Weldon Smith

Weldon L. Smith has been selected for induction into the Garland Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his years of outstanding service in community sports programs and the early years of high school girls track and field. Weldon became a Social Studies teacher at Garland Junior High School in 1957, remaining at that school for three years and then moving to Sam Houston Junior H.S. to teach Physical Education and Health. He worked with a small group of children he named the Tumbleweeds, on the trampoline, and at Sam Houston he had a group of students he called the Gym Gems. Becoming acquainted at a convention with Betty Martin, who was working with a group of girls gymnasts called the Flippers, the two joined their efforts and created Flipper Gymnastics. From that 1958 beginning, the Garland Flippers expanded and developed a regular season of gymnastics competition for pre-teens and teenagers. During his stay at Sam Houston Junior H.S., 1960-1973, Weldon started the Garland Track Club in 1965, as a summer track program for interested girls. The girls participated in summer meets sponsored by the Jaycees and the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation. He headed the summer track program until 1971, and the club grew in some years to more than 200 girls. Eventually the club included both boys and girls. In the fall of 1973, Weldon became the Intramural Facilitator for Garland I.S.D. middle schools and high schools and the girls track coach for all three district high schools - Garland, South Garland and North Garland. He remained in this position, developing all three of the embryonic track programs, through the 1975-76 school year.