Thomas Jefferson High School Historical Preservation Society
 

TJHSHPS Blog

The TJHS Historical Preservation Society is always interested in stories about Thomas Jefferson High School, its alumni and the community.

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  • Sun, February 16, 2020 4:37 PM | Christopher Medina (Administrator)

    The Conservation Society has officially awarded the TJHSHPS the 2020 Historic Preservation Award for the Built Environment for the restoration of the Student Council Patio Fountain.


  • Sat, February 01, 2020 4:43 PM | Christopher Medina (Administrator)

    Please pardon our dust as we will be working on several updates to our website thru the month of February. Be sure to re-visit us in March to check out all the layout & content updates!

  • Wed, October 03, 2018 6:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BOARD NOTES
    April 18, 2018

    We can see it, touch it, almost taste it!

    Progress on the fountain is so encouraging, and the entire Board is ecstatic. We wish each of you could feel like we do when we go see the progress.

    Fountain under constructionA shot of the fountain with the frogs.

    We had little time at this meeting other than working out at the fountain with the tile folks deciding on color matches and seeing the latest version of the frogs. As many original tiles as possible will remain on the fountain, but many were damaged and need to be replaced. There are a variety of colors involved for the ledge around the top of the inner pool and the outside of that pool. The tiles were glazed in green, brick red, yellow, and black. We compared them to the tiles that will remain on the fountain for the sake of matching. We soon discovered that the original tiles are not all the same color. There are variations in the red/orange that lean toward one color or the other and in the yellows that range from an ocher to a more true yellow. We decided, along with advice from both the tile manufacturer and the installer, to make differing percentages of the tiles in each of the colors and mix them just as the originals are.

    The green tile.

    One of the new reds next to an original.

    Black on black.

    Larry Stevens, Class of 1969, brought the final frog design with several different coatings of colors ranging from an oxidized green to copper to a dark tint. We chose to go with a medium tint of the green oxidized color. The contractor who is doing the water for the fountain showed us how the frogs will work, each of three frogs spewing a stream of water into the middle of the inner pool. He told us how the stream can be adjusted individually for each frog. The piping and control valves for the water are already installed, along with the controls for the float valve that will regulate the fountain's water level.

    Once all of our decisions were made, we adjourned our outside gathering and met again in the office in the Main Hall where we normally meet. Other topics discussed include the ongoing drive to sell memory bricks and a promotional video we are having produced to educate the public on the importance of Jefferson and on your role in maintaining it's legacy through TJHS HPS.


  • Tue, May 16, 2017 8:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    September 19, 2017

    Progress on the Student Council Fountain Restoration

    Representatives from various construction, architectural, and trades firms who are members of the fountain restoration team were present at the September 20th Board Meeting. Each spoke briefly about their companies and the part they will play in the process.

    James Gray of Rialto Studios began with a state-of-the-project introduction. He noted that the synergy created by the meeting of the team members was shaping the project as better ideas were formulated with all the minds together.

    Burditt Tile presented the tile restoration plan. A component of this plan that is dictated by the Historical Design Review Board is that all of the tiles that are removed must be saved as historical materials. Not all tiles are being removed. Whichever tiles are still basically intact will remain. All others will be replaced.

    Dunis Studios, tilemakers in Wimberly, Texas, showed samples of the tiles they hand make in their factory. The process was briefly explained. Dunis assured the Board that the tiles would be expertly matched, with only surface finish varying somewhat due to aging of the original tiles. Dunis clients of note are the McNay Art Institute, the King Ranch, The San Pedro Park Library, and the University of Texas at Austin.

    Larry Stevens (TJHS Class of 1969), owner of Stevens Art Foundry will create the 3 bronze frogs for the fountain. His notable projects are the Juan Seguin Memorial, various works at Notre Dame University, Texas A&M Bonfire Memorial, and the Texas Ranger Monument.

    The managing contractor for the project, Guido Construction, introduced their project manager and presented construction details and a preliminary budget of $181,000. There are options that will either increase or decrease the budget as they are accepted or rejected, and a construction contingency of $10,000 is earmarked.

    Other contractors not represented were Fountain Works, Mission Plumbing, Sculptural Design, Big State Electric, and Hunt Concrete.

    It has been a long haul to this point, but the work and wait has been worth it as we see the imminent restoration of the Student Council fountain.


