Student Art on Display at Highlander Festival

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Every year HPISD faculty review art from students district wide and curate the annual Highlander Festival district art show. Head over to Highland Park High School’s Palmer Auditorium today until 3:30 p.m. to check out the imaginative, impressive show. My cousin had a piece in the show, so I went to check it out yesterday. Let’s just say it really made me want to get back into the studio. Great job kids.


Lady Scots Ready For Playoff Push

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Riley Malone and the Lady Scots will open the playoffs tonight against Skyline. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

Riley Malone and the Lady Scots will open the playoffs tonight against Skyline. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

Earning the 600th win in program history is nice — so is defeating perennial TAPPS powerhouse Ursuline and winning a District 10-6A title in unbeaten fashion during its first season in the state’s top classification.

But the real focus for the Highland Park girls soccer team is on the postseason, and trying to add to its collection of four state titles with a roster that is as deep and talented as any in recent memory for the Lady Scots.

That quest will begin tonight, when the Lady Scots (19-0-2) will face Skyline (10-6-3) in the bi-district round at 6 p.m. at Lake Highlands.

Several seniors on this year’s HP squad were part of a group that won a 4A crown in 2012, and they want to return for another shot.


Pettit Apologizes For Role in Racist Chant

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Levi Pettit

Levi Pettit

By now, most of you have seen or heard at least part of the apology today from Highland Park High School graduate Levi Pettit for his role in a racist chant involving members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma earlier this month.

Pettit’s decision to speak out comes more than two weeks after a disturbing video of the chant went viral and sparked outrage around the world. His parents previously apologized on his behalf shortly after Pettit was publicly identified in the video. He and another SAE member, Jesuit alum Parker Rice, were subsequently expelled from OU and the fraternity chapter was closed. The incident sparked protests both on and off the OU campus.

Pettit apologized as part of a press briefing involving religious and civil-rights leaders in Oklahoma, and pledges to work to promote cultural diversity in the future. At first glance, his poise is admirable and his words seem sincere. What do you think? Should Pettit be applauded for his efforts to promote healing, or does it feel like a PR stunt? Watch the apology here if you haven’t already.


Planetarium Director Is a Star Among Stars

Donna Pierce has been the director of Highland Park High School’s planetarium since 1979.  (Photo: Chris McGathey) 0
Donna Pierce has been the director of Highland Park High School’s planetarium since 1979. (Photo: Chris McGathey)

It’s a Saturday afternoon and the Pierce Planetarium is full of 5-year-olds running around enjoying their peer’s birthday party.

Amid all of the chaos is Donna Pierce, the planetarium director, wearing a makeshift NASA spacesuit. Three of the 5-year-olds make their way into the planetarium’s main room with their lightsabers. Pierce offers to turn out all the lights so the kids can see them glow.

Highland Park ISD turned its old science wing into the planetarium in 1969. Ten years later, Pierce joined as its director.


UPFD Receives Grant to Boost Training

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University Park fire chief Randy Howell accepted a check on Tuesday from Scott Ragland of Ragland, Strother & Lafitte. (Photo: Steve Mace)

University Park fire chief Randy Howell accepted a check on Tuesday from Scott Ragland of Ragland, Strother & Lafitte. (Photo: Steve Mace)

In the fire service, saving lives is only part of the job. Firefighters spend countless hours training and honing their skills to ensure they’re prepared to respond to any emergency.

So that’s where the University Park Fire Department will use its $5,469 grant it received on Tuesday from Ragland, Strother & Lafitte and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. The grant will purchase training props, skills stations, and technical evolution simulators for the department’s training tower.

“Firefighters put themselves in grave danger every day,” said UPFD chief Randy Howell. “It’s critical they have the proper training and education to do their jobs safely and effectively. The result is a community whose residents are better protected.”


Don’t Fear The Reaper

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Columnist Len Bourland

Columnist Len Bourland

March is a peculiar month.

It has tornadoes but also the emergence of the first shoots of bulbs and leaves. It’s the solemnity of Lent but also the carnival atmosphere of spring break. It’s spring cleaning, a time when we can no longer avoid that dreaded tax workbook we find under that pile of clutter on the desk.

