High schools in Humble started educating area children more than 100 years ago, shortly after the town was named after Civil War veteran Pleasant Humble, its first postmaster.
In the early 1900s, residents needed a school for their older children, and the first high school was conceived.
The area and its high schools have been transformed many times since, but the schools have remained true to the name of the town, said Robert Meaux, Humble ISD federal title programs coordinator. Meaux authored the book “Images of America: Humble” and serves on the board of the Humble Museum.
“[Humble is] unique because although the district has grown to 41,000 students—and an additional 13,500 is expected over the next 10 years—it still retains that small-town feel,” Meaux said.
The first school to offer a ninth-grade curriculum in the area, Humble School, was built in 1909. The six-classroom building taught first through ninth grades. Two years later, 10th and 11th grades were added.
In 1919, Humble High School was constructed as the town’s population grew. Humble School was then transformed into Humble Grammar School. However, a fire destroyed Humble Grammar in 1929, according to HISD documents.
The following year, Charles Bender High School was built on the grammar school site, and the original Humble High was renamed Humble Grammar School. About 20 years later, in the 1950s, Humble Grammar was demolished to make room for expansion of Charles Bender High, which included 12th grade by 1941.
“Charles Bender High School was one of the most advanced high school buildings in Harris County,” according to “Images of America: Humble.” “It was one of the few schools that had a cafeteria and kitchen.”
Charles Bender High was replaced by the current Humble High School in 1965. In March, the Charles Bender name was resurrected with the completion of the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center on Higgins Street in downtown Humble. The reincarnation of Charles Bender High resembles the original high school, class of 1960 graduate Dave Tullos said.
“It looks just like it did back then,” Tullos said. “And it felt just like it did walking into the old building—except there’s carpet on the floor now, and the restrooms have been upgraded. ”
Today, HISD consists of 41 campuses, including six high schools with plans for a seventh. The district, which was formed in 1918, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2018.
“I started school at Bender High in seventh grade, with high school kids, and I knew the seniors. Everyone knew everybody,” Tullos said. “We still do.”