Booker T. Washington High School (Houston)

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Booker T. Washington High School
Official name Booker T. Washington Senior High School
Principal Mark Bedell [2]
Location 119 East 39th Street

Houston, Texas

Established 1893 "Old Colored High"
Mascot Golden Eagle
School colors Royal Blue and Gold

Booker T. Washington High School (nicknamed "Booker T.") is a secondary school located in the Independence Heights community in Houston, Texas.[1]

Booker T. Washington, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Houston Independent School District. Booker T. Washington has a neighborhood program that serves neighborhoods outside of the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8 in the northwest part of Houston, including the neighborhoods of Independence Heights, Highland Heights, and most of Acres Homes. The school was named after education pioneer Booker T. Washington.

The High School For Engineering Professions is located in the Booker T. Washington campus.


The school was established in 1893 in Houston's Fourth Ward as "Colored High." The first location for the school, 303 West Dallas, is considered to be within Downtown Houston as of 2007.[2] In 1928 it was renamed Booker T. Washington High School.

It moved to its present-day location in Independence Heights in 1959.[3] Lockett Junior High School, which closed in June 1968, was established in the former Washington campus.[2]

After Franklyn Wesley retired as principal,[when?] Houston ISD chose Mark Bedell, formerly an assistant principal at Worthing High School, as the principal.[4] Victor Keys, an assistant principal and an alumna of Washington, will remain as an assistant principal. Some alumni of Washington High School and members of the community around the school protested the decision to hire Bedell because they wished for the district to hire Keys instead of Bedell.[5][6] The current principal is LaShonda Bilbo-Ervin.

Wesley died September 11, 2007, at age 88. Wesley served as the principal of the campus for more than 40 years. He worked as an educator for more than 65 years, spending all of the years except for 10 in HISD.

In 2007, a Johns Hopkins University study commissioned by the Associated Press cited Washington as a "dropout factory" where at least 40% of the entering freshman class does not make it to their senior year.[7]

In February 2012, because the school population was at a historic low of 823, several members of the Independence Heights community, lead by Sylvester Turner, a Texas Legislature representative, advocated for reinvestment in the school. They advocated for making Washington competitive with Reagan High School and Waltrip High School.[1] The leaders argue that HISD had neglected the school.[8] Turner and Washington High School officials established a donation campaign. As of January 19, 2012, the campaign raised $135,000. Kroger donated $10,000 of the funds.[9]

Around 2012, each year 400 students from Booker T. Washington transfer to Reagan and Waltrip.[1]


In 2011 the Texas Education Agency gave the overall school an "unacceptable" rating. 51% of the school's 9th grade students passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills mathematics portion.[1]

In 2012 Houston Community College established an auto mechanic program at Booker T. Washington. The previous auto mechanic program closed around 1997. Before 2012 the auto shop had been filled with waste. The Houston Independent School District paid $300,000 to restore the auto shop.[1]

Around 2012 Texas A&M University and Booker T. Washington partnered to give university scholarships to some engineering students.[1]


Sylvester Turner advocated for the replacement of the gymnasium floors; they were replaced in the northern hemisphere fall of 2011. Turner said in February 2012 that the campus needed an overhaul greater than the $3.8 million that the district allotted to the school as a result of the previous bond election.[1]


Houston ISD provides school bus transportation to students who live more than two miles away from the school. Students zoned to the school and students who are enrolled in the magnet program are eligible for bus transportation.

The METRO city bus line also operates the 66 Yale bus line, which stops at the intersection of Yale Street and Cockerel Street.

Student body[edit]

In 1995 the school had 1,520 students.[1] In 2010 the school had about 900 students.[10] In February 2012 it had 823 students, a historic low in the population statistics.[1]

In the 2011-2012 school year, the magnet school, with a capacity of 400 students, had 226 students.[1]

School uniforms[edit]

Washington requires its students to wear school uniforms consisting of polo shirts with school logos and khaki, navy, or black trousers or skirts.[11] The Texas Education Agency specifies that parents with children in their zoned schools may opt out of uniform policies.;[12] parents must specify "bona fide" reasons, such as religious reasons or philosophical objections. Students must pay a dollar to wear jeans on Fridays.

Feeder patterns[edit]

The following elementary schools feed into Washington High School:[13]

Most of M.C. Williams Middle School[22] and small parts of Black Middle School[23] and Alexander Hamilton Middle School[24] feed into Booker T. Washington.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Eldridge Dickey - Former quarterback/wide receiver for the AFL Oakland Raiders
  • Mercury Hayes - Former NFL wide receiver/kick returner for the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and [[Washington Redskins]practice squad].[25]
  • Jennifer Holliday - Grammy award winning singer and actress.[26]
  • Lawrence Marshall - (Houston ISD board member)[26]
  • Speedy Thomas - Former NFL receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, and New Orleans Saints.[citation needed]
  • Rogers O. Whitmire, B.S., M.S., M.D.-One of first five African American Physicians to graduate from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine-1973, the first of any race to graduate Michigan State University medical school in 3 years; First African American Physician in OB/GYN at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas; First African American Physician to have-and still has-his medical office in The Texas Medical Center-Houston, Texas 1977.
  • Mike Jones - Notable Houston Rapper

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Effort to save historic Booker T. High gains steam." Houston Chronicle. Thursday February 2, 2012. Retrieved on February 2, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "School Histories." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on February 3, 2012.
  3. ^ "School Days, School Days." Rice University. Retrieved on February 3, 2012.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ HISD's pick for principal draws ire
  6. ^ HISD under fire after naming new Booker T. Washington principal
  7. ^ "Report points to 'dropout factories'." Houston Chronicle. October 31, 2007.
  8. ^ "Community leaders fear historic high school in danger." WLS-TV. Thursday November 17, 2011. Retrieved on February 2, 2012.
  9. ^ "Kroger Donates $10,000 to Booker T. Washington High School." (Archive) Houston Independent School District. January 19, 2012. Retrieved on February 8, 2012.
  10. ^ Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Power failure closes Booker T. Washington High School." Houston Chronicle. Friday September 3, 2010. Retrieved on February 2, 2012.
  11. ^ "Dress Code For Students." Booker T. Washington High School.
  12. ^ "School Uniforms", Texas Education Agency
  13. ^ "Washington High School Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  14. ^ "Burrus Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  15. ^ "Hohl Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  16. ^ "Kennedy Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  17. ^ "Wesley Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  18. ^ "Garden Oaks Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  19. ^ "Highland Heights Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  20. ^ "Osborne Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  21. ^ "Roosevelt Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  22. ^ "Williams Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  23. ^ "Black Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  24. ^ "Hamilton Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  25. ^ Signora, Michael (1995-11-18). "Wolverine senior flanker Hayes spices up Michigan's potent aerial assault". Collegian Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  26. ^ a b "Distinguished HISD Alumni." Houston Independent School District.

External links[edit]