Tipton Middle School will have a new name this fall

Published 9:47 pm Saturday, June 27, 2009

When the 2009-10 school year begins this fall, Tipton Middle will start under an altered name.

The Dallas County School Board voted Thursday to re-christen the school Tipton-Durant Middle School in honor of Bertha Durant, the school’s first principal and, according to several alumni, the mother of Tipton.

“She touched everybody’s life that came through those doors,” said Henry Brown, an alumnus and former neighbor of Durant’s.

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She played a crucial role in the process that led her students from Summer Grove High, which did not have proper heat or indoor plumbing, to the new digs through a variety of fundraisers. Brown said these included selling homemade ice cream, pig ear sandwiches, fish fries and others.

However, because he donated the land, the school was named for Lawrence Tipton when it opened its doors as Tipton High School in 1954.

But, just as it seemed Durant’s role would be lost, Brown sparked a discussion to add her name to building.

“Those things trouble me,” said Brown. “Her name was not recognized. As life moved on, it seemed her name was getting swept under the rug.

He suggested the change to Dallas County School Board member Bill Minor.

“We gave careful consideration to it,” said Minor. “There was not one objection to it.”

Though the decision to give Durant her recognition was welcomed by the crowd of Tipton High alumni gathered Saturday for both the ceremony and a class reunion, it was frustrating at the same time — not because anyone opposed it, but because it had not been thought of already.

“When I heard about it, I felt so silly for not coming up with it myself,” said Edward Dale, who was raised in the community adjacent to Tipton. “I’m glad Mr. Tipton gave the land, but without Mrs. Durant, there wouldn’t have been a reason to give the land.”