Highland Park High School (University Park, Texas)

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Highland Park High School
HighlandParkHS Seal.jpg
4220 Emerson
University Park, Texas, (Dallas County) 75205
Coordinates 32°50′50″N 96°48′27″W / 32.84735°N 96.80761°W / 32.84735; -96.80761Coordinates: 32°50′50″N 96°48′27″W / 32.84735°N 96.80761°W / 32.84735; -96.80761
Type Public
Motto "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve"
Established 1922
School district Highland Park Independent School District
Principal Walter Kelly
Faculty 134
Grades 9-12
Gender Coeducational
Enrollment 2,026
Color(s) Blue, Gold, and White
Athletics conference UIL Region 2 District 15-5A[1]
Mascot Fighting Scots
Newspaper The Bagpipe
Yearbook The Highlander
Band Highlander Band
Drill Team Highland Belles
Highland Park High School

Highland Park High School is located in University Park, Dallas County, Texas. It is a part of the Highland Park Independent School District. It serves all of the city of University Park, most of the town of Highland Park, and portions of Dallas.


The school was established in 1915. Before 1915, Highland Park students who were ready for high school rode the trolley down Cole Avenue to Dallas to attend Bryan Street High School. When the new high school opened in January, 1915, pupils in eighth and ninth grade attended school at Armstrong Elementary School in Highland Park in half-day sessions until the building was ready for occupancy. They returned to Armstrong for lunch the remainder of that year. Those who had cars filled them to capacity for the "trip to lunch", and the other students walked.

The tenth grade was added in the fall of 1922, and the eleventh grade a year later. In 1924, thirty-three students became the first graduating class of the Highland Park Independent School District (at that time, only eleven years of school were required prior to college admittance; it was not until 1937 that the twelfth grade was added.)[2]

It was this first location on Normandy east of High School Street that became the middle school in 1937 when the current Highland Park High School building was erected on Emerson Avenue. The old building become the Highland Park Junior High School, which in later years was renamed Arch H. McCulloch Middle School. The school added the fifth grade and split into Highland Park Middle School for grades 7 and 8 and Arch H. McCulloch Intermediate School for 5th and 6th graders upon moving to a new facility after which the old building was demolished.[3]

Ben W. Wiseman, Sr. served as Principal for 34 years, retiring in 1962. A plaque bearing Mr. Wiseman's profile is situated inside the entry of the high school with the quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson; "an institution is the lengthened shadow of a man." He was the Dean of Weatherford College in Weatherford, Texas before accepting the job as Highland Park High School Principal. Mr. Wiseman was a decorated Captain in the United States Army and served in combat during World War II. Mr. Wiseman was a nationally recognized public educator when in 1960 his picture appeared in Look Magazine's May edition with his photo and that of 23-year-old Charles Otstott of the U.S. Naval Academy and 22-year-old Alton ("Butch")Thompson, ex-school mates at Highland Park High School. The significance of the photograph was that both Otstott and Thompson had just graduated from their respective military academies at the top of their class. Otstott and Thompson were dubbed in the article as "Wiseman Boys." Wiseman is credited for developing the first language laboratory in a public school in the United States. Convinced that students learned quickly by what they heard, he solicited funds from several prominent Highland Park businessmen to provide the reel-to-reel tape recorders needed to record and re-play the daily lesson plan. He then wired small secluded booths for each of the 20 students who wore headsets and listened to the lesson plan of the day. Each student repeated the Spanish or French words/phrases out loud into their individual headset microphones. The language teacher then could eavesdrop on each student individually and make suggestions to the students as need be. Mr. Wiseman recruited the woodshop teacher to build the booths as the cost of such a progressive learning tool was not in the school budget. In addition to foreign languages, Mr. Wiseman had the first remedial reading classes in a public school in the United States. Noting that many of his students were very bright but had problems reading and reversing letters when they wrote, he created reading classes for these special students. Mr. Wiseman called this condition being "left-eyed." Known today as dyslexia, Mr. Wiseman tutored his own grandson, John Phillip Brosseau, Sr., a student in one of Highland Park's elementary schools, Hyer Elementary and that grandson successfully reversed his condition and graduated from Highland Park and from Texas Tech University. Wiseman was fluent in French and Spanish; was a master woodcarver; built his own greenhouse in which he grew African violets; was so physically fit that he could perform hand stands at age 55. Born in 1890, Mr. Wiseman died of heart failure in 1963 at his modest home in Highland Park.

In 1987 the HPISD school board voted to not to petition the University Interscholastic League (UIL) to keep Highland Park High School in athletic class 5A; the UIL had the possibility of demoting Highland Park High School to athletic class 4A as part of its biannual reclassification.[4] Since then, an old joke told around the UIL's bi-annual reclassification is that the cutoff for Class AAAA is "Highland Park plus {some number}", though in practice the school's enrollment has been well below the normal cutoff (but in 2014 the school will move up in classification to what was formerly AAAAA, to be renamed AAAAAA as part of an overall renaming scheme).

