Girl Scout Elise Clements honors Miss Beulah Harriss, founder of UNT's physical education department

Editor's note: Sixth-grader Elise Clements is honoring Beulah Harriss through her Girl Scout Silver Award project. Harriss, a founding member of Denton Girl Scouts, also founded the physical education department and the Green Jackets at UNT and was inducted into the UNT Athletic Hall of Fame. Thanks to Elise, Denton once again celebrated Miss Beulah Harriss Day this year (the first celebration was in 1976 at the credit union she helped found). Elise also is working on a historical marker to highlight Harriss' contributions.

Elise ClementsWhen my mom and I were going to the Emily Fowler Library to try and find a picture of Beulah Harriss, I noticed the historical marker out front for O'Neil Ford. I decided that was what I would like to do for my Girl Scout Silver Award. With the online newspapers and the Yucca yearbooks, we were able to document her life in Denton.

I had Mayor Mark Burroughs proclaim Feb. 27, 2014, as Miss Beulah Harriss Day, like it was done in 1976. Since she is the first recognized Girl Scout in Texas, it is my goal to have her special day celebrated each year, just like we celebrate Girl Scouts founder Juliette Low's birthday on Oct. 31 each year.

My Miss Beulah Harriss Day event, where I displayed my project, was made extra special when some of her past students attended and I got to hear their stories. The best part of the night was getting to meet Dr. Jack Watson (Professor Emeritus of physical education), who was her neighbor and co-worker at UNT. He provided me with a paper he had written about her early life before moving to Texas. It helped to make my story of her complete.

Elise Clements