Forest Park High School (Beaumont, Texas)

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Coordinates: 38°36′43″N 77°21′52″W / 38.612°N 77.3644°W / 38.612; -77.3644

Forest Park High School in Beaumont, Texas, was in the South Park Independent School District along with South Park High School and Hebert High School. Efforts for integration of schools led to the United States Supreme Court in 1978 [5] and 1981[1] and ultimately resulted in Forest Park being combined with Hebert in 1982 to become West Brook Senior High School.[2][3] Later in the 1980s, South Park was merged with West Brook. West Brook is located at the former Forest Park campus. [4]

History[edit]

This school and its district are of historical significance in the decision to publish a dissenting opinion by United States Supreme Court Justice Powell and Justice Rehnquist to the majority United States Supreme Court decision which ultimately led to the restructuring of the district. Also, Justice Powell published a decision three years later, when implementation of school reorganization plan was imminent, stating his belief that important issues of law relate to the validity of this pending school reorganization but that he had to decline efforts to postpone the plan.

All three former schools of the South Park District had storied histories, especially South Park and Hebert, as they opened in 1891 and 1914, respectively, and produced many decades of outstanding graduates.[5] Articles and websites about South Park and Hebert led to the initial creation of this article about Forest Park.[2][6] Members of the Forest Park Class of 1981 publish an interactive website about the school and its alumni.

The first year West Brook existed, 1982-1983, the football team won the Texas state championship in the largest classification in Texas, 5A,[7] under the direction of head coach Alex Durley, formerly the head coach at Hebert and member of the Texas Coaches Hall of Honor.[8] The football / track stadium on the West Brook campus is named in honor of Coach Durley. [6] Among the many excellent athletes on that team was Jerry Ball, originally from Hebert, and he went on to dominate in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.[9] Other important members of that team were Terence McCarty and Layne Walker, both originally from Forest Park, and in 2002 Layne was elected as Judge of the 252nd Criminal District court of Jefferson County, Texas, in Beaumont.[10]

Traditions[edit]

The school colors of Forest Park were blue and grey and the mascot was the Trojans. The bigger than life-size Trojan figure carried around to rally fans was named Egor.[11] The dance team was called the Trojanns. The Trojan Band, the cheerleaders, the twirlers, and the flags performed during sport events. Other traditions included Junior-Senior Prom, Senior Prom, Twirp Week & Dance, the Winter Ball, the Powder Puff football game, the Annual Play, Homecoming bonfire & dance, Trojan Games Day, and Skip Day. The school paper was called Populi Verbum.

One tradition from 1977 to 1980 was to yell the name "Sommers!" whenever the lights were dimmed for school assemblies. Another tradition was for Mark Fiorenza and the Senior Athletics Supporting Association, or SASA, to lead colorful cheers at basketball games. Nederland was especially fond of this tradition, they even invited a co-founder of SASA to visit their school and thank him for the previous game's hospitality at Trojan Gym. The "Field" was a popular place to relax and enjoy a Serv-o-mation coke and a bag of Nacho-flavored Doritos during the lunch hour. Ninth-grade students were called Fish and were said to be adept at rolling peas across the cafeteria floor with their noses.[12]

Athletics[edit]

Football[edit]

In the 1970s, the Trojans played in District 21-4A. Member schools in the 1970s were Beaumont-Charlton Pollard High School, French High School, Forest Park, Nederland High School, Lincoln High School, Thomas Jefferson High School, Port Neches-Groves High School, Vidor High School, and West Orange-Stark High School.[13] From 1920 to the present, teams from the schools which made up this district in the 1970s played in 15 state championship games and won 7 times, including the 1975 Port Neches-Groves Indians and the 1984 Beaumont French Buffaloes. In 1980 the Port Arthur Thomas Jefferson Yellow Jackets (now Port Arthur Memorial Titans) suffered a hard-fought loss in the State Championship game. All three of these games were against the Odessa Permian Panthers, another school from a Texas Oil Patch.[7]

