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Ferris ISD seeks suggestions for naming new campus

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Ellis County Press
FERRIS - During the Ferris Independent School District Board of Trustees regular meeting Tuesday night, Dec. 19 at the FISD Administration Building, members said they were asking the community for suggestions for a name for the new second- and third-grade campus.

One suggestion has been to name the new school for longtime Ferris educator Lucy Mae McDonald Davis.

'Mrs. Mac,' as she was known, died Nov. 7 from a heart problem at the age of 86.

In a fax sent recently to the Ellis County Press, Midge Douglas of Ferris called 'Mrs. Mac' the most elegant lady she'd ever known.

'She had a unique way with everybody, especially students, that would make you feel as if you were the most important person in the world,' Douglas said. 'She wanted each one to be proud of who they were, where they came from, and most of all where they were going. She encouraged each student to strive for perfection.'

Douglas said she became well acquainted with 'Mrs. Mac' in 1971 when Ferris schools were totally integrated.

'The school board spent many, many hours making decisions regarding the logistics,' Douglas said. 'Portable buildings were moved in, some students transferred to other school districts and there was lots of chaos and disruption, but in all this, there was ‘Mrs. Mac,' the only strong, stable, force that everybody loved and respected.'

Douglas said one of the many beneficial things 'Mrs. Mac' did was organize an Interracial Committee of students.

'Any issues that arose were referred to the committee for resolution and ‘Mrs. Mac' stayed with that issue until the problem was resolved to everybody's satisfaction,' Douglas said.

Douglas recalled the certificates with a dollar bill attached she gave to Ferris graduates.

Douglas said it read, 'Congratulations! (The student's name was written in the following space). This is your first extra dollar for being a graduate. As you learn more, you will earn more dollars. My every wish is for your happiness and success. I have no idea how many of these she gave away and I understand she continued the tradition at her church in Dallas.'

After her retirement, 'Mrs. Mac' continued giving the dollar bills to high school and college grads from her church in memory of her late husband, Anthony 'Tony' Davis of Dallas.

At the memorial service, Douglas announced a scholarship fund was set up at the high school in memory of 'Mrs. Mac.'

'If you feel indebted to this great lady as much as I do, I hope you will join me in keeping her memory alive by contributing to this scholarship fund,' Douglas said.

Douglas said checks could be sent to: Ferris ISD, PO Box 459, Ferris, TX 75125 with a notation on the check stating 'Mrs. Mac Scholarship.'

Checks should be made to: FISD Memorial Account.

In the passing of 'Mrs. Mac,' Ferris and Ellis County lost one of its most influential educators and pace-setting citizens.

'Mrs. Mac' moved to Ferris as young child and attended Ferris' Colored Elementary School, a name she changed to Dunbar in 1935, the first year she taught in Ferris.

She later served as Dunbar's principal. She served the Ferris district 52 years.

'Mrs. Mac' made headlines as Ferris' assistant and deputy superintendent, a position especially created for her merits as an educator, according to Warich Jenkins, attorney for the FISD.

When promoted to Ferris' acting superintendent, a significant accomplishment during a time of racial turmoil, Lyndon Johnson, who was president at the time, said, 'I knew it would happen, and it happened in my home state.'

'Mrs. Mac' was born Oct. 25, 1914 in Corsicana, the only child of Maude and Sam Oliphant.

'Mrs. Mac' received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Prairie View A&M, where for 35 years, she taught on campus during summer sessions.

During her successful career as an educator she earned numerous honors and distinctions, and became a leading expert.

'Mrs. Mac' professed ardent belief in Jesus at an early age. She was a member of Johnson Chapel AME Church of Ferris and later Salem Baptist Church of Dallas.

The new campus for second- and third-grade students will be located off FM 664 (Ovilla Road) and FM 983, across from the intermediate school.

Architect Dale Rabe said plans should be completed this month with the ground breaking in March 2001.

Rabe said construction would take 15 to 18 months.

He said the campus should be ready to open for the 2002-03 school year.

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