Woodrow Wilson High School (Washington, D.C.)
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|Woodrow Wilson Senior High School|
|Washington's largest comprehensive public high school
Home of the Tigers
|3950 Chesapeake Street, Northwest
Washington, DC, 20016
|School type||Public high school|
|School district||District of Columbia Public Schools|
|Faculty||112.0 (on FTE basis)|
|Grades||9 to 12|
Search=1&InstName=Wilson&City=Washington&State=11), National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 6, 2011.]</ref>
|Student to teacher ratio||13.24|
|Campus size||6 acres (2.4 ha)|
Woodrow Wilson Senior High School is a secondary school in Washington, D.C., located in the Tenleytown neighborhood, at the intersection of Chesapeake Street and Nebraska Avenue NW. Wilson, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the District of Columbia Public Schools. The school was named for Thomas Woodrow Wilson, who not only was the 28th President of the United States, but was also a highly regarded academic, and still the only President to have earned a PhD. The school building, built in 1935, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.
Woodrow Wilson High School was built on a patch of land acquired in 1930, known by the neighboring Tenleytowners as "French's Woods". In March 1934, the DC commissioners awarded the contract to build Wilson to the lowest bidder, McCloskey and Co of Philadelphia. Built for a total cost of $1,250,000, Wilson opened its doors to students on Monday, September 23, 1935, with 640 sophomores and juniors. Many students transferred to Wilson from Central and Western. Western had been running double shifts (9am – 5 pm) to accommodate the students from the Wilson neighborhoods. Woodrow Wilson High School graduated 290 students in the new school's first Spring commencement exercises, on June 23, 1937. The class President was Robert Davidson. However, there was an earlier February graduation class, with Chester Moye, President.
The first principal was Norman J. Nelson, who had previously been the Assistant Principal at Western.
Dr. Stephen P. Tarason became the school's 11th principal in January 1999, when he succeeded Dr. Wilma Bonner. Dr. Bonner spent a brief time working at the DCPS office before moving on to a position at the Howard University School of Education. Upon Dr Tarason's departure to become a middle school principal in Hagerstown, Maryland, Mrs. Jacqueline Williams became Interim Principal in 2007. In 2008, Mr. Peter Cahall, a former teacher and administrator with the MCPS system, was selected as the new principal.
Wilson underwent renovations during the school year 2010–2011. For the school year 2010–2011 the students of Wilson were placed in a temporary space at the University of the District of Columbia.
The school's student body represents 85 countries and the students come from 40 different schools in the city. The school mascot is the Wilson Tiger; its colors are green and white; and its motto is "Haec olim meminisse juvabit", a Latin phrase meaning "In days to come, it will please us to remember this". The phrase comes from Virgil's Aeneid; Aeneas says it to his men after a storm.
Woodrow Wilson became the sixth DC Interhigh school to open its doors in the Fall of 1935. Wilson was not eligible for Interhigh play in the '35–'36 school year. There was no football team, and Wilson's Basketball and Baseball teams would play an exhibition schedule the first year, and then began their official Interhigh Series competition in the 1936–'37 school year. It was not until the fall of 1937, that the Football team would officially join the Interhigh Series.
However, the football team did play its first (exhibition season) game on October 16, 1936, a 12–0 victory vs St. Alban's in a driving rain storm. The first Football team in '36 was coached by Carl Heintel and the stars of this inaugural squad that went 3–2 in a non-Interhigh exhibition season were RB Dave Tate (who scored Wilson's first ever touchdown), RB Nick Cokinos, and E Johnny Stevens. After its first year of competition in 1936, Wilson football officially joined the Interhigh Series for the 1937 season/ 37–38 School year..
Coach Heintel coached the Wilson Football, Basketball and Baseball teams.
For his play on the gridiron in the fall of 1937, E Johnny Stevens would be chosen Wilson's first All High player for football . Also, in the 1937–38 season, Charles Findley was named their first All High for Basketball. However, a year earlier in the spring of 1937, it was 1B Bill Hawksworth who batted 500 and "whose play around the base was a thing of beauty", and P Kilmer Bortz, Wilson's strikeout phenom, who were honored as Wilson's first ever All High selections in a major sport, for baseball.
On April 20, 1937, Wilson Pitching ace, Kilmer Bortz with his "befuddling drop" pitch, struck out 16 Central High School batters leading Wilson to a 8–3 victory at Central Stadium – the school's first ever major sport Interhigh win.
Bortz would later become a highly decorated World War II Navy Aviator in the Pacific, who was awarded 2 Navy Cross medals for his actions during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf.
