Westside High School (Houston)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Westside High School
14201 Briar Forest Drive
Houston, TX 77077
Coordinates 29°45′34″N 95°38′16″W / 29.75944°N 95.63778°W / 29.75944; -95.63778
School type Suburban public secondary school
Founded 2000
School district Houston Independent School District
Principal Peggi Stewart
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,940
Language English
Color(s) Blue, Black and Silver             
Mascot Westley The Wolf
Team name The Wolves
Newspaper The Howler
Yearbook Canidae
Communities served portions of the Westchase District, South Eldridge Parkway portion of the Houston Energy Corridor, Walnut Bend, Briargrove Park

Westside High School is a secondary school in Houston, Texas, United States. It serves grades 9 through 12 and is part of the Houston Independent School District.

The school is located at 14201 Briar Forest in Houston, Texas, in the 77077 zip code. Westside High School is outside of Beltway 8, east of State Highway 6, inside State Highway 99 (Grand Parkway), and south of Interstate 10 (Katy Freeway) in the Briar Forest area.

Westside is HISD's Magnet School for Integrated Technology.[1] The program allows students to look at technology from one of five aspects: Fine Arts, Business, Media Relations, Applied Science/Health Science, and Computing Sciences. During the first year, all Magnet students take a technology survey course, a modular course that introduces them to the five strands of the program. The second year, students are asked to choose one of the five strands on which to focus their elective courses.

Westside High School is also known for its academic programs, ranking #463, #196, #230, #245, and #1,958th in Newsweek magazine's 2005,[2] 2006[3] 2007,[4] 2008, and 2013[5] lists, respectively, of the top 2,000 high schools in the United States. Among the school's faculty is the 2005 Houston Independent School District Secondary Teacher of the Year, Nobuo Cedric French.

Many students in other parts of Houston ISD transfer to Westside to escape home schools that do not have a good academic performance, causing the attendance figures of those schools to suffer.[6]

Westside athletics compete as the Westside Wolves, and the school's mascot is Westley the Wolf.


Westside opened in 2000 as a brand-new fifty-million-dollar building, taking about 1,000 students from Lee High School (now Margaret Long Wisdom High School), which was experiencing overcrowding.[7] Westside planned to compete with Bellaire and Lamar high schools in Houston ISD for "premier" status. It initially had a reputation as a school that could attract private school students to a public school.[8] When Westside opened, residents of the Lee attendance boundary were given the option to attend Westside instead of Lee, with no free transportation provided.[9] The school at first had 1,772 students, including 340 students who, in the previous school year, were not enrolled in HISD.[10]

Westside is so-named because it is located in western Houston.[11]

On June 22, 2005, a prank attack involving Molotov cocktails thrown at the building in the middle of the night resulted in minor damage. One classroom sustained a broken window and fire damage. As it was during summer break, no school activities were interrupted.[12]

By March 2006, Westside had posted slightly lower SAT and graduation rates than Lamar and Bellaire. In a March 2006 Houston Press article, Dr. Robert Sanborn, the president and CEO of the organization Children at Risk, said that Westside's "slow progress", as paraphrased by the article's author Todd Spivak, was more disappointing than Lamar and Bellaire's dropout rates.[8]

According to the October 2006 "For Your Information" newsletter, Westside was one of four high schools that took the most refugees from Hurricane Katrina.

At about 2:30 pm on April 10, 2008, 17-year-old Vincent Agwuoke, scheduled to graduate from Westside that June after almost four years, entered the deep end of a school pool during a physics class. A news article stated that students could not see him, apparently unable to swim, as his dark clothing blended with the painted lane. Agwuoke's body was taken out of the water and emergency crews performed CPR. He was taken to Hermann Memorial City Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.[13][14][15]

In fall of the 2008-2009 school year, a petroleum academy by the name of Westside Engineering and Geosciences Academy was opened at Westside High School. With a modern engineering laboratory class, it is funded by the IPAA and holds segregated classes solely for the 50 students allowed in this prestigious program each year.[16]

In 2007, 6% of high school-aged children zoned to Westside chose to attend alternative Houston ISD schools.[17]

In 2009, when Barack Obama made a televised speech to American students, about 300 students (10% of the student body) were opted out of watching the speech. Ericka Mellon of the Houston Chronicle said that of the HISD schools, Westside "appeared to draw one of the largest protests from parents."[18]

In 2010, Richard Connelly of the Houston Press said that Westside became "something of a success story for HISD."[19]


Westside viewed from the air

Westside is known for the dance troupe INERTIA DANCE CO. that has been featured in People magazine and on Good Morning America. At one point, a reality show was planned for the troupe.[20]

Westside High School has multiple state-ranked athletics programs. Westside won the Division II State Lacrosse title in 2004. Westside High School is a haven for nonconventional athletics programs, as it has a rugby team incorporated with a public high school in the Houston Independent School District. The Westside Wrestling program has won Districts for the past 10 years and has had four individual state champions: Courtney Sanders (215), Trent Murrell (160), James Hazzard (171), and John Pacheco (135)

Westside High School won its first SECME State Competition in 2008. The team featured Farhad Tavalaian, Victor Le, and Terrance Brady.


