I think it is a sad day for east Waco when they tear down r l smith. Although the building itself is nearly 100 years old I feel that if community leaders had some sense of vision the building could have been reconfigured into something that would regentrify the neighborhood, something that would reignite pride in the neighborhood that is ripe with hopelessness and despair, perhaps lofts or a women's shelter or perhaps a satellite campus for MCC,Baylor or some other institution that could offer job training for area youth. For those who cry the cost of refurbishment far exceeds the purpose of the building then I point to other city projects utilizing old buildings that have done well namely the old Waco high campus downtown or even the old south jr campus.
I have such fond memories of the school in its hey day. Great educators like Miss Buleah Clewis, Mrs Carrie Jackson,Mrs Doris King,Mrs Effie Meeks and Mrs Norma Johnson, Mrs Helen Haliburton and Mrs Emma Montgomery Mr Henry Bonner, Miss Violetta Richardson and my very favorite Mrs Abbie Booker. One cannot leave out the incomparable "music lady" Mrs Argie Mae Medearis! I know I'm leaving out others but these are the teachers I give kudos to for helping my parents instill in me the values ,morals and integrity that have helped me to become the responsible man that I am today.
I am only disappointed that the reporter did not take time to do just a bit more investigating into the great memories we have of our old school. Where we're the interviews with people that have good memories as do I. I remember seeing a student of the school when it was east Waco elementary describe the damage the school suffered during the Waco tornado of 53. You can still see the rebuilt part on the west side of the building on the third floor if you look. His interview was quite interesting and shared our passion and love for that old building
There have been so many successful alumni that feel as I do. The article left me sad for the youth of east Waco for not having an institution such as r l smith with adults guiding them along not fearing correcting them when they go astray.
I only fear the site will be filled with sub standard one car garage homes that look new and flashy to low income people searching for the American dream of home ownership, but only lured into high balloon mortgages that leave them helpless in the end.