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Campus mourns loss of namesake Dr. W. Charles Akins

May 12, 2017

Early morning Wednesday March 29, our school namesake, Dr. W. Charles Akins, died.

Students, teachers, faculty members, administrators, community members and school board members stopped to share their favorite memories and lessons learned from Dr. Akins.

Just before the final bell of the day rang and released students, principal Brandi Hosack made an announcement to share her thoughts about Dr. Akins’ passing.

To have our namesake alive while we are here at high school and to come to many of our events is a unique experience that not a lot of high schoolers get…”

— Logan Beltran, Senior

“I hope that you realize every single day that you get to walk these halls how lucky you are to be a student here and how much he loved you and how much we loved him and he did know that. I need you to go through everyday and realize that he is still with us and we will make him proud in every single thing that we do.” Hosack said. “I want you to know who he was and what he stood for.”

Akins was born in 1932 in Austin, Texas. He attended segregated schools in Austin such as Blackshear Elementary, Kealing Junior High, and “Old” Anderson High.

In 1954, Akins graduated from historically black college Huston-Tillotson University, where he received his bachelor’s degree. Two years later, Akins completed school at Prairie View A&M University with a master’s degree. Shortly after, he got his administrative certification at Southwest Texas College.

Anyone can look at what he’s done in his life and learn from him and see that you can go anywhere and do anything if you have a goal. and there’s no limit to what you can do when you put your mind to it”

— Ma'Kayla Gay, Junior

Akins began his dedication to education early and fast, soaring to crucial positions in the history of desegregating schools in Austin. By 1959, Akins started teaching at his old high school where he received teacher of the year. Five years later Akins became the first black teacher at Johnston High School.

In 1973, Dr. Akins became principal of Anderson High School, where he faced the task of overseeing desegregation of a campus in which black students were bussed into a predominantly white neighborhood.

In 1998, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees voted to name the district’s new high school in South Austin after Akins.

Dr. Akins was buried Friday, April 7 at Evergreen Cemetery and is survived by his wife Estella R. Akins, and two daughters Dianne Akins Iglehart and Joyce Akins.

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Charles Calmed the Waters

Yesterday we lost a legend Of the age of segregation.

One who never would offend,

Because of poverty or station.

 

He showed courtesy and respect,

Always professional and polite,

His kindness one came to expect

Of one so dedicated and so bright.

 

Charles gently calmed the waters

Of a river filled with hate,

Speaking softly for his brothers

Hoping hostility to abate.

 

He was like a lamp, a beacon,

To people east of Thirty-Five,

Always thinking, always seeking,

So long as he was still alive.

 

He strove to be the good citizen,

Helping others along the way,

Simply trying to be a good son,

To his parents day by day.

 

Charles gently calmed the waters

Of a river filled with hate,

Speaking softly for his brothers

Hoping hostility to abate.

 

So in the year of Sixty-Four,

He took a challenge not expected

He either failed at Johnston High, or

Left there even more respected.

 

Charles was a virtuous soul,

Soft-spoken and dedicated.

Life’s wear and tear just took its toll,

Fighting against the segregated.

 

Charles gently calmed the waters

Of a river filled with hate,

Speaking softly for his brothers

Hoping hostility to abate.

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Dr.Akins was in many of our lives

Courtesy of Regina McGough

Dr. and Mrs. Akins sit in the stands at Burger Stadium, Akins cheered for the Eagles on and off the field as often as he could

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