Sylvan Hills High School
|Sylvan Hills High School|
|484 Bear Paw Road
Sherwood, Arkansas 72120
|School type||Comprehensive Public High School|
|Motto||Building Champions—on the field, in the classroom, and in life!|
|School district||Pulaski County Special School District|
|NCES District ID||0511850|
|NCES School ID||051185000941|
|Principal||Mr. Tracy Allen|
|Faculty||61.04 (on FTE basis)|
|• Grade 9||370|
|• Grade 10||228|
|• Grade 11||188|
|• Grade 12||188|
|Student to teacher ratio||15.97|
|Education system||ADE Smart Core curriculum
Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science (2013–)
Arkansas Learning Academy School Support (2011–13)
|Hours in school day||7.0|
|Campus type||Suburb; large|
|Athletics conference||5A Central (2012–16)
5A Southeast (2008–12)
|Sports||Football, volleyball, golf, bowling, competitive cheer, dance, cross country, wrestling, basketball, swimming, archery, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field|
|Team name||Sylvan Hills Bears and Lady Bears|
|National ranking||2014: 1,522 of 2,110
2012: 1,556 of 2,008
|Average ACT scores (2012–13)||20.4 Composite|
|Newspaper||The Banner (1970–present)|
|Yearbook||The Bruin (1956–present)|
|Feeder schools||Sylvan Hills Middle School|
|Affiliations||Arkansas Activities Association (1959–)
College Board (1993–)
Paul Mitchell Schools
Sylvan Hills High School (SHHS) is an accredited comprehensive public high school located in the city of Sherwood, Arkansas, United States, serving grades nine through twelve. Sylvan Hills is one of six high schools administered by the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD). Prior to 1956, Sylvan Hills School instructed students through grade nine, until local citizens gathered to approve expanding the school to a senior high, resulting in its first graduating class in 1959. Then, due to the increasing population in the surrounding communities, the school moved to its current campus, adjacent to its former facilities, starting in the 1968–69 school year.
In 2014, Sylvan Hills was ranked No. 39 of 62 in the state and No. 1521 nationally amongst rated high schools in the Challenge Index high school scoring system with an index score of 1.629, which is the number of college-level tests given at a school in 2013 divided by the number of graduates that year. In 2012 and 2014, Sylvan Hills is listed unranked in the U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools report.
As of 2014[update], Sylvan Hills High's varsity sports teams have won 18 state championships across nine sports teams, primarily baseball.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Extracurricular activities
- 4 Notable people
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Early school history (1928–1956)
In 1928, the first building of the Sylvan Hills School was built at 8900 Highway 107 for students in the 1st–9th grades that lived in the Sylvan Hills community. This building, which was known as "Roy Todd Hall," no longer stands. In December 1928, the newly created Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) purchased two lots near the original building from Justin Matthews, Sr., for $550 each. As Todd Hall could no longer accommodate the growing population of students, the PCSSD built a new building for students in the 5th-9th grades, named "J. H. Forby Hall," which opened in February 1930 at a cost of $26,542. This is equivalent to $381 thousand in present-day terms.. Forby Hall contained eight classrooms and a gymnasium. This is the building that is now the Sherwood First Church of the Nazarene, located at 8800 Highway 107 in Sherwood.
In 1948, a third school building was built and was named "Gertrude Price Hall." Mrs. Price was one of the first teachers at the Sylvan Hills School. Today, this building is now the home of the Retirement Centers of Arkansas, Inc.
Original high school campus (1956–1968)
Established in 1956 to serve the nearby city of Sherwood and surrounding northeastern Pulaski County communities, Sylvan Hills High School was named after the early and heavily wooded community and to expand Sylvan Hills School, which previously served students from first through ninth grade. Between 1956 and 1959, students attended North Little Rock High School to graduate high school until the Sylvan Hills naturally expanded each year to accept students in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades. The complex that was completed in the fall of 1956 produced the first Sylvan Hills High School graduating class of 1959 consisted of 101 students with the baseball team making it to the state finals.
As the community grew population due, in part, to the 1955 development of the Little Rock Air Force Base in nearby Jacksonville, it became necessary to expand once again.
