Lake Highlands High School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lake Highlands High School
9449 Church Road
Dallas, Texas 75238
United States
TypePublic, secondary
School districtRichardson Independent School District
Teaching staff183.35 (FTE)[2]
Number of students2,728 (2018–19)[2]
Student to teacher ratio14.88[2]
Color(s)Red , white , and black
RivalRichardson High School, Lloyd V. Berkner High School, J.J. Pearce High School, Plano Senior High School, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas
WebsiteOfficial school website

Lake Highlands High School (LHHS) is a secondary school serving grades 9–12 in the Lake Highlands area of northeastern Dallas, Texas, United States, primarily serving the Lake Highlands community. The school is part of the Richardson Independent School District and is in central Lake Highlands near the DART Blue Line. The Lake Highlands Freshman Center (which sits on the same property as LHHS) formerly housed the 9th-grade students, but has recently been integrated into the rest of the school, housing classes for all 9–12 students. The first graduating class of Lake Highlands High School was in 1964.


The first two schools in the Lake Highlands community were Lake Highlands Elementary School which, hosted grades 1-4, and Wallace Elementary, which housed grades 5-8, as the original high school building was under construction in 1959. Officially Lake Highlands High School was established in 1960 at what is now Lake Highlands Jr. High School at the corner of Ferndale and Walnut Hill. The current campus on Church Road was opened (albeit under construction) in 1964, with the class of 1970 being the first to graduate from the new campus.[3] The 1978 made for television film Cotton Candy (film) was shot at the high school. The film was both directed and produced by Ron Howard.

On May 16, 1983, Lake Highlands High School was the site of a fatal armed robbery when Billy Conn Gardner (1943-1995) entered the school's office, shot and fatally wounded 64-year-old cafeteria supervisor Thelma Row, and stole $1,600 in cash. Gardner was sentenced to death for the crime and was executed by lethal injection in 1995.[4][5]

On May 30, 2021, valedictorian Paxton Smith replaced her approved speech to the graduating class to attack the limitations on abortion in Texas Senate Bill 8 of the 87th legislature, a heartbeat bill signed by the governor earlier that month.[6][7]


In 2002, the school received a Blue Ribbon award from the U.S. Department of Education.[8]

Extracurricular activities[edit]


The school mascot is the Wildcat. This is also the mascot of several of the high school's feeder schools including Lake Highlands Elementary, Northlake Elementary, and Lake Highlands Junior High School.

Under coach Jackie Russell, the school won its first state title in 1964 in Class 2A Cross Country. Russell's cross country squads would repeat in 1965 in Class 3A and in 1966.[9]

The school's football team has been in the UIL regional and state playoffs numerous times, and won the class 5A state championship in 1981. The school has won district championships in baseball over 20 times since 1964.[citation needed]

The school has also won several district titles in boys Basketball including winning the 1968 and 2023 State Championships in Class 3A and 6A, respectively.

Boys golf won the Class 5A Team State Championship in 1988.[10]

The powerlifting team won Texas High School Powerlifting Association State Championships in 1982, 1983 and 1987.[11] The school won National High School Powerlifting Championships in 1983 and 1986.[12]

As the second high school in the Richardson Independent School District, the Wildcats maintained a long standing rivalry with the Richardson High School Eagles. The two teams shared the old Greenville Avenue Stadium, which was located by the now RISD Administration Building, before both schools opened stadiums on their respective campuses. With the opening of L.V. Berkner High School and the eventual sharing of Wildcat-Ram Stadium, that rivalry naturally occurred. Recently, a rivalry with the J.J. Pearce High School Mustangs has grown. Outside of the RISD, the Wildcats and Plano Senior High School have played each other since the 1960s, while a recent rivalry had blossomed with Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas due to both proximity and the fact that the private school pulls a large number of its students from north Dallas, often from the RISD areas.

