Campus History

The History of Our School 

Welcome to our History Page. Here you will find information about our past and present. As we look forward to the future, we also celebrate our rich past throughout the years. This page is intended to be a "Living Document" that will change as time pushes us forward. Check back from time to time to see if there are any additions. 

Our campus currently serves 750 students with 81 faculty. Each day as the students begin their day they are greeted by our principal with the morning announcements and a few words of wisdom to reflect on throughout the day. The sound of teachers and students echoes through the halls during the day. At Vernon Middle School our students and teachers alike take pride in their work, school, and community. You will immediately discover just why Vernon Middle School is called the "Showplace of the Valley."  

Vernon Middle School got its start as Harlingen High School, which was built in 1929. In 1958 the school became a Middle School which was later named after Julia Vernon in 1959, a well loved English teacher and Librarian. 

Throughout the years Vernon Middle School has endured many changes. It was once a ninth grade campus until the ninth graders joined the High School. After that it became an eighth grade campus and eventually a seventh and eighth grade campus in the early 90's. In 1997 sixth graders joined the seventh and eighth graders to enter its current state. 

The school's architecture resembles the White House East Wing which was designed by architect Roscoe Dewitt, who designed both. This compelled those who saw the beauty of the campus to give Vernon the nickname "The Showplace of the Valley." 

In 1998 the district replaces "The Barn", the old gymnasium of 59 years. The Band Hall received upgrades in 2012 as part of the district's 2010 bond district. 

  In 2013 a major restoration project restored the facade which included returning sky lighting to the second story. 

Source: Mattei, Eileen. "Vernon Middle School." Experience HCIDSpring 2013: 32-33. Web. 8 July 2014.



In the 2019-2020 school year, Vernon became Vernon Middle School World Languages Academy.  The ribbon cutting was held in March of 2020. The focus of World Languages Academy is to provide the HCISD middle school experience, plus get an option of learning a different language. Because of the rigor as high school language credit courses, students are admitted through an application process and work in small learning cohorts. Students who are accepted into the World Languages Academy select a language of choice: Chinese, French or American Sign Language.  In addition, our middle school offers Spanish at different levels for beginners and for students coming in from the elementary Dual Language campuses in HCISD. As our Mustangs leave Vernon, some may be multilingual learners and attain high school credit after successful completion in their classes. The transition included some infrastructure improvements.

school facade and globe

A bronze-metal globe was placed in the front to symbolize the global experience and the benefit that our students will get when they compete with students around the world.


image shows school facade


On the south side of the campus, eight flag poles were added to place flags as a symbol of appreciation and respect to different cultures around the world. Our American and Texas flag fly with 6 other countries.

For the 2020-2021, Vernon Middle School World Languages Academy has applied for IB Candidacy and is in the beginning stages.


School Name 

Mrs. VernonVernon Middle School recieved its current name on October 25, 1963 in honor of Julia Vernon. "Julia Shawson, the third child of Andrew Jackson and Elizabeth Ann (Ray) Shawson, was born 10/24/93 in Youngsport, Bell County, TX. She came to Harlingen in the 1920s and married Thomas Spillar Vernon of West Virginia in Brownsville on 12/22/26. They made their home at 1218 E. Harrison but had no children. She obtained a 1923 teaching degree from Southwest Texas State Teacher's College, and later added a B.A. from Texas A&I, an M.A. from her first college in 1949, and a B.A. in library science from Texas State College for Women in 1951. In Harlingen she taught elementary school children, then middle school English, and finally high school students before becoming the high school librarian. She organized the chapter of Future Teachers of America at the high school and the chapter was named after her. Her husband died of diabetes complications in 1947. This much–loved educator passed away in Waco at age 88 on 6/29/82." 

  Source: Rozeff, Norman. "A Chronological History of Education in Harlingen." (n.d.): n. pag. July 2007. Web. 8 July 2014. 



Education is continuous growth. Vernon Middle School is concerned with the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social growth of the individual. The education provided by this school should be within the limit of the understanding of each pupil. It is essential that educational experience be meaningful to the individual student at the time that it is presented, should challenge the individual, but not exceed the child's rate of development. 

Each student enters and leaves as an "individual". Education can only occur by reaching each child at his/her level of need. Experiences must be provided which will develop an appreciation of the rights, privileges, obligations, and responsibilities of the individual in a democracy. 

Each child should feel that he/she belongs to a group and is participating in and contributing to that group. Good teaching provides activities and experiences through which the child may better understand his/her own problems and approach solutions so that he/she may think independently, experience self-discipline, and develop self-reliance.