Feature Stories from the History of Industrial ISD

Band Trip to Chicago
First Big Band Trip that I.H.S. Band Took
June 1958

 Our trip as the Official Band of the Texas Lions Club to march in the International Lions Club Convention parade was the first out-of-state trip of the Cobra Band. Mr. Fassino had this trip planned right down to the minute to make sure it was an educational as well as a fun trip.  After training to march in the long parade by marching from LaSalle to Vanderbilt numerous times, we left Vanderbilt on school buses and boarded two chartered buses in Houston.  Lunch that day was somewhere around Livingston-Lufkin area.  We arrived in Texarkana late the first day just in time for one of many meals in a cafeteria.  On the way to St. Louis, we were driven around the Capital of Arkansas and by the school in Little Rock, Arkansas which was at the center of the desegregation battle.  Breakfast the second day of our trip was in the St. Louis bus terminal and lunch was in Pontiac, Illinois.  After arriving at our hotel in Chicago about 4-5 pm and checking in, we walked to a cafeteria for dinner.  While in Chicago, in no specific order, we:  1.        Marched in the Lions Club Parade, which was somewhere around 4-5 miles long, playing a march and doing a dance step to “Ain’t She Sweet?”.  2.       Attended a dance for the high school bands which was hosted by the Connecticut Lions Club and on the way to the dance we were driven along “Lover’s Lane”.   3.       Were taken by bus to see and experience “Skid Row” and the soup lines.  A real eye opener for all of us.   4.       Visited the Museum of Science and Industry, the largest Science museum in the Western Hemisphere, built as part of the 1893 World’s Fair.  We had 4 hours to roam this fantastic wonderland seeing things like a German U-boat, riding down a mine shaft to watch how coal is mined, watching a live radio station, seeing planes hanging from the ceiling, etc., before heading back to the hotel.  On the way, we all got to wade in Lake Michigan, a COLD experience.  5.       Attended a movie and got to go shopping on LaSalle Street.  Macys was a big hit.  6.       Went to the top of the Prudential Building.  7.       The miracle of miracles of the trip was that all 55 band members and sponsors from a small community in South Texas managed to get on and off a subway at the same time on the way to and from  a double-header baseball game in Wrigley Field.  We also got to drive around Soldiers’ Field, the home of the Chicago Bears.  The last night we were in Chicago, Mr. Fassino treated us with a dinner in a real restaurant instead of a cafeteria, dropping 10-12 band members and  a sponsor off  at different places so as not to over crowd the restaurants.  On the way home, we detoured into Springfield, Illinois in order to drive by the Capital and to see where Abe Lincoln lived.  Cannot remember the rest of the trip-sleep deprived, tired and weary, we did not dare sleep because if we did, we got tooth paste on our faces or shaving cream squirted in our shies.  Our band director, Mr. Fassino, and his wife were from Chicago.  What excitement for us Country kids!