Opened in 1969 as "Lake Highlands Stadium", RISD's Wildcat-Ram Stadium is located on the western border of the campus. The stadium is shared with L.V. Berkner High School as the Berkner campus is home to a natatorium but not a full size stadium. The facility seats approximately 9,000 and was upgraded to field turf in 2000. The 2006 bond issue included funds to renovate the original pressbox and a new videoboard in the north endzone replaced the original scoreboard in the south endzone. Prior to the installation of the artificial playing surface, Wildcat-Ram had served as the showcase facility for the Dallas Cup youth soccer tournament due to the fact that it was the only facility of its size with natural grass inside Interstate 635. It was re-named for the mascots of both schools after the opening of Berkner's permanent campus in 1970-71.teams.[13] Lake Highlands and Berkner have long been rivals in football and other sports.[citation needed]. Wildcat-Ram Stadium earned the nickname "The Boneyard" from LHHS students and fans and local sports media in reference to the team's use of the wishbone formation rushing attach and suffocating defense under then head coach Mike Zoffuto. It also utilized as the home field for both of Lake Highlands High School's feeder junior highs, Lake Highlands Junior High School and Forest Meadow Junior High School, which end their football regular seasons with the annual "Battle for the Boneyard" trophy.

The Multi-Purpose Activity Center ("MAC") was completed in 2021 as part of the renovation of the entire campus. The 78,000 square foot facility includes an 80 yard indoor practice field and 24,000 square feet for offices, locker rooms, weight room and sport support areas.[14]


The school is the home of the "Wildcat Band", which consists of the Wildcat Marching Band, Jazz Band, several Concert Bands (including Concert, Symphonic, and Wind Ensemble), Winterguard, Percussion Program, Symphony Orchestra, and puts on a yearly Musical. The Symphonic Band made its first trip to the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in December 1971. Later that school year, the band was selected as the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Honor Band and performed at the TMEA convention in February 1973. In 2021, the Marching Band was ranked as the top marching band in Richardson ISD, for the first time in the school’s history, after being named Grand Champion at the Midlothian Marching Showcase.[citation needed]

Dance team[edit]

The school is home of the "Wildcat Wranglers", one of the few high school Country/Western dance teams existing in the United States.[citation needed]

The school is also the home of the "Highlandettes", a Texas-style dance squad. They have performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade numerous times, as well as at many Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, and Dallas Mavericks games. They have also danced in Dublin, Ireland for the St. Patrick's Day parade; in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii, London, England; and Italy.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^,that%20the%20first%20class%20graduated.
  2. ^ a b c "LAKE HIGHLANDS HS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  3. ^,that%20the%20first%20class%20graduated.
  4. ^ "Killer of a Cafeteria Worker Is Executed in Texas". The New York Times. Associated Press. February 17, 1995.
  5. ^ Christina Hughes Babb (June 19, 2017). "The lunch lady murder, Lake Highlands High School". The Lake Highlands Advocate.
  6. ^ Talia Richman (June 2, 2021). "Lake Highlands valedictorian's speech against Texas 'heartbeat bill' goes viral". The Dallas Morning News.
  7. ^ "Abortion: Texas teen attacks new law in high school graduation speech". BBC News. June 3, 2021.
  8. ^ "Blue Ribbon Schools Program, Schools Recognized 1982-1983 Through 1999-2002 (PDF)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2009.
  9. ^ Toler, Carol (April 15, 2024). "LHHS Alumni Association presents Distinguished Service Awards". Lake Highlands.
  10. ^ "Golf Historical Archives — University Interscholastic League (UIL)".
  11. ^
  12. ^ Richard, Darryl. "Thomas Jefferson -- Plano East Bi - District Show Reaches Act 3: Powerlifting." The Dallas Morning News, May 13, 1986, Page 9B.
  13. ^ "Wildcat-Ram Stadium - Dallas, Texas".
  14. ^ "Lake Highlands High School Addition and MAC Completed". 7 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Watch LH grad Scoot McNairy in AMC's new drama". The Lake Highlands Advocate. June 3, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  16. ^ "Don Welchel - Baseball Stats - The Baseball Cube".

External links[edit]