Thomas Jefferson High School (Dallas)

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Thomas Jefferson High School
No mountain too high, No ocean too wide, Reaching our goals with Patriot Pride.
4001 Walnut Hill Lane
Dallas, Texas, 75229
Type Public
Established 1956
School district Dallas ISD
Principal Sandi Massey
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,500 (Fall 2012)
Color(s) Columbia blue and cardinal red
Athletics conference UIL
Mascot Patriot
Newspaper The Reveille
Information 972-502-7300 (office), 972-502-7301 (Fax)

Thomas Jefferson High School is a secondary school in Northwest Dallas, Texas that serves grades 9-12. The school is part of the Dallas Independent School District and is located at 4001 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas, Texas 75229. The school is named after the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, and locally is known simply as "TJ."

The school's colors are Columbia blue and cardinal red and its mascot is the Patriot. 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.[1][2][3] In the 2005-06 school year, the school celebrated its 50th anniversary.[4]


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.[5]

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.[6][7][8] It serves a portion of the Preston Hollow area.[9]

The campus[edit]

The class of 1965 had 962 members, the largest graduating class of any high school in Texas up to that time.[10]

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 shotput record was set at the Golden West Invitational in 1979 by then-senior Michael Carter, who threw the 12-pound shotput 81 feet, 3-1/2 inches. As of June 2006, the record had yet to be broken or even approached.[11]

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.[12]

On September 16, 2011, football team won their first homecoming game in many years, sparking a large celebration by the students and faculty.[13]


For over a decade,[14] 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.[15] The course was instituted by former U.S. Holocaust Museum educator and present TJ history teacher Cathleen Cadigan.[14]

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.[16] 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.[17]

School uniforms[edit]

Thomas Jefferson High School

Students are required to wear school uniforms.[18]

The Texas Education Agency specified that the parents and/or guardians of students zoned to a school with uniforms may apply for a waiver to opt out of the uniform policy so their children do not have to wear the uniform; parents must specify "bona fide" reasons, such as religious reasons or philosophical objections.[19]

Student discipline[edit]

Use of the drug cheese[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. [20] 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."[21] I[21]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.

Feeder patterns[edit]

The following elementary schools feed into Jefferson:[22]

  • 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.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ 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."
  2. ^ Karen Elliott. "Estes to get complaints," The Dallas Morning News, September 15, 1971, page 1A.
  3. ^ "Students vote today" (coverage of student vote for new symbols), The Dallas Morning News, April 13, 1972, page 1D.
  4. ^ TJ Alumni Association Main Page
  5. ^ "DISD WILL LET PINKSTON, TJ DROP TO CLASS AAAA." The Dallas Morning News. December 2, 1987. Retrieved on November 26, 2011.
  6. ^ "Fall 2008 Thomas Jefferson High School Attendance Zone Grades 9-12." Dallas Independent School District. Accessed October 12, 2008.
  7. ^ "Maps." City of Dallas. Accessed October 12, 2008.
  8. ^ "Brochure." The Creeks of Preston Hollow. Accessed October 12, 2008.
  9. ^ Jacobs, Mary. "Preston Hollow adding Bushes to list of high-profile residents." The Dallas Morning News. January 7, 2009. Retrieved on October 12, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Class of 1965 Reunion site
  11. ^ John Crumpacker. The Carter family puts its emphasis in Sacramento, San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2006
  12. ^ LULAC Gives Uniforms to High School Soccer Team
  13. ^ Dallas ISD home page
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Dallas ISD students create Holocaust museum," Dallas Independent School District, undated.
  16. ^ "Event highlights partnership between Chinese school, Thomas Jefferson," Dallas Independent School District, September 2012
  17. ^ Tawnell Hobbs. "Chinese culture is abundant at Northwest Dallas school," The Dallas Morning News, 10 September 2012.
  18. ^ Thomas Jefferson HS: Policies
  19. ^ Texas Education Code, Chapter 11, School Districts: Subchapter D, Powers and duties of board of trustees of independent school district: Sec. 11.162, School uniforms. Retrieved October 24, 2007.
  20. ^ Kraly, Christine. "How Thomas Jefferson Students Kicked the Habit." D Magazine. January 18, 2012. Retrieved on November 7, 2013.
  21. ^ a b Nicholson, Erin. "Cheese Heroin Reappears at Thomas Jefferson." (Archive) Dallas Observer. Friday May 18, 2012.
  22. ^ Feeder Pattern for Thomas Jefferson HS, 2006-07 School Year
  23. ^ Chamberlain, Adrian. Meat Loaf, reheated: Singer says energy and voice are back, thanks to exercise and vocal coach The Ottawa Citizen, March 13, 2007.
  24. ^ SF Chronicle
  25. ^ Dave Huffman profile at
  26. ^ "A Look at 'Air Raid' Hal Mumme Football,", December 30, 2004. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
  27. ^ Liner notes to Dallas' Scene, Heard - Rare and Unreleased Tracks Compiled by the Dallas Observer
  28. ^ Mike Nesmith, profile by Rhino Records
  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," 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 at

External links[edit]

Alumni sites[edit]

Coordinates: 32°52′50″N 96°50′43″W / 32.88056°N 96.84528°W / 32.88056; -96.84528