Beneke Elementary students present the life story of their school’s namesake during a program celebrating the school’s 30th anniversary.
HOUSTON – Nov. 10, 2016 – Beneke Elementary School observed its 30th Anniversary on Nov. 10 with members of the Beneke family, the community, students, parents, former principals and alumni celebrating the school’s rich history and honoring the legacy of its namesake, Dr. Joseph S. Beneke.
Principal LaTracy Harris said that, while preparing for the celebration, she realized the vast contribution made over the past 30 years by Beneke staff and teachers to the educational foundation of more than 10,000 students. “Three hundred months of teaching and about 40,000 hours have been spent impacting the lives of students. Beneke Elementary is definitely a beacon of light for this community,” Harris said.
Spring ISD Board President Dr. Deborah Jensen, during her remarks, brought the school’s namesake to life – especially for those students who were part of the program – by “flying” a toy plane and playing a snippet of Glenn Miller music. Her remarks painted a portrait of Joseph Beneke as a Renaissance man who was not only a pilot in World War II but was also an accomplished musician and a dedicated educator.
Turning to the students on the stage, Jensen said, “One of the proudest things in his life was to have this school named after him, and the greatest joy of his life was to come into the school and see kids excited. So you were the joy of his life.”
Joseph Beneke’s many accomplishments were also featured on a Legacy Wall outside the school cafeteria, reminding students and guests of the school’s 30-year journey. His commitment to Spring ISD began in 1970 when he became the director of curriculum and instruction. A year later he was promoted to assistant superintendent, and in 1973 he became the superintendent, serving in that capacity until 1980.
Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson said, “I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know Mr. Beneke, but I can tell by the legacy that he left – what I have read on the walls of this school, what I have read on the Internet and when I look at students here – that his legacy continues to live on.”
That legacy includes Spring ISD alumni who got their start at Beneke Elementary School and later received scholarships from the Joseph and Geraldine Beneke Memorial Fund. Established in 2004, the fund has provided scholarships to 15 college-bound students.
In closing, Harris said, “The Legacy Wall will continue to grow throughout the years to share and illustrate the deep, rich history of Beneke Elementary. We will continue to provide our students with an unparalleled educational experience that will prepare them for all the challenges that they may face ahead.”