By Dana Delgado
Nearly 50 years ago, the youthful prodigy of three bright-eyed, highly industrious students struck upon an idea — a pipe dream at the time — that markedly impacted residents of Liberty Hill then and to this day.
The three were James Myers, Tony Miranda, and Margie Frasier who made up the entire 1964 graduating class of Liberty Hill High School. The senior class, among 125 students enrolled that year in the whole school district, remains the smallest graduating class in LHHS history according to Myers. However, there was nothing ordinary about this class.
“It was the most unique senior class of all classes,” said Liberty Hill native and local historian Gary Spivey.
The three students had been heavily active in high school and had clear goals for their lives. Margie Frazier participated in basketball, was active in school plays and was Homecoming Queen her senior year. Tony Miranda excelled in football, baseball and track, and was involved in FFA and the school newspaper, while James Myers garnered athletic honors, participated in FFA and was Senior Class President. Being a class of three, each spoke at the commencement ceremonies held in the auditorium in the old red brick school building now razed.
The idea that would become their collective brainchild and serve as a lasting legacy and testimony to their foresight and willpower, came about at the beginning of their senior year. The three students, with the guidance and support of their class sponsors the Cadmus Browns, faced the challenge of determining what to do for a senior project. It was either that or spend their whole senior year in study hall since they had already completed all the requirements for graduation by the end of their junior year with the exception of a few electives.
“The Superintendent and the Principal knew that we were too mischievous to spend all that time in study hall,” recalls Miranda. “We’d just have too much time on our hands.”
Neither Miranda nor Myers can recall any of the ideas brainstormed except for the one they agreed on.
“We’d always heard the talk about the water,” said Miranda. “By Friday, there just wouldn’t be any water and no one could take a bath or anything.”
The three seniors put their heads together and decided they would create plans with the help of their agriculture teacher, Nathan Wetzel, for a new water system in town and convince residents and business leaders to move forward with their ideas.
Spivey said it wasn’t an easy task because like many small towns, Liberty Hill was fertile ground for lots of opinions and plenty of naysayers.
“In 1964, Liberty Hill had a meager water system run by Wilson Parks who had built a large tank 30-40 years before,” said Myers. “He was able to serve a handful of neighbors but the pressure was always low, there were maintenance issues, and there was no oversight or regulation. Mr. Parks was also getting older and families were beginning to complain about the service.”
After drawing up some plans for a new water system, Myers, Miranda and Frazier were off and running on their campaign. They got the approval from their school superintendent, Howard Adare, and then went knocking on every door in town.
“We asked everyone if they wanted an improved water system,” said Myers. “Everyone was sold on more reliable service and dependable water except for Mr. Parks who had been serving the town for decades who thought it was not such a good idea.”
Excited about the possibilities and sold on the idea, business and community leaders including Roy Allman, Joe Ed Canady, Doyce Rankin, Ernest Peel, John McMahon and Neil Foust among others formed a committee to move forward with the proposal.
“We had struck the match!” exclaimed Myers. “Once the community got behind the project, there was no stopping it.”
With the project ignited, Myers along with Miranda and Frazier returned to their studies and the multitude of school activities they participated in, but did meet with the committee a few times.
“By spring of 1964, the committee had the ball and was running with it and our involvement was essentially over,” Myers recalls.
As their senior year was ending, the three students along with their sponsors went on their senior trip — a two-week adventure to Estes Park, Colorado. It was a trip where the guys fished and the girls shopped. Then rather quietly, considering the ruckus they’d raised in town about a new water system, the three seniors graduated and set out on their careers.
In the meantime, the Liberty Hill Water Supply Corporation was formed, federal funding was secured and the project came to fruition with construction that included a well, an elevated tank and meters within a few years. That same system, now owned by the City of Liberty Hill, remains operational five decades later with multiple wells serving residents and businesses within the city limits.
Myers pursued a successful career in environmental engineering after obtaining Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas. Now retired, he lives in Burnet with his wife Barbara Holder Myers who was a 1965 LHHS graduate. Myers’ memories of his experiences at LHHS are incredibly rich.
“It was a great time of my life,” he said. “Tony, Margie and I were real close. Being the only seniors we were also the only ones in most of our classes. And there were excellent teachers who helped and supported us like our math teacher, Mr. Edgar Rhea, who really influenced me. It was also a different era with no crimes, violence or drugs. The worst mischief we ever got into was when we put an outhouse on the top of the school. Besides, my dad was on the school board so I had to watch myself.”
Margie Frasier, who could not be reached by press time this week, went on to Houston to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an airline stewardess.
Miranda, who was drafted into the military right after graduation, eventually settled in nearby Georgetown and now owns and operates AR Miranda Carpentry.
For Myers, Miranda and Frazier, there never was any kind of recognition or proclamation for their monumental initiative and unwavering efforts.
“We didn’t expect it,” said Myers. “I’m sure the class project started out as a lark, a pipe-dream. We probably didn’t think it was possible. We just happened on an idea that struck a chord with the community because of a real need. But it sure has been nice that it has been a lasting legacy for Liberty Hill’s smallest graduating class.”