Free March 7 luncheon tells BCISD stories

Several years ago, a meeting was held at the Michael J. Smith Memorial Student Union at Portland State. The speaker began his presentation by asking if anyone knew who Michael J. Smith was, and no one in the audience knew who he was or why the student union was named after him.

The speaker then shared the story about Smith leading Portland State College’s GE College Bowl team to victory in 1965 by going undefeated during the academic competition. This accomplishment greatly enhanced the reputation of the previously lowly Portland State College.

Even though he suffered from cystic fibrosis and was frequently hospitalized during the nine months of preparation for the College Bowl, Smith appeared in all five matches and sadly died three years after winning the championship.

One of the attendees at the meeting commented what a great story that was and asked how the speaker knew about it. The speaker shared that there is a plaque at the front of the building that tells the story of Michael J. Smith. He then shared that the life lesson from this story is, “Make sure you read the plaque.”

We all need to do that more in life so that we know the stories of the people and places that make up our community. There are three things we are doing as a district to make sure people have access to the stories of Burnet CISD.

There are four perpetual plaques at Burnet High School as part of the Hall of Honor display so we will remember the names and the stories of those that came before us. Just this past Saturday, the district honored the fifth group of inductees to the Burnet CISD Hall of Honor at the annual Chamber banquet. It was a special evening honoring people that make up the fabric of Burnet CISD and the Burnet community. The honorees are:

* Distinguished Former School Board Member — Camm Lary Jr.

* Distinguished Former Athlete — Mitzi Williams Lancaster

* Distinguished Burnet High School Graduate — Dennis Hoover

* Distinguished Former Employee — Mary Ann Gurno

In addition to the perpetual plaques, a brief story on every honoree is posted on the district’s web site at

Also posted on the district’s website are images of all of the building dedication plaques for Burnet CISD. Building dedication plaques provide a permanent way to honor significant people and organizations that played a role in the construction of a building. These lasting tributes also help to tell the history of a building and school district.

Finally, the district is working on a project to digitize as many of the Burnet High School and Bertram High School yearbooks as possible. The goal is to have a searchable PDF for each year so that people can have access to the people, events and memories from our past. I look forward to sharing more about this project as it comes closer to completion.

In closing I want to invite our community to have lunch at the Community Center while learning more about Burnet CISD and the City of Burnet during the State of the Community address.

It is being held on Wednesday, March 7. The doors open at 11:30 a.m. so that attendees can visit tables representing the city and school district. Lunch will be served beginning at 11:45 a.m. and the program will begin at noon.

The lunch is always delicious, and once again the dessert is being provided by the Burnet High School Culinary Arts Program. Mayor Bromley and I will share with the audience the state of the community from each of our perspectives. The event is free of charge and citizens are encouraged to attend. No RSVP is necessary.

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