Thomas Jefferson High School (Dallas)

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Thomas Jefferson High School
4001 Walnut Hill Lane


United States
Coordinates32°52′50″N 96°50′43″W / 32.8806°N 96.8453°W / 32.8806; -96.8453Coordinates: 32°52′50″N 96°50′43″W / 32.8806°N 96.8453°W / 32.8806; -96.8453
Other nameTJ[1]
TypePublic high school
MottoPride. Achievement. Tenacity. Success. (PATS)[2]
School districtDallas ISD
PrincipalSandi Massey[2]
Teaching staff111.03 (FTE) (2018–19)[3]
Enrollment1,723 (2018–19)[3]
Student to teacher ratio15.52 (2018–19)[3]
Color(s)  Columbia blue
  Cardinal red[1]
Athletics conferenceUIL
MascotThe Patriot[2]
NewspaperThe Reveille Edit this at Wikidata

Thomas Jefferson High School, also known as TJ High School, is a public high school in Northwest Dallas, Texas (USA) that serves grades 9-12. The school is part of the Dallas Independent School District and is classified as a 5A school by the UIL. The school is named after the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson.


Until 1972, the (Confederate) Rebel served as school mascot and the Confederate Battle Flag was a recognized school emblem. The negative associations of both symbols led to a change following desegregation of Dallas schools in the early 1970s.[4][5][6] In the 2005-06 school year, the school celebrated its 50th anniversary.[7]

In 1987 John Kincaide, the athletic director of DISD, said that the district is prepared to allow Jefferson to be reclassified by the University Interscholastic League (UIL) from athletic class 5A to athletic class 4A; the UIL had the possibility of demoting the school to athletic class 4A as part of its biannual reclassification.[8]

On October 20, 2019, the school was heavily damaged by an EF-3 tornado.[9] Students were relocated to the former Edison Middle School,[10] and are expected to remain there for at least the rest of the 2019–20 school year.[11][12]

Neighborhoods served[edit]

Jefferson serves several sections of Dallas, including a portion of Walnut Hill, Walnut Hill Lane and the adjacent residential area, the apartment complexes along the Webb Chapel Extension, the Love Field neighborhood, and The Creeks of Preston Hollow.[13][14][15] It serves a portion of the Preston Hollow area.[16]

The campus[edit]

The class of 1965 had 962 members, the largest graduating class of any high school in Texas up to that time.[17]

Beginning in the mid-1980s, TJ's student body changed from predominantly white to predominantly Hispanic/Latino. Although the school is located in a primarily white neighborhood, most students come from majority-Hispanic areas north of Love Field.

The high school shot put record was set at the Golden West Invitational in 1979 by then-senior Michael Carter, who threw the 12-pound shot 81 feet, 3-1/2 inches. As of June 2006, the record had yet to be broken or even approached.[18]

In 2006, the League of United Latin American Citizens provided uniforms for all 20 members of the TJ boys' soccer team after learning that the team, which had taken second place in the athletic district, had been unable to afford to outfit the full team for the previous four years.[19]

On September 16, 2011, football team won their first homecoming game in many years, sparking a large celebration by the students and faculty.[20]


For over a decade,[21] the school has offered an elective course in Holocaust studies. The semester-long history study culminates in a set of student presentations on Holocaust Remembrance Day as part of a day-long museum on campus, often including a presentation from a local survivor of the tragedy.[22] The course was instituted by former U.S. Holocaust Museum educator and present TJ history teacher Cathleen Cadigan.[21]

The language program includes Spanish classes for heritage and novice speakers of the language, as well as a program in Mandarin Chinese that began under a former principal.[23] The Chinese program includes an exchange component in which a small number of students have been able to travel to Hainan, China to study during the Dallas school's summer vacation.[24]

Student discipline[edit]

Use of recreational drugs[edit]

In the mid-2000s students at TJ called the school the "Cheesehead Factory" due to the presence of the heroin-based drug Cheese. A hall monitor at TJ first discovered Cheese in 2005 when the monitor discovered it in a bottle of Tylenol PM held by a student. During the height of the epidemic, around 2005/2006, students were using the drug in class and in the restrooms. In the 2005-2006 school year there were 43 cheese-related arrests of students by the DISD police. Principal Edward Conger combated the problem by installing a new discipline program. In the 2007-2008 school year there were around 21-22 arrests. In 2011 there were two arrests.[25] In 2012 Erin Nicholson of the Dallas Observer wrote that the school "had reportedly done a pretty good job of ridding it from their hallways."[26] Thomas Jefferson's "Street Team", a club attributed to bring drug awareness throughout the school, continues to bring an increasing number of students pledging to be drug free each year.