In 2003, a four-year remodeling of the school was completed which added a new wing to provide more classroom space and allow for a new, larger cafeteria. Additionally, the project included the addition of outdoor tennis courts, a softball field, and a parking garage.

Currently, Highland Park High School is the only high school in the Highland Park Independent School District. Other schools in the district include University Park Elementary, Robert S. Hyer Elementary, John S. Armstrong Elementary, and John S. Bradfield Elementary. These four schools feed into Arch H. McCulloch Intermediate School and Highland Park Middle School, both of which are housed in the same building.

Recent events[edit]

In 1999, Dallas police issued 200 alcohol and curfew violations citations to Park Cities teens partying in a Deep Ellum warehouse. CNN picked up the story, and after it emerged that parents had rented the facility and contracted a bus company to safely deliver high school students to and from the party, the Alliance on Underage Drinking (ALOUD) started the "Parents Who Host, Lose the Most" campaign, which informs parents about health, safety and legal ramifications of serving alcohol to underage individuals.[5]

In late 2004, Simon & Schuster published young adult author Francine Pascal's The Ruling Class, a teen drama set at Highland Park High School. The school's newspaper The Bagpipe published community reactions to the book and online reviews are mixed.[6]

In late 2005, The Dallas Morning News published a story about the Friday of Highland Park's homecoming spirit week, on which several seniors dressed as thugs, Mexicans, maids and other caricatures of racial minorities. Some pointed to this as support for the general perception of Highland Park High School and the Park Cities as a "bubble" (as the area is known in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex). The article ignited a storm of letter-writing and editorializing to and in the Morning News. Soon after the article was published, two swastikas were spray-painted on a sign in front of the school.

In 2005 and 2006, Highland Park students received a multitude of state and national awards, and established several new records in Texas.[7] The UIL Science Team, under the leadership of AP Chemistry teacher Wenzen Chuang, won state for the second time in the history of the high school. The Bagpipe newspaper received the Gold Crown Award for excellence in journalism in 2005 and later that year was one of 15 high schools in the country to win an NSPA Pacemaker. The same year, the school's yearbook, The Highlander, was chosen as a finalist for the NSPA Pacemaker award and Highland Park Television was chosen as a finalist for the NSPA Broadcast Pacemaker; Highland Park Television won the award the following year. The Bagpipe received a second Gold Crown Award in 2011, for the previous year's newspaper.

Highland Park High School has been named a National Blue Ribbon School on two occasions, in 1984-85 [8] and again in 2007.[9]

In the winter of 2012 and the early spring of 2013, numerous bomb threats were found across the campus. Students and faculty were released early three times, and eventually the FBI was called in. An arrest was made in April 2013.

HPISD, Highland Park High School, and Superintendent Dawson Orr received national attention in September 2014 for the controversial banning of seven books previously used in high school English studies, after a group of parents protested the contents of these books.[10] The seven books were: "The Art of Racing in the Rain," by Garth Stein; "The Working Poor: Invisible in America," by David K. Shipler; "Siddhartha," by Hermann Hesse; "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie; "An Abundance of Katherines," by John Green; "The Glass Castle," by Jeannette Walls; and "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison.

September 29, 2014, Orr reversed his decision to suspend the books, stating in an email to parents, "I made the decision in an attempt to de-escalate the conflict, and I readily admit that it had the opposite effect. I take full responsibility for the decision, and I apologize for the disruption it has caused."[11]


In 2005, Sports Illustrated listed HP as the best sports program in the state of Texas (16th in the US).[12]


The baseball team's games are held at Scotland Yard (Highland Park).

Swimming and diving[edit]

The Highland Park Girls Swimming and Diving team holds the record in all of UIL history for ten consecutive state titles.


As of 2014, the school's Tennis Team had won 17 state titles, and had not lost a single match since the start of the 2008 season, winning 151 consecutive matches and 7 consecutive state titles.


As of 2007, Highland Park Scots football teams have made a state-record 49 playoff appearances. Since 1944, they have had six state finals appearances. Coached by Rusty Russell (1942–45) and led by Doak Walker and Bobby Layne, the Scots made the final consecutive times in 1944 and 1945. After losing 20-7 to Port Arthur in 1944, Highland Park battled Waco to a 7-7 tie in front of a record 45,790 crowd at the Cotton Bowl.[13] In 1947, Highland Park lost the state final 22-13 to San Antonio Brackenridge, while in 1957 they defeated Port Arthur 21-9 under the guidance of Thurman Jones.

