Residents, community leaders and Katy ISD officials filled the Tompkins High School auditorium Oct. 8 to formally dedicate the new building in honor of Obra D. Tompkins Jr. The school, which opened in August 2013, has about 950 ninth and tenth grade students.
Tompkins told the audience, in a speech bracketed by standing ovations from the crowd, that he is "living the dream."
Originally from Hempstead, Tompkings started his teaching career in 1975 in Beaumont, while he was still finishing up his student teaching requirements for a bachelor of science degree from Prairie View A&M University.
His tenure with Katy ISD began just two years later when he accepted a position teaching math, industrial arts, and coaching basketball at Katy Junior High.
During his career in the district, he served as assistant principal of West Memorial Junior High, principal at McDonald Junior High, principal at Mayde creek High School, and finally, executive director for campus administrative support, the position from which he retired in 2012.
"I want to personally thank Mr. Tompkins for being such a mentor and role model," Superintendent Alton Frailey said. "We share our love of honor, integrity and John Wayne."
Frailey also commended the staff of Tompkins High School for demonstrating their willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.
The administration met its first major crisis in September when one of the high school's cafeteria workers was fatally shot by her estranged husband in the school's parking lot. The volunteer and professional efforts of Principal Mark Grisdale, faculty members and staff at the school were exceptional, Frailey said.
Several of the evening's speakers praised Tompkins for his mentorship of teachers, administrators and students, including Grisdale, who said he has already called on Tompkins for advice in the school's first months.
About 60 of Tompkins' family members were also in attendance, including his wife, Ann.