The current high school campus (1968–2015)
In 1967, the Baldwin Company began construction on a new 325,000 square feet (30,200 m2) high school facility, which cost $1.25 million (or $8.16 million in present-day terms.) Along with $250,000 in furnishings (present day $1.63 million)., the school consisted of 23 classrooms, a gymnasium and pressrooms, choir home, home economics department, cafeteria and a fully equipped library. In November 1968, 523 students and 32 staff moved into the present day Sylvan Hills High School, resulting in junior high students (grades 7–9) now occupying the older complex until 2011. Annexation of the combined high school, middle school and elementary campus locations from North Little Rock to the city of Sherwood occurred in 1976. Enrollment for 1976 shows 1,289 students at Sylvan Hills High School and 1,414 students attending Sylvan Hills Junior High School.    
Since 1962 the school has been accredited by AdvancED and by 1965 the school won its first sports state championship in baseball. When North Pulaski High School was opened in 1977, the school board zones were redrawn, which subsequently has led to a natural rivalry between the two schools throughout the years. In the 1990s, the high school facility began serving grades 9–12, shifting the junior high to be renamed as Sylvan Hills Middle School for grades 6–8. In April 2008, the school suffered severe roof damage from a storm's high winds resulting in over $750,000 (present day $834 thousand) in repairs. Following those repairs, the school dedicated the Jim Burgett Auditorium in honor of the school's musical director from 1967 to 1982. By 2011, major renovations had been completed to the school's gymnasium, bathrooms and the construction of a bridge to the practice field. Since the original construction, the school has added several smaller buildings, including the East and West buildings, the automotive shop facilities and has housed temporary buildings throughout the years based on changing student populations.
In fall 2011, a new 44 acres (18 ha) campus facility for Sylvan Hills Middle School opened for grades 6–8 students and staff, replacing the original high school (1955–1968) / middle school (1968–2011) facilities located adjacent to the high school and Sylvan Hills Elementary School campus. Since 2011–12 school year, the high school has used the former middle school campus as a 9th grade academy.
The high school and its new middle school are feed by Sylvan Hills Elementary School, Oakbrooke Elementary School, Sherwood Elementary School, and the William J. Clinton Speech Communications and Technology Magnet Elementary School, which is a 2008 National Blue Ribbon School.
Addition of Sylvan Hills Freshman Campus (2016-present)
In 2016, PCSSD opened the Sylvan Hills Freshman Campus after the closure of Northwood Middle School, due to an over-expansion of 9th graders at the high school.
Policy enforcement controversy
In 2010, Sylvan Hills was the subject of legal controversy surrounding the confiscation of a student's cell phone by school officials. Sylvan Hills' administration officials were enforcing the PCSSD policy regarding cell phone use by students while in the classroom, which is a violation of the PCSSD Student Handbook. According to the district's handbook, such a violation allows officials to confiscate the phone for two weeks before returning the device. These actions eventually resulted in the lawsuit Koch v. Adams on the basis that the officials' actions resulted in conversion and trespass to chattels. The trial court dismissed the case, which subsequently led to the case being heard by the Arkansas Supreme Court, which by unanimous decision had upheld the school district's policy and the lower court's decision to allow such confiscation and that no violation of state or federal policy occurred. As school districts around the United States have similar policies regarding students' cell phone use in classrooms, this legal decision has been widely discussed in the education community.
Awards and recognition
Since 1993, Sylvan Hills High School has been an institutional member of The College Board. In 2008, Sylvan Hills was recognized with an Arkansas Picturing America Award, which is an initiative by the National Endowment for the Humanities that brings masterpieces of American art into classrooms and libraries nationwide.
