Parkland High School (El Paso, Texas)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2007)|
|Parkland High School|
|5932 Quail Ave
El Paso, Texas, 79924
|School type||Public high school|
|School district||Ysleta Independent School District|
Parkland High School first opened its doors as Parkland Grade School (primary) in 1958. By 1960, the school's curriculum could not accommodate high school courses. Those students who were entering high school were forced to attend nearby high schools, Irvin and Burges High Schools. The decision was made by the Ysleta Independent School District to expand Parkland Grade School into Parkland High School . In 1959, the student body was asked to vote for the school's mascot and school colors. The Matador and black and gold were chosen. In September 1962, the doors to Parkland High School were officially open. The school only had 9th grade and 10th grade, as well as all primary grades.
At the time of Parkland High's opening, there were three other high schools established, making Parkland High the fourth high school in the district. The school in 1962 consisted of 100 wing, 200 wing, the cafetorium (the current administration offices) as well as the nearby Parkland Elementary. Until 2006, Parkland Elementary and Parkland High had the distinction of being the only combined primary/secondary campus in the Ysleta Independent School District. Parkland High graduated its first class in 1964. One member of that class, Kathy Henry, continued to serve as head of the Mathematics Department. She retired towards the end of the school year of 2008. It was during this time that the school was given its official coat of arms by the Jostens Jewelry Company, which also made the school's first class rings. The school opened Matador Stadium in 1965 and the old gymnasium in 1966. Every spring, the school would hold its annual "Spring Corrida", which was the equivalent version of today's Senior Prom. The school would host representatives of other schools in the city in the event, and likewise send its own to their respective dances. By the end of the decade, Parkland High had a student population of 300 students. Parkland Elementary curriculum was separated from the school in 1967, and Parkland Junior High School was separated in 1969 and opened its doors a short distance away.
As the school entered the 1970s, the school had become a major competitor in Northeast El Paso. The proximity of Andress High School quickly grew to a heated rivalry in both sports and academics. The old 300 wing was erected in 1976 and housed the freshmen class. This building was demolished in 2000 and replaced with a new, two story building in 2003. The school began making an impact in local sports, taking city records in basketball, football, and established a short-lived, coed gymnastics team. The school's JROTC program was among the largest in the city and even boasted a small band. The armed rifle teams practiced their marksmanship underneath the school's stadium, in a small rifle range. In the 1973-74 school year, a fire destroyed the school's library as well as the school's official records. At the time, the library was located in the current principal's office and main administration entrance. It was presumed that the school's artifacts were destroyed in the fire as well. From the late 60’s through the mid 70’s the men’s basketball teams, under coach Maxie Glover, won several 2-A Championships. In 1972 the 2-A school, although the school was much smaller in enrolment size, was moved to the larger 2-4A District. In their second year, in the larger district, the Matadors won their first football championship. Several players went on to play at the college and university level, while Mike Williams went on to play in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs. In the spring of 1974 the track team won the first 2-4 District Title.
The 1980s had very little impact on the school's growth, as no new buildings were erected during the entire course of the decade. The school in 1980 consisted of the original buildings from Parkland Elementary as well as the stadium, old gym, tennis courts, metric track, as well as the 300 wing. The school's girls basketball was highly remembered and very respected. The banners that hung in that gym were from girls basketball.
The 1990s saw the most significant changes to the school since the 1960s. The expansion of the school started in 1992(This is inaccurate the ground breaking and new additions to the school started in the late 80's on the library and gymnasium and were almost entirely completed the year I graduated in 1990 I recall walking through the almost entirely completed library and gymansium before 1990 and also recall the ground breaking ceremonies). In 1996(very inaccurate date the groundbreaking took place in the late 80's I was there and graduated in 1990), the school broke ground for a new library, band hall, and the addition of a bigger gymnasium and adjacent theater. The school also saw its student population grow as the surrounding neighborhoods experienced the city's growth northward. In 1998, the school broke ground again for a new two-story building housing new science labs and classroom space to alleviate overcrowding. The new building failed to provide enough rooms, and as a result, the entire freshmen class was located the far extreme corner of the campus in portable classrooms. The school's football team returned to glory, with a return to district play in 1994, by capturing the District 3-4A title. The basketball team began its 13 year winning streak in 1994 and 1998 won its first of 7 consecutive district titles. The track and field team emerged as one of the city's elite toward the end of the decade. The annual football game between Andress and Parkland determined which school was "Beast of the Northeast".