    July 28, 2017

    Student Council Fountain
    Restoration Underway

    The Thomas Jefferson High School Historical Preservation Society is pleased to announce that the restoration of the Student Council fountain is finally under way thanks to the generous contributions of so many Foundations and individuals all sharing a passion and fondness for Thomas Jefferson High School.

    Guido Brothers Construction Company will serve as the General Contractor for this project, given their extensive experience in the restoration of numerous projects having historical significance.

    On July 27th, 2017, some of the Directors for the Thomas Jefferson high School Historical Preservation Society met with several companies at the School who will play a vital role in this restoration project. These include Burditt Tile & Stone, Inc., Sculptural Designs Atelier, Fountain Works, as well as SAISD. This meeting allowed those subcontractors an opportunity to do an onsite visit to observe existing conditions in an effort to come up with their pricing for the project.

    Special Thanks goes to James Gray with Rialto Studio, Inc. for taking this journey with the Thomas Jefferson High School Historical Preservation Society and who was instrumental in helping lay the ground work so that this project could commence.


    March 21/April 18, 2017

    Student Council Fountain

    At the March 21st Board Meeting, Jim Gray of Rialto Studios presented their proposal to create construction drawings for the contractor, observe the construction process to ensure adherence to the intent of the drawings, and take part in planning and progress meetings, They added a contingency for other consultants and incidentals. The proposal is limited to a total cost no greater than $12,250 at which time any further services required by the board will be charged at an hourly rate. The proposal was unanimously approved by the board members present. It is expected that construction will take place during the summer months. 

    Memory Bricks

    Fifty percent of the area of the circle and spokes around the flagpole has been filled. There are 42 new orders for the next batch.

    2017 Fiesta Medal

    It is expected that all of the Fiesta Medals will be sold before Fiesta begins. Only 4 remain at one of the locations selling them (see below). Once these are sold, the medal effort will have raised another $3,500 for the fountain project!

    May 16, 2017

    Student Council Fountain

    $200,000 is available in the TJHS HPS funds for the restoration of the fountain. The "dance" between partners, the private non-profit (TJHS HPS) and the public owner of the school (SAISD) is going well. Conversations with the head of SAISD's facilities made it clear that the District is the arbiter of who does the construction on campus, and the board is anxious to work with them to get the process started. 

    Memory Bricks

    An additional 23 brick orders were received since the April 18 meeting, bringing the total for the next batch to 65.

    554 have been laid to date. The figure below shows where the bricks have been laid. Another 555 will fill the entire circle and spokes around the flagpole. Several other areas are available once this one is filled.


  • Tue, April 18, 2017 8:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Texas Historical Commission Review

    Let's start with a quote from a letter from Sara Ludueña, a THC project reviewer:

    &quot;We find that the proposed work of the fountain is appropriate and consistent with the Secretary of the Interior&#39;s Standards for Rehabilitation.&quot;

    Yes! Another step toward bringing the fountain back to its original beauty!

    Things that were emphasized by Ms. Ludueña as their understanding of the project were:

    Much of the historic tile is to be replicated and replaced

    The depth of the fountain will be changed to match existing codes [Ed.:As the fountain is right now, it must be classified as a swimming pool because of its depth]

    The frog-shaped spouts on the edge of the upper tier will be reconstructed.

    Join us in celebrating this milestone in the Fountain Project.

    Read the letter in its entirety.


  • Fri, March 03, 2017 6:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Introducing "Board Notes"

    The projects undertaken by the HPS are, by nature, a long series of baby steps. It is difficult to represent the whole of a project on this site without repeating much of what you read before. Because of this, we have decided to begin publishing "Board Notes" in which we will present these baby steps, so that you, our members know what progress is being made.

    There are two types of projects in which we engage, restoration/preservation and fundraising. The first type requires that we do the second type. So, in our inaugural notes, we tell you the latest on the Fountain Restoration Project and the Mustang Legacy Brick Project.

    The Fountain

    01/17/2017 - James Gray, an landscape architect with Rialto Studios in San Antonio presented the tile restoration plans (see PDF) to the Historical Design Review Commission (HDRC), showing which tiles might be saved and which needed to be replaced (approx. 30%).

    The Commission surveyed the fountain and made their recommendations, asserting that as many tiles as could be reasonably repaired should remain.

    Mr. Gray will present a set of drawings to represent their findings to the HRDC and then to the Texas Historical Commission (THC), who must also weigh in..