A Sylvan Hills student was named one of Arkansas' top two youth volunteers for 2009 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for acts of voluntarism. The scholar was honored for mapping and compiling information on the 3,500 gravesites at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery located in North Little Rock. The awards program is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). In 2012, AdvancED recognized the school for maintaining 50 years of educational certification.
|Enrollment by ethnicity (2012–13)|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||
|Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||
|Hispanic or Latino||
|Multiple or No Response||
Sylvan Hills is a closed campus; students are not allowed to leave school supervision during school hours.
|Enrollment by year|
|School Year||Total Students||Full-Time Equivalent Teachers||Pupil/Teacher Ratio|
As of the 2013–14 school year, the school had an enrollment of 870 students and 57.36 classroom teachers (on full time equivalent (FTE) basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 15.17:1 The student population at Sylvan Hills is predominantly White and African American, with a small Hispanic and Latino American minority and other minorities. The attendance rate is 90.4 percent and the dropout rate is 0.9 percent for Sylvan Hills students. Forty-five percent of students qualify for free or reduced price lunch; the state average is 60 percent.
Sylvan Hills receives federal funding via the Title I "schoolwide program".
The assumed course of study for Sylvan Hills students is the Smart Core curriculum, which is the Arkansas' college and career-ready curriculum for high school students. For the 2011–2013 school years, Sylvan Hills became a participant in the Arkansas Leadership Academy School Support Program to provide support to low performing schools designated by the Arkansas Department of Education as being in school improvement based on the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Since fall 2013, Sylvan Hills is a part of the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Mathematics and Sciences (AAIMS), a member of the National Math and Science Initiative, to strengthen the teaching of Advanced Placement mathematics, science, and English courses. For the 2014–15 school year, AP course offerings include:
Career and technical education offerings including building trades, cosmetology, and Cisco Systems network training, which can lead to state-licensure and professional certification. According to the Arkansas Department of Career Education (ACE), the Standards of Accreditation of Public Schools require that each high school offer three programs of career and technical education study in three different occupational pathway areas. Sylvan Hills High School offered 6 programs of study in 6 different pathways, including:
- Family & Community Services: Family & Consumer Sciences Education
- Maintenance, Installation & Repair: Industrial Equipment Maintenance
- Marketing Research: Marketing Technology & Research
- Network Systems: Computer Engineering
- Personal Care Services: Cosmetology (in partnership with Paul Mitchell Schools)
- Web and Digital Communications: Digital Communications
Since 2003, Sylvan Hills offers EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) classes, which are designed to help the school and community using state-of-the-art technology. In 2008 and 2009, Sylvan Hills was recognized as an EAST Founder's Award Finalist. Sylvan Hills serves special needs students with a full range of special education courses. The school has produced students who have received the AP Scholar with Honor award, National Merit Scholars, Finalist and Semifinalist honors, and Arkansas Governor's School and Boys/Girls State attendance.
Additionally, Sylvan Hills maintains a cadre of career teaching professionals with several educators qualified as National Board Certified Teachers. Throughout its history, the school's faculty have garnered various awards including the 1977 Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) Speech Teacher of the Year and 1988 Marketing Education Teacher of the Year awards.
In 2014, Sylvan Hills was ranked No. 39 of 62 in the state and No. 1521 (No. 1556 in 2012) nationally amongst rated high schools in the Challenge Index high school scoring system with an index score of 1.629, which is the number of college-level tests given at a school in 2013 divided by the number of graduates that year. In 2012, the index score was 1.444 for measuring year 2011 college-level tests.
Sylvan Hills students may take classes in journalism and creative writing to produce the award-winning online and print publications. Sylvan Hills is a member of the Arkansas Scholastic Press Association (ASPA), which provides an opportunity to compete in individual and school contests, seminars, and workshops. In 1994, the Arkansas Press Association (APA) awarded Dixie Martin, a Sylvan Hills teacher, with the APA's Journalism Educator Award to recognize her years of dedication and the quality of the publications. In 2014, ASPA awarded its Advisor of the Year award to Tonia Weatherford, NBCT, CJE.
First published during the 1970–71 school year, the student newspaper (The Banner) once served as the state's only high school weekly newspaper. Several students have won national Quill and Scroll Gold Key awards for newspaper feature articles, along with serving as state officers and capturing state-level awards at the annual ASPA convention, including the All-Arkansas Award (Superior) rating. In recent years, the print publication has been supplemented with an online edition.
