Ex-Students Commemorate Round Rock, Texas Schools

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Ex-Students commemorate Round Rock schools

From the beginning, the people of Round Rock have put education first. The first school in the county was held in Matthew Moss' log cabin on Lake Creek in 1848. In the 1860s, Round Rock Academy and the Greenwood Masonic Institute offered a fairly advanced education in Central Texas before universities in Georgetown and Austin took up the banner. After the railroad arrived in 1876, there were half a dozen schools in Old and New Round Rock, including classes given through the African-American churches of Lake Creek and Good Hope. And, when fires destroyed the schoolhouses of Round Rock in the spring in 1883 and 1914, in both cases the citizens provided the resources to build new schools by the fall.

Trinity Lutheran College operated from 1906 to 1929 at the east end of Main Street and offered courses ranging from music to bookkeeping to business training. Trinity earned junior college accreditation before moving to Seguin as Texas Lutheran College.

Over the years, the recipients of such quality educations went out to put their stamp on the world.

The Aten brothers, Ira, Calvin and Edwin were noted Texas Rangers. Sam Kemp, class of 1894, became Chief Justice of the Territory of Hawaii. Several graduates of Round Rock schools returned to continue the tradition of teaching excellence, including Mary Jane Sims, a product of Hopewell who in the 1920s made that facility a training school for African-American teachers throughout the area. By 1931, the graduates decided to organize and hold reunions in conjunction with Old Settlers Days each summer. The Round Rock Ex-Students Association was led by Mrs. Clyde Weiss Kyle of Beaumont, whose father Massena Weiss was a Round Rock merchant in the 1880s. Besides keeping the graduates and former teachers in touch, in 1936 the Ex-Students secured an historical marker as part of the Texas Centennial celebrations. The marker is on Mays Street (old U.S. Hwy 81) just north of Brushy Creek. The Ex-Students continue to this day, keeping alumni connected and awarding scholarships to graduating seniors to return the favor of the educational opportunities they have enjoyed.