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Historical Marker to Commemorate 100 Years of Bowie High School in South El Paso

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT — Sept. 25, 2023) — Bowie High School, one of the oldest operational high schools in El Paso, will be celebrated with the placement of a state historical marker at the campus’ original location — now the site of Guillen Middle School — in El Paso's Segundo Barrio.   

Dignitaries from El Paso County and the El Paso County Historical Commission will join El Paso ISD leadership figures for the dedication ceremony, which is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, at the Guillen Middle School Parent Center, located at 900 S. Cotton St., El Paso, TX.  

Bowie High School, founded in 1922 as Bowie Grammar School, has played a significant role in the education of generations of Mexican-American students in the region. The marker will commemorate more than 100 years of the school's existence and its rich history of academic excellence and community engagement.  

El Paso ISD Superintendent Diana Sayavedra is pleased that Bowie’s key position in the district’s history will be recognized.  

“Bowie High School has been an integral part of our educational heritage, which has spanned 140 years,” Sayavedra said. “We are proud to honor its contributions to our community and the lasting impact it has had on the lives of countless students.”  

Bowie High School Principal Rose Gandarilla also expressed her enthusiasm for the event.  

“The placement of this historical marker is a testament to the enduring legacy of Bowie High School,” Gandarilla said. “For a century, this institution has been a cornerstone of education in our community, and this marker will help preserve its rich history for generations to come.”   

Bowie High School has a storied history, evolving from its humble beginnings as Bowie Grammar School to become Bowie High School in 1927. It served 695 students during its first academic year in 1922. Throughout the years, Bowie High School expanded its facilities, eventually encompassing 25 acres and more than 1,200 students with the addition of a new school building in 1939. The school's achievements include winning the first-ever Class 2A High School Baseball Championship in Texas in 1949 and hosting President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos in 1964 for the signing of the Chamizal Treaty to resolve a border dispute along the Rio Grande.   

Bowie High School's relocation in 1964 to the western fringe of Cordova Island marked a new chapter in its history. With continued growth and development, the existing school was renamed after Bowie alumnus Ambrosio Guillen, a Medal of Honor recipient from the Korean War. In 1989, the original 1922 building was replaced by the administrative and resource center for Guillen Middle School, preserving the legacy of Bowie in the El Paso community.  

While Bowie High School's name and location have changed throughout the years, its enduring mission of inspiring and empowering students to thrive remains unchanged.