Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Lexington, Kentucky)
|Paul Laurence Dunbar High School|
|1600 Man o' War Boulevard
Lexington, Kentucky 40513
|Motto||Where Excellence Meets Tradition!|
|Color(s)||Red █ and Black █|
|Average SAT scores||1763 (2008-09)|
|Average ACT scores (2008-09)||23.5|
|Information||+1 (859) 381-3546|
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (PLD) is a secondary school located at 1600 Man o' War Boulevard on the southwest side of Lexington, Kentucky, USA. The school is one of five high schools in the Fayette County Public Schools district.
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School is named after the 19th century African-American poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, whose parents were from Kentucky. Opened in 1990, the school is the newest high school in the Fayette County Public Schools system. With an enrollment of over 2100, it is one of the largest public high schools in Kentucky, and was the largest during the 2005-06, 2006–07, and 2007–08 academic years. It also houses the Math, Science, and Technology Center. The PLD student body, unlike that of most of the other schools named after Dunbar, has a substantial white majority, although African Americans and Hispanics make up roughly one sixth of the students.
Dunbar's band and cheerleading programs have won national acclaim, while PLD has earned a local reputation as an outstanding school, excelling in academics, athletics, and fine arts.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Athletics
- 4 Fine arts
- 5 Student exchange
- 6 Notable alumni
- 7 References
- 8 External links
- 9 See Also
The school name was part of a political deal made in 1965 with the city's African-American community. In the era of segregated schools, Dunbar High School, also named after the poet, was the city's lone surviving black high school (grades 10-12 of Douglass School had been shut down in 1963) and one of the main cornerstones of Lexington's black community. When Fayette County's schools integrated in 1967, Dunbar High was closed, with its students being bused to four previously white schools. Eventually, the county school board agreed that the next high school to open in Lexington would bear Dunbar's name, principally at the urging of the Rev. William Augustus Jones, Sr., senior minister of Lexington's oldest and largest black church and a civil rights leader whose five oldest children had graduated from Dunbar and embarked on careers of distinction. To the board's credit, it kept its word, even though a full generation had passed since the original agreement. To keep the schools differentiated, the new school was given the poet's full name, rather than just the last name as with the old school. As an additional tribute to the old Dunbar High School, the gymnasium was named the "S.T. Roach Sports Center" for basketball coach Sanford T Roach, who led the school to a 512-142 record from 1942 to 1965, and is a member of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. The new PLD adopted the original school colors of the old Dunbar High (which were red and black, but changed to green and white during the 1940s). The new high school did not, however, retain the former school's "Bearcats" mascot. A vote of the school's future students shortly before the school's opening favored "Bulldogs" and selected "The Victors", by Louis Elbel, as the basis of the fight song.
The building of the original high school at 545 North Upper Street has since been converted to the Dunbar Community Center, which serves myriad cultural, educational and recreational needs for the city of Lexington. The Dunbar Community Center is operated by the city's department of Parks & Recreation.
Since opening, Dunbar has averaged more than 15 National Merit Semifinalists a year, with 71 in the last four years. PLD also ranks consistently as one of Kentucky's top high schools in terms of scores in the statewide testing program, CATS (Commonwealth Accountability Testing System). In 2007 P.L.D. became the first school in the Fayette County Public High Schools to score an average of 90 on the CATS tests. Of the Class of 2008, 75% continued on to four-year colleges or universities, with another 17% attending two-year colleges or technical schools. As of 2009, Dunbar offers Advanced Placement (AP) courses in fourteen subject areas.
Math, Science, and Technology Center
The Math, Science, and Technology Center, also known as MSTC, is a magnet program housed in Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. The program accepts 55 students each year, selected from the 2500 incoming high school freshmen in Fayette County. Many MSTC courses exceed the comparable AP curriculum. Since the program's establishment in 1991, its students have received an average ACT score of 31 and an average SAT score of 1400. Many MSTC students have scored received perfect scores on both the SAT and ACT exams. MSTC graduates are each offered an average of 500 scholarships from different schools, and have attended twenty of the top thirty universities and colleges in the country as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
The PLD academic team has won numerous, including Governor's Cup championships in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. In 2008, Dunbar's United States Academic Decathlon team won the state division for the first time and proceeded to nationals.