This Year in Cobra Pride History
By Broadus Ramsey-  Class of 1952

Dateline Vanderbilt, late August, 1951. For the third consecutive August in IHS existence, about 40 male athletes of the forthcoming student body of the new school year convened at the locker room located in the basement of the gym to begin two-a-day practice sessions in preparation for the 1951 football season. The young men lived in an environment where contact with one another over the summer was difficult. Consequently, the first day was a reunion of sorts for most of us. This season was to be directed by a new head coach, I.C. Wendel assisted by a newcomer to the coaching staff but a highly regarded and loved classroom teacher, C.E. Massey. We were familiar with coach Wendel as he had assisted Coach Golson for the first two Cobra seasons. Coach Golson had been recalled to active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps in the spring of 1951 and departed the campus shortly thereafter. Cobra football was still in its infancy. IHS was founded by consolidation of the LaWard, Lolita, and Vanderbilt schools in 1949 and eleven man football was introduced to the communities. All three schools which made up the new district had played six man football up to this point. The 1949 and 1950 seasons gave a classic example of excellent coaching and quality talent on the part of the team members. The Cobras posted a five (5) win two (2) loss record in the initial season and followed with an eight (8) win, one (1) loss, one (1) tie record for season number two. Spirits were high and coaches Wendel and Massey boosted both spirits and expectations by setting the goal of winning the first district championship for the Mighty Cobras. An experienced squad gave credence to the optimism of the coaches. Only two members of the 1950 squad had been lost to graduation. However, the experience factor of all squadmen except two was limited to only two seasons of eleven man football play. The team would be facing opponents made up of players with eleven man experience beginning with Jr. Hi participation. Seniors J.R. Pruitt, Ernest McFeron, James "Bubba" DeAtley, and Broadus Ramsey had played "choose-up" football together on the grounds at the LaWard school since fourth grade. The Cobras would be playing in a new district (27-A) with a schedule bringing in two schools that the Cobras had not met in the past, Karnes City and Kenedy. Coach Wendel pointed out that Karnes City had prevailed as District champion of the new district for a number of years. He pumped the team up with the motivation for the 1951 Cobras to bring that tradition to an end. The sparkplug for the Badgers was named Sam Harper. His jersey number was 47. This number was painted on the tackling dummy so the team could focus on containing him when the time came. The season opened with a 18-19 loss to class 2A Cuero. Cuero went on to win their district and advance to the Regional game in the playoffs. The Cobras went on to win the next eight games outscoring opponents 276-28.  The game between the Karnes City Badgers and the Industrial Cobras on the evening of Nov. 16, 1951 was heralded as the game of the week for class A in the state by area and state sportswriters. Both teams were undefeated in district play. Both teams had been defeated by teams from district 30-AA. A true storybook matchup if there ever was one! Industrial was designated as the home team for this battle for the district title. A large following from the community of Karnes City and the surrounding area was expected and the entire sports fan population from Jackson County was geared up to cheer for the Cobras. Considering these factors it was a no brainer that the stands at Cobra Field could not accommodate the anticipated crowd. With this in mind, the game site was moved to Edna. The stands on both sides of the field at Edna were filled and many fans cheering for each team viewed the game standing. The fans were treated to a bang-up tussle. The Cobras led in scoring throughout the game and won the first of many district championships for the Mighty Cobras of Industrial by the score of 20-13. The Bi-District game was played in the town of El Campo on Thanksgiving Day. The Cobras had to come from behind for the first time of the season (we scored first against Cuero) to defeat the Hondo Owls 13-7. The success of the 1951 season by the Cobras caught the attention of Kirk Hill, a sportswriter for the Houston Post. He wrote a lengthy and very complementary article favoring the "Young Upstart" Cobras in the Nov. 28 edition of the Post prior to the Regional game against Angleton. The book "Cobra Football-Memories of the Early Years", located in the High School Library, contains the complete article by Mr. Hill. The Cobras moved into the quarter-final game of the playoffs with a 26-0 victory over the Angleton Wildcats in the third consecutive neutral field venue at Bay City. The next matchup was against the Pearsall Mavericks on their home field in far-a-way Pearsall. The team traveled to San Antonio on Thursday. We all thought that we were now definitely Big Time and walking in Tall Cotton. The was estimated that over 200 fans from the district communities and from other areas of Jackson County made the 3-1/2 hour, 200 mile trek to the southwest Texas town of Pearsall to cheer for the Cobras. The Mavericks were defending a five game win streak on their home turf and had a highly touted running back, Tooty Carroll. The Mavericks had played their regional game on Saturday night following the Cobra win over Angleton. This gave coaches Wendel and Massey an opportunity to personally scout the opponents. They worked the Cobras hard during the week to develop a strategy to bottle  up Carroll whenever he carried the ball. The strategy paid off. Carroll was contained throughout the game. He scored only twice. The first time on a two yard plunge early in the game and later on a 50 yard scamper in the fourth quarter after the Cobras had built a 39-7 lead. Industrial moved to the Semi-Final game with a 39-13 victory over Pearsall. The 1951 season for the Mighty Cobras came to an end on a cold, cold night in Gonzales against the eventual Class-A state champion Giddings. The Cobras came out on the short end of a 22-13 score. After trailing at half-time 7-6, the Buffaloes outscored the Cobras 16-7 in the second half. Coach Wendel's comments drew the attention of area and Houston sportswriters when he said, "Guess we went about as far as we could go." The game could be considered close to classic. Played in the teeth of a windy and blistering norther that tumbled the temperatures to the low 40's both teams had trouble holding onto the football. Giddings fumbled 10 times, losing eight of them. Industrial lost the ball 3 times of 8 fumbles. Woody Hopkins, a reporter from the Victoria Advocate commented that the stands contained many fans from Edna and Ganado as well as people he knew and recognized from other towns in district 27-A. Coy White with the Edna Herald wrote that the Cobras gave Jackson County heaps of favorable publicity and that they represented district 27-A in great style. Interesting footnote to the 1951 season. As I mentioned above the Giddings Buffaloes went on to win the 1951 Class A title. Fifty years later they played for the title again, losing in 2011. Cobras J.R. Pruitt, Ronnie McFeron, Billy Yendry, Norman Hamilton, and Bubba DeAtley were named to the 1951 first team District 27-A All-District team. J.R. Pruitt was named to the Class-A All State team and Ronnie McFeron garnered an honorable mention selection to that team. Surviving members of the 1951 squad along with members of the 1949/1950 squads met in 2001 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the season. Many non-athletes joined the squads to reminisce about the season. The IHS administration and faculty did an extraordinary service  to honor the squads with activities throughout the day. The 12 win record established in 1951 stood until 2008. I cannot be sure of survivors of the 1951 squad. However, I am confident that they will all join me when I say that we feel very fortunate that we had the opportunity to develop character and the sense of fair play and good sportsmanship under the guidance of coaches Golson, Wendel and Massey. We learned valuable lessons from our participation in the sport of football as well in the classrooms. Additionally, we are all glad that subsequent football squads and student bodies have carried on the traditions that were established in the founding years of Industrial High School. Furthermore, I am confident that all exes will join me in wishing continued success for the district to continue in the tradition of excellence on the athletic fields and courts and other extra-curriculm activities along with excellence in the academic achievements of education.   Cobra Pride Lasts a Lifetime!!!      From Broadus Ramsey, IHS class of 1952                   


A. J. “TONY” Fassino

Anton Joseph Fassino was born on July 29, 1915, in Ladd, Illinois, the son of Italian born Matt Anton Fassino and his American bride, Rose. A. J. graduated from De Pue Illinois High School in 1934 where he became proficient on trumpet and was selected as a member of the All-State Orchestra.  He chose De Paul University in Chicago and completed work on a Bachelor of Music Education degree in three years while playing in dance bands to pay his way through school. He married Eleanora Marietta and moved to Syracuse, Kansas, to begin his teaching career. After one year he and his wife returned to Illinois and A. J. taught concurrently in several private and parochial schools. Two sons, Michael and Fred, were born in 1939 and 1941.  World War II began and A. J. volunteered for the Air Force but was turned down, only later to be drafted by the Army in 1944. He was assigned to Special Services and stationed in Texas. The Army would not accept Anton as his first name, and enlisted him as Anthony instead. A. J. began using the name, Tony, a nickname his mother had called him.  When he was discharged from the service, Tony decided to relocate in Texas. He returned to Illinois and loaded his family and their belongings in a panel truck which his father gave him from the family grocery business. The family came south to Luling where Tony quickly built the band into a top-flight organization.  His bands won the Brady and Brownsville festivals as well as UIL events, and in 1955, he was enticed to Industrial High School in Vanderbilt. Not knowing that superintendent Charles Holmes had been instructed to pay whatever was necessary to get him, Tony told Holmes that Vanderbilt probably could not pay what he would need to move. He named a figure and Holmes asked him if he could move tomorrow.  In 1962, Industrial became one of the two first Class A (now AA) Honor bands in Texas. The band also represented Texas at the Lions International Convention in Chicago. Consecutive Sweepstakes and three Outstanding Band Awards at the Buccaneer Festival set the band apart from others. After ten years, Tony moved to the South Park ISD in Beaumont to begin another rebuilding job but a serious illness took his life on April 15, 1966.  Both sons, Michael and Fred, became successful Texas band directors. Michael recently retired from an educational software company, and Fred is Music Supervisor for the Katy ISD.  Mrs. Fassino was very popular with parents and students of the band programs. She attended many rehearsals and every performance. Tony said she was very active in helping him with the responsibilities of his profession.  During those Industrial ISD years, Tony served as a clinician for the college student division in TMEA. He was named to the State Curriculum Guide Committee; was clinician, adjudicator and a friend for bands throughout the state. While the Texas Honor Band, three consecutive Buccaneer Outstanding Awards, and the many sweepstakes are a legacy, his statement on the application form in Beaumont in 1965 reveals the real Tony Fassino.  “My wife and I have been happy in helping young people during their formative years to mold a better life for themselves. We feel that music plays a big part in a well-rounded person.”

