District honors longtime social, medical pioneer: McCormick Middle School grand opening focuses on contributions of namesake

by Moses Leos III

Like many children growing up, Kelley McCormick always held on to the times he got to spend with his grandfather. 

McCormick remembered learning how to operate a ham radio from his grandfather, while also watching him enjoy the outdoors in his garden. 

But McCormick also recognized how important his grandfather, Dr. T.C. McCormick, Jr., was to the Buda and Hays County communities. It ranged from his generosity, social tolerance and his service as Buda’s first obstetrician, who delivered over 1,600 babies. 

It’s why Kelley and so many others on Friday reminisced as they celebrated Hays CISD’s newest campus, which is named after “Doc” McCormick. 

“My grandpa did a lot for this community and this county,” Kelley said. “Naming the school after him is a great honor after his years of service, not only on being on the board of education, but also as the Mayor of Buda.” 

Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer, said he couldn’t help but think how proud he was that “Doc McCormick has his hame on this building.” 

Savoy, who facilitated many of the naming committees for the district’s schools, said he didn’t know of McCormick’s legacy, as he lived outside of the area. 

But he recognized McCormick was well respected, as his name generated the most suggestions from the community during the district’s process to name the school. 

The respect grew for Savoy as he learned of McCormick’s legacy and how he was one of the first doctors to service areas south of Austin. 

“He’s amazing. There’s no other word you can say about him,” Savoy said. “It would be hard to find someone more fitting to have their names on a school that’s contributed to the community his entire life. Any one of them would be enough to honor him for a school. Put them together, it’s an amazing moment.” 

Connie Freeman, who was one of the 1,600 babies delivered by Doc, said he was the “best of the best” and that he “had the most incredible heart for everyone,” even in his later years. 

“He didn’t have a prejudiced bone in his body and he fought for everyone,” Freeman said. 

Freeman, who talked with McCormick until his death in 2009, said he was “color blind” and was generous and loving. She recalled a time when she asked McCormick who his first baby was, then discovered it was a black man who lived in Arizona. 

When she reached out to him, Freeman said he “changed his vacation plans” to attend a parade that McCormick was the grand marshal of. 

Amy McCormick-Kubecka, who is one of many grandchildren of McCormick, said the honor of his name on the new campus was “well deserved.” She said he was a man who “took time to talk to you” no matter who the person was. 

“The school is the perfect embodiment of him,” she said. 

For Savoy, the school was not only a show of respect for a social and medical pioneer, but also a sign of progress in the district. 

Savoy said he was proud of the level of community involvement that went into the school. He said McCormick Middle School was the first in a new concept that took administrators out of the voting committee. 

The district also made a concerted effort of placing presentations on the development of the new school on its website for all to view, Savoy said. It’s a concept the district continues to employ. 

“This is an example of what can happen when everyone in the community gets involved,” Savoy said. 

The opening of the school now starts the process of thinking about future schools – in order to keep up with growth –  associated with a May 2017 bond. 

Savoy said the district is growing at a rate of 1,000 students per year, with enough students to fill McCormick Middle School every year for the next 10 to 15 years. 

Kelley lauded the state of art concepts within the new school, which he said would foster “a great learning environment.” 

The ability for his grandfather’s legacy to live on was also important. 

“They (students) will learn the history of this school, I hope,” Savoy said. “As long as his history is being told and gives kids goals to set, it’s not just any name. It’s really cool.”

 

See more photos here. (photos by Cyndy Slovak-Barton)

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