Forest Park did not win a 22-4A district championship in football but came close in 1979 with a record of 7 wins and 3 losses. 1979 was the first season the Trojans defeated the legendary Texas powerhouse program of the Port Neches - Groves Indians.[14] The Summer 1979 prediction for this district in Texas Football Magazine stated, "It was a strange year in 22-AAAA last season - Port Neches-Grove did NOT win the district, Vidor did. Now that the monopoly has been broken, several schools - West Orange-Stark in particular - seem intent on making sure it remains broken. But, Vidor won't yield its crown without a struggle, and Forest Park has the people to stir up the dust, too." [15] Returning starters named in the Forest Park paragraph following were quarterback Jay Burton and running back Trey Barclay on offense and Casey Bobb, Tommy Osborne and Dimitri Geeker on defense.[15] The last graduating class of Forest Park, the Class of 1982, recorded the second, and final, victory of Forest Park over PNG.[16] Paul Carswell, the head coach at Forest Park since the 1976 season, had been an assistant coach at PNG from the 1965 season through the 1975 season when the Indians won the Texas state championship under legendary coach Doug Ethridge.[17] [8]

Basketball[edit]

Forest Park had a strong basketball program that included many winning teams. The 1979-1980 squad placed second in the first round of District play, finished the season 24-9, was the first Forest Park basketball team to score 100 or more points in a game, and won the Liberty Tournament.[18] Members named to All-District or All-Tournament teams were Britt Birmingham, Kevin Cokinos, Ben Davis, Greg Reimer, and Tommy Tubbs.[19] The team also included Tim Bailey.[20]

Baseball[edit]

The Forest Park baseball team went to the Texas State 3A (at that time, the second largest classification) Finals in 1967 but lost to South San Antonio High School 3 to 0.[9] In 1976, the team, led by pitcher Mike Barrett won District 22-4A and beat District 21-4A Port Arthur Thomas Jefferson in the bi-district playoffs. They lost to Texas City High School in the regional playoffs, two games to one.

Forest Park graduates who were drafted in Major League Baseball include Pitcher Billy Swope, 15th, by the Oakland Athletics in 1969 [10], Pitcher John Binks, 12th, by the Boston Red Sox in 1970 [11], and Pitcher Michael Barrett, 19th, by the Cincinnati Reds in 1976 [12].

Golf[edit]

The Forest Park boys golf teams produced Texas State Champions Bruce Lietzke in 1967 (3A) and Britt Harrison in 1975 (4A) and the Texas State Team Champions in 1968. [13]

Cross Country[edit]

Coached by Ian Stewart,[21] a native of England and a Lamar distance great [14], the Forest Park Cross Country team won every district championship from 1962 until the school's merger in 1982.[22] Notable runners included John Heffner, who won an individual Southwest Conference Championship while at Texas A&M in 1966,[15] and Chris Russell,[23] the last Forest Park district champion in 1981. He also won district championships in 1979 and 1980 and went on to compete for Louisiana State University.

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FindLaw | Cases and Codes". Caselaw.lp.findlaw.com. 1981-07-21. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b "School Info". Heberthigh69.org. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  3. ^ http://www.beaumont.k12.tx.us/westbrook/
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ http://lumoto.com/southpark
  7. ^ [3]
  8. ^ "Thsca.Com". Coach.thsca.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  9. ^ [4][dead link]
  10. ^ "Jefferson County, Texas - 252nd District Court". Co.jefferson.tx.us. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  11. ^ [Trojan 1980, page 64
  12. ^ 1980 Trojan (school year book) pages 8 through 35, 40 through 51, pages 54, 55, 60, 61, 64, 65 and 75
  13. ^ 1980 Trojan (school year book) page 101
  14. ^ 1980 Trojan (school year book) page 99
  15. ^ a b Summer 1979 Dave Campbells Texas Football magazine, page 205
  16. ^ Down Trails of Victory, The Story of Port Neches-Groves High School Football, page 336; Jon Buck Ford, Ed.D; Wrinkle-Ford Creative Arts.
  17. ^ Down Trails of Victory, The Story of Port Neches-Groves High School Football, pages 223, 298; Jon Buck Ford, Ed.D; Wrinkle-Ford Creative Arts.
  18. ^ Trojan 1980, page 108
  19. ^ Id. at 109
  20. ^ Id. at 109
  21. ^ Trojan 1980, page 129
  22. ^ Trojan 1980, page 129
  23. ^ Trojan 1980, page 129
  24. ^ "Bruce Lietzke". Museum of the Gulf Coast. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  25. ^ "State Rep. Allan Ritter, District 21 (R-Nederland)". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 

External links[edit]


See also[edit]