The Way Things Were Before Industrial was Industrial
by John Young-  Class of 1959

We started our school experience in the old two story grammer school building in Lolita.  The building that later became the Jr. High was then the High School. When I was in the 4th grade we were bussed to LaWard for school. Mr. Goynes was the principal & taught 5th grade & Mrs. Martin was our 4th grade teacher. The 6th through 8th grade was in Lolita. The high school kids started traveling to Vanderbilt via the long route over the Navidad & Lavaca rivers earlier but the Jr. High became consolidated when the bridge was finished while we were in the 6th grade. I haven't seen any mention of a culture clash in the history but there definitely was one. Many of the kids from "across the river" were raised in homes where dancing & parental drinking was perfectly acceptable while many of us were raised in the old Baptist tradition of dancing & drinking being sinful. It took a  while for the cultures to really become consolidated & real friendships between the two to start emerging. I guess there were just too many pretty girls from across the river & they just couldn't be sinners & look that good. The consolodation was a really big deal in our lives & I believe it caused all of us to become more aware & acceptable of other people & for better or for worse we became the generation that saw more scientific & technological advances than any other generation before us.    Kids today can't believe it when I tell them I had to use hand signals for my driving test because all cars didn't have signal lights or that we had a 13 party phone line where everyone had their individual rings because they all rang when any of them rang. Lolita had a depot & a depot agent & steam trains stopped there. Mr. Jess Sappington had the local filling station & when he was playing dominoes you would make your own change in a cigar box where he kept his money  & I can still experience the gunpowder smell of him putting hot patches on tire tubes in my memory.

Cobra Girls Basketball Team in Initial Texas UIL Girls Basketball Tournament
by: Broadus Ramsey-  Class of 1952

In the second season of  playing together the Lady Cobras took its place in the history books of Texas High School Girls Basketball. The first annual UIL Girls Tournament was held in Austin, Texas March 8-10, 1951. The Lady Cobras, coached by Carol Strane earned the right to play in Class B bracket by winning the regional tournament in Kingsville. Regional first round play matched the LCs up with Pettus and the hoopsters wearing Maroon & Gray walked away with a 21-14 victory. Lavonne Matak garnered scoring honors in this game with 13 points. Industrial faced Woodsboro in the semi-final matchup and trounced the Eagles 36-18. The final game was against Ben Bolt and the LCs chalked up a hard fought "W", 33-28 to advance to the Class B Elite Eight. Doris Hanselka topped all others in scoring in this matchup, pumping in 20 points.  Next Stop-Austin!  It is fitting that this historic event took place in Texas landmark Gregory Gymnasium. Sixteen teams, eight from Class A and eight from Class B, gathered to decide the first ever Texas State Champion in Texas High School Girls Basketball competition in the respective classifications . What an honor for the young ladies from LaWard, Lolita, Inez,and Vanderbilt representing Region VII-B.  The Lady Cobras drew Duncanville as their first round opponent.  Here is how the Victoria Advocate reported the game in the March 10, 1951 edition;  IC Girls Eliminated By Duncanville. A second half surge by Industrial Consolidated of Vanderbilt fell short of stemming a 33-21 victory by Duncanville in a state tournament Class B girls basketball game in Gregory Gymnasium Friday morning.  Doris Hanselka, Cobra forward, pulled the Industrial girls within 3 points of Duncanvillee in the second half by dumping five free throws and three field goals to put the score to 17-14 in the third quarter.   Hanselka scored twelve points for Industrial and Ruby lee Whitfield followed with four points. Lavonne Matak added three and Cobra scoring was rounded out by Holmes with 2 points.  The Cobra defensive trio-Effie Whitfield, Irene Chada, and Janetta Henderson played close but could not stop the sharp shooting of Duncanville's Fay Wilson and Janice Hall.   Coach Strane commented on her girls; "Ruby Whitfield and Lavonne Matak had exceptional long range shooting abilities. Cobra scores would have been much higher if the three point rule was in effect during their playing years."  Coach Strane had this to say about the guards; "These girls deserve every bit as much credit as the girls who make the points."  Her reference to "the girls who make the points" are made because of the rules for Girls Basketball in 1951.  Teams consisted of six players. Three forwards and three guards. The forwards for one team and the guards from the other team were on each end of the court. Forwards only did the shooting. The opposing guards attempted to prevent the forwards from scoring. When a guard would get control of the ball she would dribble or pass the ball to half court where it would be passed to a teammate forward for further passing or dribbling to a vantage point for shooting. The opposing forwards would attempt to recover the ball from the guards on their end of the court as they worked the ball to half court.  After a score an opposing guard would carry the ball to half court and pass to a teammate forward. Opossing guards would press the forwards in their attempt to intercept the pass.  One other interesting rule; only two dribbles were allowed. After two dribbles the ball had to be passed.  The Lady Cobra roster: Forwards-Lavonne Matak, Ruby Whitfield,Doris Hanselka, Lupe Barrios, Dorothy Born Tatum, Annie Chlastak, and Janet Holmes.  Guards-Irene Chada, Effie May Whitfield, Janetta Henderson, Norris Koop Fitzpatrick, Frances Billings, and Clara Marie Foyt.  Accomplishment with a Capital "A"- Congratulations to Coach Strane and the Lady Cobra Girls Basketball team of 1950-1951.

