Hey students, Keeler Grant has you covered
Most people agree that a first impression is a lasting impression. And this is just as true for students in school as it is in any other area. Therefore, Diboll ISD administrators have teamed up with the Diboll Housing Authority to help get students’ school day started on a pleasant note.
With the help of a Keeler grant, covered areas have been constructed at two locations where large numbers of students wait for the school bus each morning. One is on South First Street near the Housing Authority office, and the other is at the midway point of LBJ Street.
Installation of the covers is the result of conversations with citizens at various meetings where concern was expressed about children having to wait outdoors in bad weather for the school bus, according to DISD Superintendent Gary Martel.
“As I talked with people in the community about possible school improvements, many of them spoke about the need for some kind of shelter for the kids,” he said. “When we started thinking about it, we realized that if we could make their day start and end better, it would help enhance their education.”
Martel carried the idea to Housing Authority Director Marge Harrell, who agreed with the concept and helped write the request for a grant from the Thomas T. Keeler Grant Program. With the $8,000 donation, the two canopies were built during the summer and were ready for use when classes resumed.
Grants from the program are made in honor of Thomas T. Keeler and his wife Cora and in memory of his grandfather T.L.L. Temple and his mother Marquerite Temple Payne. To be eligible, recipients should demonstrate a mission which seeks to enhance the educational, social, and physical qualities of life within the community in the areas of education, health, community and social services, cultural arts, and the humanities.
After the grant was approved, Gallup’s Aluminum contracted to do the installation with direction from Housing Authority Maintenance Supervisor John Smith. The structures were permanently set in concrete and finished off with suitable capping and flashing.
“We wanted them to look nice,” Martel said. “We didn’t want to just throw up something that would look trashy or not last. And we tried to place them in a way to maximize safety for loading and unloading.”
Diboll ISD has a total of 19 bus routes that transport approximately 900 students each day. Four of these routes include stops at one location within the city limits to pick up large groups of students. The stop at the South First location involves 150 to 200 students, and there are 50 to 60 at the LBJ location.
“This is just another thing that was done for the greater good of Diboll,” Martel said. “We feel that it improves an area of the community, and in this case, helps a large group of kids.”