In 2005 Matthew Stafford led Highland Park to an undefeated season and a 59-0 victory over Marshall for the 4A Division I state championship. After a highly successful college career at the University of Georgia he was drafted first overall by the Detroit Lions at the 2009 NFL Draft.

Highland Park was picked second in the preseason rankings in the Southeast, according to Inside Lacrosse, and has won two consecutive state championships, both times defeating local rival St. Mark's School. They have now won three consecutive state titles and 5 of the last seven years.

The Highland Park football team is currently coached by Randy Allen, who holds a 305-76-6 record as of 2013, placing him 10th on the Texas All-Time Coaching Records Ranking. In January 2014, Allen was chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Grant Teaff Fellowship of Christian Athletes Lifetime Achievement Award, joining such coaching greats as Tony Dungy and Bobby Bowden.

In 2005, Allen guided the Scots to a 59-0 rout over Marshall, the largest margin-of-victory ever in a UIL 11-man state championship football game.

In 2007, the Scots went undefeated into the state final against Austin Lake Travis, but lost 36-34.

Cross country[edit]

The Highland Park girls cross country team has set numerous records throughout the years; having sent a runner to the state meet every year since the first year the program was created. This cross country team has won more state championships than any other cross country team in the state of Texas.[14]


State Titles[edit]

  • Baseball - [17]
    • 1998(4A)
  • Girls Cross Country - [14]
    • 1981(5A), 1982(5A), 1988(4A), 1989(4A), 1992(4A), 1997(4A), 1998(4A), 1999(4A), 2001(4A), 2002(4A), 2004(4A), 2010(4A), 2011(4A), 2012(4A)
  • Football - [18]
    • 1945(All)^, 1957(4A), 2005(4A), 2016 (5A Div 1)
  • Boys Golf - [19]
    • 1950(2A), 1951(2A), 1977(4A), 1989(4A), 1990(4A), 1991(4A), 1992(4A), 1993(4A), 2001(4A), 2002(4A), 2003(4A), 2005(4A), 2006(4A), 2008(4A), 2010(4A), 2013(4A)
  • Girls Golf - [20]
    • 1998(4A), 1999(4A), 2000(4A), 2008(4A)
  • Girls Soccer - [21]
    • 1994(All), 1996(All), 2000(4A), 2002(4A), 2012(4A)
  • Boys Swimming - [22]
    • 2000(4A)
  • Girls Swimming - [23]
    • 2001(4A), 2002(4A), 2003(4A), 2004(4A), 2005(4A), 2006(4A), 2007(4A), 2008(4A), 2009(4A), 2010(4A)
  • Team Tennis - [24]
    • 1989(4A), 1990(4A), 1991(4A), 1997(4A), 2001(4A), 2003(4A), 2004(4A), 2005(4A), 2006(4A), 2008(4A), 2009(4A), 2010(4A), 2011(4A), 2012(4A), 2013(4A), 2014(6A)
  • Boys Track - [25]
    • 1940(All)
  • Boys Wrestling - [26]
    • 1999(All), 2000(All), 2003(All), 2005(All), 2006(All)

State Runners-up: Baseball - 1951(All), 1954(All), 1956(All), 1997(4A); Boys Basketball - 1998(4A); Football - 1944(2A), 1947(2A), 2007(4A); Boys Soccer - 1987(All); Girls Soccer - 2006(4A), 2013 (4A); Team Tennis - 1988(4A), 1993(4A), 1994(4A), 1998(4A), 2000(4A), 2002(4A), 2007(4A); Volleyball - 2003(4A), 2008(4A); Boys Wrestling - 2002(All), 2004(All).

Highland Park holds the UIL record for most athletic state titles by one school - 77 (in all classes).


In 2008, Highland Park was ranked 15th in Newsweek's list of the top public high schools in the United States,[27] based on the Challenge Index by Jay Mathews. In 2012, Highland Park was ranked 8th out of the top 10 high schools in North Texas by Children at Risk, a research and advocacy institute dedicated to helping children.

It is currently classified as a Conference 5A high school by the University Interscholastic League. A common joke among Texas school athletic directors is that when the UIL realigns in even numbered years, the 5A-6A cutoff is always defined as "Highland Park plus two." Despite being an exaggeration as of 2008, Highland Park is now among one of the smaller 6A schools in Texas. The average class size is 30 students per teacher, with about 550 students in a grade.