Glumly we are reminded that nobody escapes death or taxes. For the Baby Boomers, that first part, death, is in the news. At least that is what Harvard physician Dr. Atul Gawande in his best-seller Being Mortal explores in a concise summation of “the medicalization” of death.


TAG Seniors Enjoy A Night at Gilley’s

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Mallory Davis and Libby Shelmire

Mallory Davis and Libby Shelmire

The seniors in Highland Park High School’s talented and gifted program (TAG) enjoyed a night out together on March 22.

Senior co-chairs Mallory Davis and Libby Shelmire planned the “Talk Nerdy to Me”-themed event for more than 75 of their classmates at Gilley’s.


Mooney to Sign Books at Barnes and Noble

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Mike Mooney (Photo: Matt Shelley)

Mike Mooney (Photo: Matt Shelley)

Michael Mooney, a writer for our sister publication D Magazine, will be signing copies of his book, The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle, at the Lincoln Park Barnes and Noble tonight. The story is this: Mooney wrote a story for D on the famous sniper, then an e-book, and now that e-book is being turned into a physical book.

D‘s esteemed editor Tim Rogers gives his two cents on the upcoming appearance here.

The reading will take place at 7 p.m. at the Northwest Highway location in Lincoln Park shopping center.


UP, YMCA Release Construction Timeline

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The YMCA's website hosts detailed information on traffic impact. (Map: YMCA Dallas)

The YMCA’s website hosts detailed information on traffic impact. (Map: YMCA Dallas)

University Park held a community meeting with YMCA officials on March 19 to release updates on the Moody Family YMCA’s projected timeline. Basically, construction is slated to take place between April 2015 – August 2016 as follows: 


Communications Director Leaving HPISD

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Helen Williams

Helen Williams

After more than a decade as the versatile communications chief for Highland Park ISD, Helen Williams is moving back to her home state of Louisiana.

Williams will step down on June 5 from her post as director of communications for the school district to begin a new job in New Orleans, a move she said she’s been contemplating for the past few months.

“It has been a tremendous joy to be a part of the team in Highland Park ISD. This is a truly special community, and I thank the students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members I have had the honor to work with for the last 11 years,” Williams said. “Certainly, one highlight was marking the district’s centennial and celebrating its past, present, and future. I thank the HP family for the incredible support and partnership and for the many wonderful friendships that have resulted from our work together.”


Can Economics Mesh With the Environment?

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The latest entry in the SMU Cox Southwest Venture Forum is on tap Thursday, focusing on the finances behind growing sustainable and environmentally friendly companies.

The expert panel includes Phil Arra, managing partner of Terra Verde Partners; Wes McDaniel, founder and CEO of Ideal Impact; and William Huckin of NeoVerde. Entrepreneur presenters include Hugh Carspecken of DartPoints and Bill Donges of MySnapCam. The moderator is John Holzgraefe of Hunton & Williams.

The program will run from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Dallas Country Club, and will be preceded by a 30-minute networking session. Seating is limited, but you can register here. Call 214-768-9050 for more information.


Belles Honor New Social Officers

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The new social officers include, from left, Claire Green, Courtney Yancey, Peyton Schlachter, Shanley Huckabee, and EJ Turner.

The new Highland Belles social officers include, from left, Claire Green, Courtney Yancey, Peyton Schlachter, Shanley Huckabee, and EJ Turner.

The Highland Belles recently held their annual end-of-year banquet, and that means the announcement of new social officers and award winners for the Highland Park High School drill team.

First, the new officers, selected by their peers and directors to organize and implement various social and outreach activities during the upcoming year. They include Claire Green (president), Courtney Yancey (vice president), Peyton Schlachter (secretary), Shanley Huckabee (treasurer), and EJ Turner (chaplain).

There were some other honors presented at the banquet as well, including those for Turner (Most Improved Belle), Avery Mercurio (Best Attitude Sophomore Belle), Green (Best Attitude Junior Belle), Elizabeth Kraft (Best Attitude Senior Belle), and Chandler Ramey (Best Belle).