East High Alumni Page presents:
|Nomination of Joel P. Snider
as name for new school
The editor of The East High Alumni Page has suggested to Memphis City
Schools the name of a new southeast Memphis elementary school honor the
memory of Mr. Joel P. Snider, the first principal of East High School
who served in that capacity until his untimely death 16 years later. Below is the message sent to the school system.
Update: July 31, 2012 - The
Shelby County Board of Education, which now oversees Memphis City Schools,
voted tonight to name a new school in southeast Memphis Belle Forest Community
School. A school staff-neighborhood committee submitted final suggestions to
the Board, the editor of The East High Alumni's page suggestion to name
the new school after East's first principal, J.P. Snider, was not among
those recommended by the committee.
Source: The East High Alumni Page, July 31
To: Ms. Judy C. Keys
Southeast Regional Office
Memphis City Schools
Airways Middle School (Loc. 733)
2601 Ketchum Road
Memphis, TN 38114-6288
June 20, 2012
I would like to nominate for consideration for the name of the new school in southeast Memphis the name of Joel P. Snider.
Joel P. Snider, who tragically was
taken from his school and community in a fatal traffic accident in
1964, was the highly respected first principal of East High School in
Memphis and remained in that position until the time of his death 16
In 1948 a new high school was opening
in east Memphis. The Board of Education was going all out for this
school as the post-war expectations for great achievements for the
children and the nation were in place. The Board spent the most money
ever for school property when it bought the land at Poplar Avenue and
Holmes Street, and spent and extraordinary amount of money in building
the physically impressive school. To lead this new school, a special
principal would be needed, the best of the best. Mr. Joel P. Snider was
chosen and fully met the expectations of providing a school offering
superior academic performance and good citizenship.
The summer before East High opened In 1948, Mr. Snider took the helm of the new city high school.
"In his sixteen years at East Mr.
Snider became a steadfast standard by which so many graduates have
patterned their lives but which few have equaled and none have
surpassed." (Mustang, 1965)
Mr. Snider became a revered legend
during his time at East High. Parents and students spoke about him
literally in reverential tones. He lead East High School to the
forefront of academic excellence, setting an example that would persist
many years after his untimely death.
A Virginia gentleman, polished and
sophisticated, with the Virginia accent, he expected the best of those
at East High, administrators, teachers, and students, and it seems no
one who ever faced him wanted to disappoint him.
Joel P. Snider was a product of
the oldest free public high school in the United States of America, S.
Y. M. S. — Eaton Academy in Hampton, Virginia. From there he went to
Hampton High, then to the University of Virginia where he was a member
of the prestigious honor society Phi Beta Kappa. After college, his
first teaching job was at Memphis University School. He followed that
as an English teacher at Tredwell, then he taught languages at Humes
High. His career with Memphis City Schools continued as he became
principal of Leroy Pope School, moving later to take the top position
at Snowden Junior High. He was principal there when appointed to lead
To the first graduating class (1951)
of East High, Mr. Snider wrote that he trusted that they had acquired
"something of the great-fundamentals of learning." Mr. Snider continued
by expressing his hope for each graduate: "[A]nd he has become more
keenly aware, I hope, of the great principals of honesty, fairness, and
Honesty, fairness, and courtesy along
with expectations that each person would do their very best well
describes Mr. J.P. Snider.
Mr. Snider mixed fun with the work of
the school day. He wrote, "most students should enjoy their school
years. We sincerely hope that East High School students find happiness,
as well as intellectual and ethical instruction, within its walls." Mr.
Snider himself enjoyed watching athletic events, especially football.
His Jaguar automobile was also a little beyond what the typical school
principal drove in those days.
Tragically, this fine man's life was
ended prematurely, when on July 30, 1964, a traffic mishap not far from
Pickwick Lake took him away from us.
I respectfully suggest the new school
be named the Joel P. Snider Elementary School in memory of this man and
in honor of the principles for which he stood.