    The Bricks

    02/21/2017 - Bricks #1-252 were laid on April 19, 2016. Bricks #253-554 were laid on January 25, 2017. Fifty percent of the space around the flagpole now holds "memory bricks (pictured)."




  • Thu, December 15, 2016 8:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Fountain Restoration Project
    on the Move!

    Restoration of the Student Council fountain took a step forward on Wednesday (November 2nd) when the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) gave final approval for the Thomas Jefferson High School Historical Preservation Society's project application.

    James Gray, landscape architect at Rialto Studio in San Antonio, Sylvia Aguilar and Dana Ward (both TJHSHPS Board members) were present at the hearing. This milestone clears the way for TJHSHPS to pursue approval by the Texas Historical Commission.

    Alumni who want to be a part of the ongoing efforts of the TJHSHPS to preserve, conserve, and educate can contribute to the success of the fountains restoration with donations or by buying a Mustang Legacy Circle memory brick.

  • Sat, October 15, 2016 8:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When Will I See My Memory Brick? 

    Many of you who have ordered bricks want to know when they will be installed. Since we pay for a full day of labor each time the brick layers come out, we are doing the installations in batches.

    The fist batch of 252 bricks was laid on April 19, 2016.

    All orders received by November 30, 2016 will be submitted in the second batch to our vendor for engraving.

    Update: 01/25/2017 - The second batch of bricks was laid today, bringing the total to 554.

  • Thu, October 01, 2015 6:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On the morning of May 16, 2007, Bernard Rapoport arrived at a VIP reception inside an old classroom at his alma mater, Jefferson High School. The room was abuzz with fellow grads, giants in their field, sipping coffee, enjoying pastries. Each was invited, like Rapoport, for a unique occasion.

    In the room stood a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, a retired Army Brigadier General, a Hollywood producer with a classic film, “The Big Chill,” that earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination. In the next hour, they and others would be inducted as charter members into the Jefferson Alumni Hall of Fame. As Rapoport gazed about the room, his throat tightened, his eyes grew moist.

    As a Hall of Fame organizer and alum (Class of ‘77), I introduced myself to the gentleman who had become a great philanthropist, donating millions to charitable causes. As we shook hands, I studied his face, watching it fill with emotion. Perhaps he could read my mind. For without being asked, Rapoport (‘35) explained: “This is the first time,” he said, “that anyone has honored me without asking for money.”

    The wealthy know the expectation attached to awards. We celebrate your achievements, you write a big check. The invitation extended to Rapoport asked for nothing except his presence. “Bernie” or “B,” as friends used to call him, was moved and you could see it in his eyes.

    Before “B” made his riches, he grew up with pennies. The son of Jewish immigrants, B knew poverty as a youth. His father peddled blankets for 10 cents in impoverished San Antonio neighborhoods. At age 6, he came home from school to find the family furniture in the streets, his parents evicted. For years, the Rapoports’ never had running water, gas and telephone service at the same time.

    A bright student, B graduated from Jefferson during the Depression and earned a scholarship to the University of Texas. He worked through school at a jewelry store. After earning his degree in 1939 (BA Economics), B took a job in Austin, and later in Wichita Falls. While flying to San Antonio in December 1942, B had a layover in Waco. There, he met Audre Newman and fell in love. Within weeks, they married. 

    Not long after, Audre persuaded her husband to open a jewelry store in Waco. B remained in the jewelry business for several years. 

    In 1951, he borrowed $25,000 and started a company in Indianapolis, Ind., American Life, which sold low-cost hospital insurance plans. With the assistance of his uncle and company president, Harold Goodman, American LIfe grew quickly. In two years, the start-up went from receiving $95,000 in premium income to $1 million. 

    In 1954, B and Goodman formed a new company, American Income LIfe Insurance. By 1956, the company was operating in 13 states. Two years later, American Income moved its headquarters to Waco. The company’s income reached $31.5 million In 1973. The company was sold for $563 million in 1994. 

    Wealth brought out the best in B. He donated millions of dollars to UT for scholarships and endowed chairs. In 1987, he spent $46 million to start the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, which benefited education and the arts and supported numerous Jewish institutions. Fortune magazine named him one of America’s “40 Most Generous Philanthropists.” 

    Former UT chancellor William Cunningham once told the New York Times, “I have never known anyone who liked to make money as much as he did, and liked to give it away as much as he did.”