Since 1956, the school's yearbook (The Bruin) has served as an annual print publication that chronicles the students, teachers and staff activities throughout the school year. Throughout the years, the publication has garnered All-Arkansas Superior and Excellent awards while student writers and photographers have won awards in individual competitions for onsite contests and for published works in the yearbook at the annual ASPA convention.
In previous years, the school maintained a literary magazine (The Breeze), which showcased student works in poetry, artwork, photographs and creative writing. In 1985 and 1986, the Breeze was awarded Excellent and Superior awards, respectively, by the National Council of Teachers of English Program to Recognize Excellence in Student Literary Magazines (PRESLM).
Visual and performing arts
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
The school band programs consist of jazz, concert and marching bands. The Marching Bear Band is led by Mark Bailey, a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) in Music/Early Adolescence Through Young Adulthood.
The Sylvan Hills Marching Bear Band locally known for their numerous awards and 1st division ratings over the years from the Arkansas State Band and Orchesration Association (ASBOA). The Sylvan Hills High School Band has won the ASBOA Sweepstakes Award for receiving 1st division ratings in concert band composite, sight-reading and marching band composite scores for the years 1993-2007 and 2010.
Concert Choir has garnered several Division I (Superior) ratings at regional and state choir festivals administered by the Arkansas Choral Directors Association (ArkCDA). In 2005 and 2009, the Male Chorus received the Best in Class award at the Arkansas State Choral Festival. The Sylvan Hills 9–10 Girls have won four consecutive Best in Class for the 5A Female Chorus – Medium competition at the 2013 through 2016 state festivals.
The program is led by Elaine Harris (NBCT), who in 1998 and again in 2011, was awarded the Senior High Choir Director of the Year Award from the ArkCDA Central Region.
Sylvan Hills theater program educators lead various classes and theatrical productions involving drama and stagecraft that are produced by students and held at the school's Jim Burgett Auditorium and beyond. In 2010, Sylvan Hills' Thespian Troupe 2945 were invited to perform on the main stage of International Thespian Festival 2010 after receiving multiple awards for Fences at the thespian festival sponsored by the Arkansas Chapter of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA).
Honor society organizations that academically qualified students draw participation include math (Mu Alpha Theta); science (Science National Honor Society (SNHS)); vocal and instrumental music (Tri-M Music Honor Society); journalism (Quill and Scroll Society); drama (International Thespian Society); and Spanish language (Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica), in addition to National Honor Society and National Beta Club.
The Sylvan Hills High School mascot is the bear with blue and white serving as the school colors.
Individual and team sports are primarily sanctioned by the Arkansas Activities Association.
|Fall Sports||Winter Sports||Spring Sports|
|Boys' Golf||Boys' Basketball||Baseball|
|Girls' Golf||Girls' Basketball||Fastpitch Softball|
|Volleyball||Cheerleading||Boys' Track and Field|
|Football||Boys' Bowling||Girls' Track and Field|
|Boys' Cross Country (XC)||Girls' Bowling||Boys' Soccer|
|Girls' Cross Country (XC)||Girls' Soccer|
For the 2012–2014 seasons, the Sylvan Hills Bears and Lady Bears participated in the 5A-Central conference, shifting from the now defunct 5A-Southeast conference.
The 5A-Central Conference members included:
- Helena-West Helena Central Mighty Cougars
- Little Rock Christian Academy Warriors
- Jacksonville Red Devils
- McClellan Crimson Lions
- Mills University Studies Comets
- North Pulaski Falcons
- Pulaski Academy Bruins
- Sylvan Hills Bears
The Lady Bears soccer teams won the spring 2013 and 2014 5A Central Conference championships with the 2014 squad reaching the state semifinals. The boys' and girls' track teams of spring 2014 lifted the 5A Central conference trophy.
For the 2014–2016 seasons, the Sylvan Hills Bears and Lady Bears will participate in the 5A-Central conference.
The 5A-Central Conference members include:
- Beebe Badgers
- J. A. Fair War Eagles
- Jacksonville Red Devils
- McClellan Crimson Lions
- Mills University Studies Comets
- North Pulaski Falcons
- Pulaski Academy Bruins
- Sylvan Hills Bears
Starting with the 2014–15 school year, Bill Blackwood Field at Bears Stadium shifted from natural grass to synthetic turf and replaced track surfaces, which will allow the school to host its own track meets. On September 19, 2014, the Bears football team won its first home game played on the new field with a 48-9 win over the Newport Greyhounds.