In 2014 there were incidents of TJ students abusing prescription drugs.[27]

School culture[edit]

Thomas Jefferson historically had a school rivalry with W. T. White High School. David Seeley, a senior editor of the Dallas Observer, wrote in Texas Monthly that the rivalry was "at its peak" in the mid-1970s with fistfights occurring regularly at Loos Field during the homecoming games where Thomas Jefferson was playing against W.T. White; Jefferson students perceived W.T. White students as snobby while W.T. White students perceived Jefferson students as low class. By 1982 the schools no longer competed at homecoming games and they had been placed in separate athletic districts.[28] This rivalry, however, continued into the 2010s. A 2014 vandalism incident at W.T. White involved the words "TJ" being spraypainted, but the administration of W.T. White expressed a belief that the vandals were W.T. White students.[29]

According to Seeley, as of 1982, students from both schools frequently socialized with other high school students along Forest Lane on Fridays, and W.T. White and Thomas Jefferson had the largest numbers of students there. High school students "cruised" along Forest Lane beginning in the early 1960s.[30]

Feeder patterns[edit]

The following elementary schools feed into Jefferson:[31]

  • David G. Burnet
  • F.P. Caillet
  • Leonides Cigarroa
  • Tom W. Field
  • Stephen C. Foster
  • Obadiah Knight
  • Julian T. Saldivar
  • Walnut Hill

Three middle schools, Edward H. Cary, Medrano, Thomas J. Rusk (partial), feed into Jefferson.


The TJ Patriots compete in the following sports:[32]

