Westside High School (Houston, Texas)

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Westside High School
Westside HS Seal.jpg
14201 Briar Forest Drive
Houston, TX 77077
Coordinates 29°45′34″N 95°38′16″W / 29.75944°N 95.63778°W / 29.75944; -95.63778
School type Suburban public secondary school
Founded 2000
School district Houston Independent School District
Principal Peggi Stewart
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,940
Language English
Color(s) Blue, Black and Silver             
Mascot Westley The Wolf
Team name The Wolves
Newspaper 'The Howler'
Yearbook 'Canidae'
Communities served portions of the Westchase District, South Eldridge Parkway portion of the Houston Energy Corridor, Walnut Bend, Briargrove Park

Westside High School is a secondary school in Houston, Texas, United States. It serves grades 9 through 12 and is part of the Houston Independent School District.

The school is located at 14201 Briar Forest in Houston, Texas, in the 77077 zip code. Westside High School is outside of Beltway 8, east of State Highway 6, inside State Highway 99 (Grand Parkway), and south of Interstate 10 (Katy Freeway) in the Briar Forest area.

Westside is HISD's Magnet School for Integrated Technology.[1] The program allows students to look at technology from one of five aspects: Fine Arts, Business, Media Relations, Applied Science/Health Science, and Computing Sciences. During the first year, all Magnet students take a technology survey course, a modular course that introduces them to the five strands of the program. The second year, students are asked to choose one of the five strands on which to focus their elective courses.

Westside High School is also known for its academic programs, ranking #463, #196, #230, #245, and #1,958th in Newsweek magazine's 2005,[2] 2006[3] 2007,[4] 2008, and 2013[5] lists, respectively, of the top 2,000 high schools in the United States. Among the school's faculty is the 2005 Houston Independent School District Secondary Teacher of the Year, Nobuo Cedric French.

Many students in other parts of Houston ISD transfer to Westside to escape home schools that do not have a good academic performance, causing the attendance figures of those schools to suffer.[6]

Westside athletics compete as the Westside Wolves, and the school's mascot is Westley the Wolf.


Westside opened in 2000 as a brand-new fifty-million-dollar building, taking about 1,000 students from Lee High School which was experiencing overcrowding.[7] Westside planned to compete with Bellaire and Lamar high schools in Houston ISD for "premier" status. It initially had a reputation as a school that could attract private school students to a public school.[8] When Westside opened, residents of the Lee attendance boundary were given the option to attend Westside instead of Lee, with no free transportation provided.[9] The school at first had 1,772 students, including 340 students who, in the previous school year, were not enrolled in HISD.[10]

Westside is so-named because it is located in western Houston.[11]

On June 22, 2005, a prank attack involving Molotov cocktails thrown at the building in the middle of the night resulted in minor damage. One classroom sustained a broken window and fire damage. As it was during summer break, no school activities were interrupted.[12]

By March 2006, Westside had posted slightly lower SAT and graduation rates than Lamar and Bellaire. In a March 2006 Houston Press article, Dr. Robert Sanborn, the president and CEO of the organization Children at Risk, said that Westside's "slow progress", as paraphrased by the article's author Todd Spivak, was more disappointing than Lamar and Bellaire's dropout rates.[8]

According to the October 2006 "For Your Information" newsletter, Westside was one of four high schools that took the most refugees from Hurricane Katrina.

At about 2:30 pm on April 10, 2008, 17-year-old Vincent Agwuoke, scheduled to graduate from Westside that June after almost four years, entered the deep end of a school pool during a physics class. A news article stated that students could not see him, apparently unable to swim, as his dark clothing blended with the painted lane. Agwuoke's body was taken out of the water and emergency crews performed CPR. He was taken to Hermann Memorial City Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.[13][14][15]

In fall of the 2008–2009 school year, a petroleum academy by the name of Westside Engineering and Geosciences Academy was opened at Westside High School. With a modern engineering laboratory class, it is funded by the IPAA and holds segregated classes solely for the 50 students allowed in this prestigious program each year.[16]

In 2007, 6% of high school-aged children zoned to Westside chose to attend alternative Houston ISD schools.[17]

In 2009, when Barack Obama made a televised speech to American students, about 300 students (10% of the student body) were opted out of watching the speech. Ericka Mellon of the Houston Chronicle said that of the HISD schools, Westside "appeared to draw one of the largest protests from parents."[18]

