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Lonnie B. Keller Middle School Holds Dedication Ceremony

Lonnie B. Keller Middle School Holds Dedication Ceremony
Posted on 05/19/2015
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Students, faculty and staff may not stay at the Lonnie B. Keller Middle School forever, but they will always be remembered. 

Hundreds gathered Thursday, May 7 for the school’s dedication ceremony to reflect on memories in the old building and pay tribute to the new one.

“It was hard to say goodbye to the former Lonnie B. Keller Middle School facility last May, when the 55-year old campus which opened as San Jacinto Junior High was demolished,” Marshall Kendrick, School Board secretary said. “But watching the faces of the students and staff as they started the school year in this building, was a joyful beginning.”

The dedication ceremony welcomed students, faculty, staff, as well as district administration, Board of Trustees, community members and the school’s building planners. Special guests included Keller’s daughter Sandra Simmons and her husband Jack.

The event kicked off with a video presentation of the old facility and the building process for the new campus. The school choir and orchestra performed several classic songs throughout the evening, followed by another special presentation by students and staff.

Keller has experienced several major accomplishments this year in addition to opening the new facility. About 20 students and staff members lined up one-by-one to share these points of pride with the crowd. Each highlight began with “right now,” followed by these achievements: Keller was named one of 11  Texas Schools to Watch; the Mayor of Pasadena declared May 7 Lonnie B. Keller Day; Keller continues to be the reigning champion for Get, Fit, Jog; and over half of the staff have been employed at Keller since it opened in 2008.

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To mark the momentous occasion, each attendee was asked to write their name on a pebble and place it into the wishing well in the school’s courtyard. At 8:41 each morning, students and staff will send positive reinforcements to the names in the well. Even though attendees had the special honor of placing their rocks into the well, this will continue to be an annual tradition for sixth grade students so they will always be remembered.

"We always tell them they are a Keller Ranger even when they are not here,” said Keller Principal Diane Phelan.

Phelan may have placed her rock into the well at the dedication, but her wish had already come true.

“I can’t help but think Mr. Keller and Mrs. Keller would be very proud of this facility,” Phelan said. “We have worked very hard to enhance the school culture so that it upholds his standards and philosophy. He believed that the spirit of friendliness and mutual respect were key values for students and staff.  He wanted to prepare students for their future in a clean and orderly environment where they may acquire the knowledge needed to make them a useful and happy citizen. That philosophy lives here today at Keller Middle School.” 


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Marshall Kendrick expressed warm sentiments about the new facility and shared some of the school’s history.

Through the transitions the campus has been seasoned with a rich heritage, he said. The school was named after Lonnie B. Keller, a longtime administrator and educator in Pasadena ISD. He retired in 1982 after 23 years of service to Pasadena ISD. He opened the campus as San Jacinto Intermediate. When the new San Jacinto Intermediate opened, the facility became Keller Middle School under the direction of Diane Phelan in 2008.

“The students and staff have patiently endured the challenges of an aging building originally constructed in 1959 in anticipation of one day, moving into this new, beautiful and efficient facility,” Kendrick said. “Special thanks to all of you, the community and the voters for supporting the construction of this new school in the 2011 bond election.”

Keller's daughter, Sandra, was nearly moved to tears by the applause she received as she approached the podium.

“If my father were alive today, he would be so proud of all of you for making his dream reality,” she said.

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