Beaird scholarships keep TJC band program playing on

Feb 29, 2016 by

Every great tradition starts with key people and a big idea.

Tyler Junior College’s Apache Band and the Apache Belles were born in the summer of 1947 as a result of the devoted efforts of legacy leaders of the college including Doc Witt, Mildred Stringer, Al Gilliam and a TJC student, Harold Beaird, among others.

TJC band alumnus Harold Beaird speaks during the 2015 TJC Scholarship Luncheon, held Nov. 11 in the Green Acres CrossWalk Conference Center. To date, Beaird has funded 16 endowed scholarships with the TJC Foundation, including 14 to support the Apache Band.

TJC band alumnus Harold Beaird speaks during the 2015 TJC Scholarship Luncheon, held Nov. 11 in the Green Acres CrossWalk Conference Center. To date, Beaird has funded 16 endowed scholarships with the TJC Foundation, including 14 to support the Apache Band.

It was Beaird who helped recruit the first band members from TJC students, Tyler High School students and returning military servicemen. He was just 16 at the time, and the challenge to form the band shaped his life and put him on the path to success. Beaird was given a scholarship and enjoyed every minute of his time at the college and in the band. He also never forgot what it meant to him to receive that scholarship and encouragement.

Beaird’s love of the TJC band program has continued over six decades, and he was honored during the donor scholarship luncheon held Nov. 11 at the Green Acres CrossWalk Conference Center in Tyler. The annual luncheon gives scholarship recipients an opportunity to meet those who have given to fund their scholarships. A video shown at the luncheon gave insights into Beaird’s involvement in those first days of the Tyler Junior College band and Apache Belles.

“It was very exciting to be there, helping what became major traditions at TJC,” Beaird said.

What began as a wonderful introduction to his time at TJC transformed into his lifelong passion of helping others further their education by providing scholarships to students following in
his footsteps. To date, Beaird has funded 16 endowed scholarships with the Tyler Junior College Foundation, including 14 to support the TJC Apache Band.

Beaird recently established eight new Presidential Honors Scholarships, which cover the full cost of tuition and fees for two years for each student recipient. To qualify for these scholarships, students must be accepted into TJC’s growing Honors Program and rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class; rank in the top 10 position of their high school class and show college readiness; or demonstrate a high grade-point average and ACT or SAT test scores.

To qualify for the new Presidential Honors Scholarships given by Beaird, students must also participate in the TJC Apache Band. These eight scholarships have been funded in part from the estate of his late daughter, Beverly Ann Beaird, a former educator. Beverly graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a teaching degree and taught elementary school in Houston and Tyler for many years. She enjoyed teaching history and exposing her students to the rich local history. Building on that legacy, three of the scholarships her father has funded bear her name.

Beaird’s Presidential Honors Scholarships recognize individuals who have been influential in the continued success and growth of Tyler Junior College and the TJC Apache Band.

They include:

• C.C. “Pinky” Baker, Jr. Presidential Honors Scholarship

• Beverly Ann Beaird Presidential Honors Scholarships

• Harold & Rosemary Beaird Presidential Honors Scholarship

  Preston Haynes Presidential Honors Scholarship

  Dick Johns Presidential Honors Scholarship

• Ellen Matthews Presidential Honors Scholarship

• Thomas H. “Tom” Mensch, III Presidential Honors Scholarship

• Dr. Kimberly A. Russell Presidential Honors Scholarship

Harold Beaird’s life was changed for the better because he had the opportunity to attend Tyler Junior College, recruited other band members and played under the direction of the legendary Doc Witt. His goal today is to make the same life-changing combination of education and band involvement available to other young people
at TJC.

The ongoing success of the Apache Band and Apache Belles owes a great deal to the generous support of Harold Beaird and other donors. The ongoing enthusiasm of future generations will indeed ensure that the band plays on.

For information concerning giving opportunities for endowed scholarships including the Presidential Honors Scholarship program, please contact Mitch Andrew at mand@tjc.edu or (903) 510-2034.


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