In fall 2015, the Bears captured the 5A Central Conference regular season crown in boys' golf. In spring 2016, the Bears baseball baseball squad won the 5A Central crown and was state runner-up losing 4-1 to the Magnolia Panthers in the 5A state championship finals. In spring 2016, the Lady Bears won their 3 consecutive conference title in girls' track.
For the 2016–2018 seasons, the Sylvan Hills Bears and Lady Bears will again participate in the 5A-Central conference.
The 5A-Central Conference members include:
- Beebe Badgers
- J. A. Fair War Eagles
- Little Rock Christian Warriors
- Little Rock McClellan Crimson Lions
- Mills University Studies Comets
- Little Rock Parkview Patriots
- Pulaski Academy Bruins
- Sylvan Hills Bears
In December 2016, Sylvan Hills finished as state runner-up in the 5A State Cheerleading Championships.
Sylvan Hills Bears teams have won championships in several sports and disciplines. It has won seven state baseball championships in 44 tournaments, with a state-record 65 victories. Its players have won nine Arkansas Baseball State Tournament MVP trophies. SHHS has hoisted two girls' track and field, two boys' golf, two girls' golf, one football, one boys' basketball, one slow-pitch softball, and one volleyball state championships, along with one state and multiple national cheerleading titles.
|Football state championships|
|School Year (Fall)||Winning Team||Losing Team||Class||Location
(all in Arkansas)
at Buerkle Field,
Arkansas Tech University
|War Memorial Stadium||10-4|
Home football games and track and field meets are held at Bill Blackwood Field at Bears Stadium, which is named for a long-time school supporter, bus driver and official scorer. In 1980, Sylvan Hills captured its first conference title (AAAA-Central) and its sole football state championship with a record of 11-0-1 after scoring consecutive playoff shutout games, crushing Helena 41-0 in the state semifinals before blanking Springdale 24-0 in the Class AAAA state title game. The Bears returned to the AAAA state finals in 2002. As of 2013[update] the team won its last division title when it captured a share of the 2004 AAAAA-East conference title. Previously, the Bears football teams were crowned as the 1989 AAAA-North, 1994 AAAA-Central, and 1999 AAAAA-East conference champions.
The only football jersey number retired at Sylvan Hills, belongs to Ricky Baez. While Ricky was playing in a 1976 football game, he collapsed from a brain aneurysm and was medivaced to a nearby hospital where he unfortunately died a few days later. It is because of this that the Bears have retired the number 55 and no longer allow any player to wear his number. A photo of Ricky, his #55 jersey, and a proclamation from the Arkansas House of Representatives is located in the school's trophy case.
Sylvan Hills High girls' and boys' golfers compete in various fall tournaments each year for team and individual championships, capturing four state team championships, two each for the boys and girls. The boys' team won its first Class AA state team golf championship in 1968, then took home the Class AAA state title in May 1977. In 2006 and 2007, the boys' golf team finished as the Class 6A state runner-up. In 2007, the boys' team lost the Class 6A team title in a playoff hole to Mountain Home. The Lady Bears have found similar success of the golf course. In 1977 and 1978, Teresa Healy won back-to-back the girls' individual state golf title. The girls' team won the state championships in 1979 and 1981.
Individual golfers have been selected for All-Conference and All-State honors. Golf alumnus include Jon Poteet, the 1984 Arkansas State Golf Association (ASGA) Junior Player of the Year and winner of the ASGA Junior Stroke Championship.