Westside is on a 50-acre (20 ha) campus,[21] located along Briar Forest Road, near Texas State Highway 6.[22] Several gated communities are in proximity to the school.[21]

The school was built for $50 million. The school has one auditorium, two theaters, four athletic fields, 11 music practice rooms, an orchestra hall, a band hall, a broadcast studio, a ceramics studio, and computer labs. Melissa Hung of the Houston Press wrote in 2000 that "The eating area resembles a college food court more than a high school cafeteria."[22]


Westside High School athletics logo

Westside High School's sports' mascot is the "Wolf". The girls' teams are sometimes known as the "Lady Wolves".

Front of Westside High School

Sports at the school include:[23]

  • American football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball (boys & girls)
  • Cross-country (boys & girls)
  • Golf (boys & girls)
  • Lacrosse (boys & girls)
  • Rugby (boys)
  • Soccer (boys & girls)
  • Softball
  • Swimming/diving (boys & girls)
  • Tennis (boys & girls)
  • Track & field (boys & girls)
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo (boys & girls)
  • Wrestling (boys & girls)

Organizations and clubs[edit]

Westside has about 50 clubs and organizations in addition to its athletic programs.[24]

Special interest[edit]

Asian Cultural Society, Bike Club, Black Student Union, BSA Advancement, BPA, Chinese Club, Christians on Campus, Close Up, Ecology Club, EOE Step Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Fitness Club, French Club, Future Farmers of America, Future Teachers of America, Gaming/Anime Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Guitar Hero Club, History Club, HOSA, Hot Air Balloon Club, Howlin' Respect, Humanities, Investment Club, Kite Flying Society, Latin Club, Math Club, Movie Buffs, Name That Book, Theatre Production, Technical Theatre, Playwrighting They Say Literacy Magazine Club, SECME, Ultimate Frisbee, Young Democrats, Young Liberal Minds of America Young Republicans, W.O.R.D.

Performing arts[edit]

Art Club (2D and 3D Animation, Drawing and Painting), National Thespian Honor Society, Orchestra, Band, Speech and Debate Team, Tri-Music Honor Society, Westside Choir, Westside Pride Dance Team, JV Inertia Dance Company, Inertia Dance Company, Marching Band

Academics and honors[edit]

Asian Honor Society, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl, Westside Engineering and Geosciences Academy, and the Academic Scientific Demonstration Club

Service and spirit[edit]

Cheerleaders, Drill Team, Ecology Club, Interact Club, Key Club, JROTC, L.I.F.E, Recycling Club, S.A.V.E. Club, SADD, Marching Band


Canidae (yearbook), The Howler (newspaper)

Outback program[edit]

Westside has a three-year entrepreneurship program designed by the National Restaurant Education Foundation to teach students about how businesses run.[25] Outback Steakhouse sponsors the program and helped build a full-scale commercial kitchen and dining hall directly into the school.

The school utilizes the restaurant as part of an entrepreneurship course,[26] titled "Entrepreneur 101: Realizing the American Dream."[27] The course, using a curriculum designed by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF), involves classroom study for first year (freshmen) students and restaurant operation performed by second year (sophomore) and third year (junior) students, supervised by Outback general managers and teachers.[28] As of 2003 there were six classes with a combined total of 140 students.[27]

Students learn the production aspect of the restaurant business in addition to basic business principles and cooking methods in the first year of the program, culminating in ServSafe certification by the end of the second year.[citation needed]

Aside from the program itself, the restaurant is open to students and the general public during lunchtime hours in the school year. Outback also caters exclusively for school functions.

