Austin High School (El Paso, Texas)

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Stephen F. Austin High School
3500 Memphis Ave
El Paso, Texas 79930

United States
Type Public
Established 1930
Principal Ms.Cydni Ponce
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,533 (2014-15)[1]
Color(s) Brown & Gold         
Mascot Golden Panther
Nickname The School with Pride
Austin High School (center) and surrounding areas of El Paso and the Franklin Mountains with snow from winter storm Goliath

Stephen F. Austin High School is a secondary school in El Paso, Texas, opened in 1930. It is part of the El Paso Independent School District. The school's mascot is a Golden Panther named "Henry and Penny." The school was designed by Texas contractor and architect Robert E. McKee.[2] When the local school district ran out of money during the construction, McKee donated the remainder owed.[3] Consequently, the school's football stadium is named in McKee's honor. The R.E. McKee Construction Company built the school and used a classic Spanish architecture.[3] The structure is surmounted by a 103-foot tower. The classrooms had marble floors and the hallways are floored with terrazzo.[3] The school was once used as a church, that's why at the front of the campus you can see an empty space where they had a statue of The Vigin Mary.[3] Austin is also known locally for it's rumor of the freeloader who dropped herself off the tower over a heartbreak.[3]

The "A"[edit]

The school, located minutes from the Franklin Mountains, faces a large, white, block "A" letter painted on the mountain. AHS students traditionally "light" the "A" on Homecoming night's football game which is played at R.E. McKee Stadium. The "A" is lit by placing small cans, full of kerosene and sawdust, around the "A" and lighting them before kickoff.[4] The burning "A" is visible from the home bleachers and AHS supporters chant "Hey, Hey, Look at the A" to signify its lighting.[4]


The school has an actual, stuffed Golden Panther in the main lobby. The Panther is named "Elroy" after Austin High English and Creative Writing teacher and author Elroy Bode. Bode is a famed West Texas author and has published several books, including Home Country: An Elroy Bode Reader, Commonplace Mysteries, and This Favored Place: The Texas Hill Country.

In 1998, Mr. Gary Mowad, a special agent for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and former Austin teacher, approached the Austin High School about donating a stuffed panther to display on campus. Elroy was hunted illegally in Colorado by a hunter who unlawfully used a spotlight in pursuit of the panther. Consequently, Elroy was seized by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the hunter was sentenced to four years of prison time.

At the conclusion of the litigation in September 2002, the Panther was transported to El Paso and donated to the school through the Austin High School Alumni Association, who then presented this spectacular animal to Austin High School. On January 7, 2004, the Panther was placed in the lobby where it can be viewed today.[5]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "AUSTIN H S". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 10, 2017. 
  2. ^ Stanley, Irene and Duffy Stanley. "MCKEE, ROBERT EUGENE, SR". Handbook of Texas Online. Archived from the original on 25 December 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Austin High School History". Austin High School Alumni Association. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Laughman, Dick. "Panther Association, 1955/56 — How We Lit The "A"". Stephen F. Austin High School Class of 1956. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Our Panther Mascot". Stephen F. Austin High School Class of 1956. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "COLEMAN, Ronald D'Emory, (1941 – )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Library of Congress. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Ramirez, Christina (19 May 2008). "'Archie' artist draws aaahs". El Paso Times. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  8. ^ Washington Valdez, Diana (2 July 2005). "Hometown Stars — Sandra Day O'Connor". El Paso Times. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  9. ^ "EPISD Schools: Austin High". Archived from the original on 6 April 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  10. ^ Jimmy Ortega on IMDb

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°47′58″N 106°27′04″W / 31.7994°N 106.451°W / 31.7994; -106.451