Thomas Jefferson High School (Dallas)

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Thomas Jefferson High School
4001 Walnut Hill Lane


Coordinates32°52′50″N 96°50′43″W / 32.88056°N 96.84528°W / 32.88056; -96.84528Coordinates: 32°52′50″N 96°50′43″W / 32.88056°N 96.84528°W / 32.88056; -96.84528
Other nameTJ
MottoPride. Achievement. Tenacity. Success (PATS)
School districtDallas ISD
PrincipalSandi Massey
Enrollment1,693 (2018-19)[1]
Color(s)Columbia blue and Cardinal red
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cheer
  • Cross Country
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling
Athletics conferenceUIL Region 2, District 6
NewspaperThe Reveille
YearbookThe Document

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.[2][3][4] In the 2005-06 school year, the school celebrated its 50th anniversary.[5]

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.[6]

Neighborhoods served[edit]

Jefferson serves several sections of Dallas, including the Love Field, Elm Thicket/North Park, Bluffview, Devonshire, Colony Square, Greenway Crest, Greenway Parks, Cochran's Chapel, and Shorecrest Estates neighborhoods and portions of the Walnut Hill, Preston Hollow, Kelsey Square, Midway Hollow, Bachman, and Bradford Estates neighborhoods.[7]

The campus[edit]

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

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.[8]

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.[9]

On September 16, 2011, football team won their first homecoming game in many years, sparking a large celebration by the students and faculty.[10]


For over a decade,[11] 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.[12] The course was instituted by former U.S. Holocaust Museum educator and present TJ history teacher Cathleen Cadigan.[11]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] 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."[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20]

Feeder patterns[edit]

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the following schools feed into Jefferson:[21]

Edward H. Cary Middle School
  • Leonides Gonzalez Cigarroa M.D. Elementary School
  • Stephen C. Foster Elementary School
  • K. B. Polk Center for Academically Talented and Gifted
  • Walnut Hill Elementary School
  • Sudie L. Williams Talented and Gifted Academy
Francisco "Pancho" Medrano Middle School
  • David G. Burnet Elementary School
  • Tom W. Field Elementary School
  • Jose "Joe" May Elementary School
  • Julian T. Saldivar Elementary School


The TJ Patriots compete in the following sports:[22]

Notable alumni[edit]

There are multiple TJ alumni, including graduates and non-graduates, who became athletes.[23]


  1. ^ "2018-19 School Profile Thomas Jefferson High School (TEA 7)" (PDF). Dallas Independent School District. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  2. ^ Karen Elliott. "Black students stay out" (article about a walkout by black students protesting the refusal of many white students to attend the majority-black schools to which they had been assigned), The Dallas Morning News, September 14, 1971, page 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."
  3. ^ Karen Elliott. "Estes to get complaints," The Dallas Morning News, September 15, 1971, page 1A.
  4. ^ "Students vote today" (coverage of student vote for new symbols), The Dallas Morning News, April 13, 1972, page 1D.
  5. ^ "Thomas Jefferson High School Alumni Association".
  6. ^ "DISD WILL LET PINKSTON, TJ DROP TO CLASS AAAA". The Dallas Morning News. December 2, 1987. Retrieved November 26, 2011 – via
  7. ^ "Dallas ISD SchoolSite Locator". SchoolSite Locator. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  8. ^ John Crumpacker. The Carter family puts its emphasis in Sacramento, San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2006
  9. ^ "LULAC Gives Uniforms to High School Soccer Team".
  10. ^ "Dallas Independent School District / Dallas ISD Home".
  11. ^ a b Sorter, Dave (November 5, 2009). "TJ educator offers rare Holocaust high-school course, says lessons teach empathy". Texas Jewish Post (Vol. 63, No. 45, Ed. 1). Fort Worth, Tex. pp. 3, 25 – via The Portal to Texas History.
  12. ^ "TJ High School museum provides startling reminder of the Holocaust". The Hub. Dallas Independent School District. May 26, 2015.
  13. ^ "Event highlights partnership between Chinese school, Thomas Jefferson," Dallas Independent School District, September 2012
  14. ^ Tawnell Hobbs. "Chinese culture is abundant at Northwest Dallas school," The Dallas Morning News, 10 September 2012.
  15. ^ Kraly, Christine (January 18, 2012). "How Thomas Jefferson Students Kicked the Habit". D Magazine. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  16. ^ Nicholson, Erin (May 18, 2012). "Cheese Heroin Reappears at Thomas Jefferson". Dallas Observer.
  17. ^ {cite news | last = New | first = Brian | url = | title = Concerns Over Prescription Drug Use At Dallas High School | work = CBS DFW | date = February 25, 2014 | access-date = June 11, 2016}}
  18. ^ 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 (Volume 10, No. 1. ISSN 0148-7736.). Emmis Communications. pp. 108, 164.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ 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. 110.
  21. ^ "High School Cluster Feeder Patterns, Magnet Schools, Special Programs, and Alternative Schools 2017-18" (PDF). Dallas Independent School District. August 21, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  22. ^ "The Athletics Department".
  23. ^ Wilonsky, Robert. "50 years later, Meat Loaf’s returning to Thomas Jefferson High as a distinguished alumnus." The Dallas Morning News. January 17, 2015. Retrieved on June 11, 2016.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ SF Chronicle
  26. ^ Dave Huffman Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine profile at
  27. ^ "A Look at 'Air Raid' Hal Mumme Football". December 30, 2004. Archived from the original on September 23, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  28. ^ "The Monkees | Mike Nesmith". Rhino Records. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  29. ^ "Burt Sol;mons" (PDF). Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  30. ^ Philip Wuntch. "She's in retirement, but it's all an act," Archived 2006-09-03 at the Wayback Machine The Dallas Morning News, August 17, 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2007.
  31. ^ Robert Wilonsky. "Yup. I Was a Cheerleader. Damned Proud of It. (Well...)," Unfair Park blog of Dallas Observer, April 12, 2007.
  32. ^ "House District 77". Archived from the original on November 11, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
  33. ^ "Owen Wilson bio". Archived from the original on November 28, 2007.

External links[edit]

Alumni sites[edit]