The Bandera High School Library has been renamed the Patsy Small Memorial Library at Bandera High School following a ceremony held on Thursday, May 26.
Current librarian Regina Johnston proposed the name change to the BISD School Board on May 9; the board unanimously supported the change.
The ceremony was attended by over 100 current and former teachers, students, parents, librarians and district administrators.
BHS Librarian Regina Johnston welcomed guests and Pastor Duane Manning led the opening prayer. Two students sang BHS’ Alma Mater. Then Johnston introduced the speakers for the event and thanked the many people involved in the ceremony.
Mrs. Johnston said, “Patsy is the quintessential example of what every librarian should strive to be.” Johnston further described Small as a community maker, a challenge taker, a game changer, and a lifelong learner.
BISD Superintendent Gary Bitzkie recounted how he met Mrs. Small and his interactions with her as principal.
“We are doing this because we are acknowledging one of the most amazing people I have been around,” Bitzkie commented.
Bitzkie remembered Small as a person who prioritized students every day, advocated for students at all times, and shared the wonderful books in the library.
F o r m e r BHS Principal Mike Nesbit made a heartfelt statement and brought tears to many eyes in the audience.
“Mrs. Small was given an opportunity to make it count not just for her generation but for generations to come,” said Nesbitm who further detailed her exacting process of helping to design the best library for BHS that is possible, “a laboratory of learning.”
Finally, former assistant principal of BHS, Gary Fite, spoke about Mrs. Small’s care for every person on campus. He said that he envisioned Mrs. Small is smiling right now seeing all the “old faces” here to celebrate her life. “It is a fitting tribute to her; her legacy will live on here…. She’s in a great place but we do miss her.”
Current BHS Principal Dr. Kenneth Vogel thanked everyone and reported that the faculty and staff supported the name change of the library. “On behalf of the faculty and staff, we gladly accept the renaming of the library to the Patsy Small Memorial Library.”
Finally, longtime Library Assistant Karen Pierce spoke about her relationship with Mrs. Small. “I just learned so much from her, I can’t even begin to tell you or have the words to tell you how dedicated she was to this library and to the students of BHS. I just have such great memories of Wyatt, and Lyndsay, and Shelby and even Heather – they would come and help us during the summer. She meant the world to me,” said Pierce.
John Milner, ATPE local chapter president, presented a gift of $200 from the ATPE to the library. “She exemplified the word educator, it is a badge of honor to have that title placed upon you,” he stated. Mrs. Johnston said that the library would be purchasing metal letters for the library to display the new name of the library.
Mrs. Small’s daughter, Heather Blair, spoke to the group and thanked them for their consideration and care.
“She was an amazing mom, an amazing sister, an amazing great aunt and great granny,” remarked Blair. “She wanted to design the perfect space for the students and staff of Bandera High School.”
Mrs. Johnston asked the audience to step outside of the library for the ribbon cutting and the portrait unveiling. Braden Cox, a BHS art student, created a portrait based on a photo of Small taken in front of the computer.
Grandchildren Wyatt and Shelby Blair removed the paper from the new sign above the doors of the library – Patsy Small Memorial Library.
Small’s youngest granddaughter, Lyndsay, used the ceremonial scissors to cut the ribbon, officially opening the library under its new name.
Patrons filed in the library doors and admired the portrait of Mrs. Small done by Braden Cox just to the left of the entry.
As everyone moved into the library, the BHS fight song was played by members of the BHS Band. The audience moved to the refreshments provided and visited with others in the group sharing memories of Mrs. Small and their time at BHS.