The school habitually has a post-class dismissal cookout scheduled on the day of the homecoming American football game.[33]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "General Information / General Information". Thomas Jefferson High School. Dallas Independent School District. Retrieved July 4, 2019 – via
  2. ^ a b c "General Information / Quick Facts". Thomas Jefferson High School. Dallas Independent School District. Retrieved July 4, 2019 – via
  3. ^ a b c "Search for Public Schools - Thomas Jefferson H S (481623001289)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  4. ^ Elliott, Karen (September 14, 1971). "Black students stay out"". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1A. Jefferson students also complained about the Rebel theme at the school, despite white students' agreement not to fly the Rebel flag or play Dixie at football games.
  5. ^ Elliott, Karen (September 15, 1971). "Estes to get complaints". The Dallas Morning News. p. 1A.
  6. ^ "Students vote today". The Dallas Morning News. April 13, 1972. p. 1D.
  7. ^ "Thomas Jefferson High School Alumni Association". Thomas Jefferson High School Alumni Association.
  8. ^ "DISD Will Let Pinkston, TJ Drop to Class AAAA". The Dallas Morning News. December 2, 1987. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
  9. ^ Smith, Corbett (October 22, 2019). "More than 20 Dallas-area schools still closed Tuesday, as recovery from weekend tornadoes continues". The Dallas Morning News.
  10. ^ Allen, Silas (October 22, 2019). "After Tornado, Some Dallas Students Move to New Schools". Dallas Observer. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  11. ^ Woodard, Teresa (October 23, 2019). "'Warriors': Dallas ISD bounces back after tornadoes touch down across district". WFAA-TV. Students from the three campuses that suffered the most damage – Walnut Hill Elementary School, Cary Middle School, and Thomas Jefferson High School – are being relocated to other campuses for the rest of the school year and possibly beyond.
  12. ^ Allen, Silas (October 24, 2019). "Students from Tornado-Damaged Schools Return to Class". The Dallas Observer.
  13. ^ "Fall 2008 Thomas Jefferson High School Attendance Zone Grades 9-12" (PDF). Dallas Independent School District. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 7, 2008. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  14. ^ "Maps". City of Dallas. Archived from the original on August 15, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  15. ^ "Brochure" (PDF). The Creeks of Preston Hollow. Retrieved October 12, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Jacobs, Mary (January 7, 2009). "Preston Hollow adding Bushes to list of high-profile residents". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  17. ^ a b "Thomas Jefferson High School Class of 1965 Home". Archived from the original on October 27, 2005.
  18. ^ John Crumpacker. The Carter family puts its emphasis in Sacramento, San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2006
  19. ^ "LULAC Gives Uniforms to High School Soccer Team". Retrieved November 4, 2006.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Dallas Independent School District / Dallas ISD Home".
  21. ^ a b Dave Sorter. "TJ educator offers rare Holocaust high-school course, says lessons teach empathy," Texas Jewish Post (Fort Worth, Tex.), Vol. 63, No. 45, Ed. 1, November 5, 2009, pp. 3,25.
  22. ^ "Dallas ISD students create Holocaust museum," Dallas Independent School District, undated.
  23. ^ "Event highlights partnership between Chinese school, Thomas Jefferson," Dallas Independent School District, September 2012
  24. ^ Hobbs, Tawnell (September 10, 2012). "Chinese culture is abundant at Northwest Dallas school". The Dallas Morning News.
  25. ^ Kraly, Christine. "How Thomas Jefferson Students Kicked the Habit." D Magazine. January 18, 2012. Retrieved on November 7, 2013.
  26. ^ Nicholson, Erin. "Cheese Heroin Reappears at Thomas Jefferson." (Archive) Dallas Observer. Friday May 18, 2012.
  27. ^ New, Brian. "Concerns Over Prescription Drug Use At Dallas High School." CBS DFW. February 25, 2014. Retrieved on June 11, 2016.
  28. ^ Seeley, David. "Dear Parents of Dallas: Your teenagers Are out Hot-Rodding, Drinking Beer, and Flirting on Forest Lane Every Friday Night!" Texas Monthly. Emmis Communications, January 1982. Volume 10, No. 1. ISSN 0148-7736. START: p. 108. CITED: p. 164.
  29. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (December 1, 2014). "Principal: W.T. White students likely vandalized their own high school over the holiday weekend". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on June 25, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  30. ^ Seeley, David (January 1982). "Dear Parents of Dallas: Your teenagers Are out Hot-Rodding, Drinking Beer, and Flirting on Forest Lane Every Friday Night!". Texas Monthly'. Vol. 10 no. 1. Emmis Communications. p. 108. ISSN 0148-7736.
  31. ^ "Dallas ISD : Demographic Studies (2007-08 High School Cluster Feeder Pattern)". Archived from the original on May 17, 2008.
  32. ^ "The Athletics Department".[permanent dead link]
  33. ^ Allen, Silas (October 24, 2019). "Students from Tornado-Damaged Schools Return to Class". Dallas Observer. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  34. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (January 17, 2015). "50 years later, Meat Loaf's returning to Thomas Jefferson High as a distinguished alumnus". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on October 30, 2016.
  35. ^ Chamberlain, Adrian (March 13, 2007). "Meat Loaf, reheated: Singer says energy and voice are back, thanks to exercise and vocal coach". The Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on January 18, 2016 – via
  36. ^ "A. Allen Obituary - Charleston, South Carolina - J. Henry Stuhr Downtown Chapel". Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  37. ^ Marshall, Joe (July 2, 1979). "A Shot Heard Round The World". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014.
  38. ^ "Dave Huffman". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  39. ^ "Jimmy Jones Minor & Japanese Leagues Statistics & History". Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  40. ^ "A Look at 'Air Raid' Hal Mumme Football". December 30, 2004. Archived from the original on September 23, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  41. ^ "Liner notes to Dallas' Scene, Heard - Rare and Unreleased Tracks Compiled by the Dallas Observer". CBS Interactive. March 23, 2006. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012.
  42. ^ "The Monkees | Mike Nesmith". Rhino Records. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006.
  43. ^ "Glenn Robinson Stats". Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  44. ^ "Burt Sol;mons" (PDF). Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  45. ^ Wuntch, Philip (August 17, 2006). "'Boynton' star Brenda Vaccaro's still got the sass". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on September 3, 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2007 – via The Providence Journal.
  46. ^ Robert Wilonsky. "Yup. I Was a Cheerleader. Damned Proud of It. (Well...)," Unfair Park blog of Dallas Observer, April 12, 2007.
  47. ^ "House District 77". Archived from the original on November 11, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  48. ^ Owen Wilson bio at

External links[edit]

Alumni sites[edit]