The Florida A&M University Developmental Research School recently named its high school building in honor of the school’s legendary administrator, the late Matthew H. Estaras.
Matthew Hubert Estaras served as principal, director, and superintendent of FAMU DRS during his 29-year tenure, from 1952-1981. He is known for being a part of FAMU DRS’ historical domination in athletics as well as serving as president of the now defunct Florida International Athletic Association.
Pink Hightower, Ph.D., currently serves as the principal at FAMU DRS and expressed his admiration for Estaras.
“It is truly an honor to serve in this same position many years down the line,” Hightower said. “His time and tenure as the principal of FAMU High was a very notable period and this was a highly acclaimed school in terms of the achievements and the caliber of graduates that made it through the system successfully under his leadership.”
Hightower believes Estaras’ impact is legendary in itself. He hopes to serve the highschool at the same caliber as in the past.
“I don’t know if anyone could match his accomplishments although we are living in different times, but it’s certain that he was a great man, very well known throughout the state and he had done so much to keep FAMU High in the forefront of excellence,” Hightower said. “If I could duplicate any of the things he did and create the culture that he had, it would certainly be a success.”
The students, faculty, and staff of FAMU DRS were pleased to see the words “Matthew H. Estaras High School” on the building. Roger Walker, an administrator at FAMU DRS, voiced his excitement for the renaming.
“It brings great reverence to the exceptional history and significance of this school and the foundation that was and still is continuously laid for generations to come,” Walker said. “I have been privileged to meet many who knew him that shared the greatness of his character, and the love he had for this institution.”
Administration at FAMU DRS put together a gala in Estaras’ honor during the spring, where several former students, teachers, and faculty who either attended or worked at the school during Mr. Estaras’ tenure attended. Graduate of 1988, Kim Kirby expressed that she can vividly remember the Estaras’ presence.
“As a child in the fifth grade looking up to this man with such tall stature, I remember all the kids would run up to him and he would take his time to greet each of us with either our own hug or a group hug,” Kirby said. “This has always been my memory of him, even into adulthood. He was like a deity…his look and his presence gave off a royal and regal aura.”
Estaras left an extraordinary legacy at the FAMU DRS and he will forever be etched in the history of the FAMU DRS.