U.S. Army Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez

The El Campo ISD board of trustees is no step closer to renaming Northside Elementary for El Campo’s Armed Forces Medal of Honor recipient as of Tuesday’s meeting.

On the agenda as a discussion and possible action item was the board policy regarding renaming of a district facility and the possible formation of a naming committee to rename the campus for the late U.S. Army Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez.

“The district is in receipt of a petition requesting the renaming of a district campus, and it is accompanied by the apparent necessary signatures. I will remind everyone of the board policy for renaming a facility,” board president James Russell said.

Russell read out aloud paraphrasing the majority of the district’s renaming process, Step One being a group submits a petition to the board signed by at least 15 percent of registered voters.

Now that the board has the signatures, Step Two of the process is that the board can form a naming committee. But that is where the process stalled.

Russell opened the floor for discussion and asked board members if they had any questions regarding the policy to which there were none.

Benavidez’ daughters Denise Benavidez Prochazka and Yvette Benavidez Garcia, his son-in-law Rene Garcia and veterans advocate Sarah Hudgins were present in the audience, and had statements prepared for the public comments portion, but it was Susan Biskup, Pre-K teacher at Myatt Elementary, who spoke on behalf of the group.

Four years ago Biskup read “Legend: The Incredible Story of Green Beret Sergeant Roy Benavidez’s Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines” by Eric Blehm and was inspired to have an El Campo facility named for Benavidez.

“It only makes sense to look at a school since it was his mission after he retired from service to inspire young children to stay in school,” Biskup said.

“Currently to my knowledge, Northside is named for a location. I have been informed it’s confusing to some visitors to have the school and the Northside Education Center in town,” she added.

Since that time, every time Biskup thought she had received the correct amount of signatures, the number from the elections administrator had increased.

“That was one reason for the four-year delay,” she said.

In addition to the 15 percent of registered voters, she has since acquired over 1,000 signatures from supporters who are not El Campo residents or registered to vote within the district.

“Naming an elementary school after the late Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez would remind the students of ECISD of the legend we had right here in El Campo,” she said.

In accordance with board policy, it is now up to a board member to request the item be placed on a future agenda.

“We remain hopeful,” Yvette Garcia said.

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