with teachers happily carting in books and puzzles.
“This renovation was just finished, so the teachers are moving,” said Clark. “We’re one of the centralized programs for special needs students.”
The special needs student classrooms are Kindergarten through fifth grade unless they are medically fragile.
Currently, a few renovations are still being completed, tidying up the end of a two-year process. Clark encourages parents and the public to keep up to date on the website http://schools.saisd.org/ and events going on at Reagan Elementary.
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