(Editor’s note: Elaine and Delbert Campbell were inducted Saturday night into the Houston Alumni Association’s “Educator’s Hall of Fame. These comments were presented by their children, Wyndell Campbell, Dara Campbell Jackson and Lindsey Campbell, at Hiett Gymnasium).
If any of the following brings back memories for you, Delbert or Elaine Campbell may have impacted your life. If you have given or received a hand-made leather wallet, plastic pen/paperweight or hotdog-roasting fork for Christmas or know that the Dewey Decimal system is a way to sort books in the library, you probably know Delbert or Elaine. If you or someone you know has been involved in Odyssey of the Mind, have raced CO2 cars at school or have walked the Village/Brushy Creek Trail in Houston, you know Delbert and Elaine. If you have ever calculated how much it really costs per kW/hr for you to leave a light on in your house for 24 hours, can calculate material in board feet or have a video yearbook, you probably know Delbert and Elaine Campbell.
When you think of someone being inducted into the hall of fame, you often hear their stats or combined career totals. Delbert and Elaine’s career stats read as that of a Hall of Fame duo. They have a combined total of 71 years of teaching experience in positions that spanned from kindergarten through grade 12. They have taught more than 7,500 students. Delbert has overseen more 25,000 industrial arts projects, attended more than 100 industrial arts fairs with multiple SCA/District and State awards. Elaine has led the enrichment program students to the Odyssey of the Mind World finals. Elaine was the first enrichment teacher in the Houston Schools and, through grants, established the A+ program of which she was the coordinator. She was a curriculum director and facilitated the first access to the Instructional Television (ITV) system. She was the school’s first technology director and established the first computer system in the Houston Schools.
Elaine established the first elementary library in the Houston School. Students will long remember how she dressed as the book characters Amelia Bedelia (a maid who quite literally will “prune the hedge” by putting prunes on the bushes and “ice the fish” by spreading cake icing on a real fish), Pippi Longstocking (a character with red braids that stick straight out) and Horton the Elephant. These portrayals really made stories come to life! Ted Fronterhouse, Elaine’s brother-in-law, kept a 10-pound fish in his freezer for her to use in the Amelia Bedelia program!
Elaine and Delbert both began their Houston teaching career in 1970. Delbert had taught one year at Hartville, and Elaine had taught two years at Plato. Throughout the years, they have been known as an adventurous couple! As a family, we loved to travel. When we were little, we jumped in the car, never knowing where we would end up. Dad knew he was driving. Mom had the map, and away we would go! As educators, Delbert and Elaine also displayed an adventurous spirit. They were never afraid to try new things. Elaine took on the new positions of librarian, enrichment teacher, A+ coordinator and Odyssey of the Mind coach. Delbert took every student that was placed in his class and led them on the adventure of completing wood, metal or plastic projects. (It was always an adventure when you paired adolescents with power tools!)
As educators, Elaine and Delbert always showed love: love for family, love for all students, love for teaching, love for Houston. They were always proud of every student and wanted them to succeed. Many former students have said that they did not care for school, and only liked coming to Mr. Campbell’s class where they felt like he really cared. Elaine was always cheerful and made the most of every situation. Many teachers that worked with her have said that Elaine always had a smile on her face and could not wait to tackle the next project.
Elaine and Delbert are very dedicated people. Throughout all of school, we (Wyndell, Lindsey and Dara) played in more than 500 sports-related games. They were present for approximately 499 of them. They are always present at church, and can be counted on to attend most any family gathering. Likewise, when teaching, there were many days that they both watched the sun come up and go down through their classroom windows. They were dedicated to doing their best and setting the best example possible for others. They both volunteered time on committees to help establish improvement in the Houston Schools.
The faith they have exhibited in their life follows guidelines set forth in Titus 2:7 which states, “In everything, set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned.” The faith they exemplified on a daily basis is something that many of us can only hope to replicate. They had faith in the students they were teaching, faith in leadership and faith in the community that surrounded them.
Since retirement, Delbert and Elaine have continued to be active in the community. Elaine’s involvement includes: City of Houston, development director; Texas County Retired Teachers, Peace Chapel Church music and Sunday school teacher, Gamma Phi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Houston Community Betterment, Texas County Rehabilitation Board, The Brushy Creek Trail and Village Trail, ACHIEVE-Fit in Houston, Imagination Library, Houston Chamber of Commerce and playing with her grandchildren.
Delbert’s involvement includes: beef cattle, gardening, Peace Chapel Church board, superintendent, and Sunday school teacher, Texas County Retired Teachers, Houston Community Betterment, The Brushy Creek Trail and Village Trail, ACHIEVE-Fit in Houston, Imagination Library, Houston Chamber of Commerce, electrical construction and playing with his grandchildren.
We are proud to present to all of you the 2009 inductees into the Houston Schools Educator Hall of Fame-our parents, teachers and great friends, Delbert and Elaine Campbell.