“Loyalty to our school makes us strong”


Cunningham Alumni Photo courtesy of Cindy Fernandez Gamez

“Cunningham junior high is the school we love the best..”


On Saturday, May 11th, past students from Cunningham Middle School will gather at Emerald Beach Shoreline for a farewell reunion.

The beloved and longstanding Cunningham Middle School will be closed and demolished due to the campus being relocated and combined with South Park Middle School.

A committee composed of alumni and retired teachers organized the event and called for any Cunningham alumni that attended school from 1953 to the present time.

Gloria Perez Mondragon, an alumnus that attended Cunningham from 1963 to 1966, hopes the event will lead to the opportunity to remember Cunningham. “We all come from different decades, we all have different memories, but we all know the fight song, and that shows how close-knitted we all are.”

Andrea G. Villarreal, also a Cunningham alumnus, hopes to just say her final goodbyes to Cunningham. “I hate to see it go, but I understand why they need to do so.” She went on to proudly proclaim the many successful people who were Cunningham students. From state representatives, judges, and city councilmen to many highly respected teachers in the area. Cunningham, “put out good people,” said Villarreal.  

Cunningham opened as a junior high in 1953 and was named after Claude L. Cunningham, a CCISD school tax-assessor collector. Cunningham originally moved from Medina, Tennessee to open a men’s clothing store, but left the clothing business after he was hired by the school board.

Since its doors first opened in 1953, Cunningham has raised a successful and tight-knitted community. A school where many memories were made, the Cunningham committee hopes to provide the opportunity to reminisce of the days in junior high.

Villarreal recalls her first memory when she first arrived at Cunningham in 1960. “It was raining really bad and the janitors laid boards down for us to walk on.” She felt the love the moment she stepped foot on the campus.

“I was a cheerleader in ninth grade.”, Mondragon said. “I remember going to the football and baseball games and we all knew the fight song.”

The committee is expecting almost 380 people to attend but is hopeful that more alumni will respond.

“I am heartbroken that Cunningham has to close”, Mondragon said. “We just want to enjoy the last moments and say our final goodbyes to Cunningham as we know it.”

If you cannot make it to the farewell reunion, Cunningham will open its doors to the public for a final walk-through of the campus on Friday, May 10th from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. They invite alumni and the community to take their final stroll through the halls at Claude L. Cunningham Middle School.


Special thanks to Gloria Mondragon and Cindy Fernandez Gamez for their help with research for this article.