C. M. Macdonell Elementary School is a Pre-Kinder 3 to 5th grade campus that resides in West Laredo, 1606 Benavides St. This campus was named after Christopher M. Macdonell, who donated the lot it was built on. He was an Irishman who arrived in Laredo in the early 1800’s. C. M. Macdonell came to Laredo shortly after the Civil War. His brother and sister arrived in Laredo after his death in 1888. By the time his siblings arrived, he had already acquired large land holdings and was part owner of the Callaghan Ranch in Encinal. He had two merchandise stores, one in Laredo and the other in Encinal. This school replaced the old Fourth Ward School, an old gray frame building built in 1930 during the Great Depression. Macdonell Elementary was first built with 13 rooms and later renovated adding rooms to total to 22 classrooms. When Macdonell first opened its doors in 1930, its faculty consisted of 13 teachers, Mary Cook, Margaret Masterson Cullinan, Veara Matson, Josephine Chacon, Pat Kopp, Catalina Llanos McCann, Cecilia Garcia, Emma Vela Garcia, Evangelina Garcia, Roe Oliver, Kate Lang, Ruth Edwards, and Genevieve Ryan. During the 1930’s students at Macdonell Elementary would report to their first day of school armed with a tablet and pencil, and they were provided with paperback readers. Students during this time attended half-day sessions. Therefore, teachers had to teach many sessions. Pupils in the upper grades were dismissed at noon so they could go home for lunch and return at 1:00 p.m. for their afternoon classes and were dismissed at 4:00 p.m. Seating facilities consisted of long tables and small chairs for the first graders, and students in the upper grades were provided with fixed desks which were equipped with an inkwell. The original Macdonell School was demolished in 2002 and rebuilt. Macdonell Elementary School opened its doors to a new campus in August of 2004 and consists of 35 classrooms, an indoor gym, cafeteria, two computer labs, huge library, work rooms, offices. The faculty now consists of about 40 teachers and about 15 para professionals. Students now sit in comfortable air conditioned rooms and attend P.E. in a fully air conditioned gym. Students eat in a huge cafeteria situated within the school.
Macdonell Elementary’s principals throughout the years:
Jesus J. Garcia
Sandra E. Garcia
Present Principal - Cathy De Leon