    On April 5, 2012, B died in Waco. He was 94. His passing generated an outpouring of tributes and considerable media attention. He was recalled as a kind man with a big heart. He was remembered for starting a volunteer tutoring in Waco’s public schools, for serving himself as a weekly volunteer. “Through education,” he said after winning the Horatio Alger Award in 1999, “we accord people their dignity.”

    When I read of his passing, I found myself back in the classroom, shaking his hand, looking into those eyes. I will never forget that moment, the sound of his voice, the emotion he conveyed. A man who had given so much was now receiving, and the honor, poignant and priceless, moved him as he had moved others.


  • Sat, April 12, 2014 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    He walked into my living room to prepare for a TV quiz show. He was lean and confident and wore the perfect accoutrement for a teenager equally skilled at discussing science, mathematics or crushing you in a debate: black, horned-rim glasses.

    W.E. Moerner looked and sounded every bit as intelligent as his reputation. My mother, Blanche, had told me all about him. She did not use the word “genius.” But she spun such incredible and vivid anecdotes about him that it was impossible not to reach that conclusion.

    As senior counselor at Jefferson, my mother worked closely with Moerner and his cohort of brilliant friends. On this day in 1971, the four Jeff team members came to our house to practice for “On The Spot,” a local quiz show produced by Frank Rosengren (Class of 1944) that featured opposing high school teams answering questions about current events. Moerner does not recall the school Jefferson faced that day. Nor does he remember the outcome. But I remember this: Jefferson won easily.

    My mother told me that Moerner had received a full scholarship to attend Washington University in Missouri. That was in 1971. I never heard about him again until last year when I came upon his name on the internet. I learned he had become chemistry department chair at Stanford University. I also learned that he had won the Wolf Prize in chemistry. I found two online reporters who predicted him as a future Nobel Prize winner.

    As a researcher for IBM In the late 1980s, Moerner and his postdoctoral scholar from Germany, Lothar Kador, used a laser to study the behavior of molecules. At the time, molecules could not be measured or detected individually. They had to be measured in huge aggregates of clusters of millions or billions. Using precision laser spectroscopic techniques, Moerner and Kador were the first to detect a single molecule in condensed matter with light.

    “We removed all averaging over a large ensemble of assumed identical molecules,” Moerner explains. “It’s very much like saying that the average house in the United States is 1,000 square feet. But we know there is tremendous variation and individual differences in the houses. That’s the way it was before this experiment to detect and measure molecules, one by one. It represents the ultimate detection limit. It lets us test whether all molecules are identical or slightly different in various ways.”

    The optical study of single molecules has since become widely used in chemistry, physics and biology. In 2008, Moerner received the Wolf Prize for his discovery. The prize, awarded to scientists as well as artists, is considered second in importance to the Nobel Prize. More than 30 Wolf Prize recipients have gone on to win the Nobel in medicine, physics and chemistry.

    My late mother (Class of 1950) would be proud. She would not be surprised. The stories she told about Moerner pointed to a future as bright as the laser that would detect a single molecule. What mom admired most was Moerner’s diverse talents and broad range of interests. He played the bassoon in the marching band. He served as editor of “Each Has Spoken” and president of the National Honor Society. He worked on the stage crew, competed on the debate team and served as Sgt. of Arms in BiPhyChem. He was a member of Masque & Gavel, Quill & Scroll, the Forum, the Russian Toastmasters, the Radio club and the Sophomore Scholastic Society. He was a National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) finalist.

    “There were no aspirations for greatness when I was at Jeff,” Moerner says. “I was just having fun learning. I  enjoyed mathematics and science and was involved in a whole bunch of activities.”

    Mom encouraged Moerner to apply for the prestigious Langsdorf Fellowship from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Washington University. He not only applied for and received it, W.E. squeezed every ounce of learning possible from the award. Moerner earned three bachelor’s degrees in four years: one in electrical engineering, one in physics, one in mathematics, all with highest honors.

    He later earned a master’s and doctorate in physics from Cornell. Then he went to IBM Research and made history. International acclaim followed. Scientific bloggers began predicting a Nobel in his future. Whether he wins the prize or not, Moerner’s single molecule legacy is secure.

    As the “Everyday Scientist” blog noted in 2012, “Single-molecule imaging has matured into an important technique in biophysics. Just go to a Biophysical Society meeting and see all the talks and posters with ‘single molecule’ in the title!”

    Once, 43 years ago, a horned-rimmed high school senior walked into my living room to prepare for a quiz show. Days later, when the TV lights flashed on and the contest began, viewers got a glimpse of a young man who would change the world of science
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