• History of Mendenhall Elementary

    Mendenhall Elementary was built in 1952 as Plano’s first separate elementary school. It was named Plano Elementary School until its name was changed in 1961 to honor Aline Harrel Mendenhall, long time Plano educator.

    The first principal of the school was David McCall, Jr. He served until he retired in May 1955. Floyd Jolly was principal from 1955-1975. Martha J. Hunt, a former teacher at Mendenhall and curriculum director, was named principal and served until she retired in 1997. Cathy Taylor was then named principal.

    When the building was first constructed, it consisted of the present east wing, the cafeteria (now library), and the front west wing, which was shorter. The first addition to the building was before 1961 when two rooms were added at the west end of the front west wing.

    In 1965 the wing for fifth and sixth grade Open Classroom Team Teaching was added, and also the gym. That wing is the area now called the multi-purpose room, and the second grade. Further remodeling and renovations were done in 1973, 1987, and 1991. The last additions being the new kitchen and third, fourth and fifth grade wings.

    Thanks from Aline Mendenhall's Grandson

    Thanks so much for the info on your web page about my "Granny", Aline Mendenhall! She gave me and many others many many hours of loving care.

    Prior to starting school, I spent a lot of time in her first grade classroom. Because of my Sept. 13th birth date, I was not allowed to enter the Dallas schools the year I turned 6 (1937). Granny's only child, my mother, Minta Elizabeth Mendenhall Frysinger taught private piano lessons in Plano for many years. She would ride the interurban from north Dallas to Plano twice a week. She always rented a room in a house across the street from the old school. Students would leave their regular classes to go across the street for their 30-minute piano lesson, then return to school. Ah! The "good old days of relaxed and trusting conduct! Quite often in that 6th year, mother would take me along and Granny would take me to school with her. I watched her many times get up early, make her standard big batch of biscuits, and walk carrying her "lunch bag" and encouraging me to keep up as we walked from her home on east 15th through town across the park near the interurban depot past the church and to the school. Mr. Sigler was there to greet everyone. Oh! The smell of those wooden floors swept with the oiled cedar shavings is strong in my memory.

    At noon, Granny would get out her "lunch bag" and split open a biscuit, then pick up a book and start to read to the several children who had no lunch to eat. Usually, even in winter, some of them were standing around her desk with bare feet. Granny would take a bite of a biscuit, then turn to one of those hungry listeners and say, "Johnny, could you finish this for me as I can't continue reading with my mouth full", or some other equally tactful way of transferring the food from her bag to the child in a dignified way. Over the ensuing years, those children did not forget her. Even after her home was torn down and an apartment building was put up, Valentine candy and Mother's day flowers were delivered and put on the curb at her old address. They were sent, as they had been for many years, by men who had stood around Granny's desk at noon, barefooted, and eating biscuits and peach jam. I think her specialty was teaching writing and getting children interested in reading. She had a perfect hand for printing, and encouraged many children beyond writing and into art.

    Mendenhall has initiated such programs as the Goddard Environmental Camp, the elementary bilingual program, and the elementary science fair. Mendenhall continues as a lighthouse for learning and its dedicated staff strives to make a positive difference in the youth and families it serves.

  • Portrait of Aline Mendenhall