J. J. Pearce High School
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|J.J. Pearce High School|
|1600 North Coit Road
Richardson, Texas, Dallas County 75080
|Type||High School/secondary school|
|School district||Richardson Independent School District|
J.J. Pearce High School is a high school located in Richardson, Texas, United States. It is named after Joseph Jones Pearce, who served as superintendent for the RISD from 1946 to 1977. It is one of two Richardson Independent School District high schools to have a natatorium. In 2013, it had an enrollment of 2,167 and a student:teacher ratio of 20:1.
Pearce was established in 1967 with a group of tenth graders housed at Richardson North Junior High School. Prior to 1967, all high school students in the Pearce area attended Richardson High School. In 1968 the school moved to its current home on Coit Road; the campus has been expanded several times since.
Newsweek ranked Pearce at #528 in the top 1,000 high schools in the nation. Schools were ranked based on the number of students who took Advanced Placement courses and AP tests. Pearce was named a 1988-89 National Blue Ribbon School.
In 2009, the state classified 81% of Pearce's graduates as "college ready," or ready to undergo university studies. The State of Texas defined "college readiness" by scores on the ACT and SAT and in the 11th grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests. During the same year, the school's student body had 22% poor students, and 27% of its students had a risk of dropping out. Holly K. Hacker of The Dallas Morning News said that the readiness rate was about 20 points higher than statistics would predict, and that the school "far exceeds what is expected." The racial mix of the neighborhood has remained relatively constant- there are students bussed in from outside neighborhoods, mainly from southern Dallas county. Many families move to the Pearce area for the high caliber RISD schools. Teachers enjoy working at Pearce, and the school employs a well-qualified staff, including multiple Teacher of the Year recipients. Academic success is the primary emphasis of Pearce, with high levels of parent involvement and relatively high student participation in extra-curricular activities, displaying a proactive community.
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J.J. Pearce has a choral program. The Acapella Choir was selected as the 2008 TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) State Honor Choir, and performed at the TMEA convention in February in San Antonio, Texas. This is the second time the Choir had been selected to perform at TMEA, the time before being 1988. More recently, the entire choral department was invited to perform at the Vatican in Italy. The group performed there in June 2009.
The J.J. Pearce band has performed at such prestigious institutions as the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and Carnegie Hall in New York City. The band has been named the Texas Honor Band twice, once in 1984 in the 5A category and again in 2001 in the 4A category. J.J. Pearce is also one of only four schools nationwide to receive the coveted Sudler Flag of Honor twice from the Sousa Foundation. In 2007 as well as 2011, the J.J. Pearce "Mighty Mustang Band" was one of twenty 4A Texas high-school bands to advance to the Texas UIL Marching Band Competition in San Antonio.
Lynn Shaw gained fame as Pearce Theater director and teacher for 25 years, having taught Jessica Simpson during the pop singer's days at Pearce. Shaw died of cancer August 7, 2009. In January 2010, a Tribute Show was held with former students coming back to reprise their roles in various musicals. Proceeds from the show established the Lynn "Zed" Shaw scholarship fund; the first recipients of the scholarship were announced at the show - seniors Avery Hurst and Rachel Moss. ABC's Nightline featured Ms. Shaw and the tribute show in a segment airing April 15, 2010, re-airing December 24, 2010.
The school was one of the 50 high schools/colleges asked by Rodgers & Hammerstein to perform Phantom of the Opera in 2012.
The school has had a number of students who have pursued careers in the arts including aforementioned Simpson and 2008 graduate Elizabeth Judd who has been cast in the 2010-2011 National Tour of Spring Awakening and in the broadway production of Hamilton. Actress Amanda Alch also attended JJ Pearce High School, who portrayed Megan McDurst in the film Bad Kids Go to Hell, based on the comic book of the same name.
Pearce High School also has an Academic Decathlon team. The school holds the record for the most national wins in United States Academic Decathlon history claiming five first place titles, and has also succeeded in being in the top ten schools in the state competition since its founding.. They were a recognized school in 2007-2008, also.
The high school has had successful teams in all sports with state championships in team Cross Country, Gymnastics, Swimming, Tennis, Golf, Volleyball and Soccer. The Pearce Women's varsity soccer team won the 4A state championship in 2009 and 2010. Coach Richard Mungioli's Men's varsity soccer team won the first-ever Texas state soccer championship in 1983.
Individuals athletes have succeeded as state champions in Track & Field, Tennis, Swimming, Gymnastics, and Golf.
The traditional team sports of football, basketball, volleyball, and baseball/softball have been popular with participation and school support that is within the norm for a suburban public high school. There have been district championships with postseason play in all of the above with individual players and coaches honored.
- Asaf Epstein (b. 1978), class of 1996, film director, writer and producer.
- Alejandro Moreno (b. 1979), professional soccer player who won three MLS Cups with three different teams, while being capped 41 times at the international level with Venezuela.
- Matt Fawley, ASU Sun Devils safety.
- Jeff Agoos (b. 1968), National Soccer Hall of Fame and World Cup soccer player who won five Major League Soccer championships. Two-time Parade High School All American and Dallas All Sports Athlete of the Year.
- Ray Childress (b. 1962), class of 1981, NFL Pro Bowl defensive lineman.
- Greg Holman (b. 1964), class of 1982, actor, writer, singer, co-star of VH1s For What It's Worth, ABC's Ty Pennington's Great Big American Auction, and A&E's Storage Wars: Texas, award-winning lead vocalist for Pink Floyd Tribute Band Texas Floyd, Pearl Award-winning writer.
- Bavand Karim (b. 1979), class of 1996, film and TV producer.
- Shy Red (b. 1992), class of 2012, Popluar musician "Rapper "
- Lane Garrison (b. 1980), class of 1998, Actor on Prison Break
- Bryn Neuenschwander (b. 1980), class of 1998, fantasy author
- Chris Jacke (b. 1966), class of 1984, NFL kicker
- Kevin Dickinson (b. 1985), class 2004, founding member of the 'Do Good Crew', a non-profit hip-hop charity that raised over five hundred dollars for Project Pat's legal defense/education awareness fund
- Kin Shriner (b 1953), class of 1972, actor better known for his run on soap operas including General Hospital.
- Wil Shriner (b. 1953), class of 1972, television and movie actor.
- Jessica Simpson (b. 1980), recording artist, actress, dropped out of Pearce junior year in 1996.
- Scott Turner (b. 1972), class of 1991, NFL defensive back and politician.
- Corey Coleman (b. 1994), Cleveland Browns wide receiver, 2015 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner.
- Anthony Dorsett (b. 1973), class of 1992, son of Hall of Fame running back for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos, Tony Dorsett. Former defensive back for the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders.
- Dennis DeShazer (b. 1963), class of 1982, co-creator of Barney & Friends children's television program.
- Julie Cypher (b. 1964), class of 1982, motion picture director, ex-wife of actor Lou Diamond Phillips and ex-partner of singer Melissa Etheridge.
- Shane Carruth (b. 1972), filmmaker responsible for Primer and Upstream Color
- Scott Lewis (b. 1968), class of 1987, photojournalist, 1st place World Press Photo 2002, 1st Place Community Awareness Award Pictures of the Year International 1998
- Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Schools Recognized 1982-1983 Through 1999-2002 (PDF)
- Hacker, Holly K. "Analysis shows true Texas high school performance, stripping away socioeconomic factors." The Dallas Morning News. September 3, 2011. Retrieved on February 10, 2012.
- Richardson J.J. Pearce Lady Mustangs - Dallas High School Blog - ESPN Dallas