By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
BUDA – The little school downtown has stood for 80 years and still is going strong after renovations.
It’s now Buda Elementary School, but just two generations ago, it was Buda High School, and the junior high and the elementary school. When Buda High School breathed its last in 1968, all grades included about 300 students. Now, as one of seven elementaries in the Hays CISD, Buda Elementary accounts for more than 600 students.
The school recently received an historic designation and unveiled its marker on the morning of Feb. 22 before a throng if five or six dozen community leaders, school officials and interested alumni.
“This school is so big in the lives of so many people,” said long-time former principal Nolan Kunkel, for whom the school’s auditorium is named. The auditorium, beautifully restored five years ago, has been a mainstay of Buda life for decades. The city council used to meet there before renovating city hall in 2003.
Moe Johnson, founding superintendent of Hays CISD in 1967, recalled his days as a student at the old Buda school in the 1940s. Johnson said he once was expelled for three days because he was preparing the school’s outdoor basketball court for a game and was therefore late to a meeting.
Johnson said he managed to conceal his expulsion from his parents because the bus driver took him to and from school, anyway.
“I never told them until I was in the army, and they still punished me,” Johnson said.
The Buda school system was formed in the late 19th century as an amalgamation of numerous little schools in the area. A school was erected on the present Buda Elementary site in 1908, 100 years ago, but that building burned down and the present structure went up in 1928.Email | Print