Paul Laurence Dunbar offers many sports, including football, boys' and girls' basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, boys' lacrosse, tennis, golf, track and field, cheerleading, swimming, dancing, wrestling, and ice hockey. Altogether, Dunbar's athletic teams have won 19 state championships (girl's golf, 1; boy's soccer, 3; cheerleading, 11; baseball, 2; girls' track and field, 1; girls' cross country, 1; boys' tennis 1) in the school's 19 years, and the cheerleaders have won 8 national championships.
PLD had a competitive boys' basketball program almost from the beginning. In 1993 the team, led by Darnell Burton, were State Runners-Up, and in 1994, led by Cameron Mills, the team repeated as State Runners-Up. In 1997 the team again reached the Sweet Sixteen, losing in the first round.
The first football playoff appearance was in 1992, only the school’s second year in existence. For the first five and a half years, the PLD football team played their "home" games at other Lexington high schools. Midway through the 1995 season, PLD's football stadium opened, and that year the school advanced to the playoffs for the second time. In 1996 they were the AAAA state runners-up, losing the championship game in overtime.
In 1992, 2001,2005and 2013 PLD Soccer were the State Champions. All four championships were under Todd Bretz who has been the head coach since the program's inception. Zach Byrd also won a Kentucky Mr. Soccer in 2010 when Dunbar lost in the elite eight against Henry Clay.
PLD Cheerleading is nationally competitive. They have been UCA National Champions in the Large Varsity Division (all girls) in 1995, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011,2013. They are the only squad to ever be national champions 5 times in a row. UCA National Runners-Up in 1994, 2002, 2003 and Third Place in 1993 & 2009, Cheersports National Champions in 2003, and KAPOS State Champions in 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. They have been nationally ranked for twelve years and have been featured in American Cheerleader magazine. Donna Martin has coached the squad since the school opened in 1990. She has been elected to American Cheerleader's Who's Who of Cheerleading and has coached cheerleading for 17 years.
In 2001, MTV's True Life series prominently featured Dunbar's cheerleading team in the episode "I'm a Cheerleader."
On November 28, 2005, Lifetime Television announced a reality series featuring the PLD cheerleaders.  "Cheerleader Nation" premiered in early 2006. The television show had very high ratings[clarification needed].
Former Dunbar cheerleaders have gone on to cheer for the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Morehead State University, Western Kentucky University, Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, and many other colleges.
In 2003, PLD Baseball were state champions. That year they also set a Kentucky record for the most wins in one season, winning 41 games and losing only 4. Josh Ellis went a perfect 12-0 in 2003, despite knee injury suffered in a PLD football game, and was named Kentucky's Mr. Baseball. Dunbar was once again state champions in 2007, where they finished with a 38-6 record, and a state record 1.32 ERA.
Track and field
In 2005, the girls' track and field team tied as AAA state champions.
Both the boys' and girls' teams have won the Lexington City Championships each year since 2000. The boys placed second in 2007 to Henry Clay High School in a loss by 3 points. The girls won Region 5 AAA in 2001, 2006, and 2007.
Lacrosse is not sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Dunbar's team went undefeated and won first place in the 2009 Bluegrass State Games, the first time lacrosse was included in the Games. In the 2011 season, the Dunbar lacrosse team broke a 7 year streak of losses to Lexington Catholic in the second round of the state tournament. They went 12-2 and concluded their season with a 9-7 victory over Ballard in the D-II Championship game.
Like lacrosse, ice hockey is not sanctioned by KHSAA. Dunbar's team began as a combination of travel and house league players in 2001, and are one of ten teams in the state of Kentucky. However, in 2002 the PLD Ice Hockey team went from being a "metro" team to a strictly all Dunbar student team with the help of PE/Health teacher Mr. Jonas. Dunbar ice hockey has played in both the "A" (varsity) and "B" (junior varsity) levels of Kentucky state hockey.