The "Presidents" (as they were frequently called by the newspaper sports writers in the early years) played the first home football game in their new Wilson Stadium on October 6, 1939 (vs Landon), although the official flag raising Stadium dedication took place on October 27 in front of a capacity crowd of 2,000 prior to the kickoff of their '39 Interhigh home opener vs Western.
Wilson's first Interhigh Championship team was its 1942 Basketball squad. Led by All-High tandem Donald Hillock and Fred Vinson, the Tony Kupka coached "Green Tigers" defeated the Red Auerbach coached Roosevelt team in the semifinals 28–24, and then beat Central 46–23 for the title.
Coach Joe Carlo's once beaten 1949 Tigers football squad won their first Interhigh Championship beating McKinley Tech. The perfection of place kicker Dick Sebastian's 3 extra points sealed the Wilson victory 21–20.
The following weekend, in front of 7949 Griffith Stadium fans, the Tigers, who had outscored its '49 season opponents 206 to 77, lost to Catholic League Champ Gonzaga in the 2nd Annual City Championship game,12–7. Stars of that team were B- Leo Speros; E-Pete Haley; C-Preston Kavanaugh; T-Don Meaney; B- Lee Brinson.
Three seasons later, unbeaten Wilson, still coached by Joe Carlo, would win its second Interhigh Football Championship. With 7,000 screaming fans in their Griffith Stadium seats, underdog Western would take a 13–0 lead, but in the end, the Red Raiders had no defensive answer for All Met RB Mike Sommer. Sommer, the Interhigh's Track Sprint Champion, would run for over 150 yds and score an incredible 5 touchdowns in the Green Tigers 41–16 victory.
One week later on December 5, 1952, Wilson would win its first and only City Championship in football beating Catholic League champion, St. John's, 24–6 before a crowd of 12,000 in Griffith Stadium. The spectacular Tiger defense did not allow a St John's first down, or allow the Johnnies to cross the 50 yd line, in the second half of the championship game. Stars that day were All Mets B-Lon Herzbrun, B-Mike Sommer, G-Chico Stone and T-Max Carpenter.
The historic Brown v. Board of Education decision came down in May,1954. Five Wilson players -Don McMurray, John Webster, Bob Rogers, Mike Hixson, and Leland Phillips were selected to participate in the first integrated High School football game ever played in Washington DC. On Dec 4, 1954, before a crowd of 8800 at Griffith Stadium, the integrated Interhigh All Stars ended St Johns 13-game winning streak, defeating the Johnnies 12–7 to capture the 1954 City Football Championship.
Wilson won back to back Interhigh basketball titles in 1953 and 1954 led on the court by scoring stars Lon Herzbrun in '53 and super Soph Lew Luce in '54. For his outstanding play in 1952–53, Lon Herzbrun would become the only Wilson athlete to ever be named first team All Met in both Football and Basketball in the same school year.
During that '53 basketball season, Herzbrun broke the Interhigh single Game scoring record (41 pts.), as well as the Interhigh single Season scoring record. In that 41-point game, Wilson ended the great Tech team's run of 30 consecutive victories.
A year later on the final day of the '54 regular season, Luce would break Herzbrun's Interhigh single Season scoring record and would then go on to become a 3 time Basketball All Met.
Lefty Sam Swindells (8–0) pitched, and SS Marty Gorewitz batted 4 for 4, as the Sherman Rees coached "Tigers" defeated Coolidge 8–1 at Griffith Stadium to win their first Interhigh baseball championship as the team finished the 1959 season with a perfect record of 18–0. Swindells would go on to be named the Daily News 1960 Baseball Player of the Year.
3 years later, The ' 62 Tigers now coached by Bill Richardson, played their way back to the Interhigh Championship game, where they defeated a strong Phelps team 1–0 in extra innings at Georgetown University . Wilson Curveball ace Kent Feddeman defeated Ed Cook, who threw a 2 hitter for Phelps. Key to the victory was the solid defense of Wilson SS Pete Swindells. 3 days earlier Feddeman's extra inning 4 hit victory over Anacostia earned them the right to play for another championship.
After 17 years at the helm of the Wilson baseball program and 16 consecutive DCIAA championships, Coach (and AD) Eddie Saah retired from coaching, and former Assistant Coach Eddie Smith was named as the new Coach of the baseball team. Through their 2010 season, the Tigers have now won 18 consecutive DCIAA championships. Even more remarkable, Wilson's last DCIAA loss came in a 1999 game against Dunbar High School.
