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A Short History Lesson...

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Located in Falls County, Westphalia is a rural farming community approximately 30 miles south of Waco. The first families that settled the area in the 1880's named the community after a province in Germany. The area's religious settlers built the Church of the Visitation in 1895 and one year later constructed a three-room school. The religious character significantly impacted the area's education. The first school, which was parochial, started with five months of public instruction and three months of private school. A school building was erected in 1919 for students who did not wish to attend the parochial school that was already in Westphalia. In 1935, the parochial school and Westphalia Public School consolidated with an enrollment of over 200 students and with a staff of 9 teachers. The original three-room school building, which still stands today, received a historical marker in 1982 that notes its importance to the community.

The school has a long history of dedicated people who served the children and the needs of the community over the years. The Congregation of the Divine Providence sent nuns to teach in the parochial school and they continued to teach and live here until the early 1980’s. Another interesting part of Westphalia’s school history is that the district has, in the past, kept the same Board members for over thirty years before selecting new ones. Its three longtime board members, Ben W. Kahlig, Raymond Rabroker, Sr., and Johnnie Thornton, Sr. served with a determination to give Westphalia students the best possible education and to keep the district alive. The School Board has continued to that commitment through today.

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Westphalia ISD is one of the smaller districts in the state, and in the past, enrollment has dropped below 75 students. Prior to the 1990s, the enrollment consisted mostly of community people. However, the School Board members began to realize the need to accept more transfers, and began allowing more transfers to attend school in Westphalia. The excellent academic record of the students and the desire to educate students in a small environment cause students from all over Central Texas to request transfers to Westphalia. Currently, over 60% of the students who attend school in Westphalia ISD are transfer students from neighboring districts.
Throughout its history, Westphalia has constructed several buildings. In 1989, Westphalia moved from the original three room building that dated back to 1919 into a new elementary building. Only 8 years later, the construction of a new building to accommodate middle school students gave Westphalia School room for growth in its curriculum. In 2000, the middle school building was expanded to include two more classrooms, a cafeteria, and a gymnasium. Westphalia ISD, for the first time since its inception, had its own sports facility. Currently, Westphalia is constructing a new elementary building to replace the building built in 1989. This new building will allow for the conversion of the current administration building into a new band hall.
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Westphalia students have a remarkable record in their UIL achievement. Students in grades 2 through 8 compete in numerous events. The sports program has grown over the years, and girls and boys in grades 6 through 8 compete in volleyball and basketball versus other area schools. For outdoor sports, flag football was implemented for the middle school boys. In recent years, the football program changed to 6-man football where they currently compete.
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Another part of the success story of Westphalia ISD is the community involvement. Annual events such as the Halloween Carnival and Thanksgiving dinner bring hundreds of local residents out to support the school. The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) contributes time and funds towards needed projects for the school, and the volunteer work of a Master Gardener helps keep the school grounds beautiful.

Westphalia continues to thrive to this day. Enrollment for the current school year is approximately 150 students. The district currently employs a staff of twelve teachers, one superintendent/principal, five paraprofessionals, one janitor, and one food service manager/cook. The present and future education needs for Westphalia ISD have always been and will always be what drives the people who are in a position to make a difference.

 

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