Ceremony marks Horace Good Middle School move

10/10/2012

By RACHAEL GRAY

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Horace Good's tenure as the superintendent of USD 457 Garden City public schools was known as "The Good Years."

Now, officials at Good's namesake school, Horace Good Middle School, hope to make a positive era of their own.

School officials, members of Good's family and members of the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce held a dedication and ribbon cutting Tuesday at the middle school, 1412 N. Main St. Brad Springston, the school's principal, said it was an honor to have the building named after Good.

"When the board of education named Horace J. Good after Dr. Good, because of his leadership from 1969 to 1984, I began to look back at the successes of his tenure," he said.

Springston said Good was known for handling transitions effectively.

"It has been said by those who worked under Dr. Good, and under his leadership, that he met challenges head-on with the assistance of a cooperative community ...," he said.

Good was USD 457 superintendent from 1969 to 1984, and in 2010, the district decided to name Horace Good Middle School in his honor.

During his tenure, the former IBP plant opened up in Finney County, bringing rapid growth to the county and school district.

While he was superintendent, the number of teachers increased from 339 to 620. The number of students increased from 4,792 in 1969 to 5,275 in 1984. The annual budget was about $3,185,000 in 1969 and more than $15 million in 1984.

During his tenure, Pierceville and Plymell elementary schools combined as Pierceville-Plymell Attendance Center, Kenneth Henderson Junior High School (now Kenneth Henderson Middle School) and Gertrude Walker and Florence Wilson elementary schools were built, a fire-razed Garfield Elementary School was rebuilt and the GCHS music addition was built.

Springston said the middle school project is part of the USD 457 long-range facilities plan that led to the building of the new Garden City High School that paved the way for the middle school to move into the old GCHS building.

The building was constructed in 1954 and has been added onto eight times in the last 58 years, Springston said.

He said staff will be upholding Good's name, and added that they take pride in Good's service to the district. Good died Sept. 21 at the age of 93.

Patrick Baca, Good's grandson, spoke Tuesday on behalf of his family. Baca said Good's passion for education did not stop after his retirement, and that he continued to be involved with the district.

Baca also said part of Good's strength came from his wife, Eleanor.

"I know this dedication is an honor for Grandpa, but I can't help but mention my grandma, Eleanor," he said.

In a separate interview with The Telegram, Baca said the family was honored.

"It's just great. It's something we're so proud of. My grandpa was definitely the patriarch of our family. We're grateful the school is named after him," he said.

The school, which housed 1,800 students when the high school called it home, now houses about 700 middle school students. Springston has said educators are able to use the building with no wasted space.

The middle school population moved over from the former Abe Hubert Middle School, which is now an elementary school. HGMS now houses that population plus about 100 more students.

The approximate 100-student increase this year is due in part to the change in boundaries that determined whether a middle school student would attend Horace Good or Kenneth Henderson middle school.

The new boundary extends from the west side of Garden City to Center Street, where it once stopped at Third Street. Because of this, and the subsequent gain in students, there are also more teachers at Horace Good — approximately 60 — including administration and the counseling staff.

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