Sylvan Hills High volleyball team compete in a fall schedule of matches decided by a best-of-three game format with non-conference and conference opponents for the opportunity to win the conference championship, selection and seeding in the state tournament, and potentially a state championship. In 1977, the Sylvan Hills volleyball team finished 28-2 and won its first Class AAAA state volleyball championship in the state's second year of competition. More recently, the Lady Bears won the 2003 4A Southeast and 2008 and 2009 5A Southeast conference titles. Individual players have been recognized with All-Conference, All-State, and All-State-Tournament honors.
|Basketball state championships|
|Winning Team||Losing Team||Class||Location
(all in Arkansas)
|2004||Wilbur D. Mills
North Little Rock
Wilbur D. Mills
In 1973, the Bears made it to the Class AAA state tournament semifinals before losing to a Marvin Delph-led Conway team that won back-to-back state titles in 1973 and 1974. Since 2000, the boys' basketball team has made the state championship finals on three occasions, winning its first title in 2012. In 2011 and 2012, Archie Goodwin was selected as the Gatorade Arkansas Boys' Basketball Player of the Year. In 2011, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 28.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, leading the Bears (25–4) to the Class 5A state final. In 2012, he led the Bears to a 27-5 record on its way to the school's first 5A basketball state championship. Goodwin is a two-time All-State selection. In November 2011, an assembly was held in the SHHS gym for Goodwin when he signed papers to commit to become a Kentucky Wildcat.
- Boys': Conference Titles - 2004 (12-2, 4A Southeast) 2011 (14-0, 5A Southeast), 2012 (14-0, 5A Southeast)
- Girls': Conference Titles - 1984 (AAAA North), 2010 (13-1, 5A Southeast)
|Baseball state championships|
|School Year||Winning Team||Losing Team||Class||Notes|
|Don Adams, pitcher, is Tournament MVP|
|1965||Sylvan Hills (2)||
|Andy Duncan, outfielder, is Tournament MVP|
|1972||Junction City (4)||
Sylvan Hills (3)
|Phil Bradley, outfielder, is Tournament MVP|
|1974||Sylvan Hills (6)||
Camden Fairview (3)
|Brent Rook, pitcher, is Tournament MVP|
|1978||Sylvan Hills (8)||
Pine Bluff (2)
|Kevin McReynolds, outfielder, is Tournament MVP|
|Tracy Brown, outfielder, is Tournament MVP|
|Chad Taylor, outfield, is Tournament MVP|
Sylvan Hills (3)
|2005||Sylvan Hills (8)||
|Brandon Eller, pitcher/outfielder, is Tournament MVP|
|2008||Sylvan Hills (5)||
Watson Chapel (4)
|D. J. Baxendale, pitcher, is Tournament MVP|
Sylvan Hills (1)
The Bears baseball team has been to twelve state championship games, taking the state title seven times (1965, 1974 (statewide); 1978, 1981 (Class AAA); 2003 (Class AAAA); 2005 (Class AAAAA); and 2008 (Class 6A)). Starting with the school's inaugural year, Don Adams led the Bears to its first championship game in 1959. After reaching its second title game two years later in 1961, Sylvan Hills finally captured its first state title in 1965. The 1974 Bears lifted the school's second state baseball trophy with a then-state record 33 wins. In 1978, Kevin McReynolds led the Bears to the Class AAA state baseball championship and was named Arkansas Baseball Player of the Year.
In more recent years, the Bears won conference baseball titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2016. In 2008, D. J. Baxendale helped his team to the state title as a junior. In his senior year, Baxendale earned All-American honors from several organizations, including Gatorade Arkansas Baseball Player of the Year.
Located adjacent to the high school campus and leveraged by the school is the Kevin McReynolds Sports Complex, named after a major league baseball player who attended Sylvan Hills High School, is a 180 acres (73 ha) park featuring seven baseball fields, five softball fields, a soccer field, three concession stands, playgrounds, pavilions, and covered bleachers.
When the state's softball competition was played as slow-pitch softball, Sylvan Hills won its first Class AAAAA state softball championship in 2000. They returned the following year to finish as the Class AAAAA state runner-up in 2001. In fastpitch softball, the Lady Bears more recently won three consecutive conference titles with the 2012 5A Southeast, and 2013 and 2014 5A Central conference titles. Individual players have been recognized with All-Conference, All-State, and All-State-Tournament honors throughout the years.
