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Downs Hall, 1881-1954. Younger students' Dorm.



Main Annex Skinner Hall 1881-1954. Girls' and Teachers' Dormitory.


McDonnell Hall 1881-1954. Older Boys' Dormitory.


Faith Hall, 1937. Administration Building destroyed by flood in 1954.



Miss Nannie E. Holding 1883-1913

 
The school which was to become Holding Institute began
with Mrs. Jacob Norwood teaching several Mexican girls
 in her home in Laredo.
By 1881, women of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South,
 has been persuaded to set aside funds for a kindergarten and primary
school. Ten acres on the bank of the Rio Grande were donated by Rev.
Elias Robertson, and by 1882 the first building was ready for
occupancy.
Laredo Seminary opened with Miss Annie Williams and
 Miss Rebecca Toland in charge.
In October, 1883, Miss Nannie E. Holding, from Covington,
Kentucky, arrived to become superintendent of the new
Seminary.
Her sister Delia, taught also during the first few years. In 1886
Miss Holding made Laredo Seminary co-educational by
admitting 10 boys, housed in "the barracks" under
a system of military discipline.
Under the constant care of Miss Holding the sand dunes
of the river bottom land became landscaped
garden, with flowers, shrubs, and trees planted in pleasing
symmetry; buildings were added, one by one, each a
monument to a persistent faith in the school and its purpose.
Kindergarten, primary and second grades, a music
department, sewing and cooking classes, gardening, testified
to the growing contribution of Laredo Seminary to the
lives of the children who came.
They were both rich and poor, English and Spanish-speaking,
from Texas, Mexico, and some foreign counties; some
children were orphans and the school became the only
home they knew until graduation.
In 1913 Miss Nannie Holding reluctantly came to the time
of her retirement at he age of 68. Dr. J.M. Skinner, a
native of West Virginia, succeeded to the
superintendency, and under his initiative, the name of the
school was changed to Holding Institute.
During Dr. Skinner's administration, the older buildings,
badly-damaged by repeated floods, were kept in repair,
and one new building was added; the high school
department was accredited by the Texas State
Department of Education and the entire project
passed from the Foreign Missionary Society to the
jurisdiction of the Division of National Missions,
Woman's Division.


In 1930, Miss Carmen Blessing became superintendent,
and she succeeded in the face of the Depression, in
holding the school together, and maintaining high
standards already fixed. By this time, Holding
Institute has graduated dozens of boys and girls,
some of whom were sons and daughters of
former students. In spite of lack of funds,
faithful teachers remained loyal to the school.
In 1937, Mr. Anton Deschner, one of the teachers, became
 superintendent, and Holding Institute of Laredo
continued to prosper, serving boys and girls from many nations.


Mr. Anton Deschner  1937-1948


Mary E. Glendinning    Iva Lou Matkin     Ura Leveridge        
Dean of Girls     Commercial Bookkeeper  English-Bible
1937


Paul Jerry Files
Social Science 1937

Dramatics 1939 directed by Mr. Files


Miss Pilar Saenz 1937


Spanish Club sponsored by Miss Saenz 1939

The majority of students came from Mexico, but in smaller
numbers they represented Japan, China, Arabia, Cambodia,
Bolivia, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba and the Republic of Congo.
From the United States, Texas furnished the largest
number, but many others were represented. By 1954,
the enrollment had reached a peak of around 350 students
in all departments.
During its history, the city of Laredo had been hit by many
floods, but in June, 1954, the most disastrous flood in the
history of the city occurred. At Holding Institute, the
same familiar precautions were taken; children were
evacuated; the old grand piano located in a safe place in town;
books, records, equipment were carried to the top floors
of the already flood-scarred buildings. The surging waters
reached 63 feet, and one by one nine of the buildings crumbled
away. The three remaining buildings were useless; the old
bell, symbol of the school for so many generations of
students, and the iron archway marking the entrance to
the grounds, plus a few muddy, faded papers, were all
that was left of the physical existence of Holding Institute.


After the flood of 1948, the Executives of the Woman's Division
of Christian Service had had the foresight to purchase 63
acres of rich, level farm land on higher ground in North
Laredo, and the flood of 1954 made the rebuilding of the
school both necessary and feasible. Mr. Deschner asked
for a new appointment, and was named superintendent
of Boylan-Haver-Mather Academy, Camden, So. Carolina.



Mr. and Mrs. Victor Cruz-Aedo

Victor Cruz-Aedo, teacher and principal during eight years,
was named superintendent, and on him fell the enormous
task of recreating a new Holding Institute. With the help of
Laredo Junior College, the Methodist Church, and hundreds
of friends in Laredo, he began the classes in September,
1954, with Miss Loida Cuellar as teachers. A total of 56
students were enrolled during that year.
The kindergarten and first six grades were eliminated; English
as a foreign language was the first class, and gradually
a Junior and Senior curriculum took shape. Funds were
received in 1956-57 for the erection of an auditorium-cafeteria
and four classrooms; a boys' dormitory, a large dining
hall and kitchen, were added in 1958-59; additional classrooms,
the physical education shower and locker rooms, a library
and laboratory, plus residences for faculty, were secured, and
then in 1964, a new girls' dorm, with capacity for 66 students,
was begun.


The dormitory, plus additional office space for Administration,
were dedicated in October 1965, gifts from the women of the
Methodist Church. Mr. Cruz-Aedo, who left the superintendency
of Holding in 1964, had seen the small group of 56 students
become an enrollment of over 150; the accreditation of the
school reaffirmed; the properties notably improved.


Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Daily

The Reverend Maurice C. Daily was elected superintendent
in April, 1965, and seeks to continue the tradition of service
 so well-established. The main street of the campus was paved that
year, the "Deschner Memorial Tower," housing the old Holding
bell, erected; in 1967 a much-needed gymnasium, triplex
apartment building, workshop, storage and garage building
were completed and the boys' dorm was air-conditioned.
The enrollment during this ninetieth year of Holding
Institute's history finds 64 boarding girls, 45 boarding boys,
83 day students under the direction of a Faculty and Staff
dedicated to the same high purpose and concern which
have motivated all those related to the school from its
inception; to provide each student an opportunity to
realize his highest potentialities as a person, with no
restrictions as to race, creed or color.




In May 1983, due to insufficient funds, the school was closed. In 1987
the Holding Institute reopened as a community center supervised
by a division of the national Methodist Church in a different location.





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