In 2010, Richard Connelly of the Houston Press said that Westside became "something of a success story for HISD."[19]


Westside viewed from the air

Westside is known for the dance troupe INERTIA DANCE CO. that has been featured in People magazine and on Good Morning America. At one point, a reality show was planned for the troupe.[20]

Westside High School has multiple state-ranked athletics programs. Westside won the Division II State Lacrosse title in 2004. Westside High School is a haven for nonconventional athletics programs, as it has a rugby team incorporated with a public high school in the Houston Independent School District. The Westside Wrestling program has won Districts for the past 10 years and has had four individual state champions: Courtney Sanders (215), Trent Murrell (160), James Hazzard (171), and John Pacheco (135)

Westside High School won its first SECME State Competition in 2008. The team featured Farhad Tavalaian, Victor Le, and Terrance Brady.

Westside High School also enjoyed early success with its debate and speech program. Cyrene Ganza, Nini Gu, Sushant Mohan, Renato Acunzo, Le Zhang, and Erica Dasher have all represented Westside in the National Forensics League's national tournament. In the 2003 national championship tournament, both teams in the final round of Barbara Jordan Debates on Health were from Westside High School. Renato Acunzo and Sushant Mohan claimed first place nationally, with Nini Gu and Le Zhang claiming second. Cyrene Ganza represented the school in the 2004 national tournament and Sushant Mohan and Renato Acunzo represented the school again in the 2005 national tournament.

The Westside High School Marching Wolves Band received its first ever Superior rating at the UIL Region 23 Marching Contest on October 21, 2008, held at Katy ISD's Rhodes Stadium. The contest showcased high school marching bands from Houston ISD and Katy ISD. In 2010 they received their first superior rating at a UIL performance, moving up to the area contest in which they did not make finals. This band has also been featured in Good Morning America in October 2010, playing a segment from that year's show "Aqua."


Westside is on a 50-acre (20 ha) campus,[21] located along Briar Forest Road, near Texas State Highway 6.[22] Several gated communities are in proximity to the school.[21]

The school was built for $50 million. The school has one auditorium, two theaters, four athletic fields, 11 music practice rooms, an orchestra hall, a band hall, a broadcast studio, a ceramics studio, and computer labs. Melissa Hung of the Houston Press wrote in 2000 that "The eating area resembles a college food court more than a high school cafeteria."[22]


Westside High School's sports' mascot is the "Wolf". The girls' teams are sometimes known as the "Lady Wolves".

Front of Westside High School

Sports at the school include:[23]

  • American football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball (boys & girls)
  • Cross-country (boys & girls)
  • Golf (boys & girls)
  • Lacrosse (boys & girls)
  • Rugby (boys)
  • Soccer (boys & girls)
  • Softball
  • Swimming/diving (boys & girls)
  • Tennis (boys & girls)
  • Track & field (boys & girls)
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo (boys & girls)
  • Wrestling (boys & girls)

Organizations and clubs[edit]

Westside has about 50 clubs and organizations in addition to its athletic programs.[24]

Special interest[edit]

Asian Cultural Society, Bike Club, Black Student Union, BSA Advancement, BPA, Chinese Club, Christians on Campus, Close Up, Ecology Club, EOE Step Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Fitness Club, French Club, Future Farmers of America, Future Teachers of America, Gaming/Anime Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Guitar Hero Club, History Club, HOSA, Hot Air Balloon Club, Howlin' Respect, Humanities, Investment Club, Kite Flying Society, Latin Club, Math Club, Movie Buffs, Name That Book, They Say Literacy Magazine Club, SECME, Ultimate Frisbee, Young Democrats, Young Liberal Minds of America Young Republicans, W.O.R.D.

Performing arts[edit]

Art Club (2D and 3D Animation, Drawing and Painting), National Thespian Honor Society, Orchestra, Band, Speech and Debate Team, Tri-Music Honor Society, Westside Choir, Westside Pride Dance Team

Academics and honors[edit]

Asian Honor Society, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl, Westside Engineering and Geosciences Academy

Service and spirit[edit]

Cheerleaders, Drill Team, Ecology Club, Interact Club, Key Club, JROTC, L.I.F.E, Recycling Club, S.A.V.E. Club, SADD


Canidae (yearbook), The Howler (newspaper)

Outback program[edit]

Westside High School athletics logo

Westside has a three-year entrepreneurship program designed by the National Restaurant Education Foundation to teach students about how businesses run.[25] Outback Steakhouse sponsors the program and helped build a full-scale commercial kitchen and dining hall directly into the school.

