Category: Education

Community Rallies Around Grieving Family to Create Scholarship

Photo courtesy of Meredith Smith 0
Photo courtesy of Meredith Smith

Friends remember Highland Park native Hunter Smith as a faith-driven man who brought joy to everyone he came across. “He was a larger than life figure,” said longtime friend Ann Higginbottom.

Hunter, 29, died in April while on a weekend getaway with friends at his family ranch when the pickup truck he was riding in hit a ravine. The impact threw Hunter from the truck bed, killing him instantly.

“He never met an enemy,” Hunter’s younger sister Meredith said. “He was the sweetest, most sincere, sensitive guy.”

About a week later, Meredith and her older sister, Libby, received a text message from Higginbottom and another family friend, Ellen Kershaw. The text read, “From two sisters to two sisters,” and outlined a plan to establish a scholarship in Hunter’s name.

HPHS Senior Swim Party

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Annie Snell, Flora Kate Richards, and Claire Johnson

Annie Snell, Flora Kate Richards, and Claire Johnson

Highland Park High School Senior Girls will kick off their final year with a class swim party this Sunday Aug. 28 at the Village Country Club. Co-chairs Annie Snell, Flora Kate Richards, and Claire Johnson have been leading the host committee efforts this summer. All senior students at HPHS will be invited.

UP Elementary Welcomes New Principal

Principal Candace Judd comes to UP Elementary from Richardson ISD, where she has 25 years of experience. (Photo courtesy of HPISD) 0
Principal Candace Judd comes to UP Elementary from Richardson ISD, where she has 25 years of experience. (Photo courtesy of HPISD)

When students arrive Aug. 22 to start a new school year at University Park Elementary School, Candace Judd will have already settled in to her new role as principal.

“I am delighted to welcome Candi Judd to our leadership team,” HPISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg said in a press release. “Her instructional leadership combined with her experience, enthusiasm, and ability to collaborate with parents and other stakeholders makes her an outstanding choice to lead University Park Elementary. I am confident that she will help UP soar to even higher heights.”

PTAs Strive to Build Better Schools

HPISD PTAs organize fundraising events such as the Hyer Bazaar and campaigns like Mad for Plaid. (Courtesy Photo) 0
HPISD PTAs organize fundraising events such as the Hyer Bazaar and campaigns like Mad for Plaid. (Courtesy Photo)

They say it takes a village to raise a child. One important component of Highland Park ISD’s village is the Parent Teacher Association. PTAs provide volunteers, generate extra funds, and remain involved in any possible way within a school district.

Park Cities People asked three PTA presidents what makes up a successful PTA and what the HPISD community can look forward to for the 2016-17 school year.

What are the key components to a successful PTA?
Lisa Kilpatrick, HPHS: The willingness of the parents to volunteer and take an active role in their students’ education.

Park Cities School of Music Celebrates Five Years with Talent Show

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Park Cities School of Music will ring in their five-year anniversary this fall with a celebration of young talent in the Park Cities and beyond.

Founder and instructor Eva Brandys, along with her staff of elite music teachers, will host a Talent Show & Open House September 10, in which kids ages 5-18 can step on stage and perform for the chance to win a guitar and a trophy, and to have their picture seen on

There will be drinks and bites and an art activity room where kids can participate in an art contest produced by Park Cities School of Music’s sister school, Lakewood Conservatory of Fine Arts, specializing in music, art and dance lessons. 

HPISD Announces $5.8 Million Grant

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Highland Park ISD released a statement Aug. 15 announcing that the Moody Foundation bestowed a $5.8 million grant to the district during the superintendent’s convocation. The district believes it is the largest donation ever given to a Texas school district. Funds will be distributed throughout the next five years to support STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs within the district.

“This will be a major step forward in the way instruction is delivered to our students in these important subjects,” said Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg in a press release.

According to Joe Taylor, President of the HPISD Board of Trustees, the district has been working to secure the grant since 2014. He said the timing of the announcement could not have been better. 

Keeping Faith in Education

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Holy Trinity Catholic School principal Jill Fallon felt there was something missing in most Catholic schools in the Dallas area.

A deep appreciation for her faith and for keeping families together, as well as her years of experience in early childhood development and special education, inspired Fallon to create the Immaculate Heart program for dyslexic students, which she initiated in the spring semester of 2016.

Fallon says that students with dyslexia are among the most underserved and underperforming students in Catholic schools. Parents often have to separate children with learning disabilities into more expensive programs at non-faith-based schools.

Fallon considers the program a “pilot” for more individualized education for dyslexic students across the diocese.
“My goal is to keep our academic rigor and keep the bar high, but provide the support that children with dyslexia need.

March into the New School Year


HPBandThe award-winning Highland Park High School band will lead residents on a march into the new school year at their third annual Highlander Band March-A-Thon August 13.

The parade kicks off at 9 a.m. in front of Highland Park High School on Emerson Street and will end at about 10:15 a.m. at Snider Plaza, where the band will perform by the fountain.

Guests are invited to cheer along the route as HPISD superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg leads the band as grand marshall alongside HPHS Principal Walter Kelly.