High School Memories 
by:  Jerry Anderson  I.H.S. Class of 1950  

“Electrified Model A”   Back in those days when I was going to school here not very many of us had automobiles, but I had an old Ford Model A 1929 Model that had a radio in it and very few automobiles had radios at that time.  Some of the guys would go to the cafeteria, which was in the old building and down below ground, and in the meantime they’d come out to the parking lot, go to my car and turn on the radio.  Well back in those days those radios were tube typed an d they’d just kill a battery in a little while.  So when school was out my battery would be dead.  I said to myself that I was going to fix those guys so I went and put what we called a Model T coil that had a shocking devise on it (it is kind of like the fence charger that we use today in the pastures) and I put the hot wire under that rear seat so when they turned on the radio it would turn on the charger which was attached to the rear seat.  Let me tell you the couple of guys that were sitting in the back seat got quite a charge and about tore up my vehicle getting out of the car that day.  But you know I never had another problem with them turning on my radio and running down the battery.

Jerry Anderson (left) with his 1929 Model A Ford in 1950.  The sign on 
the side of the car was an ad for a senior fund raiser-  Donkey Basketball.

Working for the Band - I actually worked for the school back then.  They had 6 man football and they were making the change from Vanderbilt to Industrial High School.  They changed from 6 man to 12 man football but because of my age I wasn’t allowed to play football – I was too old.  So I decided to play in the band my senior year.  I only had a couple of classes that I was required to take and I had several hours of free time.  The band director at that time taught me how to overhaul the music instruments and I’d spend my free time overhauling the instruments and save the school quite a bit of money by doing it. 

The 1950 Golden Cobra Band in front of I HS. (left)  Jerry Anderson having his band photo made in the old gym.  (Left)

Driving a school bus - After I graduated from high school the Superintendent asked me if how I’d like to drive a school bus.  I told him that I wasn’t old enough to drive a school bus (back then you had to be a certain age to get your driver’s license for a school bus), but the Superintendent said that he’d sign an affidavit that said that I was eligible to drive a school bus and I could take it down there and get his license.  Sure enough I did this and I got to drive a school bus for Industrial and I hauled the band all over Texas to San Antonio, to functions down in the valley, Kingsville, everywhere. 

Deputy Whitfield – We had a Deputy in Vanderbilt and we all got along.  Deputy Whitfield enjoyed picking on us so one day we thought we’d just fix him.  You see he drove a great big old Buick, so we got some watermelons cut them in two, jacked up his vehicle up and sat his rear wheels in the watermelon rind.  Well when the Deputy got ready to go it would not go it would just sit there and spin.  He knew who had done it but it was all in fun and after a bit of spinning it finally broke up the rind and he could take off.  It was quite funny to see him get in and try to go and not be able to move. 

Railroad Worker – Back then we had a Halloween carnival type thing (and I haven’t seen it done before) and there were booths set up where you could pay and then get the chance to do things like throw a ball, etc.  Well, the railroad hands would come to Vanderbilt to change out crews and they would stay n the local motels and eat at the local café.  (Yes- Vanderbilt had a hotel and café back then.)  Well there was an old boy who came in here (actually a young man who was past school age) and he drove a Crossly (a real small auto they made back then kind of like a Volkswagen is now).  Well, any way he got to flirting with our girls and we decided we’d fix that dude. Back then they had soda waters that came in wooden crates so we stacked up two or three of those wooden crates and picked up his vehicle and centered it on the crates.  You know we never had any more trouble with him after that. 

Cobra Memories- Based on an Interview  
with Corrine Knoernschild Browning Reeves- Vanderbilt HS Senior 1942  

Beginning of school year 1941-1942 – when school began the classrooms were not completed yet.  The new high school would consolidate four schools:  LaSalle, Vanderbilt, LaWard and Casa Blanca (a school located on the corner of 234 and 312 known as Casa Blanca Corner).  They actually provided homes for teachers to live in and they were called teacherages.  Prior to this time the kids that wanted to continue after 10th grade had to find a way to Edna either by driving or they had to wait for someone to get a car that would take them to school and many simply  had to stay home because they had no way to get to Edna.    Many students were new to high school when the school started in 1942 as they had not had a way to get to Edna to finish up.  She was new to the community and was able to go to the new school.   Some had been to Edna and were acquainted with what high school was suppose to be like. Class of 1942 – eleven in her senior class.  She still has and wears her senior ring.   Bus – she rode the first school bus route in the fall of 1941. At that time there was no bridge over the river on the road between Lolita and Vanderbilt so they had to go around through Texana on a country road over the bridge that was where the dam over Lake Texana is now.     In 1951 the bridge between Lolita and Vanderbilt was constructed which made the route much shorter.   

Pearl Harbor – “oh my” they were in the new school at this point in time and the new PA system was in use.  They were all instructed to report to their homeroom.  Having a homeroom was a big deal for them in their new high school.  While in their homeroom, they sat and listened to President Roosevelt’s  speech, his  “Declaration of War” over the radio by means of their PA system .  She recalls, “It was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop in the hall” during his speech.   They had no idea what was going to happen.  The first thing they thought about was whether the boys in their class were going to be able to finish school first before going to war.  Some of the boys had already had to lay out a year the year before the school in Vanderbilt opened because they were not able to drive to Edna.  Many of the boys did enlist.  However, the boys had to wait until they were 19 to go off to war.  Orville Browning, her future husband,  actually left for war on his 19th birthday. At 18 they had to register for the war and at 19 they were eligible for drafting.  It was a terrible time for the young men and women with lots of turmoil. 

