Rodger and Ellen Beck
Though it is impossible to measure the full influence of this esteemed couple on generations of Katy area Texans, it is certain that they both served as exemplary role models whose guidance benefited each student who were privileged to know them. It's no wonder that on September 25, 1995, Rodger and Ellen Beck Junior High School was named for this dedicated couple that educated students in Katy ISD for a total of 60 years.
Rodger Ray Beck spent his entire 30-year career as an educator in the Katy Independent School District and during that time earned the respect of thousands of students, teachers and parents. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Southwest Texas State University in 1965, Beck was hired to teach Science and coach at both Katy Junior High and Katy High School.
Rodger continued his education and in 1975 received a master of education degree from Sam Houston State University and was named the counselor at Katy Junior High in the next year. Beck didn't just teach and serve as counselor at Katy Junior High, he also coached little league baseball for several years and was involved in all the Katy track meets. He also ran the clock for most of the Katy High School football games. For 12 years, Beck was also the Katy Outdoor Learning Center Summer Program teacher.
The ink was barely dry on her diploma from Northwest Louisiana State University when Ellen Baker packed up her belongings and headed for the little farm town of Katy. In 1962, Katy ISD had one of the finest natatoriums in Texas, and that swimming pool was a big attraction to swimming coach Ellen who also had a minor in special education. Ellen began her career as a Katy Junior High science teacher and junior/senior high coach. Her specialty was synchronized swimming, and many Katy High girls dreamed of being future Esther Williams. In addition to teaching science, she coached a variety of sports and developed a junior high volleyball program as well as a women's track program. Ellen was settling into the community, when Rodger Beck drove into town in his 1957 white Chevy. The students tried to kindle a romance between the two young teachers, but their efforts seemed to be futile. When Ellen and Rodger announced their engagement the following year, not even the staff knew they had been dating. In 1966, The two married. In 1967, with a baby on the way, Ellen resigned her position to care for her son Doug and later, Steve.
After staying home for five years to care for their 2 sons, Ellen returned to work in 1972 and became the Katy High School Assistant Athletic director where she earned the reputation as one of the most outstanding girls' volleyball coaches in the state. Her nickname became "The Volleyball Queen". There were 3 things Ellen said to her players and students, "Be a lady. Get along. Lose graciously." She not only said those words but lived them as well.
On March 16, 1995, a pall of sadness fell over the Katy community when Rodger died from injuries received in a motor vehicle accident, and Ellen was seriously injured.
Ellen retired in 1996 as the assistant athletic coordinator at Katy High School. When Ellen retired in 1996, Katy High School volleyball teams had won six district championships and had reached two state semifinals. She coached All-Star teams and built the girls' athletic programs at Katy High School and nearly every year, her volleyball teams made the play-offs. Deeply admired by her students and fellow coaches alike, Ellen was recognized with many honors upon her retirement but none as special as being memorialized that same year with the dedication of the Rodger and Ellen Beck Junior High School in Katy ISD.
Rodger and Ellen Beck Junior High opened on Aug. 13, 1996. In 2009 Ellen Beck passed away from terminal cancer. Ellen had such a positive outlook and the courage to do what was needed no matter how difficult the challenge may be.