Areas served[edit]

When Westside opened in 2000, it relieved the former Lee High School of about 1,000 students that year.[29]

The Westside High School zone[30] covers small portions of the Westchase district that are north of Westheimer and the South Eldridge Parkway portion of the Houston Energy Corridor. Westside also covers several other neighborhoods, including Ashford Hill, Ashford West, Ashford South, the Houston ISD part of Ashford Forest, Walnut Bend, Briar Oaks, Briargrove Park, Briar Village, Briarhills, Lakeside Enclave, Lakeside Forest, Lakeside Landing, Lakeside Place, Parkway Villages, Reflections, Shadowbriar, and April Village.

Several gated communities, including Lakes of Parkway, are zoned to Westside High School.

Students residing in the Margaret Long Wisdom (Lee) attendance zone,[31] including the Uptown district, the neighborhoods of Briargrove,[32] Briarcroft, Larchmont, Briar Meadow, Tanglewood, Gulfton, Tanglewilde, Shenandoah,[33] Sharpstown Country Club Estates, Woodlake Forest, West Oaks, Jeanetta, and St. George Place (Lamar Terrace) and small portions of Westchase east of Gessner, may go to Lamar High, Margaret Long Wisdom High, or Westside High School. Small portions of the city of Hunters Creek Village and Piney Point Village are zoned to Margaret Long Wisdom with Lamar and Westside as options.[34]

In late 2005, the school absorbed more than 200 refugees from Hurricane Katrina who had moved into the Westside zone.

Feeder patterns[edit]

Feeding from the Westside boundary[edit]

Elementary schools that directly feed into Westside[30] include:

  • Ashford (Pre-K through 2)[35]
  • Askew (Kindergarten through 5)[36]
  • Barbara Bush[37]
  • Daily [38]
  • Walnut Bend[39]
  • Emerson (partial) (the rest of Emerson indirectly feeds into Westside)[40]

Middle schools that directly feed into Westside include all of West Briar[41] and parts of Revere.[42] Residents of the Westside attendance zone and the Revere attendance zone may apply to West Briar.

Residents zoned to Ashford, Askew, Bush, Daily, Emerson, and Walnut Bend may attend Shadowbriar Elementary School; therefore it is a feeder school for Westside.[43]

Residents of the Emerson Elementary School attendance zone may apply for the Briarmeadow Charter School, so the K-8 school feeds into Westside.[44]

Feeding from the Margaret Long Wisdom boundary[edit]

Other schools also feed into Westside, since students zoned to Margaret Long Wisdom High School[31] have the option to go to Westside High School or Lamar High School.[34]

Middle schools that feed into Lee (and therefore also feed into Westside) include:


K-8 schools that feed into Lee (and therefore also feed into Westside) include:

All pupils zoned to Long and Pershing Middle Schools may attend Pin Oak Middle School.[58] Accordingly, Pin Oak also feeds into Lee High School.

Residents of the Briargrove, Emerson, Pilgrim, and Piney Point elementary attendance zones may apply for the Briarmeadow Charter School, so the K-8 school feeds into Lee.[44]

Residents zoned to Emerson may attend Shadowbriar Elementary School; therefore it is a feeder school for Lee (and therefore, Westside).[43]

Feeding from magnet schools[edit]

Some students who graduate from T. H. Rogers School in the 8th grade choose to go to Westside.[citation needed]

Feeding from private schools[edit]

Students of some private schools, such as Grace School, John Paul II School, and Presbyterian School, matriculate to Westside.[59][60][61]


Houston ISD provides school buses for students who live more than 2 miles (3.2 km) away from the school or who have major obstacles between their houses and the school. Students are eligible if they are zoned to Westside or are in the Westside magnet program.

A METRO bus stop (Briar Forest Drive @ Briar Home Drive) is located next to the school. Bus line 53 (Downtown/Galleria) stops at Briar Forest and Briar Home.

Notable People[edit]

  • Germain Ifedi - NFL Lineman
  • W.R. Bolen - New York Times Bestselling author of Total Frat Move

