T. L. Hanna High School

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T.L. Hanna High School
T. L. Hanna High School shield.jpg
T.L. Hanna shield
Anderson, SC, United States
Coordinates 34°34′02″N 82°37′24″W / 34.5671°N 82.62329°W / 34.5671; -82.62329Coordinates: 34°34′02″N 82°37′24″W / 34.5671°N 82.62329°W / 34.5671; -82.62329
Type Public
Principal Sheila Hilton
Grades 9-12
Number of students Approx. 1800
School color(s) Old Gold and White
Mascot Yellow Jackets

T. L. Hanna High School is currently located at 2600 Highway 81 North, outside the city limits of Anderson, SC. It is one of two high schools in Anderson School District 5 and has a population of nearly 1,800 students. In 1989, the school was named "Palmetto's Finest" by the South Carolina Department of Education. In 2000, Hanna was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report named T.L. Hanna as the fifth best high school in South Carolina, and ranked in the top 3% of High Schools in the United States. [1]


Before T.L. Hanna High School there were Boys High School (located at what is now the Hanna-Westside Extension Campus formerly McDuffie High School) and Girls High School (located on the site of the Anderson County Museum). In 1951, Girl's High School changed its name to T.L. Hanna High School, named after its first principal,[2] Thomas Lucas Hanna. In 1961, T.L. Hanna High School moved to a new site on Marchbanks Avenue, the current site of McCants Middle School, and became co-ed in 1962.

Prior to 1971, T.L. Hanna was Anderson School District 5's all-white high school (Westside was the African-American school); in 1971, the District finally integrated nearly 20 years after the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. During the first year of integration, each grade's student government had 2 co-presidents, 2 co-vice presidents, etc., one white and one black.

In 1992, the school moved to its current location on Highway 81. In 1996, McDuffie High School closed as an independent vocational/non-college preparatory high school and became the Hanna-Westside Extension Campus, a change which increased and substantially diversified T.L. Hanna's student population (prior to 1996, many African-American students who were zoned for Hanna attended McDuffie, and the school's population made it state 3A instead of 4A.)

T.L. Hanna recently expanded by adding a freshman academy, math hall, and new auxiliary gym.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Jim Rice (class of 1971), Hall of Fame Baseball Player for the Boston Red Sox, attended his final year of high school here in 1971. Rice attended T.L. Hanna during the first year of integration in Anderson which happened to be his senior year. Rice had attended Westside High School prior to that. Some people argue that the attendance lines were redrawn so T.L. Hanna could have Rice play for Hanna's athletic teams during his senior year. However, this argument does not completely make sense because prior to 1971, the schools were not divided by attendance lines, but rather, by race.
  • NASA astronaut Stephen D. Thorne (class of 1971) graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1975 and became a NASA astronaut in 1985. Tragically, his life was cut short in 1986 when he was killed in an aircraft accident in which he was a passenger.

James "Radio" Kennedy[edit]

T.L. Hanna High School is the home of James Robert Kennedy, Jr. or "Radio",. 'Radio" was a young black mentally challenged man who has befriended Coach Harold Jones in 1969. The two became great friends and Radio was granted the title of being enrolled in the 11th grade at Hanna for as many years as he pleased. He helps out in many school roles and is working at the school each day. He became the subject of national media articles (and TV) back in the mid-1990`s. Sports Illustrated first published the story to introduce him to the national spotlight, which was then picked up by Readers Digest and the CBS Evening News With Dan Rather. The events of the movie take place when the school was at the Marchbanks campus, though the movie was filmed for the most part in Walterboro, South Carolina. Kennedy and Former Head Coach Harold Jones also travel all around the U.S. to tell their story in local churches, schools, media, TV, radio stations, etc. A large statue of "Radio" is located on the school grounds.

MTV came to T.L. Hanna High School in September 2007 to cast for "Made", a reality-show featuring the makeovers of high school students. All T.L. Hanna Football games have been broadcast on WAIM-AM 1230 for over 40 years.