Wilson Stadium, opened for duty in 1939, is now used for several sports, including soccer, football, and lacrosse. An artificial turf field was installed over the summer of 2007. A sound system, press box, and lights were also added to the stadium.
The Tigers athletic program maintains the only crew team among DC public high schools.
In 2005, Wilson ended its wrestling program, becoming the last public school in Washington DC to have a wrestling team.
In 2007, Tigers also became the first public high school in Washington DC to play Varsity ice hockey with a team in the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League's Capitol Conference. The team plays its home games at Fort Dupont Arena, the only public ice rink in the District of Columbia.
The Wilson swim team returned for the 2006–2007 season and claimed the city championship in the same year.
The aquatic facility at Wilson High School, first opened in 1978, has been condemned and was demolished in 2007. A new Ward 3 Aquatic Center was completed in 2009.
In the 2008–2009 school year, Wilson started its squash team.
In 2012, Wilson restarted their wrestling program.
The Wilson varsity softball has won the DCIAA championship for the past three years (2007, 2008, and 2009). In 2009 the team, led by seniors Kathleen McLain and Rachel Bitting, played Georgetown Visitation in the Congressional Bank Softball Classic in which the softball champion of the DC public schools played the champion of the DC private schools. McLain pitched a great game and Wilson won 3–2 in the bottom of the last inning on a walk-off double by Bitting.
The Wilson baseball program has won 19 straight DCIAA titles.
The school's demographics are as follows:
- Approximately 1,600 students
- School boundaries encompass everything west of 16th Street, NW, all of southwest Washington north of the Anacostia River, and parts of Capitol Hill southeast
- Nearly 30 percent of the student body live outside the school’s boundaries
- Εthnic mix: 49% African American, 25% Caucasian, 17% Latin American, 9% Asian American
- Nearly 40 percent of the students receive free and reduced lunch benefits
Woodrow Wilson High School is the top performer in the non-magnet High School system in DCPS and one of the top performers in DCPS overall. About 89 percent of Wilson graduates continue their education beyond high school, with 77 percent attending four-year or two-year colleges or universities. Many Wilson students, including all out-of-bounds students, are members of "academies" that seek to tailor a student's curriculum to his or her academic and/or professional interests. These include the Finance Academy, HAM (Humanities, Arts, and Media), WISP (Wilson International Studies Program), and Scimatech (Science, Math, and Technology).
In mid-2006, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School was proposed to be a charter school, but the superintendent asked the school to hold off in exchange for being granted control over certain areas of autonomy especially facilities.
Wilson's school newspaper is called The Beacon, and publishes an annual literary magazine called LAVA.
Woodrow Wilson was one of 11 schools nation-wide selected by the College Board for inclusion in the EXCELerator School Improvement Model program beginning the 2006–2007 school year. The project was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The following elementary schools feed into Wilson:
The following middle/junior high schools feed into Wilson:
- Ann Beattie, American short story writer and novelist
- Philip Benedict, Renowned Professor of European History
- Warren Buffett Wealthiest man in the world in 2008
- Emmanuel Burriss, Current MLB player (San Francisco Giants)
- DJ Spooky, hip-hop musician
- Adrian Fenty, mayor of Washington D.C. from 2007 to 2011
- Jorma Kaukonen, guitarist for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna
- Ian MacKaye, singer for Minor Threat and Fugazi
- Jeff Nelson (musician), drummer for Minor Threat and The Teen Idles
- Frank Rich, American essayist, op-ed columnist & writer
- Alex Wagner, American political journalist and television personality
- The Gold Cheetah, Rapper
- The school's website
- Walter Spangenberg of Woodrow Wilson High School Cadet Corps
- A Washington Post article featuring Wilson
- Website for the new pool.
- GNIS entry for Woodrow Wilson Senior High School; USGS; December 31, 1981.
- National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 6, 2011.
- The Plan Comes Together in Wilson's Dramatic Win
- Champion, Laurie (2002). Contemporary American Women Fiction Writers: An A-To-Z Guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 28.
- David, Hershkovits. "Remixing the Future: DJ Spooky". papermag.com. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- Stewart, Nikita. "Fenty Praises Wilson High School Grads". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Berkman, Jacob. "Jefferson Airplane Guitarist Searches for His Jewish Soul". interfaith family.com. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- "Fugazi Biography". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 12, 2013.
- SPIN STaff. "A Conversation with Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson". Spin.com. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Gilbert, Sophie. "Frank Rich: “Theater Saved My Life”". Washingtonian. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- Neal, Jill Hudson. "Alex Wagner: A Voice for All Things Now". Capitol File. Retrieved April 18, 2013.