Donal Gilstrap, a first-time nominee, was most known for his position as Howe High School principal during three different decades. While also serving as the elementary and middle school principal, it was his gentle yet stern approach to leadership that won his respect among students and peers. Gilstrap grew up picking cotton in the 1940s and was not able to attend school until all of the cotton was picked, which was usually around November. His mother had a sixth-grade education and his father received no education at all, but he was a hard worker. Strength was a family trait as Gilstrap used his ability in football to earn a college degree at Hardin-Simmons University. Post college, he spent four years in the Army including a free vacation to Korea. While stationed at Lawton, Oklahoma, he met the love of his life Barbara whom he married in 1959. Together, they had two children, Catherine and Patrick. He was recruited to Howe by six school board members who drove to Lubbock to recruit him.