Callandret School

At present the Positive Redirection Center for the SBCISD

The school, where both San Benito and Harlingen sent their blacks, closed its doors in 1960, integrating the blacks with the rest of the city's children. The school was then used for Special Education children, and recently, as a "boot camp" where troubled secondary students attend for disciplinary purposes.

African Americans in Early San Benito

When Color article written by Fernando Del Valle for the Valley Morning Star, is a reminder of the years of segregation and prejudice suffered by the small community of black pioneers in San Benito. Located on Stenger Street, in the El Jardin neighborhood, Callandret School built in 1952 was named for Jean Marie (Joe) Callandret, a San Benito farmer and "Negro". In an era when black children couldn't go to school with whites, his wife, Fannie, donated land to the San Benito CISD after Joe's death to be used for a school where their children and those of their friends and relatives could attend and receive an education.

"My Grandfather did this so the black children could also get an education when there was no place else for us to go" said Linda Brock, a nurse who works as a medical coordinator for a Brownsville law firm.


Black Graduate



Class of '63

Michael Hurd

After having attended Callandret School, Michael Hurd, a grandson of Joe Callandret recalls his graduation from San Benito High School in 1963.

"It was supposed to be special, I got a standing ovation, but I never believed it. We had too much bad baggage.

"I would carry that scar a long time," he said of his years at the school that bears his grandfather's name.

Mr. & Mrs. Jean Marie (Joe) Callandret moved to San Benito from Louisiana in 1908. He was a farmer and owned a large amount of land in the area. After his death, his wife, Fannie, donated the land (where Callandret School stands) to the San Benito ISD to be used as a school for Negro children.

MenuBetts Family & other African American families of San Benito

Joe Callandret

Louisiana 1882

Texas 1931

An Old Fashioned

Louisiana Negro

Erected by his Friends and Admirers of the Caucasian Race


Mrs. Fannie Sanco Callandret

Fannie S. Callandret was born to Mr. & Mrs. Walter Sanco, July 3, 1887, in Arnelville, Louisiana. She was united in matrimony with J.M.(Joe) Callandret in Lousiana. In later years they moved to the Rio Grande Valley, where she resided for 70 years. Her late husband, Joe Callandret, preceded her in death 48 years earlier. Her funeral services were held on Dec. 2, 1978.

The Callandrets had 6 children, 2 girls & 4 boys, 2 of which were born in La. & the reminder in San Benito: Arthur Callandret, Bertha Nelson and Grace Giddens.