• President of the Graham Public Education Foundation Angie Graham, makes opening comments about the organization during the GPEF Hall of Honor Banquet to honor those who have made an impact in the district. The GPEF is a non-profit organization that funds GISD programs outside of the budget through a grant application process. (Leader photo by Thomas Wallner)
  • Bruce Street Jr. accepts the Historical Award for Edwin Smith Graham from Graham ISD Superintendent Sonny Cruse. (Leader photo by Thomas Wallner)

Inaugural GISD Hall of Honor inductees recognized

Fourteen people were honored for their service to Graham ISD during the first Graham Public Education Foundation Hall of Honor Banquet held on Thursday at the American Legion Building in Graham.

Graham ISD announced in December the first inductees into the GPEF Hall of Honor program, which was approved by the school board in mid-September to recognize alumni, staff and community members who have provided meritorious service to the district and/or their profession.

GPEF is a non-profit organization that gives funding to the district outside of the budget through a grant application process and obtains money through donations and fundraising events such as Kitchen Crawl. The board for GPEF, with members of the school district administration, review the requests and choose grants that are available to fund and would make an impact.

“As of 2010, GPEF has granted over $350,000 to our schools,” GPEF Chair Angie Graham. “Last year some of the items we provided included an electric cardiograph for the high school for the anatomy and physiology students, stemscopes curriculum for Woodland, which is hands-on science curriculum, an outdoor classroom for the Junior High where students could help grow gardens and technology such as chromebooks and ipads for Pioneer and Crestview Elementary.”

Hall of Honor Inductees

• Edwin Smith Graham - Historical Award (Bruce Street Jr., one of Graham’s four living great-grandsons, accepted the award.)

Colonel Graham was one of the two brothers who founded Graham Texas in 1872. Born in 1831 in Louisville, Kentucky he came to Graham in the late 1860s following the civil war and began purchasing land, with some land costing 70 cents an acre. All of the public school land in Graham has either been donated by the Graham family or has been available to Graham ISD at a nominal cost.

• Agnes (Addie) Mary Kitner Graham - Historical Award (Anne Skipper accepted the award.)

She was the guardian angel of Graham for 30 years after the death of her husband Colonel Edwin Smith Graham in 1899. She dedicated her life to making Graham a good place to live with her primary goals being clean water, care for the aged, appreciation of the arts and education.

• Malcolm Kinter Graham - Historical Award (Third generation descendant Cam Bennett accepted the award.)

He was the third child of Edwin Smith and Agnes Graham who attended schools in Graham when they began in 1883. At 15 he went to college and after two years at Southwest College in Georgetown moved on to West Point. In 1917, the Graham school burned and during the rebuilding of the school in 1919 the district didn’t have enough money to restart the sports programs. Malcolm Graham donated all of the sporting equipment, uniforms and essentials for sports to the school.

• Gustavus Adolphus and Edmonia Graham - Historical Award (Stewart Youngblood, great-grandson of Edmonia and Gustavus, accepted the award.)

Gustavus Graham was the co-founder of Graham and both he and his wife Edmonia moved to Graham in 1871. Edmonia helped start a school for children in Graham, and with five children of her own and with the children of the salt workers she started a school in her home. She donated the land for the very first free school in Graham in 1883 and with the Edwin Smith Graham family donated 12-acre plot of land.

• The Bertha Foundation - Distinguished Community Member Award (Melissa York, granddaughter of Bruce Street, accepted the award.)

Established in 1966 by Bruce and Boyd Street in honor of their mother Anna Bertha Graham Street who was the youngest child of Edwin Smith and Agnes Graham. The purpose of the foundation was to improve life in Graham by supporting cultural events, improving educational opportunities and provide facilities that promote good health of citizens.

• Ray Herring - Distinguished Community Member Award (Daughter Debbie Robertson accepted the award.)

Herring was born in Arkansas, moved to Bryson at around 6 years old and graduated from Bryson High School in 1946. In 1953 he moved to Graham and served the community as a civic leader and in 2001 received the Citizen of the Year award from the Graham Chamber of Commerce. He was honored as a GHS booster of the century in 2000.

• Garth Baker - Distinguished Staff Award (Sara Cutshall, Baker’s niece, accepted the award.)

Baker worked as an Ag teacher at GHS in 1839, became the GHS principal in 1954 and in 1971 he became the Superintendent of Graham ISD. He retired in 1983 after serving 44 years in the district at GHS.

• J.D. Burke - Distinguished Staff Award (Danielle Tyler, Burke’s granddaughter, accepted the award.)

Burke graduated from GHS in 1937 and was an educator in Graham schools for 33 years from 1949 to 1982. He was an influential coach and teacher to many who lived in Graham and dedicated his life to his work for the students of Graham.

• Hallie Roselle Graves - Distinguished Staff Award (Bennie Lane accepted the award.)

Graves served 20 years as the principal of the Lincoln schools in Graham from 1946 to 1966. She was very faithful in her service to the african american community and despite having no children of her own, was a mother to all of the children in Graham.  

• Eugenia D. Howell - Distinguished Staff Award (Mary Pitcock accepted the award.)

Howell's first position at Graham ISD was teaching 4th grade in the early 1930s. She left Graham to go home and the Superintendent asked her to come back and she was appointed as the first Dean of Students at GHS. For 34 years she served GHS and organized the high school student council, was the senior sponsor for 30 years and was the first woman to receive the Graham Citizen of the Year award in 1956 from the Graham Chamber of Commerce.

• Paul Hagelstein - Distinguished Alumni Award

Hagelstein graduated from GHS in 1990 and was named a National Merit Scholar. He majored in Mathematics at Rice University and received his PhD at the University of Chicago. He started working at Baylor University in 2003 and is an accomplished student and now professor.

• Jo Ann Geurin Pettus - Distinguished Alumni Award

Pettus graduated from GHS in 1964 and then following high school graduated from Texas Christian University and received two graduate degrees from Southern Methodist University. She is the president of Southern Bleacher Company, taking the reins from her father in 1986.

• Charls Walker - Distinguished Alumni Award (Jim Burkett, nephew of Walker, accepted the award.)

Walker graduated from GHS in 1939 and received a bachelors and masters degree from the University of Texas in Austin and a PHD in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. He served as the top treasury official in President Nixon’s administration in 1969 and was influential in the capital gains tax of 1978 under President Jimmy Carter and the tax cuts under President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

• Dr. Troy Rollen Johnson - Distinguished Alumni Award (Daughter Donna Clark accepted the award.)

Johnson graduated from GHS in 1957 and served 23 years in the US Navy, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He earned his bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and his masters and PhD from the University of California in Los Angeles. He authored over 25 books and was considered a renowned authority on Native American history.

The Graham Leader

620 Oak Street
P.O. Box 600
Graham, Texas 76450
Phone: (940) 549-7800
Fax: (940) 549-4364