In 1995, the first Highland Park Literary Festival began as a collaboration between interested parents and the English Department. The event has become an annual festival where HPHS students have enjoyed meeting, working with, and learning from distinguished writers, including George Plimpton, Doug Wright, Michael Chabon, Marion Winik, Scott Simon, Tim O'Brien, Russell Banks, Anchee Min, Billy Collins, and Tobias Wolff.[28]


Highland Park is often referred to as "The Bubble".[29]

The Texas Education Agency campus profiles state that the funds spent per student at Highland Park are similar in amount to those spent per student at Woodrow Wilson High School.[30]

Student body[edit]

According to The Dallas Morning News, as of 2005 the high school's ethnic makeup is about 99 percent white.[29] By 2015, 90% of the high school's ethnic make-up was non-Hispanic white.[31]

In the 2010-2011 school year HPHS had no low income students.[32] 7.9% of the students were considered "at risk." About 80% of students partake in extracurricular activities, and over 50% partake in athletic teams. Of the students who took AP Exams, 69% received scores of "3" or higher.

By 2011 a The Dallas Morning News report stated that 93% of HPHS students were "college-ready" (ready to attend post-secondary educational institutions).[32]


At the high school cafeteria, few district employees serve food to children. Parents serve cafeteria food to children. This allows the school to spend more money towards educational activities.[30]

Notable alumni[edit]






  1. ^ "UIL football districts for 2014, 2015 seasons". Austin American-Statesman. February 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ http://www.hpisd.org/contents2.asp?id=13
  3. ^ "Highland Park 100 — Through The Years In Highland Park". 
  4. ^ "DISD WILL LET PINKSTON, TJ DROP TO CLASS AAAA." The Dallas Morning News. December 2, 1987. Retrieved on November 26, 2011.
  5. ^ ALOUD press release - "Parents Who Host, Lose the Most" campaign.
  6. ^ "Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: The Ruling Class". 
  7. ^ Highland Park Points of Pride 2005-2006
  8. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Schools Recognized 1982-1983 Through 1999-2002 (PDF) Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Microsoft Word - 2007-schools.doc
  10. ^ Repko, Melissa. "Highland Park ISD Suspends Seven Books After Parents Protest Their Content". www.dallasnews.com. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Melissa, Repko. "Highland Park ISD reverses book suspensions at high school". www.dallasnews.com. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "The top high school athletic programs in America". Sports Illustrated. 2005-05-13. 
  13. ^ Ratliff, Harold (1963). Autumn's Mightiest Legions: History of Texas Schoolboy Football. Waco: Texian Press. pp. 101–102. 
  14. ^ a b "UIL Girls Cross Country State Champions". Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. 
  15. ^ "Game Details: Pulaski Academy @ Highland Park Football 9/4/15". MaxPreps.com. 1 January 2016. 
  16. ^ "The High School Football Coach Who Never Punts". FiveThirtyEight. 
  17. ^ "UIL Baseball State Champions". Archived from the original on 2013-12-10. 
  18. ^ "UIL Football State Champions". Archived from the original on 2012-12-01. 
  19. ^ "UIL Boys Golf State Champions". Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. 
  20. ^ "UIL Girls Golf State Champions". Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. 
  21. ^ "UIL Girls Soccer State Champions". Archived from the original on 2013-12-06. 
  22. ^ "UIL Boys Swimming State Champions". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. 
  23. ^ "UIL Girls Swimming State Champions". 
  24. ^ "UIL Team Tennis State Champions". Archived from the original on 2015-10-24. 
  25. ^ "UIL Boys Track & Field State Champions". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. 
  26. ^ "UIL: Athletics - Archives - Wrestling Results". 
  27. ^ "Top High Schools in United States on Google Maps". 
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ a b The Dallas Morning News, "HP students: 'Thug Day' dress not offensive", by Scott Farwell, Joshua Benton and Kristen Holland. October 28, 2005.
  30. ^ a b Jennings, Jordan, Amanda Presmyk, Laura Murphy, and Essete Workneh., "Discrepancy between levels of public education visible in Dallas." The Daily Campus. Tuesday, December 13, 2011. Updated on Wednesday, December 14, 2011. 1. Retrieved on December 17, 2011.
  31. ^ https://www.schooldigger.com/go/TX/schools/2325002357/school.aspx
  32. ^ a b Jennings, Jordan, Amanda Presmyk, Laura Murphy, and Essete Workneh., "Discrepancy between levels of public education visible in Dallas." The Daily Campus. Tuesday, December 13, 2011. Updated on Wednesday, December 14, 2011. 2. Retrieved on December 17, 2011.
  33. ^ a b "Arizona Diamondbacks’ Bobby Wilson says new plate rule ‘good idea’". azcentral.com. 
  34. ^ "Judge Tom Price: Place 3". txcourts.gov. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  35. ^ "John Hinckley, Jr. brings infamy to Lubbock". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. 2008. Retrieved August 5, 2013. 
  36. ^ Hunter, Glenn (October 2011). "Trevor Rees-Jones: The Wildcatter". D magazine. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 

External links[edit]