The Foundation For Allen Schools is a separate nonprofit education foundation which exists solely to support Allen ISD teachers and students. The Foundation was established in 1997 by a group of school and community leaders who were charged with utilizing a donation from two sisters and long-time Allen residents, Miss Viola Rose and Mrs. Minnie Rose Shelton.
Viola and Minnie grew up and went to school in Allen. When the sisters passed away, they had no heirs and chose to give their estate to help their community. One half was given to the City of Allen and one half to the Allen Independent School District. The instructions to the district were that the money was to be used to support teachers and students. An original board of directors, all volunteers, worked for several years to raise additional funds and develop ideas for Foundation programs.
They awarded the first classroom grants for the 1999-2000 school year; a total of 7 grants were awarded that year. In 2000, a part-time director was hired and eventually, the board grew to 25 members with a focus on classroom grants, teacher training and recognition, and student scholarships.
To date, the Foundation has awarded over 1,417 classroom grants, 1,561 student scholarships, and provided support for Allen ISD educators to attend graduate school, receive special training, and be recognized for their accomplishments.
What the sisters helped to create has had a very positive and direct effect on the lives of many Allen children. To date, the Foundation has invested more than $3.4 million in Allen ISD.
Viola Rose and Minnie Rose Shelton were sisters who grew up and went to school in Allen. When the sisters passed away, they had no heirs and chose to give their estate to help their community. One half was given to the City of Allen and one half to the Allen Independent School District. Their instructions to the district were that the money was to be used to support teachers and students. With those funds, school and community leaders created the Foundation For Allen Schools in 1997. At the time this interview was conducted, Minnie was 87 years old and Viola was 88. Minnie did all the talking!
Interview with Viola Rose and Minnie Rose Shelton
Conducted by L.C. Summers
January 25, 1985
“I started school at Bethany and moved from there to Plano for about three years and then we came to Allen. And, when we moved to Allen, it was just a frame building school – four rooms. And the best I remember, Mr. Blackman was the superintendent. I’m not sure who the other teachers were. It seems that Miss Allie Perkins was one of them and I don’t remember whether Mary Lou Graves was, but she was here pretty soon after that. She was one of the early teachers. Mary Lou Graves and Allie Perkins and I just don’t remember the other teachers' names.
“When I graduated in 1914, I think there were about 7 or 8 in the graduating class. Very few are still living. Tommie Lynge and myself. I don’t know of any others.
“We lived about eight or 10 blocks from the school by today’s measures….We didn’t have a school bus. It hadn’t been thought of! We come home to lunch most of the time. And we’d run our heads off to get back to play basketball. And we played basketball…out in the open, out there in the school yard. We had a good team. I don’t remember us winning any awards, but we had a good team.
“One thing about it, the boys played on one side of the school building and we played on the other. The school ground was divided. The boys didn’t come over on our side and the girls didn’t go over on their side. The principal was in charge, or the teacher. But we didn’t go on each other’s playground.
“We had ten grades in Allen. I went to Plano to take the eleventh grade work. A lot of them went to McKinney. It was your choice, whichever one. But I went to Plano.
“….We had class rings, of course. All the seniors got class rings and you had to order those a way ahead of time. And they were nice rings. And they were $12 and a half at the time. My dad wouldn’t buy me one. I thought I was disgraced! Oh, it was awful! I was so embarrassed among the others. He said, 'I’m not spending twelve dollars and a half on an old class ring. It don’t do you any good.' And so, I didn’t get a class ring. But I see now that it didn’t amount to anything.
“He might not have had twelve dollars and a half. He didn’t have it to spend on foolishness, I know! And he thought that was foolish. It would have meant a whole lot to me at the time.”