Goodman Elementary School celebrated its 50th anniversary with a look back at its past and forward to its future during a festive event held Tuesday, Nov. 11 at Aldine ISD elementary school.
Former district and Goodman administrators, teachers, students, and parents joined current AISD Board members, administrators and members of the Goodman staff and students, along with parents, to celebrate the school’s 50th birthday. Also on hand for the event were members of the Goodman family.
Goodman Elementary was formerly known as Hidden Valley Elementary and opened in September of 1964. In 2000, the school was renamed in honor of Ralph Goodman, a longtime Aldine ISD employee who served as the band director at Aldine High School, and was principal of Inwood Elementary (now Smith Academy) before spending the final 25 years of his educational career as the district’s director of music and performing arts.
Mr. Goodman’s four children, Diana Hoover, Greg Goodman, Forest Goodman and Craig Goodman, along with other Goodman relatives, were also present at the anniversary celebration.
Diana spoke on behalf of her brothers and said the entire family was deeply moved by the event.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for being here today,” she said. “I know our father is beaming with pride. “Public education can do wonders and this school does wonders.”
Former Aldine ISD Superintendent W.W. “Bill” Thorne was superintendent when Hidden Valley opened in 1964. He shared with the audience that the district paid $30,000 for the site where the school was built and that it opened with 30 classrooms, 30 teachers and 900 students.
“Things have changed a bit over the last 50 years,” Mr. Thorne said. “And mostly for the better.”
Current Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg thanked the Goodman family for the many contributions their father made to the students and staff during his 30-plus years with Aldine ISD.
“Thank you for lending your name to this school,” Dr. Bamberg said. “I also want to thank the former administrators and staff members who set the tone for the great things that have been done here. Our pledge to you is to continue the great work that’s been done here and is being done here.”
Former Goodman principals Jim Godwin, Gay Srakla-Gatavi and Dr. Janet Ray also attended the event and Mrs. Srakla-Gatavi addressed the audience.
“This school was a wonderful place to work,” Mrs. Srakla-Gatavi said. “I want to thank Jim Godwin for his leadership when he was principal. I learned a lot from him. You didn’t work for Mr. Godwin, you worked with him.”
Former Goodman student Lupe Garcia said he cherished the years he spent at the school.
“I have very fond memories of this school,” he said. “Goodman is still going strong after 50 years. From a former student, I can tell you, you made a great impact on our lives.”
Former teacher Karen Large and current teacher Kim Mai also addressed the audience, as did Dr. Carole Winn-Scott, who spoke on behalf of former Goodman teacher Innetta Carter. Carter, who is now the principal of Harris Academy, was unable to attend the ceremony. Goodman students Alyssa Martinez and Paulina Virgen shared their feelings on what it means to attend Goodman Elementary.
Goodman’s current principal, Camelia Chester, served as the master of ceremonies and said serving as the school’s lead administrator is an honor she cherishes.
“It is a joy to be the principal of Goodman Elementary,” she said. “We couldn’t make it without our parents, and staff, who keep the legacy of Ralph G. Goodman going.”
The event also included several student performances. A group of fourth graders read poems they wrote about their school, while the Goodman Mustang Choir performed, “The Dream Starts Now.” A group of third- and fourth-graders performed a skit reflecting on the number of changes that have taken place in the culture and country over the last 50 years and audience members were also treated to a video presentation that featured former principals, staff members and students, as well as the current staff.
Goodman students Hannah Smart and Damian Paredes led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to the Texas Flag and Pastor Israel Charo of Templo Aposento Alto Church delivered the invocation.