“I have met so many adults who tell me how their high school years were like being in prison and how much they hated their teachers that I thank God for my Woodrow years.” -Orman Puckett ’56

Thanks, Orman. It was the same for me, only 20 years later. We even had many of the same teachers, Paul Allen, Wilhelmina Blevins, J. William Brown, Coach Jim Riley and Doyle Smith.

Some of you may remember my lament of Wyatt’s Cafeteria (the first was in Lakewood) and the loss of the Woodrow-owned Highland Park Cafeteria. Well you can still get baked eggplant at one of the last Wyatt’s at NorthPark and Casa Linda Cafeteria serves smothered steak on Wednesdays (HPC recipe). Now Luby’s is getting a Woodrow owner: Pappas Bros. Restaurants of Houston (Pappas Seafood, Steaks and Pappasito’s) is buying an interest in the company; Pete H. Pappas ’37 is chairman of the board.

Dr. Bob Smith ’40 has given $1,000,000 to fund the auditorium in the new Meadows Museum at SMU, opening this month. Many Woodrow students have visited the Museum at its old home, led by Betty Parrett showing the fabulous collection of Spanish art. Dr. Smith’s foundation has given nearly $6,000,000 to SMU and the pre-medical studies section of the new Dedman Life Sciences Building will also be named for him.

He was co-founder of Doctor’s Hospital.

Another distinguished alumna in science, Ann Hutchinson ’55, died in January. She helped develop the vidicon tubes used in cameras in space exploration. The devices brought back pictures of the surface of the moon from Surveyor in 1967 and her work traveled past Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the Voyger missions. Some of you may know that Ann’s father was principal of Forest (now Madison) High School. She was named SMU Alumna of the Year in 1969.

Since the ballyhoo broadcast about the State of Texas’ program that allows students from low-performing schools to transfer out to find better schools started a few months ago, I have a scoop I did not see reported in the media — the districts who accept such transfers were not named. I decided to check with our neighboring district, Highland Park. I received the following response.:”HPISD does not accept transfer students. Students must be residents (with proof of residence) within our district.” I responded by writing that I found it ironic that the home of so many voucher and school choice advocates would not accept transfers and further that the HPISD is suing the state to prevent paying part of its tax revenue to help poor and disadvantaged districts. I then requested a racial breakdown of the district. I received a response wanting to know who I was, which paper did I represent and that I would have to go through the director of communications. I believe this is supposed to be public information. I guess I could file a Freedom of Information request, but I think I can safely assume the district is still virtually all-white.

I hope I won’t receive death threats this time as I did the last time I wrote about Highland Park’s refusal to diversify its student body.

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