By: Sophia Stunkard
The Frank Herald Fieldhouse is the home to many Jenks athletes and provides an exciting atmosphere for volleyball, wrestling, and basketball. As a student, I’ve found interest in the face and story behind the naming of the fieldhouse and I decided to embark on an investigation. I thought that a quick Google search would allow me to find the meaning behind
“The Frank”, but I soon realized that it wouldn’t be that simple.
To begin my adventure, I took to Google to discover some pretty basic information over when the fieldhouse was built and over who Frank Herald was. I came to discover that the fieldhouse was built in 2013 and was created to model the historic Jenks Rock Gym that was built back in 1939. It wasn’t until I viewed both buildings side to side when I began to see the similarities.
Jenks Rock Gym compared to The Frank Herald Fieldhouse.
To further my investigation, I was recommended to speak with Mr. Fox, the associate principal here at Jenks High School. I reached out to him by email and he gave me some valuable advice.
“The best place to get information on him would be the book, To the Tune of the Hick’ry Stick which is a history of Jenks Public Schools” Fox says.
I began my search for the book at the media center, but unfortunately it was nowhere to be found and the librarians said they’ve never even heard of it. I began to lose hope but I soon realized there was one last place to look.
On an early Tuesday morning, I arrived at the Education Services Center with hope that I could find my anxiously awaited book. After speaking with the ever so helpful lady at the front desk, she got on the phone to ask if they had what I was looking for. After getting off the phone, the lady at the front desk gave me a smile and told me that the book was on its way. I left the building excited for what information I’d be able to find. Below is what I’ve discovered from To the Tune of the Hick’ry Stick by Joyce Elliot Nichol.
I was able to find that the beloved Frank Herald began his career in Jenks Public Schools as a science teacher and football coach in 1947. Prior to teaching, he attended Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa to receive his masters in Public School Administration.
After receiving his masters, he served as an Air Force Pilot in World War II. Herald later became principal of the high school in 1954 and in 1958 he was appointed the position of superintendent. Herald held the position of superintendent for an astounding 29 years and was considered by many to be a great leader, master planner, and hard worker.
He believed in giving students the opportunity to have an important role in school and also believed that students should have an array of options when it comes to electives, which is still prominent in Jenks’s current curriculum.
Here are the international club and performing arts club, two clubs from 1977 that demonstrate Heralds encouragement for student involvement within Jenks Schools.
Herald is responsible for the rapid growth and development of Jenks Public Schools. When Herald began his career within Jenks Public Schools there were about 650 students enrolled and towards the end of his days as superintendent, there were nearly 6,000 students. During the 1980’s Herald contributed to creating a new atmosphere of student involvement within the school and added on to a variety of opportunities.
Herald is recognized by his colleagues as a positive influence and a “master architect” due to his ability to organize the construction of quality facilities at an economical cost that benefited the community and school greatly. Herald also aided in the expansion of more families wanting to move from the Tulsa to Jenks area.
“When Tulsa residents began moving south, they moved in this direction because of the reputation of the school,” said Don Decker, who worked alongside Frank Herald.
Although Frank Herald has passed, his legacy lives on within every aspect of Jenks Public Schools. His hard work and dedication is the foundation to our school as a whole, and he is the perfect example of what it’s like to be a true trojan.
“Over-all, these years have been rewarding and challenging. The daily challenge that an administrator has in a growing District like ours is enough to keep you going.” – Frank Herald (1982)