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PISD dedicates newest elementary school

Karen and Paul Lowe with Principal Jeff Coburn.

Princeton ISD dedicated its newest campus Sunday during a special ceremony honoring its namesake, Dorothy Lowe.

This marks four years since Smith Elementary opened in 2015 and the first year two campuses have opened in one year in Princeton.

Lowe Principal Jeff Coburn welcomed the crowd to the dedication.

Mr. Coburn gives the Flores family of tour of Lowe.

“We are excited and honored to see you here for the dedication of this remarkable building named for a truly inspiring educator,” Mr. Coburn said. “Today’s celebration is a culmination of many events that began in 2017 when the citizens of Princeton approved a bond election that would turn what was once farmland into a state-of-the-art school building.”

Mr. Coburn credited the architects at Claycomb Associates for designing a unique facility with an inviting environment that is student-centered. It was this student focus that led the long-range planning committee to name the school after Dorothy Lowe, who spent 36 years educating the children of Princeton in a career started in 1950.

Jeff Coburn presents Mrs. Lowe's children, Karen and Paul, with flags that flew at the school.

“So many of her former students and co-workers shared great stories of the impact Mrs. Lowe had not only on their education, but also their lives,” Mr. Coburn said. “She inspired her students to reach their full potential. Mrs. Lowe absolutely loved educating each and every student that walked through the door and provided them with the educational tools and life lessons they would need to be successful. These characteristics are something that we at Lowe Elementary look to instill in our students today and for decades to come.”

The lineup of speakers for the ceremony featured former students who followed in her footsteps and became educators alongside Mrs. Lowe.

“I knew when I started teaching that I had to teach 5th grade, because I had Dorothy Lowe for a 5th-grade teacher, and she was my favorite teacher,” said Dianne Schmidt, who described herself as a former student, co-worker and long-time friend of Mrs. Lowe. “She treated each of us as individuals. She was interested in not only us, but our families. She made us feel important and smart and like we could do anything.”

Mrs. Schmidt recalled a story about her brother, Larry, who had special needs.

Dianne Schmidt.

“My brother Larry was mentally challenged, and there were no special classes in 1956 when he was in 4th grade,” she said. “But Larry had Mrs. Lowe, and I remember her saying, ‘if I had Larry another year, I believe I could teach him to read.’

“So she had him another year and taught him to read,” Mrs. Schmidt continued. “It was a special gift for our family, and especially my parents, because it opened up a different world for Larry.”

Former student Glynda Davis also spoke about all the valuable lessons Mrs. Lowe passed along to her students.

“Mrs. Lowe didn’t teach curriculum, she taught children,” Mrs. Davis said. “Sure, we learned reading, writing, math, science and history, but it’s the character lessons we learned from the example she set that I remember best.”

According to Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Lowe taught her students to believe in themselves and to look for ways to help others.

Glynda Davis.

“She understood that praise is powerful, and she never missed an opportunity to catch us doing something right,” Mrs. Davis said. “Kindness and tact were two of her strongest traits. One day we were writing an essay in class, and a boy raised his hand and asked, ‘Mrs. Lowe, how do you spell ‘purt near’t?’ She didn’t miss a beat, and said, ‘Charles, why don’t you just use ‘almost.’”

Mrs. Davis credited Mrs. Lowe with inspiring and encouraging her to become a teacher, and even requested that her own three children be in Mrs. Lowe’s class throughout the years, which is one of the strongest compliments you can make about a teacher.

“Thank you to the committee and the Princeton Board of Trustees who chose to name this beautiful elementary school for a woman who made teaching not only her career, but also her passion, and in so doing, made a difference in hundreds of lives who are indebted to her,” Mrs. Davis said. “I’ve never met anyone more deserving of this honor than Mrs. Dorothy Lowe.”

Four generations of Lowes.