Football – 1941 was the year that the Industrial/Ganado rivalry began.  They had the first eleven men team and they had 13 go out for football.  Unfortunately this first year they “Ganado liked to have killed us” on the football field.     Industrial lost to Ganado as Ganado tromped all over us  77 to 7 and they “let us make a score in the last quarter.” Those kids are the grandparents of those now attending Industrial  and they never forgot.   Orville Browning, her future husband, was one of the new kids from Edna and while playing center in that game received  a concussion and he kept playing with a big knot on his head.   After that they went to 6 man football.   

Fun – the kids would gather at the Goat Trail which was a steep washed out gully which was a treat for them.  They gathered on Sundays and would try to climb the steep banks of the gully.  This was big entertainment and fun.  Senior Trip – went to Cuero and played in the park.  It was “a big deal”.  They were country folk and they got to a kick out of going to Cuero and playing in the park, swings and all. 

Classes – Had History, English, Math (Algebra and Geometry in the 2 years), Biology and Chemistry; they had a full course of classes.  Did not have a chemistry lab at first but when the school and lab was finished we had regular lab which was a real step up.  They would have History classes before the school was finished in one of the teacherages or they would have class outside where it was actually cooler.  During many classes they actually sat on the floor.  Math was done in the old Vanderbilt school building upstairs.  They had homemaking and they would be able to go to the teacher’s teacherage once in a while for class and that was a real good thing.  For many of the students who had not been able to go to Edna for high school this new high school was a big deal so none of the obstacles they encountered bothered them.  Most were just plain country kids and happy to have a school of their own.    Probably the kids that came from the bigger schools felt a little lost.  Textbooks were in print at this time.   Class Schedule – went full 9 months, no spring break, but a full day of class was had.  Cafeteria – none the first year, but in the second year here there was a cafeteria. 

Sports – they had girl's volleyball and she lettered for playing.  Her letter is actually orange and white as that first year that was their school colors.  Next year it went to the maroon.  No gym so no basketball.  They played volleyball outdoors and had tennis and track. 

The Students’ parents were mostly farmers.  But once they built the school then they had more students come whose parents worked at Magnolia and Humble Oilfield camps.  The Magnolia and Humble camps were a big deal, almost like a small town.  The camp people were now willing to come here because their children had a place to go to school. 

Reflections on the Class of 1965
By Brenda Browning Allen- Senior 1965

Senior Class of 1965 – had 42 in her senior class and at least ¼ lived at Mobile Camp. Many of the students felt it was fascinating to get to spend the night with kids from Mobile Camp because it was like a town.  They had four streets and rows of houses.  It was “like a real town” to the rest of us who were rural.  
Class Schedule – did not have spring break; began after Labor Day and went through May.
Senior Trip – went to Bandera Dude Ranch
Teacherage – These were still in existence.
Band – Her Freshmen year they were the select band and went to All State in Dallas.  For her it was privileged to get to go her freshmen year and her sister, who was older, was not happy that she got to go at a younger age.  She remembers performing in Dallas.   The Band always won Sweepstakes. 
Hurricane Carla in 1961 was an experience of her freshmen year.  There was much destruction, many people lost their homes, and they missed many days of school.  The eye of the storm actually crossed over their home.  She remembers being in her parents’ home with many of their neighbors also being there because it was considered the stronger of the homes around.  She remembers the water on the ground from all the rain, not rising water, but rain water that the winds just seem to drive in and into the houses.  This was a big event for everyone and we missed a football game which made it all the bigger.
Cuban Missile Crisis – During Kennedy’s term in office, they felt scared and did not know what would happen.  It was tense as they were under the threat of being attacked by a missile.  There were benches out in front of the school and they would sit on those benches every day and talk about it all.  They would  discuss who would be affected and if the boys be drafted. 
President Kennedy’s Assassination
– Remembers the day he was shot, the announcement that came during shop before lunch time that he was shot and later after lunch they announced  that he was dead and the students thought “that can’t be, that can’t happen here”.  It was very unreal. 
The Cafeteria, band hall, and locker rooms were actually located underneath the gym during her years at high school.  The steps going up into the gym were commonly used as a place for taking pictures. 

Great Times at LaWard Elementary
By Gary Thedford

We had some great times at La Ward Elementary including wading through water to get to the cafeteria during the Monsoon season.  Having to move some of our classes to the junior high when the floor throughout the building had to be replaced.   One of the greatest moments for the staff and students at La Ward elementary was when the La Ward Telephone Exchange provided the school with the first computer that was connected to the internet.  Having the students crowd around that one computer to view the world outside of La Ward and the surrounding area and seeing their excitement.  The Fantastic Fridays that were used to expand the students experiences and allow them to work with their peers in exploring many areas.  The introduction to the AR program that had to be set up on each computer with Mr. Tegeler helping in developing tests for those books that were not on the AR list and going from the stand alone version to the network version.

LaWard Memories
By Jeri Browning- 5th Grade Teacher at IEE

My first interaction with LaWard Elementary occurred the beginning of the school year in 1986 when I filled in as a long – term sub for the music teacher, Mrs. Kelly.  I loved that music room snuggled beside the cafeteria.  I loved the tree lined sidewalk that led to those two out buildings.  In the music room, there was a staff on the wall and I could point to the spaces when teaching the students the notes.  Back then, the classroom teacher had to conduct her own physical education for her students, so the music teacher had an entire hour.  I was able to teach singing, folk dancing and recorder to all grade levels every day.  That was such a fun job!  My lunch hour consisted of lunch room duty along with Mrs. Goins and Mr. Tegler.  We had lunch together frequently after monitoring the students’ lunch time.  Part of the music teacher’s job for the kindergarten students was snack time.  Children would bring a quarter to buy an ice cream, but every student was given a carton of milk.  Although the buildings were ancient, the feeling of family and community was strong at LaWard Elementary.  Every staff member made me feel like a part of the team, even though I was there for just six short weeks.

