As officials at Denison’s Golden Rule Elementary prepare to say farewell to the long-serving school at the end of the school year, teachers and administrators are working to keep the school’s legacy alive.

As officials at Denison’s Golden Rule Elementary prepare to say farewell to the long-serving school at the end of the school year, teachers and administrators are working to keep the school’s legacy alive.


School officials unveiled plans this week to create a Golden Rule Student Scholarship, which will provide scholarships each year to seniors who attended Golden Rule, extending through the current class of first graders.


One of the first fundraisers for the scholarship fund will be a raffle for a quilt made from T-shirts from events and programs at the school over the years. Golden Rule Principal Karen Sawyer estimated the quilt includes shirts from over 20 different years of the school’s 92 years in existence at its current location. Tickets for the raffle are being sold for $5 until May 22, when a winner will be drawn at the school’s farewell celebration.


Golden Rule, which originally served the Denison mill community, is scheduled to close as a part of ongoing plans to consolidate the elementary education system in the Denison Independent School District. Golden Rule’s closure follows the closing of Layne Elementary two years ago.


Golden Rule started as an one-room, wood-framed schoolhouse in 1890. By 1911, the school had become its own independent school district, and remained so until merging with Denison ISD in 1964. A fire in the early 1920s destroyed the original building, which led to the construction of the current building in 1922.


Brenda Cherry, a second-grade teacher at Golden Rule who has taught at the school for 17 years, came up with the idea to make the quilt at the beginning of the year as a way of bringing together the full history of the school. Cherry, an avid quilter, has sewn over 100 quilts, including quilts made from her children’s college shirts, and a few raffled to raise money for the United Way. Cherry said the United Way quilts raised about $300 each, but she believes this quilt will raise much more.


The quilt is double-sided, with 20 squares on each side. Each square represents an event or activity in the school’s past. Past UIL competitions, the school’s Kindness and Compassion Krew, trips to Camp Goddard and other programs are sewn into history. Cherry said she had forgotten about some programs, including the ‘koalaty karoler’ choir, until she saw the shirts, which were donated by teachers, past students and members of the community.


"I’d forgotten that we’ve done so much," said Cherry.


Cherry originally planned to make the quilt to raise funds for a single scholarship for seniors who attended the school. It was after the project started getting attention that talks began about extending the scholarship to include current first graders. Organizers expect to award a $500 scholarship this year, said Sawyer. If fundraising projects are successful, she said that she hopes to give at least that much for each year.