Paul Waldrop concedes that he wasn’t the best student when he was attending Brownwood High. He wasn’t even active in extracurricular activities.

So when Assistant Superintendent Kevin Gabaree and Principal Mitch Moore told him that he is going to receive the first Brownwood High School Outstanding Alumni Award from the Brownwood Education Foundation, he was — in a word — “shocked.”

The new award recognizes Brownwood alumni who have achieved extraordinary success through personal, professional and philanthropic endeavors.

“I was completely overwhelmed,” Waldrop added.

He and retired Brownwood High English teacher Frances Stovall will be recognized by the Brownwood Education Foundation at its inaugural Lion’s Pride Gala, “Sunset on the Serengeti,” on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Stovall will receive the Lion’s Legacy Award, which honors an individual who through employment, volunteerism or business has made a lasting impact on the school district.

Waldrop, a 1969 graduate, said while in high school, he spent afternoons and weekends working with his father, Paul Sr., in his family’s construction business. In the process, he learned skills he would need as an adult to make significant contributions to dozens of school districts — most significantly perhaps to the Brownwood Independent School District itself.

“Dad and I were partners for 40 years,” Waldrop said. “Then (his son) Sam joined us, and he became my new partner, and still is.”

Waldrop Construction has been in operation in Brownwood for 70 years, and the company has been involved with more than 150 projects for approximately 40 different school districts. Waldrop attributes some of that success to recommendations from superintendents after projects have been completed. A few retired superintendents have even joined the company to visit with potential clients.

The company was chosen by the Brownwood school board to complete projects authorized in 2005 through a $29.4 million bond issue. The district approved completely rebuilding Brownwood High School, and renovations were completed at all seven Brownwood campuses. That work provided enhanced security measures and addressed technology needs, among other improvements.

“School construction has changed a lot in the last 20 years,” Waldrop said. “The construction manager is much more involved in the process now. And school designs have evolved over the years.”

Contractors today work closely with architects, designers and educators to make the school properties as functional as possible.

“In Brownwood, the entire school board and community supported us, and that really meant a lot,” Waldrop said of the projects funded by the bond issue in 2005. “It was really gratifying to have the teachers involved in the process. The entire project becomes relationship-driven.”

Waldrop is quick to share any credit the award conveys with architects and project managers with whom he works.

“The architects made extraordinary efforts in doing these projects in Brownwood — Darren Kirbo and Chris Huckabee,” Waldrop said. “And in our company, people like Jesse Doyle and Vic Singleton who headed the work did such outstanding jobs.”

He said he was impressed too with the efforts made by Gabaree, Kirbo, and then-superintendent Dr. Sue Jones to form a committee of teachers to assist with project designs.

“You don’t see that all the time,” he said. “Brownwood did a great job of involving people in the process.”

Waldrop’s older sister was in the first class to graduate from what was then the “new high school,” built in 1960 on the its current site off Slayden Street. He has two sisters who are five and seven years his senior.

“When we started with those major renovations, some people were still calling it the ‘new’ high school,” Waldrop said with a chuckle. “When the work was finished, it really was a new high school. But the high school wasn’t the only project. There were significant upgrades to the middle school, and to the other campuses as well.”

Waldrop’s company provides pre-construction and construction management, and design-build processes in the commercial construction industry. The firm has completed hundreds of projects, including school buildings and special-use facilities, throughout Texas and the southwest.

“We work in a lot of small rural school districts, but some are very rich,” Waldrop said. “The difference is very noticeable.” So he appreciates the impact organizations like the Brownwood Education Foundation can make for students.

“I understand that Dr. (Joe) Young,” who is Brownwood’s school superintendent, “is very focused on getting additional help to these teachers.”

After graduating from Brownwood High School in 1969, Paul was married to Lynda Cross and attended Howard Payne University. He served in the Texas National Guard from 1972-1978.

He is currently a member of the Brown County Hospital Authority Board, the TexasBank Board of Directors, the Central Texas Foundation Board, the West Texas Chapter of Associated General Contractors, and the Texas Building Branch AGC. He is a trustee of Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene.

His community service has also included terms on the boards of the Brown County Chamber of Commerce, the Brownwood Industrial Foundation, the Brown County Youth Fair Association, the Heart of Texas Girl Scouts Council, Brown County Boys and Girls Club, New Horizons Ranch and Home for Children, and the B.C. Drinkard Foundation.

Waldrop and his wife are members of Coggin Avenue Baptist Church. Their family includes daughter Becky Warner and husband Phil of Plano and their children, Hayden and Andrew; daughter Michelle Brasher and husband Tim of Brownwood, and their children, Blake, Lilly and Abby; and son Sam and wife Jenny of Brownwood, and their children, Ethan, Eric and Eli.

Tickets for the event are $75 per person, and a table is available for $1,000. Tickets may be purchased at the Brownwood Independent School District’s Central Office at 2707 Southside Dr., the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, or in the lobby locations of Prosperity Bank, TexasBank and Citizens National Bank. Online purchases may be made at the Foundation’s website

TexasBank and Bostick’s Auto and Truck sales are underwriting the awards. Additional event section sponsors are Big Country Ford, Citizens National Bank, Haynes Law Firm, Kohler, and Southwest Food Services.

Information about the upcoming gala and the Brownwood Education Foundation may be obtained by calling Executive Director Priscilla Monson at (325) 643-5644.