How TJHS Historical Preservation Society Came To BeWritten Shelia Acosta (2007)
In 2005, the Principal of Thomas Jefferson High School, Mr. David Udovich, had a vision for his school, its students, graduates and the community. His vision included the preservation of the building’s unique architecture as well as its historical significance. He realized that a school of this size, once encompassing 32-acres, and one that had been declared a national historical landmark as well as a local landmark, would require constant upkeep and supervision of repairs that would be needed to help maintain its original beauty and stature.
His vision was to invite members of the Jefferson community, and distinguished alumni who had expressed an interest in helping to preserve its architectural beauty, to form a committee. This committee’s sole purpose would be to oversee the needs unique to Jefferson, needs that would fall outside the realm of district funding.
Mr. Udovich extended invitations to Ms. Betty Ann Janert, Mr. Tom Murrah, Ms. Barbara Wofford, Ms. Bruce Nell Gooler and Ms. Sheila Acosta. These five individuals met with Mr. Udovich initially to outline a plan and a direction that would best fit the needs of the school and community. Mr. Udovich’s original idea included planning and hosting a lunch and matinee of the annual school musical on campus that first year to raise funds for some immediate needs, but due to a serious accident involving the drama instructor, Mr. Robert Rehm, the event was cancelled.
At the end of that school year, word spread of Mr. Udovich’s idea for a “preservation” committee. While many faculty members voiced their support, one member, Ms. Alma Aguirre, a newly retired Jefferson teacher of 31 years, stepped up and volunteered her services in guiding the committee towards the status of a non-profit organization that would prove to be the best way to help meet the needs of the school.
Today, the committee has become an official non-profit organization.