Later I was long term sub for 1st grade (Mary Lea Pfinninger), 3rd grade (Kathy Fisher) before finally being hired as 2nd grade teacher, partnering with Kathy Johnson.  I was delighted to work with those fine teachers, Annette Tise, Nona Allen, Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Menelee (kindergarten – can’t remember her name exactly) and those wonderful cafeteria women who fed me, Dee and Mrs. Kuchler.  Finally, LaWard Elementary brought me into contact with Mr. Gary Thedford, a fine caring principal.  I will always think of these wonderful professional people from the days of LaWard Elementary School.

History of Industrial High School from 1971-2000
By:  Judy Nicholson - Long-time teacher at IISD 

      Bobby and I and our 2 yr. old daughter Shelly moved to Vanderbilt in the summer of 1971 after Bobby was hired to be the athletic director and head football coach. We were very excited because Industrial had a good name for being one of the best school districts in the state of Texas. Bobby’s first few years were very challenging because his record of wins and loses was not that impressive. We loved the atmosphere of the school because we were just like one big happy family. The football season began each year with a kick-off barbecue hosted by the Industrial Lions Club, held out at Mobil camp. The team would all get on a flat-bed trailer and be introduced. Back then, only 1 team could advance to the play-offs and we came in second several times but could never get over the hump.  Then in 1974 we had the “Mean 18” and things began to change. We went 8-2 that year and were in a 3 way tie for the district championship.   A coin flip was used to determine who would advance. We lost the coin flip but it was a great season.  

      Industrial has always had a great deal of school spirit! Back in the day we used to have competition for everything. Each class would collect wood for the bon-fire and the class with the most wood in their pile would be declared the winner at the bon-fire. The freshmen were in charge of building the bon-fire. On several occasions our bon-fire would be burned by someone (Edna or Ganado) and we would have to rebuilt it. One year June Stone brought her whole crew of workers out and rebuilt the bon-fire after it got burned down. Another big tradition was the band marching through the halls on Friday mornings.

       In 1979 the victory bell that now sits on cobra field was donated by the players on the 1979 football team. It was given in memory of Keith Dyson who was the quarterback for the team. Keith was killed in an accident that summer. The metal work was donated by Eric Prove of Ganado’s Hayden Lease Service. Some of the other metal work was done by fathers of Industrial football players.

      In 1980 the mean looking snake was erected. It was commissioned by Industrial ISD.   Artist Harold J. Nichols designed and built the sculpture. The Cobra was placed in front of the new gymnasium.  I am not sure what year the old gym was demolished but I do know it was a town event.   Everyone brought out their lawn chairs and cameras and waited for the bulldozer to give one giant tug and watch the gym collapse. Well, it didn’t work, and we had to wait a few days for the engineers to re-think their strategy. Again, everyone gathered and this time it was successful. Everyone rushed to retrieve a piece of the brick from the old gym. During that school year we had some real challenges. The cafeteria was located under the gym so the school had to prepare all the meals in Lolita and transport them to Vanderbilt. The elementary school, which was closest to the gym, could not be used for a time so the students were relocated to the Church of Christ building. The elementary students were also transported to Lolita or LaWard for lunch each day.

      The words to the fight song Patton were written by some of the students in the late 70’s. Bobby began playing the tape of General Patton’s speech to his football players to inspire them to play hard. It became so inspirational to the team that some of the students wanted the band to play it during the game at crucial times to boost the team. Mr. Castellano, the band director, agreed and decided it needed words. I can’t remember all the students involved but I do know Judy Edwards was one of them. Patton became very important to the student body and parents. Bobby would not start a game until the record was played to his team. I remember one time I got a call from Bobby around 4:30. He and the team were in Bloomington and he had forgotten the Patton tape. I jumped into the car and raced to Bloomington so he could have the tape before the game.

      There have been so many great memories I could share but these are just  a few that stand out. The most important thing about Industrial was the feeling of family. Everyone worked together for the betterment of the school district. The faculty was very close and spent time together playing volleyball, basketball and just hanging out together. At Halloween, students and faculty would all gather on the practice field (where Industrial East is now) and have water balloon fights. We raised our children together and loved all the students. We were just one BIG happy family.  It is our hope that Industrial will never change from that family atmosphere. We truly cared about each other and were always there for each other. Our hearts belong to Industrial because that will always be home!

Cobra Memories
by Charlotte Crisp-  IISD Teacher for 42 years

My 42 years of teaching for the Industrial District would have never happened if I hadn’t first met a good looking Edna boy at Southwest Texas State. Glenn Crisp and I became a couple soon after meeting at a party and were married in 1967 the beginning of our junior year. Glenn’s mom, Ruth called to tell us about the job openings in the Industrial District and within a week we were hired on a handshake by the superintendent Harry Garrison.  We did not have a formal contract until some years later when someone realized that we were not under contract.

Glenn was hired to teach 6th grade math and I was hired to teach 6th grade English next door to each other in the old junior high building in Lolita.  The school offered free housing and we moved into our duplex and saved for 6 years for our first home. I have been with the district since. I have never taught anywhere else not counting my student teaching at San Marcos High School.

There were a few minor difficulties. I remember not long after we had started teaching our first year,  I was called to our principal’s office.  Mr. Buford Carnes explained to me that the pant suit I had on was not proper attire.  I told him that I had not received a dress code and was not aware that my polyester hounds tooth checkered suit was not appropriate.  He told me that there was not a written dress code and he would be checking with the superintendent about the matter.  Other women teachers had been asking to wear pant suits.  The superintendent met with the school board and a  written dress code was created that allowed women teachers to wear professional pant suits.

