Bringing old-school traditions back to Lake Highlands High

Seniors painted the train trestle before DART installed light rail

Lake Highlands High School Student Council sponsor Erin Chesal and cheer sponsor Alan Kirby are on a mission. They want to uncover favorite student body events and traditions from the past, and work to rebuild the customs that helped make LHHS great.

But they need your help.

Kirby and Chesal have shared their quest on social media, and they’re encouraging Wildcat alums and parents to spread the word.

LHHS graduate Renee Barry Barfoot shared their idea on Facebook’s Lake Highlands High School Alumni page Tuesday night and had almost 50 responses by morning.

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“Victory dances after football games,” suggested one. “Bring back the pep squad,” suggested another. “Sell spirit ribbons,” prompted several.

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“At Friday pep rallies we had the ‘tower of jerseys’,” recalled Sondra Smith McClendon. At every pep rally, the jersey of a newly-defeated opponent was added to a pole, to a chorus of cheers.

“The most prominent tradition that has gone by the wayside is the Highlandette uniform,” lamented alum Keith Whitmire. “It was original and unique – even though a ton of starch was needed on those skirts. Now [Dettes] go with the cowgirl look like every other drill team.”

Several alums mentioned the senior class tradition, begun in the 1960s after the city widened and paved Church Street, of painting the railroad trestle over White Rock Trail. The practice ended in the early 2000s due to safety concerns when DART installed their light rail system, but the Lake Highlands Junior Women’s League has plans to beautify the trestle area as a gateway to Lake Highlands. Funds from their 2019 Run the Highlands will be used to clean up the area, establish a memorial plaza and install signage making the entrance more prominent.

Of course, a few old traditions aren’t likely to return.

“There was burning down or blowing up the parking lot attendant’s hut, or what we called the Zeke House,” remembered Stephanie Sabourin, “and there was sneaking a cow up to the second floor as a senior prank, and the drama club initiations with people standing on tables in the cafeteria quoting Macbeth, and Latin Club’s slave day. Somehow I don’t think any of it would fly these days.”

If you have ideas, you may email Erin.Chesal@risd.org or Alan.Kirby@risd.org.

Old style Highlandette uniforms required heavy starch to keep skirts stiff
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