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The Lightning Letter

The Student News Site of James Lawson High School

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The Lightning Letter

The Lightning Letter

From Hillwood to Lawson

A look into our past so we can better our future
Hillwood Class of 2003, 9/11/2002
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Hillwood Class of 2003, 9/11/2002

In 1959, Hillwood Junior High was opened on property owned by the H.G. Hill family. Though starting as a junior high school, Hillwood eventually became an ordinary high school with grades 9-12.

Hillwood was one of the first I.B. world schools in Tennessee. As Hillwood remained prosperous and open for 64 years, their accomplishments grew. Having over 13 sports for students to choose from and 23 extracurricular activities. Some of Hillwood’s most significant accomplishments were the Hillwood Hilltoppers football team being state championship contenders in the 1990s before moving into Tennessee’s highest class, along with the baseball team winning Hillwood’s first state championship in any story in 1977. Another notable sports figure would be William Brennan (’81) going on to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. Along with success in sports and extracurriculars, Hillwood also devoted itself to a new, more open sense of culture.

The beginning of Hillwood was a new time for desegregated schools. Emotions were high, and tension was in the air. According to the bnabucketlist’s history on Hillwood, “most people from this time won’t acknowledge it, there as a high degree of racial tension and violence between the north Nashville students and those of the Hillwood, West Meade, Brook Meade, Charlotte Park and Belle Meade neighborhoods those first years.

“Early students talked about the racism and classism that students had to deal with since Hillwood was built on the cusp of both higher and lower budget sides of town. Students felt hate crimes, violence, and bullying every day”.

But as Hillwood progressed throughout the years, the culture grew from being full of hate to being full of togetherness. I spoke to Hillwood Alumni Lindsey Baydoun (’03) on Hillwood.

Baydoun writes, “It was an old school even then, and in many ways, it was an old school thought process (for example, with permission, the P.E. coach was allowed to spank us). However, the people at Hillwood were diverse – especially around 9/11, considering it was the South. I had great teachers and crappy teachers but overall had as good an experience as you can for high school”.

Hillwood also built a new sense of culture and community, and we as a community mustn’t forget about the progress we made when we moved on to our new life at Lawson.

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About the Contributor
Lennon Freitas, Staff Writer
Lennon Freitas is a junior at JLHS. After moving to Nashville from California and transferring out of homeschooling, Lennon is in his third year of public school. He writes on current world events and activism in America. Freitas is very active in the James Lawson theater company and is currently the co-president of the International Thespian Society. He also is a proud NHS member. Freitas enjoys Spider-Man, Paul Dano, and Dr Pepper.
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