Sunday, April 21, 2019
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otonGuerreroSharyland ISD taxpayers:

I read an article in the Friday April 20th issue of Sharyland Times, it referenced a workshop, and a decision about the possibility of naming either a football field at Richard Thompson Stadium, or the stadium at Pioneer High School after a sitting member of the present Sharyland Independent School District Board of Trustees.

I asked WHY? I questioned a LEGACY? Defined as 12 years on the board......

On Monday, I went before the board and asked that they reevaluate this decision because of the precedent they are setting in naming Sharyland properties for sitting board members or members of their extended families.

Every named structure in this school district has a reason and historical significance, for being named as such. Names that have endured for more than “12 years of legacy” and have left an UNERASABLE imprint within this school district.

Let’s investigate, and learn the value of these names and what they mean to Sharyland Independent School District.

I am speaking of:
Jessie Jensen Elementary – Family donated land on behalf of a daughter and long-time school teacher at what was at that time called north elementary school, Oh, by the way she rode to school on a one horse powered mule.

John H. Shary Elementary – Named for the father of the Sharyland School District.

Olivero Garza Sr. Elementary - Named for a long time trusted employee of the original Shary estate.

Lloyd and Dolly Bentsen Elementary – Hometown son, named after former 4 term United State Senator and his bride. Nominee for vice-president in 1988 on the Michael Dukakis ticket, and United States Secretary of the Treasury in 1993- 1994.

Romulo D. Martinez Elementary - Former long time Superintendent of Sharyland ISD.

Ruben Hinojosa Elementary – Former United States Representative for the 15th Congressional District of the great state of Texas. A United States Congressman from 1997 thru 2017.

Donna Wernecke Elementary – a teacher who started her career in this district in 1944 and remained a teacher for over 50 years. She was responsible for all UIL activities from Junior High to High School and under her direction the district secured 4 UIL State championships.
Harry Shimotsu Elementary – was the first WW2 American solider of Japanese decent to purchase land in this area.

His purchase of 72 acres grew to 3500 acres where he grew winter vegetables for shipment out of the valley. This area is now known as Sharyland Plantation. He donated the land where the school named in his honor now sits.

Do you kind of get the drift of where I am going with this....

As a board member, you do not seek a place on the board so that you can some day be rewarded by having a building, football field, or project area named after yourself or any member of your extended family. It sets a dangerous precedent for future boards. You sit on this board to serve the students of this school district; you sit on this board to serve the administration, teachers and employees of this district. And most importantly you sit on this board to serve the property owners of this district. You as a board are here for them, they are not here for you.

I asked if they desired to name a football field or stadium after a Sharyland person they might consider two men that poured out blood, sweat and tears for over 40 years on the field.

The names would be Coach Stark, a coach that was famous for decrying the use of racism in our school District, also Coach Marcelino De La Fuente, a man that gave so much of himself for the student athletes of Sharyland Independent School District.

If they want names for projects, consider Mr. Jim Jarret, Mr. Nacho Pena, Mr. Monte Aubrey, and let’s not forget Mr. Joe Carter.

If you want a name for a class wing or building you might consider, Bill McClure, Dr. John David Heflin, John Klement, Pat and Virginia Townsend, and our home son Kika De La Garza.

These are the families that are the essence, of what is now Sharyland ISD. The word, “legacy” cannot even be used in the same sentence when describing the sweat equity, blood and tears given by the individuals and their families in building the original infrastructure and foundation for success that is Sharyland Independent School District.

I humbly asked, that Pioneer High School establish its own identity before naming any structure for anyone. There are heroes in this school and surrounding community that have not walked the halls of that campus yet.

In closing, I asked that the board of trustees reconsider any action that evening regarding the naming of any structure within the Sharyland Independent School District, but they did not.


Oton J. “Tony” Guerrero