Miss May Vernon
Miss May Vernon was born in Texas on January 12, 1887. She began her teaching career in Fate, at the age of 20, earning her B.S. from North Texas State Teacher’s College, an M.A. from Greeley College, in Colorado and 18 hours in Library Science from East Texas State Teacher’s College.
Her father had a farm south of Fate, where the future development known as Williamsburg is located just south of Interstate 30. She grew up there with her three brothers, Fred, Clarence, and Ben and two sisters, Beulah and Edith. The Vernon family was instrumental in helping to develop Fate into the prosperous town it once was in the 1920’s, 30’s and early 40’s. They were active members of the First Christian Church, owners of a grocery store, and produced two school teachers. She made teaching her mission in life and didn’t marry to continue making educating her students a priority. Because of her dedication, she was always referred to as “Miss” May Vernon – it was considered disrespectful, in fact, downright sacrilegious to not include the title of “Miss”.
Miss May taught in Fate for about 50 years and was a dedicated teacher and spiritual leader. She instilled in her students the importance of prayer and memorizing bible verses. Her students began each day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer, and the 23rd Psalm. In addition to the three R’s she taught penmanship in a manner that made it fun. Miss May taught her students to appreciate art by displaying pictures of The Blue Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, Age of Innocence by Joshua Reynolds, Ron Booker’s Baby Stewart and our first president, George Washington. All of these pictures hung above the blackboards. The picture of George Washington has been handed down and has a new home here at Miss May Vernon Elementary.
She had a yellow canary bird, which her class named “Billy Tom”. She carried Billy Tom home each evening and brought him back each morning. In the back of her classroom, she had a sand box that was encased in a wooden frame and was used at playtime in bad weather. It was also used to depict scenery, customs and the culture of lands across the sea. Miss May was a strict disciplinarian who instilled in her students the desire to learn.
Miss May Vernon passed away on August 28, 1969 at Autumn Leaves Retirement home in Dallas, TX and was buried in Austin, TX.
After approximately 50 years, Fate, Texas, once again has a school and former students of Miss May Vernon were successful in convincing the Royse City ISD Board of Trustees that this school should be named for their beloved 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade teacher. It is with love and admiration that her former students dedicate this school building to her memory.