Young honored for years of service to Harlingen schools, students

The Harlingen school board Tuesday night honored Verna Young for her many years of service working for the education of the district’s students.

“I am one of the products of Mrs. Young,” said School Board Member Greg Powers. “I remember on the second floor, I remember in the classroom the time she spent with me, working with a me.” He laughed and added, “A lot of patience.”

Young, 84, officially stepped down from the school board Tuesday where she began serving in 2001. Previous to her tenure as a school board member, she had been an algebra teacher at Vernon Junior High School and Harlingen High School. She then became principal first at Bonham Elementary School for nine years and at Harlingen High School for 16 years.

Many school board members recalled having her as a teacher.

“Verna Young and I have known each other for 58 years,” said Board Member Gerry Fleuriet. “She and I have been close personal friends for more than 30 years.”

Young would spend long hours with students to ensure they learned algebra. She would even work with them one on one if necessary. She’s impacted generations of students who have passed through Harlingen schools.

Powers was friends with Young’s daughter and was often at her house working on algebra.

“She’s a phenomenal teacher,” he said.

Young sat at the front with her great granddaughter, Caydence Short, 4. Her granddaughter, Amanda, and son-in-law James Short also sat on the front row. She said she felt honored by all the accolades, although she was rather modest about it all.

“Anytime that you are told that you are wonderful, it’s always pleasant to hear it,” she said. She hesitated to get too drawn in by all the attention.

“If I go away believing all the things I heard tonight, I would be floating up here,” she said.

Over her 46-year career as an educator and administrator, she’s most proud of the positive impact she’s had on so many students. Her proudest achievements recently, she said, have been her work on the school board. She commended all the board members for the ability to work together for the students.