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Magnet Program for Westside High School". 
  2. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools". 
  3. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools". 
  4. ^ "America's Top Public High Schools". 
  5. ^ America's Top Public High Schools
  6. ^ "Transfer policy hinders schools". 
  7. ^ Viadero, Debra. "Personal Touches." Education Week. June 16, 2004. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Spivak, Todd. "The Also-Rans." Houston Press. March 2, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  9. ^ "Westside and Lee HS Boundaries." Houston Independent School District. October 3, 2000. Retrieved on May 7, 2009.
  10. ^ Hung, Melissa. "Going Public." Houston Press. Thursday September 28, 2000. p. 1. Retrieved on April 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "School Histories: the Stories Behind the Names." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  12. ^ "Vandal Throws 3 Molotov Cocktails At High School". 
  13. ^ Desel, Jeremy, Michelle Homer, and Carleton Cole. "Westside student drowns in school pool." KHOU-TV. Friday April 11, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  14. ^ Leahy, Jennifer, Peggy O'Hare, and Jennifer Latson. "HISD: High school student pulled from pool, dies at hospital." Houston Chronicle. April 11, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  15. ^ "Student dies after being pulled from pool." KTRK-TV. Friday April 11, 2008. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  16. ^ http://www.houstonisd.org/portal/site/HISDArchives/menuitem.8e2b79381bf69d9b00e45e10e041f76a/?vgnextoid=c01507e3e2b0c110VgnVCM10000028147fa6RCRD&vgnextchannel=e1b9393d9b623110VgnVCM10000028147fa6RCRD
  17. ^ Radcliffe, Jennifer. "Critics: In HISD, too many don't go where zoned / Black leaders argue bond has no fix to get kids back to schools in their neighborhoods." Houston Chronicle. Sunday October 14, 2007. B1 MetFront.
  18. ^ "Obama speech hit home for some, not for others." Houston Chronicle. Tuesday September 8, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  19. ^ Connelly, Richard. "Latest Principal Shifts In HISD Bring Grumbling." Houston Chronicle. January 27, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  20. ^ Neal, Rome. "Teaching Teens Success" (Archive). The Early Show, CBS News. November 1, 2004. Retrieved on December 22, 2015.
  21. ^ a b McClam, Erin. "Students adjusting after Hurricane Katrina." Seattle Times. Sunday November 13, 2005. Retrieved on November 3, 2013. - Also in the Eugene Register-Guard as "Katrina's kids learn to improvise", Sunday November 13, 2005, p. A4.
  22. ^ a b Hung, Melissa. "Going Public." Houston Press. Thursday September 28, 2000. p. 2. Retrieved on April 2, 2014.
  23. ^ "Westside High Sports". 
  24. ^ "Clubs And Activities". 
  25. ^ "Outback Cafe". 
  26. ^ Buchen, Irving H. The Future of the American School System. R&L Education, January 1, 2004. ISBN 1578861357, 9781578861354. p. 161-162.
  27. ^ a b "The main course." (Food for Thought).(Outback Steakhouse Inc., Westside High School, Entrepreneur 101: Realizing the American Dream, Houston, Texas)(Brief Article) Restaurants & Institutions, April 1, 2003, Vol.113(8), p.24(1).
  28. ^ "Students to run on-campus Outback branch." (News Digests).(Brief Article) Nation's Restaurant News, March 3, 2003, Vol.37(9), p.20(1).
  29. ^ Grossman, Wendy. "Tee Time." Houston Press. Thursday November 13, 2003. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 1.
  30. ^ a b "Westside High School Attendance Zone" (Archive). Houston Independent School District.
  31. ^ a b "Lee High School Attendance Zone", Houston Independent School District.
  32. ^ "Briargrove Subdivision." Briargrove Property Owners, Inc. Accessed September 24, 2008.
  33. ^ "Composite map of neighborhoods. Harris County Appraisal District. Accessed October 6, 2008.
  34. ^ a b Home page of Lee High School, as of May 9, 2005.
  35. ^ "Ashford Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  36. ^ "Askew Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  37. ^ "Bush Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  38. ^ "Daily Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  39. ^ "Walnut Bend Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  40. ^ a b "Emerson Elementary Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  41. ^ "West Briar Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  42. ^ a b "Revere Middle Attendance Zone." Houston Independent School District.
  43. ^ a b "Energy Corridor Boundaries" (Archive). Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on March 18, 2016.
  44. ^ a b "Registration." Briarmeadow Charter School.
  45. ^ "Briargrove Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  46. ^ "Benavidez Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  47. ^ "Piney Point Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  48. ^ "Rodriguez Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  49. ^ "Braeburn Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  50. ^ "Condit Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  51. ^ "Cunningham Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  52. ^ "St. George Place Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District. Retrieved on April 20, 2009.
  53. ^ "Sutton Elementary School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  54. ^ "Long Middle School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  55. ^ "Long Middle School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  56. ^ "Pershing Middle School Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  57. ^ "Pilgrim Elementary Attendance Zone," Houston Independent School District
  58. ^ "Pin Oak Middle School." The Southwest District. Houston Independent School District.
  59. ^ "Grace School Quick Facts," Grace School
  60. ^ "Middle School Overview," St. John Paul II Catholic School
  61. ^ "Beyond PS," Presbyterian School

External links[edit]