Students learn the production aspect of the restaurant business in addition to basic business principles and cooking methods in the first year of the program, culminating in ServSafe certification by the end of the second year.

Aside from the program itself, the restaurant is open to students and the general public during lunchtime hours in the school year. Outback also caters exclusively for school functions.

Areas served[edit]

When Westside opened in 2000, it relieved Lee High School of about 1,000 students that year.[26]

The Westside High School zone[27] covers small portions of the Westchase district that are north of Westheimer and the South Eldridge Parkway portion of the Houston Energy Corridor. Westside also covers several other neighborhoods, including Ashford Hill, Ashford West, Ashford South, the Houston ISD part of Ashford Forest, Walnut Bend, Briar Oaks, Briargrove Park, Briar Village, Briarhills, Lakeside Enclave, Lakeside Forest, Lakeside Landing, Lakeside Place, Parkway Villages, Reflections, Shadowbriar, and April Village.

Several gated communities, including Lakes of Parkway, are zoned to Westside High School.

Students residing in the Lee attendance zone,[28] including the Uptown district, the neighborhoods of Briargrove,[29] Briarcroft, Larchmont, Briar Meadow, Tanglewood, Gulfton, Tanglewilde, Shenandoah,[30] Sharpstown Country Club Estates, Woodlake Forest, West Oaks, Jeanetta, and St. George Place (Lamar Terrace) and small portions of Westchase east of Gessner, may go to Lamar High, Lee High, or Westside High School. Small portions of the city of Hunters Creek Village and Piney Point Village are zoned to Lee with Lamar and Westside as options.[31]

In late 2005, the school absorbed more than 200 refugees from Hurricane Katrina who had moved into the Westside zone.

Feeder patterns[edit]

Feeding from the Westside boundary[edit]

Elementary schools that directly feed into Westside[27] include:

  • Ashford (Pre-K through 2)[32]
  • Askew (Kindergarten through 5)[33]
  • Barbara Bush[34]
  • Daily [35]
  • Shadowbriar (3 through 5)[32][33](3rd through 5th graders in the Ashford zone and 5th graders in the Askew zone attend Shadowbriar)
  • Walnut Bend[36]
  • Emerson (partial) (the rest of Emerson indirectly feeds into Westside)[37]

Middle schools that directly feed into Westside include all of West Briar[38] and parts of Revere.[39] Residents of the Westside attendance zone and the Revere attendance zone may apply to West Briar.

Residents of the Emerson Elementary School attendance zone may apply for the Briarmeadow Charter School, so the K-8 school feeds into Westside.[40]

Feeding from the Lee boundary[edit]

Other schools also feed into Westside, since students zoned to Lee High School[28] have the option to go to Westside High School or Lamar High School.[31]

Elementary schools that feed into Lee (and therefore also feed into Westside) include:

Middle schools that feed into Lee (and therefore also feed into Westside) include:


K-8 schools that feed into Lee (and therefore also feed into Westside) include:

All pupils zoned to Long and Pershing Middle Schools may attend Pin Oak Middle School.[55] Accordingly, Pin Oak also feeds into Lee High School.

Residents of the Briargrove, Emerson, Pilgrim, and Piney Point elementary attendance zones may apply for the Briarmeadow Charter School, so the K-8 school feeds into Lee.[40]

Feeding from magnet schools[edit]

Some students who graduate from T. H. Rogers School in the 8th grade choose to go to Westside.[citation needed]

Feeding from private schools[edit]

Students of some private schools, such as Grace School, John Paul II School, and Presbyterian School, matriculate to Westside.[56][57][58]


Houston ISD provides school buses for students who live more than 2 miles (3.2 km) away from the school or who have major obstacles between their houses and the school. Students are eligible if they are zoned to Westside or are in the Westside magnet program.

A METRO bus stop (Briar Forest Drive @ Briar Home Drive) is located next to the school. Bus line 53 (Downtown/Galleria) stops at Briar Forest and Briar Home.

