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Juan Linn Elementary closes its doors after 100 years with VISD

By KBell
June 2, 2011 at 1:02 a.m.

Zachary Edgley, 10, positions the United States flag during the fifth-grade graduation ceremony at Juan Linn Elementary on Thursday. Edgley has been a Cub Scout since the first grade.

HISTORY OF JUAN LINN ELEMENTARY

VISD acquired the school property in 1909 and built the first building in 1911, called North Heights Elementary.

The name was changed to Juan Linn Elementary School in the late 1930s.

It was founded by an Irishman, John Linn, but the Mexican influence in Victoria changed the name to Juan Linn.

The school has been known over the years for its animal-friendly attitude. A pot-bellied pig once roamed the halls.

Source: Diane Boyett, district communications specialist

Almost under his breath, 8-year-old Dayvin Martinez revealed the rumor he'd heard about Juan Linn Magnet Elementary School.

"My mom said the school has been around since she was a kid," the second-grader said.

Indeed it has. The first school constructed on the Navarro Street property was North Heights Elementary in 1911. It changed its name to Juan Linn Elementary in the late 1930s, a fact that stunned the open-mouthed kids inside on their last day of school.

While they may not have known the depth of the school's heritage, the Cub Scouts at Juan Linn had a part in constructing its most recent history.

They rattled off at least nine projects that they, along with the Eagle Scouts, contributed to the small property, like decks, gardens, trees and benches.

Zachary Edgley, 10, said it was neat to see how his schoolmates benefited from the projects he and fellow Scouts had put effort into.

"You're knowing you're putting joy in other people," the fifth-grader said.

Some of the work that went into beautifying the campus will soon become property of DeTar Hospital-Navarro, though.

The Victoria school board voted in March 2009 to move the students at Juan Linn Elementary to the Crain Middle School campus, citing lack of space, old facilities and safety concerns with Navarro Street.

Principal Toni Misak said she had mixed feelings about the school she's headed for seven years. Even Misak's mom, Rose Cano, remembered attending the school her sixth-grade year, when the building was two stories and took up only a part of the block.

"There's so much history here," she said. "I know the school has served the community well, but we know it's time to move on."

Misak said the school is expected to be evacuated by Monday. She and other employees are sorting through old memorabilia, deciding which to archive and display at their new campus.

The Cub Scouts are right there with her. They said they plan to take what they can - perhaps even splitting the decks - to their new campus.

"I think that's the most exciting part - that there's so much space (at the Crain campus)," said Zachary's mom and former Cubmaster Helena Edgley. "There's going to be so much opportunity to do more."

Zachary, Dayvin and their fellow Cub Scouts from Juan Linn - Seth Hale and Dylan Naranjo - exchanged high-fives and ideas for what the possibilities that awaited them at their new campus.

As the lone fifth-grader of the group, Zachary will be headed to Stroman Middle School, but he said he's proud to be in the final graduating class at Juan Linn Elementary School.

"It feels pretty cool because you can tell your kids you know there was a school there," he said.

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