My husband established a reputation that followed him throughout his 30 year teaching career.  A boy in my class refused to go to the office on my request. I went next door and requested Glenn’s assistance. The boy told Glenn that he was not going to the office and “nobody can make me.” He then preceded to grab the desk with a death grip. Without hesitation, my 6’8” 250 lb husband picked up the wayward student, desk and all, and carried him to the principal’s office.  He repeated this act at least 3 times in his teaching career. He and I had very few behavioral problems.

I was a “city girl” from San Antonio and soon fell in love with the country ways of the children of the area.  It’s a love affair that has lasted all 42 years. We attended bonfires, football, basketball, and volleyball games.  We cheered the Rattlers and Cobras at track meets along with all our Industrial neighbors. This was before we had our two sons and our support became even more enthusiastic throughout their activities.  

We attended yearly district barbeques out a Mobil camp with all of us bringing a covered dish and our families. We worked all those calories off playing faculty baseball and volleyball. There was also the tradition of huge district wide faculty Christmas dinners in the basement of the old high school gym where we dressed in formal attire.   We knew that this district was the best around to raise our boys Glenn and Justin.

Then there are the “ghost”stories. My son and I were working in the workroom of the old junior high on a Sunday afternoon. The clock on the wall begins to spin faster and faster. We quickly gathered our materials and started to exit the room. Just as we were leaving, the clock started to slow down and then stopped on the right time. We felt we had been “haunted.”  My husband quickly pointed out to us that electric clocks do that to correct themselves. He said that he had some strange experiences as well. He often went up at night to set up labs and work on his salt water aquarium. He would hear locker doors slam and commodes running in the bathrooms and there was no one else in the building. We never saw anything but one of our employees claimed to see a full body apparition. It made for good tales around Halloween and a good short story exercise.

Our family has made the circle as so many Industrial families do. Glenn and Justin both graduated with honors from Industrial and both attended college and now have successful careers in the medical field. Both have moved back into the district and my grandson will begin his first year of school at Inez in the fall.

I have served with five superintendents and nine principals.   I have had the privilege to teach children’s children. I have seen the advancement of education with technology and beautiful buildings and facilities created for our students. I consider the Industrial personnel extended family and always will.  Industrial School District—

Thanks for the memories.

"2011-One for the History Books, A Memorable Football Season"
By Broadus Ramsey- Class of 1952

Before the school bell rings for the first time each year some 50/60 male students of Industrial High gather for pre season football workouts in preparation for the upcoming schedule. It is always very hot at this time and those who failed to participate in summer conditioning programs really suffer. Coaches put the athletes through the paces with the intent to build a team that will prove competitive against opponents. In all probability coach Kuhlman attempts to instill a goal in the minds of the boys to win district, or at the least to achieve a record that will allow the team to advance to the playoffs looking forward to the state title. Drill, drill, drill is the battle cry of coaches as they strive to develop the skills and abilities of the boys to the highest level.  This year the Cobras are an experienced and talented squad. The expectations of the coaching staff is high. The realignment in March matched the Cobras with Van Vleck, Hitchcock, Edna, Rice Consolidated, Hempstead, and Hallettsville. The Cobras sailed through pre-district with wins over class 1A Shiner who was state ranked at the time, lost a thriller against long time rival Ganado and then got rolling for district play with victories over Tidehaven and Somerville.   The District opener at Cobra Field against Van Vleck resulted in a 48-21 win for the Cobras. Industrial put the members of district 14-2A on notice to expect a potent offense by racking up 420 total yards on offensive. The "stay-at-home stalwart defense" as described by JC H-T sportswriter, Paul Harrison, also made a statement as the defensive unit held a highly regarded explosive VV offense at bay. Next the Cobras traveled to Hitchcock and brought home their second district victory posting a 34-20 "W".   The Cobra offensive unit logged 582 total yards against the Bulldogs while the defensive unit held Hitchcock to 219 total yards. After a week off the Cobras hosted county rival Edna in a battle of undefeated squads in district competition before an overflow crowd (the largest in Cobra field history) at Cobra Field.  The final score (17-14) tells the story as well as a play-by-play rendition could.   The score was tied at 7-7 at the end of regulation play. After each team scored in the first overtime period, the outcome was decided by the successful field goal kick by Cobra junior Kade Smith in the second overtime period. The Cobras journeyed to Altair for the match up with Rice Consolidated.  Once again it took two overtime periods to decide the winner of the contest. The Raiders of RC were victorious 28-21 resulting in a 3-1 district record for the Mighty Cobras at this stage of the season. A new team for the Cobras, the Hempstead Bobcats visited Cobra Field on Friday, October 29. The Cobras came up on the short end of the final score, 17-21. This put the Cobra district record at 3-2, dimming playoff hopes for the Snakes.  The regular season finale was against the Hallettsville Brahmas, a team that Industrial had played off and on over the years, in Hallettsville. With seemingly nothing on the line but Cobra Pride the Mighty Cobras trounced the Brahmas 43-6 to close out the season with a 7win, 3 loss overall record and 4-2 in District 14-2A. A twist of fate, Hempstead's victory over Edna on this night ushered the Cobras into the class 2A, Division 1 playoff picture for the third consecutive year. The first opponent in the playoffs was to be Blanco, the team that knocked Industrial out of the playoffs in the fourth round in each of the two previous years. Third time proved to be the charm for the resilient Cobras as they rolled to a 14-6 victory and into round two in the playoffs. This round brought on the Taft Greyhounds and a trip to Sinton, Texas. The defensive unit came to the forefront in this contest standing firm every time the Greyhounds penetrated the Cobra end of the field in an effort to crack the goal line. A 13-2 victory propelled the Cobras into the next round of the Division 1, Class 2A playoffs. The opponent in the next game will be district 14-2A foe Rice Consolidated in San Antonio's Alamo Dome. The Cobras season ended on November 26 before a large crowd and in the vastness of the  Alamodome in San Antonio as Area Champions in Division 1 of Region 4, Class 2A. District 14-2A foe, Rice Consolidated, who had defeated the Cobras in district play in a double overtime thriller posted a 28-14 "W" over the scrappy Cobras who gave it all they had for the full 48 minutes. The Cobra posted a 9-4 record for the season finishing 3rd in District competition. Coach Doug Kuhlman: "I'm so proud of our athletes and the way they played all year.  We got into a tough district and from the very start. The kids knew we were in a tough district. They kept fighting hard and made the playoffs and made a playoff run. We'd like to still be playing, but still, just tremendous pride for our kids and their effort."  Senior Micah Montes; 'We had a good season. We ran hard, played hard , had a tough district. We'd like to still be playing, but we're happy with what we've done.'  Senior end/fullback Ricky Redus; "The season had plenty of ups and downs. We had fun the whole way through, there wasn't a part we didn't enjoy. We could have done a whole lot better."  Center/nose tackle Dalton Shafer; "We did good. Everybody counted us out. They thought we wouldn't get as far, but we did it." Quarterback/punter/defensive back  Austin Smalley; "It was a good senior experience. I couldn't be happier to play with all my friends."   Kyle Klimitchek; "It was a good season. As soon as we got put in the district (14-2A) a lot of people started counting us out, didn't think we had it in us. We made a good run." Senior scatback Blaine Rozner; "It was a great season, fun overall. We wanted to go farther, but I'm happy with where we made it."   Post season honors: Austin Smalley, Cobra quarterback, punter, and defensive back was named the district's Offensive Most Valuable Player. He also made first team All District team as punter. Blaine Rozner, Micah Montes, Josh Kusak, Dalton Shafer, Kyle Klimitchek, Preston Kuntz, and Charles Hill were named to positions on the First team All District team. Ricky Redus, Jake Smiley, Kade Smith, Bryan Martin, David Hudson, Eric Santillan, Bryce Pruitt, Zach Spraggins, Jake Schulte, Johnny Tseng, Cody Garza, and Alan Fellers also garned positions on All District second team and honorable mention selections. Dalton Shafer was garnered an honorable mention Offensive Line honor to the Class 2A All State team; and Austin Smalley joined with an Honorable Mention selection Punter position on the elite squad.     

