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“I dream of one thing for this school district.  I have always believed in Camelot.  I believe it exists, and it can exist.  It can do it here.  Our children will have the gardens and take time to smell the flowers.  That’s why we’re gonna have grass, and we’re gonna have flowers…  Military children need special care…  They’re moved around from pillar to post.  So I want us to have a Camelot here.  I want them to have fun learning, fun laughing, and fun smelling the flowers.  So on behalf of the entire school district, I dedicate this school district to the children of military personnel who are fortunate enough to go to school here.”


 

Virginia Allred Stacey

The Story of Her Lackland Legacy

 

In November of 1995, not too long after a ground breaking ceremony, the faculty of Lackland Junior-Senior High School made a presentation to the Lackland ISD School Board, requesting that the new campus be named after our Superintendent.  By some miracle, we managed to keep that agenda item a secret from Mrs. Stacey—probably the first and only time that has ever been possible!

You see, we knew she was a rare gem.  We knew she was a powerful force in education, and not just for our district, but for the other districts like ours in San Antonio …for the state of Texas, and for the nation.  And we also knew that if she knew about our plans, then she would have said  “NO!”  And when Stacey said no, well, you know what that meant.  We knew she deserved the honor, and we knew she was far too modest to agree.  Nevertheless, the Board’s decision that day was unanimous.  So, on August 8, 1997, the entire district celebrated the culmination of a 15 million-dollar construction and renovation project—a project which improved the learning environment for all of our students, Pre-K through 12—and the brand new campus was named Virginia Allred Stacey Junior-Senior High School.

What you see below is the speech that was given at that dedication ceremony -- on behalf of the faculty -- by Carol Frawley.  It provides a glimpse at the resume of this extraordinary woman for which our school is named.  

 

“If strangers were among us today, they might be asking, ‘Who is this woman, Virginia Allred Stacey?  What would move an entire faculty to request that their new school be named in her honor?’  Well, this is how I would reply:

First and foremost, Mrs. Stacey is an advocate for children and teachers on the local, state, and national level.  As a teacher during the week, she could be seen challenging her students to excel, and on the weekends, she would be in Washington D.C. educating our political leaders about impact aid for the military child.  Many times over the past 30 years, the actual life of our school district has been threatened.  However, through her knowledge, political expertise, tenacity, and sheer determination, our district is still thriving and growing today.  In fact, on several occasions, I have had political figures say to me that it is much easier to give Mrs. Stacey what she wants the first time, because she’ll keep coming back until she gets what she wants for the children.

Mrs. Stacey continually searches for a support base to help improve education.  Within the community, Mrs. Stacey has been a member of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs/Education Council and a member of the Board of Advisors for San Antonio 2000.  On the state level, Mrs. Stacey has served as the president of both the Texas State Teachers Association and the Science Teachers Association of Texas.  And, she was appointed by Governor Clements to serve on his Committee on Education.  On the national level, she has served as the legislative chair and a member of the board of directors for the National Education Association.  President Jimmy Carter appointed Mrs. Stacey to the United States Commission on the Review of the Federal Impact Aid Program where she served as Vice-Chair.  Internationally, she has served as a delegate to the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession numerous times.

Her many honors include the Express News One of Ten Outstanding Women in San Antonio, the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, the Texas Association of School Boards Superintendent of the Year Regional Winner, and the Texas State Teachers Association Friend of Education Award.

All of this is just a glimpse of her involvement and accomplishments in her quest for improving the educational opportunities for our youth.  In our letter to the school board, the faculty said, “The people of this district will forever be indebted to Mrs. Stacey, and she deserves more thanks than any of us could give.  Thus, we do not make this recommendation lightly.  It would be an everlasting symbol of our gratitude and respect, and we truly feel that she is a person of such profound character and achievement that it would be a privilege to teach in a school bearing her name.” 

Indeed it is an honor, for this school now bears the name of an educator, a mentor, a visionary, and an advocate for children and teachers.  Her love and dedication to this school district is constantly evident…Just look at what we have around us today.  She is our strength, our foundation, our protector, our hero.  She has been, and always will be, the wind beneath our wings.”

 

After that speech, and later during the ceremony, Mrs. Stacey spoke.  What she admitted first was that she was speechless—if you can imagine that!—and that she wondered to herself what she would say as she approached the podium.  But then, with all the grace and charm that she always possessed, Mrs. Stacey stepped out of the lime-light and paid tribute to the Lackland team who she said made the project possible—the teachers, the command, the people of Lackland, and the board.  She then said these words, which you can see on a plaque in the Memorial Garden near the flagpoles at the front of the school:

 

  “I dream of one thing for this school district.  I have always believed in Camelot.  I believe it exists, and it can exist.  It can do it here.  Our children will have the gardens and take time to smell the flowers.  That’s why we’re gonna have grass, and we’re gonna have flowers…  Military children need special care…  They’re moved around from pillar to post.  So I want us to have a Camelot here.  I want them to have fun learning, fun laughing, and fun smelling the flowers.  So on behalf of the entire school district, I dedicate this school district to the children of military personnel who are fortunate enough to go to school here.”