Hispanic heritage and history lives on in HISD campus namesakes – Week Two

Hispanic Heritage Month runs Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

District wide, Hispanic descendants are honored by having schools carry their namesake allowing their rich history to live on.

HISD has 22 schools that recognize the contributions of Hispanic civic and community leaders who range from educators and civil servants to local restaurateurs, newscasters, Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, and even Nobel Prize-winners.

We invite you to visit our blog each week throughout Hispanic Heritage Month as we will feature more schools who carry on these important legacies.

Davila ES — Named for Jaime Dávila, the son of immigrant parents from Mexico, the school opened in August 1990, not far from the site on which Dávila was born in 1959. Dávila was a product of HISD and the first student from Houston’s East End to receive a full scholarship to Harvard University.

DeAnda ES — This school, which opened in the fall of 2011, was designed to provide relief for overcrowded conditions at nearby Mitchell ES. It was named for the late Judge James DeAnda, Houston native and graduate of Davis HS. DeAnda was one of the first Mexican-American attorneys to argue before the Supreme Court and the second Mexican American to serve as a federal judge.

DeZavala ES – Opened in 1929, this school is named for Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala (1789–1836), who was a distinguished Mexican statesman and diplomat. He was given the responsibility of colonizing Texas and led the struggle for its independence. He was elected interim vice president of the New Republic.

Herrera ES – John J. Herrera was the 21st national president of the League of United Latin-American Citizens (LULAC) and established 15 districts of this organization throughout the state of Texas. The son of a San Antonio policeman, he was descended from one of the 14 original families to settle that city. He was born in 1910 and passed away in Houston in 1986. The school named for him was built in 1992.

Laurenzo ECC – One of the first two facilities built by HISD to serve prekindergarten students exclusively, this school opened in the autumn of 2004. It is named for the Ninfa Rodríguez Laurenzo, a much-loved Houston restaurateur and community leader who recognized the importance of early childhood education. Laurenzo opened her first Mexican-food restaurant in 1969 in a converted warehouse on Houston’s east side. Over the next 10 years, she parlayed that restaurant’s success into a multi-million-dollar empire. The school named after her is located in the same neighborhood as her original restaurant. She died in June 2001.

Mistral ECC — Opened in the fall of 2005, this facility is one of several built by HISD designed to serve prekindergarten students exclusively. It is named after a celebrated Chilean poet and educator who was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945. Gabriela Mistral was the pen name of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga, who was born in 1889 and died in 1957. Both a writer and teacher, she created educational programs for the poor under the Mexican Ministry of Education. She also taught at Vassar, Columbia University, Middlebury College, and the University of Puerto Rico.

See last week’s featured schools here.