- Princeton ISD
Princeton's second high school campus dedicated
A central theme kept showing up during Sunday’s school dedication for Lovelady High School, and it was a running list of attributes possessed by Bob and Jean Lovelady and their commitment to education - things like integrity, faith and passion, which are key to the development of a community of children.
Princeton ISD opened its newest high school in August to all of the district’s 9th-grade students at 501 N. Boorman, which is just behind PHS. The construction project has been underway since May of 2019, when the school board got a look at the architect’s rendering and approved the sale of bonds for the campus, which will eventually house 9th- and 10-graders and ease crowding at PHS.
Lovelady Principal Javonna Bass welcomed the crowd to the dedication.
“Princeton ISD and the faculty and staff of Lovelady High School are extremely excited and honored for the dedication of this remarkable building named for a husband and wife duo who are a cornerstone of the Princeton community,” she said. “Today’s celebration is a culmination of many events that began several years ago. The leadership of the Princeton ISD school board and a group of community members who worked on the long-range planning committee had a vision for the type of facilities our children need and deserve.”
Jean Lovelady has been in education in PISD for 27 years, and Bob Lovelady started his career in education in 1986, serving in Princeton as assistant principal for seven years, PHS principal for 16 years and the last nine on the PISD school board.
And the couple still enjoys being a part of the lives of children. Mrs. Lovelady is at the front desk at Smith Elementary, and in addition to being a trustee for PISD, Mr. Lovelady guides McKinney Christian Academy as its head master.
“They have both dedicated their lives to serving the children of this school district,” Ms. Bass said. “When someone enjoys being around kids, it shows.”
Ms. Bass interviewed the Loveladys to find out what the school dedication meant to them.
"I would never have ever dreamed of a building being named after us,” Mr. Lovelady told her. “To have a school end up being named after you is very humbling. I like that the long-range planning committee came up with the plan to name schools after people who are living, so they can be alive to enjoy that. It's really rewarding to celebrate with those people who have worked so hard in the trenches for our students. It gives an opportunity to tell them what they meant to you."
Several of Sunday’s speakers reflected on the legacy the Loveladys have established during their careers, including having their two children follow in their footsteps, with James Lovelady serving as PISD’s assistant superintendent for secondary education and Heidi Lovelady Estep as principal at Harper Elementary.
“My parents woke up before the sun to sit together and pray,” Heidi recalled from her teen-age years. “What they probably don’t know is how often I overheard their prayers and how gracious they were. They prayed for me. They prayed for my brother. They prayed for difficult situations at school. They prayed for the people they served alongside. They prayed for wisdom in making decisions. More than likely, they prayed for many of you in this room.”
Longtime family friend and former school board member Scott Powell hit the highlights of the Lovelady’s dedication and commitment to PISD.
“Faith is of the utmost importance to them,” Mr. Powell said. “When you look at their lives, everything is based on that investment and priority.”
In addition to their faith, Mr. Powell talked about their integrity and passion, as well as their knack for offering wise counsel and serving as mentors to others.
The Lovelady’s niece, Belinda Selfridge, who also worked alongside Mr. Lovelady at PHS, focused on their compassion for students.
“They are trustworthy. They are unselfish,” Ms. Selfridge said. “They see the potential in people, especially in a child, so they are compassionate about students.”
Following the speakers, the Loveladys took the stage to unveil the portrait that will hang in the school.
“I was always told to do what you are passionate about,” Mr. Lovelady said. “I’ve been passionate about this job, these kids and you here, and that hasn’t changed.
“Students have to be known,” he said about educating children. “Students have to be loved. Students have to be served. Students have to be celebrated. Nothing else really matters.”