From left, Victoria Rotary Club member Adam Mahan, Hopkins Elementary Assistant Principal Tiffany Absher, Hopkins Elementary Principal Leandra Hill, Victoria Rotary Club President
J.J. Craig, and Victoria ISD Superintendent Robert Jaklich pose
with a $3,000 check for school roof repairs donated by the
Victoria Rotary Club.
Editor’s note: In late August 2017, Hurricane Harvey came
ashore along the Texas Gulf Coast, causing unprecedented destruction and catastrophic flooding to some 220 school districts and their
communities in more than 50 counties. As cities and towns on the
coast continue cleanup and recovery efforts, schools and districts
all across Texas, the nation, and the world have pitched in to help
their fellow schools. Texas Lone Star continues its coverage of the
long road back from Harvey with another district’s story—that of
Victoria, Texas, just 30 miles inland from Port Lavaca, Magnolia Beach, and the historic ghost town of Indiano- la, has a long and proud history of self-sufficiency, grit, and resiliency. The town provided soldiers and supplies
to independence fighters during the Texas Revolution and was
briefly occupied by Mexican forces as the war raged. The community survived Comanche raids and a major cholera epidemic
in the 1840s and, following an influx of hard-working European immigrants, eventually grew and developed into a regional
Today, the town of over 60,000 thrives through a mix of
petrochemical, agricultural, education, and health industries.
The school district—Victoria ISD—boasts approximately
14,000 students and touts itself as “612 Square Miles of Excellence.” Former Saturday Night Live cast member Noel Wells
and former major league baseball slugger Ron Gant are among
many notable Victoria ISD alums.
In the waning days of summer 2017, the town’s and the
school district’s grit and resilience were severely tested, as a
slowly approaching hurricane loomed in the Gulf of Mexico.
Harvey Comes Ashore
Victoria ISD had begun the 2017-18 school year on a festive note with a districtwide convocation on August 11, 2017.
During convocation, the year’s theme of “Better Together” was
“Staff and students were ready for the best year ever when
classes began on August 21,” Victoria ISD Superintendent
Robert Jaklich said.
Four days later, the county issued a mandatory evacuation
order. School was canceled for August 25, and Hurricane Harvey hit Victoria early the next morning. Jaklich and his team of
school district leaders knew the storm was coming, and they
were prepared—so they thought. Hurricane Harvey, however,
was no mere storm.
Victoria West High School band members pitched in to help clean
the homes and clear brush and debris from the yards of Victoria’s
first responders, while the emergency personnel tended to the
needs of community members.