The Presbyterian School for Mexican Girls, or Pres-Mex, was founded in 1924 in Taft, San Patricio County. It was intended as a place for Mexican-American girls in the Presbyterian Church to learn to read and write. The Presbyterian Synod of Texas financed most of the original cost of the school by providing $52,928. The citizens of Taft contributed another $10,000 and donated 200 acres. The first school building was a dormitory. In 1928 the administration building was constructed, and a second dormitory was added to the campus. In 1937 senior courses in homemaking were offered in a newly built practice home. Students started a kindergarten in the Mexican quarter of Taft in 1939 and opened a day nursery in 1941.
Although the school graduated only two students in 1928, over 100 had completed training by 1945. During its operation more than 700 students, of which 200 were from Mexico, attended the school. Pres-Mex was accredited by the Texas Education Agency and had a cooperative agreement with the Taft Independent School District for upper-level students to take specialized courses in the Taft public schools. Homer McMillan and James W. Skinner helped determine school policy. Berta Murray was named second dean of the school in 1926 and remained its head until it was consolidated with the Texas Mexican Industrial Institute for Boys, a school for Presbyterian Mexican boys in Kingsville, in 1956. After the merger the city of Taft purchased most of the land owned by the school. All of the buildings have been demolished, with the exception of the library building, which was built in 1952. It is now the home of the local VFW post.
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Keith Guthrie, History of San Patricio County (Austin: Nortex, 1986).
Defunct Elementary and Secondary Schools
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Presbyterian School For Mexican Girls,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 15, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
April 30, 2019
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