Historic school reopens in Galveston
It cost more than $10 million to get the school back open, but the community demanded it, and on Friday, they got to see their work. After two long years, history was preserved. Community leaders and former students fought so hard for the school to reopen. On Friday, they reflected on the moment. "We've been taught that we could aim for the stars and skies, that we could be anything that we wanted to be," said Ennis Williams with the Old Central Cultural Center. It all started in the 1885 when the then Central High School was established on 26th and Avenue L. It was the first African American high school in all of Texas. In 1954, the school moved to 13th and Sealy and remained a high school until 1968, when its campuses were desegregated. Sheila Bruno O'Neal graduated during that era. "I attended high school here, so we got a lot of history," she said. "I've taught here as well, so ... that pride is alive and kickin'." But that legacy nearly died when Hurricane Ike hit. The campus was badly damaged that man questioned whether it would reopen at all. But after the community spoke up, the district stepped up and found the funds. Today, the campus is restored to what it nearly looked like before the storm. The only remnants are on a bulletin board, which shows the waterline from the flood. "It's to remind people that this is what took place and what could happen," Principal Annette Dailey said. It's a stark reminder of what was nearly lost. "It makes me feel proud to keep the generation going," student Sylvan Burton said. "I just want our kids to be as proud as we are because as a community, we are extremely proud to be back home," O'Neal said. Before the storm, there were more than 700 students at the school. Now, there are about 475. Officials hope as the city comes back, so will the students.