Track and field
Sylvan Hills High athletes compete in various invitational and conference track and field meets each spring for team and individual event championships. In 2003 and 2004, the girls' track and field team won consecutive Class AAAA state championships. Depending on individual past performances and Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) qualification standards, athletes may be invited to the state's annual Meet of Champs. Since 2004, Courtenay Brown has held the Class 5A state record in the 200 meter dash with her 24.99 second run. Since 2007, Jeff Henderson maintains the state high school decathlon record in the 100 meter dash with his 10.84 second run. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, the girls' track team won 5A Central conference track titles. The boys won the 2014 conference title.
The Bears and Lady Bears fielded tennis teams representing the school for many years. The girls' tennis team won the AAAAA-East Conference championship in 2000 and 5A-Southeast Conference runner-up in 2008.
Since the school has opened, Sylvan Hills cheerleading and dance teams have been supporting interscholastic teams. Since the 1999–2000 school year, Sylvan Hills has been producing competitive cheer teams against state and national competition and becoming the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) National Cheerleading Champion (Super Large Varsity).
Tragedy struck the school and the community on 18 March 2004, as three Sylvan Hills cheerleaders were involved in a fatal automobile accident that took their lives at the intersection of Arkansas Highway 89 and Arkansas Highway 5 near Cabot. That same year for 2004–05, Sylvan Hills won the National Cheerleading Champion (Super Large Varsity) division at the American Spirit Championships (ASC). A 3 Cheerleaders Memorial Scholarship has been created to honor their memories.
In 2005–06, the competitive cheer team won the national title sponsored by the World Cheerleading Association (WCA) and its second NCA National Cheerleading Champion (Super Large Varsity) title. In 2009–10, the cheer squad won the Class 5A state cheer championship title.
Clubs and traditions
Sylvan Hills students participate in a variety of leadership, business, affinity groups and career-centric pursuits ranging from membership, activities, events and conferences supported by such groups as: Art Club, Science Club, Student Council, Fire Marshals, Key Club, SkillsUSA, DECA, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Spanish Club (either named Los Conquistadores or Los Osos with "Osos" being the Spanish word for "Bears") and the aforementioned honor societies, performing arts programs and the EAST Program. In previous years, other organizations and events existed such as Model United Nations, Y-Teens, the DAR Good Citizens Award program, and a Belle and Beau contest.
As is common throughout the United States, Sylvan Hills students participate in annual events and school dances such as the annual homecoming football game and dance, a Sadie Hawkins dance, a Powderpuff flag football game, the Miss Sylvan Hills pageant, the selection of Top 10 seniors (as selected by staff) and the year-end prom before graduation. For the graduation ceremonies, graduates typically wear academic regalia including blue gowns with blue mortarboard caps and blue-and-white tassels. Honor graduates wear a gold honor cord, students in the top 10% academically wear white gowns, with National Honor Society members wearing gold stoles, Beta Club members with gold tassel, Mu Alpha Theta members with blue cord, and Quill & Scroll members with blue and gold cord.
The following are notable people associated with Sylvan Hills High School. If the person was a Sylvan Hills High School student, the number in parentheses indicates the year of graduation; if the person was a faculty or staff member, that person's title and years of association are included:
- Wes Bentley (1996)—Film actor; notable roles in American Beauty and The Hunger Games.
- Billy Bock (Coach, 1971–74)—Inductee, American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, National High School Coach of the Century.
- John Burkhalter (1976)—Businessman and politician..
- Marc Franklin (1983)—Musician; The Bo-Keys trumpet player.
- Archie Goodwin (2012)—Professional basketball player; two-time Arkansas Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
- Jeff Henderson (2007)—Athlete, 2016 Olympic long jump gold medalist, Arkansas high school state decathlon record holder in 100-meter dash; 2014 USA Outdoor national champion in long jump; Team USA–2010 & 2014 IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships.
- Douglas House (1971)—Politician; Arkansas House of Representatives, District 40.
- Mark Lowery (1975)—Politician; Arkansas House of Representatives, District 39 in Pulaski County.
- Kevin McReynolds (1978)—Retired Major League Baseball player and member of National High School Hall of Fame.
- Terry Tiffee (1997)—Retired Major League Baseball player and Olympic medalist.
- Ashur Tolliver (2006)—Major League Baseball player
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