The Katy ISD board of trustees approved the naming of Junior High School No. 18 in honor of the Nelson family, longtime Katy residents. The campus will be known as Nelson Junior High School when it opens in fall 2024.

During the Dec. 4 board meeting, the naming advisory committee recommended the school be named after the Nelsons, and the board approved holding a public forum Dec. 6. The recommendation was officially announced by Superintendent Kenneth Gregorski during the Dec. 11 meeting.

The inspiration

The Nelson family has been in the Katy area since the 1930s, and members of the family have graduated from KISD, served on the school board and been involved in various district programs, such as the National FFA Organization, according to a district news release.

The Nelsons purchased the land the junior high is being built on in 1942 from Mary Wilkenson, who was a KISD school teacher. Before being sold to the district, the land was the site of the family rice farming and cattle ranching businesses, the news release states.

In their own words

Members of the Nelson family attended the meeting and thanked the board for honoring their family.

“We just want to thank the board for naming the junior high after our family,” Wesley Nelson said. “We've [committed] a lot of time and effort with the school and the county and the town, and trying to make this school and this whole area a better place.”

The Nelsons presented the board members with small carvings made in their saw mill from 80-year-old trees that had been on their family’s property where the school will be located. They received permission from the contractor to gather the wood and decided to thank the board members with the carvings.

What else?

Nelson Junior High will be located at 25747 Longenbaugh Road, Katy, and will accommodate 1,400 students for an estimated cost ​of $55 million, according to the district's website.

Funds for the school were provided by the May 2021 bond referendum, and it will provide enrollment relief to neighboring campuses in the northwest quadrant of the district that are experiencing rapid growth.