The school's prosperity from the previous decade carried over to the new decade. The school condemned and demolished the old 300 wing in 2000, but turmoil in the district delayed the building's replacement until 2003. In 2002, the school celebrated its 40th anniversary. The school's basketball team won its first ever area basketball championship in 2002 and repeated in 2004. The school's entire landscape was replaced in 2004 with a junior college feel, adding numerous trees and bushes, as well as benches for students to use. In late 2005, the district announced that Parkland would become the district's new magnet school, the Math/Science/and Engineering Academy, fulfilling the district's plan of having specialized magnet programs in all seven high schools. The building of a new Parkland Elementary will allow the high school to annex the grounds to help start its magnet academy. Began as an end of year showcase by art teacher Katherine Gelinas, Parkland now has an art gallery which displays numerous works of art produced by Parkland students. Art students at Parkland have won various awards for their works of art. The school received a new fine arts wing and fieldhouse in 2006, and renovation of the school's theater began. In the fall of 2006, the football team finished undefeated in the regular season for the first time ever, leading many to call the team the school's best ever. The team also defeated Riverside High School (El Paso, Texas) for the first time since 1999, capturing the outright district title.
Clubs, Past and Present
Since 1962, Parkland High School has actively had organizations and clubs to help it students grow and mature. Many of the school's current clubs can trace their beginnings to the start of the school.
- The Matador Band is one of the oldest clubs at Parkland. It officially started in 1962, and had about 45 members. Today, the band is still going strong and performs at all football halftime games, school pep rallies, and Homecoming parades.
- The Parkland Choir had the distinction of having the school's longest serving faculty member, Mr. Eugene Shirley. Mr. Shirley began teaching in 1962 and retired 29 years later, in 1991. The school's alma mater is dedicated to him.
- The Caperettes were originally called the Capetwirlers, an homage to the school's mascot, the Matador. This all girl club performs with the band at halftime and also acts as a crowd booster at games. The girls, when not performing, must attend a dance class to help improve their dancing skills.
- The football, basketball, boy's track and baseball are the four oldest sports at the school. Only the first three have experienced much success at their respective competitions.
- The Latin club, or Roman Senate as it was called when it first organized in 1963, was the largest and most popular club in the school's early days. This club was tasked with the honor of recording the school's history, but the fire in 1975 destroyed most of the club's earliest records. Amazingly, the club's original charter was found in the school's present library.
- The C.G. Matthews chapter of the National Honor Society was chartered in 1965. It was named in honor of the school's first principal.
- The William I. Latham chapter of Quill and Scroll was also chartered in 1965. It was named in honor of the El Paso Times editor, who awarded many city journalism awards to the "Parkland Panorama". Its first members were inducted by Ysleta High School's members of Quill and Scroll.
- JROTC was formed in 1965 Patti McHugh was the first YISD Commadant of Cadets for Girls in the district. and has called Matador Stadium its home ever since. The Parkland JROTC has won many district and city awards and consistently been an "Honor Unit with Distinction". In the late 1966s, the first girls were allowed to participate in JROTC.
- Student Council.
- The school's newspaper, the Parkland Panorama, was first published on September 21, 1962. Within its first five years, it won many city and national honors. The paper's name was changed in the late 1970s to the Parkland New Times. In the early 1990s, the name changed again to the Parkland Sun. In 2004, the name changed yet again the Parkland Black & Gold, but later changed back to the Parkland Sun.
- The school's yearbook was first published in 1961 as the "Parkland Panorama" before the school acquired high school status. In 1962 as Parkland became a high school the name was changed to "The Arena." It is currently published by Taylor Press Company.
- The literary magazine, the Parkland Panorama, takes its name from the first school newspaper. It was created during the late 1980s and is complied with entries by various students.
Many other clubs have enjoyed brief popularity at Parkland, such as boy's hot rod clubs in the early 1960s, all girl clubs with variations on the word Matador for names (Tamroda, Rodatam), foreign language clubs, adventure clubs, and even some religious clubs, such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The school has also had a diversity club, a club against US involvement in the First Gulf War, and Parkland Pride, a club that helped promote a good image of the school to the student body and the community. An Art Club has recently gotten under way with hopes for continuance.
Parkland's mascot is shared by two other schools in the district, Parkland Elementary and Parkland Middle. The two lower schools have a variation of the Matador; Parkland Elementary's mascot is the Torero, which is young Matador in training. Parkland Middle's mascot is the Novillero, a teenage Matador still in training. Parkland High's mascot is the Matador, a grown bull fighter. These three schools have the distinction of sharing the same mascot.
Four elementary schools and one middle school feed into Parkland High School:
- Desertaire Elementary "Silverhawks"
- Dolphin Terrace Elementary "Dolphins"
- North Star Elementary "Patriots"
- Parkland Elementary "Toreros"
- Parkland Middle "Novilleros"