Rededication of the Margaret Havens Library tells story of “Remarkable Woman”

By Karen Daniels 

redidicationThough it wasn’t a dark and stormy night, the cold weather and warm gathering at Stafford MSD library to rededicate the Margaret Havens Library Media Center on Monday, January 6 was as memorable as the famous first line. Margaret Scarcella Havens (1918-2008) gave 57 years of her life to education by introducing thousands of students to “the wonderful world of reading.”

After Superintendant Dr. Lance Hindt thanked the SMSD Board of Trustees and Stafford City Council for their leadership, and Trustee President Ed Castillo spoke about the strategic vision plan that had brought them to this day, a more intimate picture of Margaret Havens was provided. Growing up during the depression in a small town outside of Bryan, Texas, Margaret was sent by her father to Missouri City to attend high school so that she could get a better education. Sadie Williams, President of the Stafford Historical Society, added that Margaret was “always seeking the very best for children” first in educator, then as a administrator, and finally as a trustee.

Shown are SMSD Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt, Trustee President Ed Castillo, Congressman Al Green, and Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella.

Shown are SMSD Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt, Trustee President Ed Castillo, Congressman Al Green, and Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella.

Mayor Leonard Scarcella is the only child of Margaret Havens and Leon Scarcella, and expressed his “deep appreciation” as he explained that his grandfather, a farmer with one year of education, only had enough money to send Margaret to college for 2 ½ years. So, that’s what she did—attended Southwest Texas State and received her bachelor’s degree in 2 ½ years. She would go on to earn her Masters in Education and eventually return to Missouri City to teach and “give back.” The Mayor also spoke of Margaret’s belief that the kids in Stafford were entitled to a better education. “During this time,” the Mayor said, “Three-hundred other cities were trying to create breakaway districts. Margaret felt that Stafford had an opportunity to do something special for the kids.” The first day of school for kindergarten was August 26, 1982. Currently, Stafford MSD is the only school district of its kind in the United States.

Also present for the festivities, Congressman Al Green, who presented a flag that had flown over the US Capitol in Margaret Haven’s honor to the new library. The Congressman said, “This is a remarkable woman. If her life stands for anything it’s that one person with determination and an education can have an impact on others.”

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