The McDade Class of 2019 is the first senior class to graduate from McDade High School in 79 years.
In the spring of 1940, McDade High School held their last graduation ceremony before a fire destroyed the school in March 1941. The building was insured for $5,000 worth of damage and the cost to rebuild it at the time would have been $8,000. Therefore, it was decided not to rebuild the high school. Up until 2016, when McDade ISD began offering high school courses again, students were transferred to other schools starting in the ninth grade.
McDade started offering high school courses again in order to see their students progress from kindergarten all the way through high school. Before 2016, the McDade ISD school board was concerned their students were leaving McDade ISD after eighth grade and going to much larger schools, where they could potentially feel overwhelmed or lost.
“It took a ton of work,” McDade Superintendent Barbara Marchbanks said. “We had four community meetings, we had individual meetings with parents, we had meetings with students, we did advertising, we went and visited some other high schools that had done the same thing that we had. We did a good job of doing our research.”
McDade High School is planning to expand its new robotics program and add new agriculture and technology classes. They also want start offering baseball and dance classes to their high school students. McDade takes pride in the fact that it is one of the few 1A-division schools in Texas that has a band, which it hopes to soon expand into a marching band. During this year, McDade High School sent students to compete in regional-level competitions in both track and field and UIL academics. Marchbanks is very excited about the expansion that the high school has experienced and how it will continue to grow in the coming years.
Aaron Araujo, one of Mc-Dade’s graduating seniors, says it feels great to be a part of an event this historical for the McDade school and community. Confirming the school board’s concerns prior to 2016, Araujo said it was difficult during his freshman year when McDade had not yet opened its high school. Araujo transferred to Elgin High School before returning to McDade in his sophomore year. Araujo found difficulty in coming from a small, tight-knit school where he had attended his whole life to a new, larger high school.
Araujo was one of the students who participated in the regional track meet on behalf of McDade High School. The track team placed seventh out of 16 regional teams.
After high school, Araujo plans to take advantage of a year-long internship at an architectural firm in Austin. In his internship, he will help design HVAC systems for various buildings. Along with all six of his classmates, Araujo met the state’s requirements of college, career or military readiness.
“I just want to say that I’m glad to be in McDade, because I started here and I’m finishing here,” Araujo said.
McDade High School has already begun hosting conventional high school events such as prom, homecoming and senior trips for their graduating class. The seniors have all been offered the standard opportunity to purchase a senior class ring and were provided with robes, cords and other standard attire for their graduation ceremony.
The graduation ceremony for McDade High School was held in the gym at 156 Marlin Street on the evening of May 24. Seven students graduated at the ceremony, which gives the class a 100 percent graduation rate.
“I’m excited to be a part of McDade and I am excited for our kids and the opportunities we have helped provide for them,” Marchbanks said. “I look forward to all of them being successful.”