Billy R. Hancock is signing copies of his latest publication and posing for the camera. He is 88 years old.

He grabs his baseball cap and tells a Daily Light reporter to retake his picture. You see, Hancock wants to look good for the camera. And he does. Echoes of laughter fill the Ellis County Museum in Waxahachie.

Dozens of people flowed in and out of the museum on Monday for the book signing of Hancock’s latest publication "The Evolution of Waxahachie Public Schools." With an impressive four-decade-long service to Waxahachie Independent School District as a government, economics and history teacher, his knowledge and experience are well-documented in several books, but this one is being touted as “his most ambitious to date.”

“There’s a lot of sports in there, academic things, and he talks a lot about the principals and the teachers,” Ellis County Museum Board Member Sylvia Smith said. “It will bring back memories. Most of the people who are going to be interested are going to be people that he had taught through the years. He was a dynamic history teacher. Everybody loved him.”

Smith also helped to edit the book, and she wrote the index.

Throughout his time with the school district at Marvin Elementary, Waxahachie Junior High and Waxahachie High, Hancock out-served four superintendents and eight principals. He undoubtedly taught tens of thousands of students.

“I’ve been associated with Mr. Hancock since high school,” Steve Wallace said. “I was in one of his classes…”

Born and raised in Waxahachie, Wallace added that he hoped to get “a little more knowledge on some of the school stuff that I may not know.”

“Mr. Hancock is an icon in Waxahachie and in WISD history,” Ellis County Museum Curator Shannon Simpson said. “He has taught generations of kids. He doesn’t get out much right now, and so it’s great that he has this opportunity to visit with some of his former students.”

The book cost $25, and all proceeds benefit the museum. You can get a copy of the book at the museum.


Patrick Clarke | @PatrickClarke1