This Sunday, officials and alumni celebrated the Centennial of Booker T. Washington High School (BTWHS) during our “Homecoming Weekend”, which was executed October 28 – 30th. Of the three events the culminating experience took place on Sunday at noon 2501 Flora, St. Dallas, TX 75201 for their Centennial. The October 30th event commemorates the opening of the doors to the historic building 100 years ago. The event was well attended by BTW Bulldog Alumni from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, as well as 45 years of Arts Magnet Alumni.
The centennial celebrated with Reception sponsored by: BTWHSPVA PTSA and Guilds from 12-2 and then continued with a reception in the M R and Evelyn Hudson Art Gallery. Immediately afterward along with Dr. Scott Rudes, BTWHS Principal, a host of alumni ranging from 1940 to 2021 gathered outside the historic building for remarks from esteemed alumni, DISD administrators and celebrity alumni that included American singer-songwriter, record producer, actress BTWHS PVA alumni (1989), Erykah Badu.
The Queen of Neo Soul, Badu stated, “my favorite thing to was to stay after school really late to practice anything that did not have to with school and use the resources.” Badu along with Centenarian Ruth Price-Sander, Alumna 1939, both returned to their education roots to assist in the burying a time capsule which will be opened in another one hundred years.
Booker T. Washington High School opened in 1922 as the new and only African American high school for the then-segregated Dallas ISD school system. Students came from all over Dallas and by 1931 enrollment had so vastly increased to over 2,100 that a half-day session was instituted. Later in 1952 “Technical” was added to the name as courses were added and the program expanded to five years. The school served the citizens of Dallas honorably for six decades celebrating many firsts: it was the first Dallas school to have a football game broadcast live on radio, and the first on television. Before integration, Booker T. Washington won more championships than any other African American school in the state of Texas. It was the first school in the Southwest to offer an accredited course in Negro Life and History and to organize a chapter of the National Honor Society. More than 400 past and present teachers and principals in DISD are graduates of Booker T. Washington and 11 schools are named in their honor.
In 1976 as part of the desegregation order, it became the Arts Magnet High School at Booker T. Washington and later was renamed as Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Since its inception, the school has continued to exemplify excellence garnering many awards and graduating outstanding alumni including 29 Presidential Scholars, the Texas Medal of Arts award from the Texas Cultural Trust, and earned the distinction for Exemplary Arts Education from the Rockefeller Foundation.