The Paul Laurence Dunbar band, currently led by Jeff Hood and Brian Morgan, has won national acclaim; they are one of a handful of high school band programs to receive the Sudler Shield twice. The school's commitment to a quality band program was clear from the beginning, when Craig Cornish, coming away from three consecutive state marching band championships at North Hardin High School, was hired as director. In 1998, then-assistant director Jeff Hood took over. The band have been state champions in 1991 (Class AAA), 2003 and 2004 (Class AAAA), and 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2011 (Class AAAAA); State Runners-Up in 1992, 1994, 1995, and 2002 (Class AAAA) and 2006 and 2008 (Class AAAAA); and a finalist in 2009 and 2012. Together with North Hardin High School and cross-town rival Lafayette High School, they are considered the "Big 3" of Kentucky bands. In 2004, 2005 and 2008 they were Bands of America Regional and Class Champions, at Middle Tennessee State University, Western Kentucky University and University of Louisville. In 1995, 1996, and 2007 they were Grand Champions at the Contest of Champions at Middle Tennessee State University. Dunbar has participated in the BOA Grand Nationals contest twice (1996 and 2006) placing in the top 20 both times. Altogether, the band have been Grand Champions more than 25 times. The band performed in the 2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
The symphonic band has performed as a featured ensemble for the KMEA Professional Development Conference in Louisville. All three concert bands consistently score a 1 ranking in adjudication for the district concert festival. There is also a jazz ensemble and orchestra. The band averages about 10 to 13 All-State members each year.
The Dunbar Colorguard is a world class guard that has ranked at National competitions, placing 12th in the 2005 World Colorguard Championships.
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The Paul Laurence Dunbar Orchestra regularly places musicians in the All-State Orchestra. The program was built by Robyn Bourgois, who taught two orchestra classes at the school until retiring. After serving for two years as Principal Viola in the Atlanta-Emory Orchestra, Amos Jones, of Dunbar's class of 1996, played professionally for the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra.
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Paul Laurence Dunbar currently operates an exchange program with Hillpark Secondary School in Glasgow, Scotland. Students from each school are chosen annually to live with host families of students from the other school. Additionally many French students participate in the Lexington Sister Cities exchange with Deauville, France and County Kildare, Ireland.
Also, 3 students have now participated in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange to Germany.
- Lee Kiefer (2009–2012) - Senior World Championship Teams: 2011 (Bronze), 2010, 2009
Pan American Games Teams: 2011 (Gold - Individual and Team) Pan American Championship Teams: 2011 (Gold - Individual and Team), 2010 (Gold - Individual and Team) Junior World Championship Teams: 2011 (Silver - Individual and Team), 2010 (Fifth), 2009 (Gold - Team) Cadet World Championship Teams: 2011 (Silver), 2010 (Gold), 2009 (Silver), 2008 (Bronze)
- A.J. Ellis (1995–99) - A two-time first team All-City selection, A.J. was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003, has played for on all minor-league levels for the Dodgers, and made his debut for the Dodgers in 2008 as a pinch-runner for Nomar Garciaparra. He is the Dodgers' backup catcher in 2010.. A.J. is currently the number 1 catcher on the Dodgers' depth chart as of 2012.
- Josh Ellis (2000–04) - Kentucky's Mr. Baseball his senior year, Josh was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 and has played for the Diamondbacks' minor-league affiliates since then.
- Lou Johnson (1949-1953), 1965 World Series World Series Champion
- Chad Martin (2005–2008) was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 11th round of the 2012 MLB draft.
- Thoms Royse (2004–2007) was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 3rd round of the 2010 MLB draft. Royse had an amazing 14-1 record his senior year, helping the team win its second state baseball title.
- Darnell Burton (1990–93) – Scored 1,017 points in 1993 (11th all-time in Kentucky), starter at the University of Cincinnati.
