TEMPLE, Texas — Wednesday night (October 5) was a historic one for the Temple Independent School District as the TISD board of trustees conferred the first honorary diploma in district history to legendary musician “Little Joe” Hernandez. The honorary diploma was presented during the Temple Education Foundation’s (TEF) Distinguished Alumni dinner.
Hernandez attended Temple schools up to middle school, when he left Travis Middle School to go to work supporting his family due to life circumstances beyond his control. When the idea of recognizing Hernandez with a TEF Distinguished Alumni Award came up, Hernandez told TISD Superintendent, Dr. Bobby Ott, that he had not graduated from Temple High School. That conversation led to the plan to confer the honorary diploma to Hernandez. The TISD board of trustees, along with Dr. Ott, certified Hernandez as a graduate of the Temple High School class of 1960 during Wednesday night’s ceremony. Hernandez’s son, Ike, an assistant principal at Temple High School, then presented the diploma to his father.
Hernandez has won five Grammy Awards during a 60-year career in music. He has released 70 albums and is a member of the Texas Tejano Hall of Fame. Hernandez has continued to be a strong proponent of education throughout his career. Hernandez was also honored as a trailblazer in the Latino community, for breaking down cultural and musical barriers and for his continued commitment to his heritage and roots in Temple.
Following the awarding of the honorary diploma, Hernandez joined Dr. Harry Macey as recipients of the TEF’s Distinguished Alumni Award.