HAS IT REALLY BEEN 50 YEARS?
By Don Henderson
In 1964-1965 I was a science teacher at Hartman Jr. High in Houston, Texas. I graduated from Lamar
Tech (now Lamar University) in 1962 and moved to Houston during that summer. I taught 9th grade
physical science and really enjoyed it. This was a great time to be in Houston. NASA was just getting
started and their offices were located near where I lived on the Gulf Freeway. In a short while NASA was
in full swing and moved to Clear Lake. It was a time of great interest in science, which made teaching a
joy. Reflecting back on it, I was 24 at the time, not much older than my students. Although at the time, I
thought I was. In the ‘60’s Houston was experiencing an economic boom and new apartments were going
up everywhere. My roommates and I lived in a brand new apartment a short distance from my school.
Within our apartment project were many professional people, including those working for NASA.
During the school year of ’64-’65 I applied for a NSF grant at Texas A&M, but was not selected. Late ’64
or early ’65, my roommates and I moved to an apartment on Richmond Ave.in Southwest Houston. I again
applied for the same NSF grant and was placed on the alternate list for the Academic Year Institute 1966-
1967. This was a special one year grant designed for Junior High science teachers and I was
disappointed that I was not selected as a recipient. Late in the school year of ’66, I received word that I
had been selected because someone had died and left the vacancy. I was thrilled to learn I had been
selected and began making plans to be at Texas A&M for a year and possibly earn a Master’s Degree.
One of my Hartman students wrote me a parting poem. I wish I could remember who it was. That student
would be about 65 or older now if he is still alive.