The Belton Journal
Starting on Friday, June 17, the West Belton – T.B. Harris School Association will be holding their annual reunion, to mark the 140th Anniversary of the school. The festivities are open to the public to attend.
On the first day of the reunion, the event will be at the Harris Community Center, the site of the T.B. Harris School. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., with a praise and prayer brunch that costs $20.
On Friday morning, the association will also be acknowledging the adoption of the T.B. Harris Dragon mascot by Belton New Tech High School. Belton New Tech formerly had been using the tiger as their mascot, but wanted to have their own individual mascot. So now, they will adopt the one from the T.B Harris School.
Also on Friday, they will take a trip over to the Bell County Museum for the dedication of the auditorium to Rev. Roscoe Harrison Jr.
Harrison was a graduate of T.B. Harris and had many honors. He was the first black journalist at KCEN TV. He was also the first black radio announcer. He also was there to cover the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and was on a Pulitzer Prize-winning team for that coverage. The fact that he was a board member of the Bell County Museum and all of these other accomplishments made him the perfect candidate for the naming of the auditorium.
After the dedication there will be a gala at 7 p.m., where Commissioner Aaron Demerson will be the keynote speaker. Demerson Is currently serving as the Commission representing employers for the Texas Workforce Commission. He was appointed on August 20, 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott. Demerson has been involved in many social and civic organizations and has ties back to Belton. His aunt Connie Demerson was on the Belton School Board. Both of Demerson’s parents and other family members graduated from T.B. Harris. He will be speaking on the theme of the reunion, “passing on the legacy.”
The reunion’s second day will start with a free Juneteenth Celebration at the community center that is open to the general public.
Activities will include face painting, games, a Juneteenth Freedom Day presentation by Rev. George Harrison, the brother of Roscoe Harrison from Waco; reflections from Robert Ford, a former Dallas Cowboys Coach, and many historical scrapbooks and displays to showcase the old school. Some of the historical displays include one on Jeff Hamilton, the only black person in Texas to have two historical markers.
On Saturday at 8 p.m., the Blue and White Affair will be held at the Harris Community Center, with tickets for $20. This will be a dance where everyone can get together and have fun.
Then on Sunday, the last day of the event, there will a Memorial Service held at New Day Fellowship Church in Temple, at 3 p.m. Rev. George Harrison will be the speaker. Following that will be a reception sponsored by KCEN TV in memory of Roscoe Harrison Jr.
The event’s theme for this reunion is “passing on the legacy.”
When asked what passing on the legacy meant to her, Ora Butler, cice president of the West Belton – T.B. Harris Association said, “It was a foundation for the community and it was a foundation for me and my family for education. It is a centerpiece for Belton and that’s a part of my legacy.”
She spoke fondly about her old school.
“We had teachers who prepared us for the world and college. One teacher was my English teacher taught us how to approach people for jobs and speak properly. I am proud to say I graduated from there.”
Treasurer of the association Anita Reagan said that passing on the legacy for her was “passing on the legacy of how important education was to the black Belton community and how important it was to my family members. I stand on the shoulder of that school.”
She spoke about her time at the school.
“I was really good at math and I was so good because I had a math teacher at Harris that didn’t see I was female and he encouraged me to go further with that. It was that love of math and science that was instilled in me that made me go to college and get into computers. I would not be who I am if it had not been for T. B. Harris.”
More information on the reunion can be found by contacting the association at firstname.lastname@example.org.