The Temple Education Foundation announces the 2020-2021 Distinguished Alumni Honorees: local philanthropist, Allison Dickson; dedicated educator, Cornelius Carl “C.C.” Sampson, and NBA star, Brian Skinner

Due to Covid-19, TEF has postponed the Annual Distinguished Alumni Event until sometime in the spring. Despite the delay of the event, the Temple Education Foundation hopes to celebrate the Distinguished Alums all year long.

Allison Dickson, Temple High School class of 1998, has not only overcome many obstacles in her life, she has triumphed over them. Diagnosed with Werdnig-Hoffman Muscular Dystrophy when she was 15 months old, she was given only a year to live. Not one to let physical limitations hold her back, she graduated third in her class from Temple High School, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Southwestern University, and first in her class from Baylor Law School where she was recognized as the Baylor Young Lawyer of the Year in 2017. Since her return to her hometown of Temple following law school, Allison has been an active community volunteer and philanthropist. In five years she has created and fully endowed through community fundraising three scholarships: The Allison Dickson Delta Delta Delta Scholarship at Southwestern University, The Allison Dickson Baylor Law School Scholarship, and The Allison Dickson Temple Proud Scholarship through the Temple Education Foundation benefitting a Temple High School Senior who will attend Temple College. Affectionately nicknamed “Temple’s Sweetheart,” Allison inspires others daily through her positivity, faith, and determination. TEF is so proud to call her one of our own.

The second honoree is a Cornelius Carl “C.C.” Sampson. Mr. Sampson is a highly influential educator from the 1920’s & 1930’s of the black community here in Temple. He was born in 1898 in Temple and grew up attending the Temple Negro School. Mr. Sampson graduated as valedictorian of the Negro High School’s first graduating class in 1915 (Benoit, 2019). After a brief time at the all-black Baptist college in Marshall, TX, Bishop College, Mr. Sampson enlisted in the Army. In 1924, he returned to the Temple community, to be the principal of the Temple Negro School. At this time, he encouraged the school board to rename the school after Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the first African American poets to earn an international reputation for his “humor and empathy” for the black culture (Benoit, 2019). Patricia Benoit, Temple Daily Telegram’s Backroads columnist, published two articles about C.C. Sampson in February 2019. She said honoring Mr. Sampson will be a “celebration of all students that attended Dunbar.” Mr. Sampson also urged the School Board to begin a football team at the newly named, Dunbar High School. In October 1925, the Panther football team competed for the first time (Benoit, 2019). In 1938, Mr. Sampson moved to Corpus Christi, where he faced the same challenges in Temple: inadequate facilities and limited course offerings at the school where he was principal. By partnering with many throughout the community, he was able to make great strides in improving the educational experience for the African American students he served. He even started a free lunch program years before federal assistance was available (Benoit, 2019). Ms. Benoit went on to say. “he was a citizen of the community and has hundreds, thousands of “descendants” in Temple and Corpus”. TEF is thrilled to honor a man of such high character who encouraged all he mentored to live by their “deeds, not words.” (Benoit, 2019)

The final honoree is a 1994 Temple High School graduate and basketball super-star, Brian Skinner. During Brian’s time with the Wildcats’ basketball team, Temple was a powerhouse and went to the Class 5A regionals two years and to the semifinal once. Brian decided to follow his Hall of Fame coach, Harry Miller, who took over as the head coach of the Baylor Bears. Today, Skinner is still one of the most dominant shot-blockers and rebounders in Baylor basketball history. He still holds the record for the number of blocked shots and is fifth in overall scoring for Baylor. He earned all-conference recognition three times during his tenure at Baylor. Skinner was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1998 NBA draft. He played in the NBA for 13 years for eight different teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trailblazers, Phoenix Suns, and Memphis Grizzlies. He also played professionally in Italy before retiring to the Houston area in 2011. Today, Brian is a stay-at-home dad of six kids – five girls and one boy. When getting inducted into the Baylor Hall of fame in 2013, Brian said this about choosing to retire, “(I) felt like it was more important for me to stay at home and be around my kids. . .. I’m a stay-at-home dad and have been for a while now. Being able to take my kids to volleyball and dance class, that’s such a big deal.” Brian is passionate about giving back to his community through the game of basketball. In 2018, Brian started a basketball organization called the Texas Outlaws. It helps to promote the development of young people through the sport of basketball. Their focus is on fundamentals, teamwork, self-confidence, and sportsmanship. Additionally, he has offered numerous basketball camps in and around the Houston area, and hopes to support the Temple community through a similar program in the future. The Temple Education Foundation is excited to honor him with this distinction.

The mission of TEF is “to develop community support to expand financial resources that enrich teaching and inspire learning to maximize opportunities for all students in the Temple Independent School District.” The annual Distinguished Alumni Event is TEF’s primary fundraiser; TEF’s goal was to raise $85,000 at the Event to help support innovative teaching grants and student scholarships for TISD students. The Temple Education Foundation hopes that supporters will continue to invest in the mission of TEF despite the fact that it is not possible to host the event this fall.