- Cameron Mills (1990–94) – Played at the University of Kentucky.
- Sean Kelley (2002–06) - Named Kentucky's Mr. Soccer, an NSCAA HS All-American, and the Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, while leading his team to a state championship. He is currently on trial with FC Dallas.
Dunbar students and alumni have a history with the television game show Jeopardy!. In 18 years since the school opened, three students have won the Teen Tournament, and one alumnus has won the College Championship.
- Fraser Woodford - Won 1993 Teen Tournament, appeared in 1993 Tournament of Champions
- Miguel Dickson - Participated in Fall 1999 Teen Tournament; was an alternate for the semifinals.
- John Zhang - Won 2003 Teen Tournament, appeared in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions
- Nathan Gordon - 2004 Played against Ken Jennings
- Grayson Holmes - 2004 Appeared in three shows
- Kermin Elliott Fleming, Jr. - Won 2004 College Championship, appeared in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions
- Papa Chakravarthy - Won 2006 Teen Tournament
- Idrees Kahloon - 2010
- "2008-2009 School Profile" (PDF). Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- See the entries for "Matilda Dunbar," "Joshua Dunbar" and "Paul Laurence Dunbar High School," in the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington, Kentucky.
- "2008-2009 Audited School Enrollments" (PDF). Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- Enrollment reports from 2002-03 through 2008-09 are available from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
- "Test Score Ratings for Paul Laurence Dunbar High School". Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- Historic African American Churches: Lexington, KY CVB
- 2001 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame
- E.g.,  and 
- "New Era Dawns at Dunbar High - Colors, Mascot, Fight Song Chosen". Lexington Herald-Leader. 1989-12-18. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- "Dunbar Community Center". Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- The Kentucky Association for Academic Competition Retrieved on 2010-03-17
- "Dunbar team competes in U.S. Academic Decathlon". Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "National City/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 Basketball Past State Championship Game Results" (PDF). Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "KHSAA State Football Playoffs - Class AAAA". Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "2001-2002 KHSAA State Champions". Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "2005-2006 KHSAA State Champions". Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.[dead link]
- "2002-2003 KHSAA State Champions". Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "KHSAA Baseball State Records" (PDF). Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "2006-2007 KHSAA State Champions". Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "2004-2005 KHSAA State Champions". Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "Lexington's Dunbar Takes Bluegrass Gold". Kentucky Lacrosse Association. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- "Kentucky High School Hockey League". Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "Dunbar Captures". Lexington Herald-Leader. 1996-05-08. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- "Dunbar Band Gets World-Class Honor". Lexington Herald-Leader. 2006-01-04. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- "Dunbar Band Marches to Top of its Division in Two Years". Lexington Herald-Leader. 1991-11-05. p. B2. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- "Bowl Parade Beckons Dunbar Band". Lexington Herald-Leader. 2003-12-10. p. E7. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- "Strike Up the Band". Richmond Register. 2009-11-09. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- Kentucky state high school boys' basketball records. (pg.5). Retrieved on 9 April 2010.
- "George Mason Player Bio". Retrieved 2009-11-11. "Prep/Club: Graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 2006... Four year varsity letterwinner in soccer... Member of the NSCAA All-America team and earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors senior season... Garnered Kentucky Mr. Soccer honors and was tabbed as the District Tournament MVP in 2005... Named to both the First Team All-Kentucky, as well as First Team All-Lexington senior year... In his final season with the Bulldogs, PLDHS was crowned Kentucky State Champions, Hoosier Cup Champions and the team was ranked No. 1 in Kentucky... In 2005, he recorded 15 shutouts and allowed only 11 goals, while he registered a Kentucky record of 18 shutouts, 12 consecutive, in his netminder role junior season... Member of the Lexington F.C. 88 Premier since 1998... Competed with the Olympic Development Program (ODP) Kentucky squad from 2002-05."
- J! Archive - Grayson Holmes
- "Game Recap for Show #4940, 2006-02-17". Sony Pictures. Retrieved 2009-11-11.