Notable Alumni[edit]

Andrew Kuchta-Amateur boxer and Houston rap expert

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Magnet Program for Westside High School". 
  2. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools". 
  3. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools". 
  4. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools". 
  5. ^ America's Top Public High Schools
  6. ^ "Transfer policy hinders schools". 
  7. ^ Viadero, Debra. "Personal Touches." Education Week. June 16, 2004. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Spivak, Todd. "The Also-Rans." Houston Press. March 2, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  9. ^ "Westside and Lee HS Boundaries." Houston Independent School District. October 3, 2000. Retrieved on May 7, 2009.
  10. ^ Hung, Melissa. "Going Public." Houston Press. Thursday September 28, 2000. p. 1. Retrieved on April 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "School Histories: the Stories Behind the Names." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  12. ^ "Vandal Throws 3 Molotov Cocktails At High School". 
  13. ^ Desel, Jeremy, Michelle Homer, and Carleton Cole. "Westside student drowns in school pool." KHOU-TV. Friday April 11, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  14. ^ Leahy, Jennifer, Peggy O'Hare, and Jennifer Latson. "HISD: High school student pulled from pool, dies at hospital." Houston Chronicle. April 11, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  15. ^ "Student dies after being pulled from pool." KTRK-TV. Friday April 11, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  16. ^ http://www.houstonisd.org/portal/site/HISDArchives/menuitem.8e2b79381bf69d9b00e45e10e041f76a/?vgnextoid=c01507e3e2b0c110VgnVCM10000028147fa6RCRD&vgnextchannel=e1b9393d9b623110VgnVCM10000028147fa6RCRD
  17. ^ Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Critics: In HISD, too many don't go where zoned / Black leaders argue bond has no fix to get kids back to schools in their neighborhoods." Houston Chronicle. Sunday October 14, 2007. B1 MetFront.
  18. ^ "Obama speech hit home for some, not for others." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday September 8, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  19. ^ Connelly, Richard. "Latest Principal Shifts In HISD Bring Grumbling." Houston Chronicle. January 27, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  20. ^ "Teaching Teens Success," The Early Show
  21. ^ a b McClam, Erin. "Students adjusting after Hurricane Katrina." Seattle Times. Sunday November 13, 2005. Retrieved on November 3, 2013. - Also in the Eugene Register-Guard as "Katrina's kids learn to improvise", Sunday November 13, 2005, p. A4.
  22. ^ a b Hung, Melissa. "Going Public." Houston Press. Thursday September 28, 2000. p. 2. Retrieved on April 2, 2014.
  23. ^ "Westside High Sports". 
  24. ^ "Clubs And Activities". 
  25. ^ "Outback Cafe". 
  26. ^ Grossman, Wendy. "Tee Time." Houston Press. Thursday November 13, 2003. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 1.
  27. ^ a b "Westside High School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District.
  28. ^ a b "Lee High School Attendance Zone", Houston Independent School District.
  29. ^ "Briargrove Subdivision." Briargrove Property Owners, Inc. Accessed September 24, 2008.
  30. ^ "Composite map of neighborhoods. Harris County Appraisal District. Accessed October 6, 2008.
  31. ^ a b Home page of Lee High School, as of May 9, 2005.
  32. ^ a b "Ashford Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  33. ^ a b "Askew Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  34. ^ "Bush Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  35. ^ "Daily Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  36. ^ "Walnut Bend Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  37. ^ "Emerson Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  38. ^ "West Briar Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  39. ^ a b "Revere Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  40. ^ a b "Registration." Briarmeadow Charter School.
  41. ^ "Briargrove Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  42. ^ "Benavidez Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  43. ^ "Piney Point Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  44. ^ "Rodriguez Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  45. ^ "Braeburn Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  46. ^ "Condit Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  47. ^ "Cunningham Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  48. ^ "Emerson Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  49. ^ "St. George Place Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  50. ^ "Sutton Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  51. ^ "Grady Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  52. ^ "Long Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  53. ^ "Pershing Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  54. ^ "Pilgrim Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  55. ^ "Pin Oak Middle School." The Southwest District. Houston Independent School District.
  56. ^ "Grace School Quick Facts," Grace School
  57. ^ "Middle School Overview," John Paul II School
  58. ^ "Beyond PS," Presbyterian School

External links[edit]