Achieving a fifty-year commitment in any one area deserves a “lifetime achievement award.” Let’s meet a lady who, with one more year’s effort, will have attained two such accolades! Her name is Elaine Hoffpauir, and she teaches sixth-grade math at New Waverly Junior High School.

We will delve into your two long-term commitments shortly, but let’s first gather some facts about your childhood and what brought you to New Waverly.

I was born in New Gulf, Texas, and grew up in Bay City, where my family was a ranching family along the Gulf coast. We pastured cattle on Matagorda beach and swam cattle across to Matagorda Island. I had a brother and two sisters, and we all helped with the ranching way of life. In fact, I’ve been involved in working cattle and rodeo activities all my life. Beginning at age two, you would find me riding on a horse with my dad as he worked the cattle.

Love for the land has always been in my family. Ancestors on my father‘s side surveyed land in 1828 for Stephen F. Austin to form the Old 300 Colony. The Old 300 refers to the settlers who received land grants from Stephen F. Austin. The lands selected by the colonists were along the rich bottomlands of the Brazos, Colorado, and San Bernard Rivers, extending from present-day Brenham to the Gulf of Mexico.

What brought you to the New Waverly area?

I first moved to Huntsville in the late 1960s to attend what was then Sam Houston State Teachers College, and later, in 1969, renamed Sam Houston State University. I was on the Dean’s List and Rodeo team. My rodeo coach at that time was Sonny Sikes. I won the Southern Region in barrel racing in 1969-1971. I also went to the college finals in barrel racing. That competition was held in Deadwood, South Dakota the first year, and then moved to Bozeman, Montana for the next two years. I graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.

It’s time to mention your first 50-year achievement. Please share that happy milestone with us.

That proud milestone is for being married to the love of my life, David Hoffpauir, for fifty years. We met at Sam Houston, where we were members of the rodeo team and enjoyed the many rodeo activities and competitions together. We have two children, Sharon and Clay, who were also involved in rodeo during their school years. It’s been a wonderful fifty years, and today we are blessed to live near our children and five grandchildren and to experience precious family time together on a regular basis. Through the past years we have continued to enjoy the land by working cattle together as a family.

Please share with us about your teaching career and how it plays into your “almost” second fifty-year milestone.

Yes, I reach that milestone if I teach one more year! I’ve been teaching for forty-nine years. During these years I’ve taught science, health, art, and math, and have been a sixth-grade math teacher for the last few years at New Waverly Junior High. I love teaching and absolutely love teaching these students. My goal is to help them succeed in life. I go home at night thinking about them, and I wake up in the morning thinking about them. I’ve had many bright and wonderful students over the past forty-nine years, and I have cared about each and every student. They are precious, and my heart’s desire is they all excel and succeed in life by doing their absolute best, each to his or her own ability. Teaching math is a challenge that I enjoy in trying to help my students understand and comprehend how to reach a solution to a particular problem. I’m known for my sayings such as, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” I try to teach the kids a problem can be solved in more than one way. Helping them to gain the skills to become competent and confident is my passion.

I’m always delighted to see students again once they have graduated. Some have gone on to be lawyers, law enforcement officers, nurses, and even professors at SHSU. I remarked to my son that I feel bad when I don’t remember a name, and he reminded me I’ve had forty-nine years of classrooms filled with students. If I forget a name, it’s okay!

In forty-nine years of teaching, there are surely awards to tell us about. Please share some of these with our readers.

Let me mention two awards of which I am proud. The first is the Mason’s Award from The Grand Lodge of Texas at the New Waverly Masonic Lodge. It was the Mirabeau B. Lamar award for excellence in teaching for commitment and dedication to the children of our community. The second award that I will mention was from the New Waverly Special Education Department several years ago for going the extra mile for children with special needs. I’m certainly grateful for these recognitions, but more grateful that I was able to help the children each of these awards represent. Teaching Junior High students is a busy endeavor! How do you unwind in your spare time? As I mentioned, we spend a lot of time with our family. That’s priority number one! We still work cattle and, although I’m not on horseback anymore, I have become the official recordkeeper. As the official recordkeeper, I keep a count of the mommas and their calves, how many calves they have had, when they were born, and other such statistics. We all still love the ranching life! And my second priority is cooking for my family! I love to cook the things they love to eat–such as chicken-n-dumplings, chicken spaghetti, and chicken fried steak.

We must have your chicken fried steak recipe! We would also like to know your thoughts about living in New Waverly.

It’s simple. Homegrown beef, pounded and sprinkled with seasoned salt, dipped in flour, dunked in an egg and milk mixture, encrusted in cracker crumbs, then fried to a lovely golden brown. Serve with heaps of cream gravy and either mashed potatoes or rice, depending on whose tastebuds you are appealing to. My family loves anything and everything, and I enjoy putting on a big spread for our family get-togethers.

I love a small community with small schools. It is easy to build relationships here and to call many people “friends.” We have enjoyed this area immensely and I have loved, and still love, teaching the students of this beautiful community.

Thank you, Mrs. Hoffpauir, for your time and for your commitment to the students of New Waverly! If I might make a personal plea, please stay one more year and make it a big fifty! By doing so, you will have accomplished that second fifty-year milestone AND my granddaughter will be in your sixth-grade math class next year!

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