"Everything that concerns you"

The Eagle's Eye

Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

Dr.+W.+Charles+Akins+poses+for+a+photo+at+the+end+of+the+Martin+Luther+King+Jr.++March+in+East+Austin+in+January+2016.+
Dr. W. Charles Akins poses for a photo at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr.  March in East Austin in January 2016.

Dr. W. Charles Akins poses for a photo at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. March in East Austin in January 2016.

Courtesy of JROTC

Courtesy of JROTC

Dr. W. Charles Akins poses for a photo at the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. March in East Austin in January 2016.

Thomas Cross, Online Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Dr. Charles Akins, “a true legend and trailblazer” according to Austin ISD trustee Paul Saldaña, passed away Wednesday morning, March 29, 2017.

Dr. Akins served in Austin ISD for more than 50 years as an educator and administrator. He is especially known for overseeing the integration efforts at L.C. Anderson High School in the 1970s in which students from African-American neighborhoods were bussed to a new high school in a predominantly white neighborhood. In the late 1990s, the school board voted to name a new high school built in South Austin after him, giving the school students attend here his name.

After hearing the news of his death, many students and teachers at Akins recalled memories of meeting him. 

Dr. Akins was the epitome of what it means to be an outstanding educator and upstanding human being,” wrote Brandi Hosack, principal of Akins, in an email. “I know we all care very deeply for him and his family. Just as we always do, especially in tough times, we must come together as the greater Akins family to help each other through this.”

Born in 1932, Akins graduated from Huston-Tillotson university in 1954. Within 5 years, he would start his teaching career at Anderson High School. Within 10 years, he would be the first African-American teacher at the newly integrated Johnson High School. In 1973, Akins became the first principal of the newly formed L.C. Anderson High School. The district board of trustees decided to name the new school that would be built in Austin after Akins.

“Bowie High School or Crockett High School, all those were war heroes,” said senior Logan Beltran, vice president of the class of 2017. “But this guy really changed our recent history. He was the first African American to do many things. To have our namesake alive while we are here at high school and to have him come to many of our events is a unique experience that not a lot of high schoolers get to experience.”

Akins regularly attended many school events including football games, student concerts, the African-American Heritage Award Ceremony, the Trustee’s Awards and graduation. However, his poor health prevented him from attending school events this year.

This did not stop him from making sure that the school named after him would be running OK. He would check up on Brandi Hosack, principal of Akins High School, from time to make to make sure that everything was running smoothly.

“I’ve been at Akins for 13 years…and the best days would be the days where he would pick up the phone and called to ask ‘How’s it going?,’” Hosack said.

Dr. Akins will forever be in our hearts, and we will do our best each and every day to see that his legacy and what he stood for lives on.”

— Brandi Hosack

Hosack said she was grateful to have the privilege of calling Dr. Akins a friend. However, she was not the only one who enjoyed this status. Whenever people had a conversation with Dr. Akins, many would get the feeling that he cared about every single person who was a part of the Akins community.

“I always felt like I was speaking to a friend because in what he would share with me, he represented his values,”  Austin ISD superintendent Paul Cruz said. “He represented his commitment to excellence in education for all of our students, he shared with me his vision, his focus, determination, and I felt he always represented AISD as a family.”

At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, school officials held a press conference at the front of the school regarding the Akins’ death. Cruz, Saldaña, senior Sarudazi “Saru” Chigubu, and Hosack were speakers. The purpose of the press conference was to honor the legacy that Akins left behind as well as show the community that he would still be in their hearts.

During the press conference, Saldaña recalled an interview Dr. Akins had done years before.

“When (Akins) was interviewed several years ago about how he stood tall for dignity and calm during those scary days of desegregation, he reminded us all and said, ‘You know I agree that maybe the entire promise of Dr. King has not been fulfilled, but in order to get the prize, we have to go through stages. Sacrifices have to be made on both sides of the spectrum. But I believe we can get there to the gold if you have a mosaic of people working together,’ ” Saldaña said.

Whether it be on the graduation stage, at the annual MLK march downtown, or even just walking the halls of the school, the memory of Dr. Akins will always reverberate throughout the community Beltran said.

Luis Correa, Roy Hernandez

Before the final release bell rang at the end of the day on Wednesday, Hosack spoke over the intercom to send a message to students before they left for the day. She encouraged them to read about his legacy to understand his significance in the Austin community.

“I want (everyone) to realize what a treasure he was to us and how lucky we are to have been able to know our namesake,” she said. “I hope that you realize every single day you get to walk these halls how lucky you are to be a student here and how much he loved you. I need you to go through everyday and realize he is still with us and that we will make him proud in every single thing we do.”

Print Friendly

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    Sports

    Memorable moments in Eagles Sports

  • Staff Picks

    Graduate Goodbyes from The Eagle’s Eye – 2017

  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    News

    Ethnic studies elective classes offered next year

  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    Editorial

    Memorializing Dr. Akins by honoring his legacy

  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    In Depth

    Interactive timeline: Dr. Akins life story

  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    Staff Picks

    Trump in office; Protests erupt across nation

  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    Sports

    Bubble soccer tournament sends players bouncing down the field

  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    Sports

    Boys Varsity Soccer team prepares to battle McNeil in playoff game

  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    Opinions

    SXSW too expensive, inaccessible for local teens

  • Campus community mourns death, celebrates life of W. Charles Akins, school namesake

    News

    Restorative Justice program is model to others