“Thank you, Lord, for this time and this place”
by Judy Srp- 4th grade teacher- Industrial Elementary East

The time our family spent at LaWard Elementary is one of our greatest treasures. When we moved back to Texas from Mississippi in 1996, we moved into the LaWard community so our girls could attend school at Industrial. Our decision was based on feedback we had received from other parents. I dropped the girls off with fear and trembling the first day. What if we had made a mistake? No worries; the girls rushed home the first afternoon and shouted, “We love it!” After substituting at LaWard Elementary, I was reminded of why I loved to teach and knew that was the place for me. I continued filling in until there was a job opening as an aide and then a teaching job.  LaWard Elementary provided a feeling of simplicity and small town education at its best. The teachers were committed to excellence in our students served up with a heaping helping of love. The integrity and prayerful support from the top, Mr. Thedford, on down to the rest of the staff was a blessing to our entire family. Annette Tise, Kathy Fisher, and Nona Allen were great inspirations in the field of education for my girls and me. They provided room for growth in a loving, encouraging environment. Nona became my school “Mom” as I bounced ideas off of her and shared students. Eventually, our relationship grew into a life-long friendship and she opened her home to Julie while she was attending Victoria College.  Many times I would walk around the campus in the evenings for exercise and have prayer time. The words I prayed still ring true today, “Thank you, Lord, for this time and this place.”

The Best Year of my Life
by Broadus Ramsey- Class of 1952

While in the 8th grade at LaWard school my dad developed great aspirations for me to play eleven man football. To pursue this ambition of Dad, he approached my uncle who lived in Gregory with the idea of my living with them beginning my freshman year. The football coach at Gregory was a long time friend of the family. Dad was on the school board at LaWard and during the year the consolidation with Vanderbilt began to take form. Board members and community saw the possibility that the consolidated schools would generate a student population that would allow eleven man football so the discussion of moving to Gregory was dropped. The schools came together and my secondary education got a shot in the arm. Many memorable incidents made my three years at Vanderbilt a thrill. Someone asked me somewhere along the way as an adult if I could live one year for the rest of my life what year would I choose. No brainer for me-my senior year at IHS. Living in LaWard with the high school in Vanderbilt long before the road from Lolita to Vanderbilt compelled us to take a one hour, each way, bus ride through the Navidad river bottoms. We departed LaWard around 7 AM, made the stop at Lolita and then proceeded to Vanderbilt. I am confident that many of the LaWard-Lolita students have fond memories of those trips as I do. We were one big happy family. Corky Fitzpatrick was gifted with the ability to yodel and we imposed upon him to treat us at least once a week. Norman Hamilton frequently contributed to make the trip enjoyable with his rendition of "It Is No Secret".  The antics of Willie Thompson and Phillip Henry kept us in jovial spirits as the miles rolled away.  My family decided to make a move to Point Comfort the summer between my junior and senior year. Mother, Dad, and me all wanted me to finish high school at IHS so the parents made arrangements for me to have a room at the house of Mrs. Breckel in Vanderbilt. I lived there during the week. Folks would take me home from the Friday night football game and deliver me back to Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon. Mrs. Breckel would prepare breakfast for me early as she was the cafeteria director and she would prepare the evening meal for me. Jerry Lee Gregurek approached me in later September or early October to live with him and his mother. Mrs. Gregurek worked in the cafeteria as was uneasy about me moving from the resident of her boss, thinking that Mrs. Breckel needed the income.  Mrs. Breckel had no reservations about the move and gave her blessings. After football season mother would pick me up on Friday. Sept. 1951-May,1952 was truly an eventful time in my life. I was blessed with great friends, exceptional teachers, outstanding educational facilities, and understanding parents who sacrificed much to insure a quality life for me. I still remember to thank God for that year.