Happy New Year’s Eve everybody! 2020 is going to be a great year, but let’s take a look at the stories that made 2019 special.

Hamilton Park second graders on the playground.

1.Why Desegregation in Hamilton Park matters to you now

Named after Dr. Richard T. Hamilton, a prominent African American physician, the neighborhood was Dallas’ first planned black subdivision. The Dallas Interracial Committee and the Dallas Negro Chamber of Commerce (now the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce) created a joint committee to establish the neighborhood.

White Rock Skate Rink

2. 10 ways you know you grew up in Lake Highlands

Teens couldn’t wait to lace up their skates on the weekends. Families piled into booths for burgers and curly fries at Next Door. Longtime neighbors remember the man wearing a striped suit who doled out peppermints or Gertrude the chicken, who played tic-tac-toe in a glass box. You know you grew up in our neighborhood if…

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

3. 262-miles and 100 hours later, these Texas Water Safari adventurers survived to tell the tale

Seth Waits and his teammates plunged their paddles into the water of the San Antonio Bay at breakneck speed. Crew members couldn’t ignore the tightness in their shoulders or the muscle spasms in their forearms, but they dug in again and again. Their canoe surged forward and closed the gap between the competing vessel just 150 yards ahead. White-tipped waves crashed into the boat, which threatened to capsize, but Waits and his team continued toward the finish line in a dead heat. 

Matthew Morris. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

4. Why Lake Highlands High School Students Need Matthew Morris

Matthew Morris is everyone’s uncle. While visiting his family in San Antonio, he checked on a former Lake Highlands High School student who attends college there. He took the freshman and his teammates out for breakfast and bought them groceries. Morris is the coordinator of Lake Highlands High School’s Advancement Via Individual Determination program, which prepares students for college through developing their writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading skills. The support he offers students outside of the classroom defines his career as much as his daily lessons. 

5. How Orville Rogers ran until he was 101

Age is just a number

It’s hard not to be impressed with C.C. Young residents Anita Hullum and Orville Rogers. At 94 and 102, Hullum and Rogers are just as active as seniors as they were in their youth. Their bravado impressed Heidi Wagner, who photographed them for Dallas’ LeadingAge Meeting and Expo in 2013. As a result, she decided to include their photographs in The Passions Project, a series depicting seniors pursuing what they love. Wagner hopes the project contradicts stereotypes about growing old. “We fear aging, and we want to deny aging,” she says. “When you focus on your own aging, you stop living your life. When you focus on your passion, then you focus on your living.” 

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

6. He’s 100 and she’s 90: 3 love stories that will make your day

CC Young residents Paul and Clara Harris share a love story that’s withstood the test of time. It wasn’t long after they met in 1949 that they had to overcome that initial test — the first date. “She liked my brother-in-law more than me on the first date,” Paul says of their dinner with his sister and her husband. “But he was taken, so that left me.” 

Photography courtesy of Better Block.

7. Will Better Block’s spruce up of Five Points drop crime?

The Five Points intersection in Vickery Meadow has a new look. The area, one of the most crime-ridden in Dallas, was a point of interest for U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox’s program, Project Safe Neighborhoods. Over the past year, the program has proven effective, but while the crime rate has decreased, a recent murder in the area drove Assistant U.S. Attorney P.J. Meitl to engage the Oak Cliff-based nonprofit Better Block to transform the feel of the intersection.