Hillside High School (Hillside High) had its beginning in the Fall of 1954, upon the transfer of students from Westside High School, Kershaw, South Carolina.  Students officially moved into our new school in December of 1954. Most students were a bit excited, some nervous and others a bit reserved.  After all, some students were bused more than 15 miles away.  It did not, however, take long before all students were in full swing.  Many of our teachers were just as excited, but they too were ready for the challenge.  During our first two weeks of school, the naming of our school took center stage.  While most of us believed the name had already been decided, we were, in a non-traditional way, given an opportunity to weigh in on the name.  The two choices were (a) Bird Patterson High School and (b) Hillside High School.  Needless to say, the name Hillside High School won hands down.

Our principal, Mr. Albert Hallback, was a strong disciplinarian who gave us little room to explore or just be more than high school students.  Mr. Hallback stayed on for one graduating class (1955). The graduating class of 1955 had a total of 36 students.  During Mr. Hallback’s tenure, a number of firsts were born:

  • 1954-55 our student government association elected Betty Lou Drakeford—Hunt as President and Obie Patterson as Vice President.
  • By this time several school activities were taking hold, such as the Drama Club, basketball, the May Day celebration and crowning of the King and Queen.
  • Our senior prom was the highlight of our senior year.
  • The fall of 1955 brought with it a new Principal, Dr. Wardell Nichols, who had a very engaging, free-flow leadership style.
  • Our first Miss Hillside came from the class of 1956, Wilma Jean Harris Roscoe.
  • Under Principal Nichols tenure, several new initiatives were established, such as our Glee Club, school song , football team, our mascot and school colors, just to name a few.
  • The lyrics of our school song were produced by Mrs. E. E. Walker, a prominent educator and well respected teacher at Hillside High School.
  • In 1958, the Hillside Bulldogs played their first football game.  The football team won the District 4 Championship just after three years (1959) of playing in the conference.  The mighty Bulldogs were undefeated, winning all six games only to be defeated in the playoffs by the Grenard High School football team from Gaffney, South Carolina.  The Bulldogs were led by captains Sam Mingo and Edward Truesdale.
  • The Hillside Lady Bulldogs won their first District basketball Championship game in 1966.
  • The Class of 1970 was the last graduating Class of Hillside High School.  All remaining high school students formerly attending Hillside High School were transferred to Andrew Jackson High School in Kershaw, South Carolina beginning in the fall of 1970.  In that same year, Hillside High School became Heath Springs Elementary School.

In our attempt to build upon our history, we made several calls to key members of Hillside High, reviewed the excellent information on the web—site, and contacted family members and friends for help.  It appears from our limited research that our very first reunion might well have been in 1977.  A conversation between James Dye and Jevon Birtha gave birth to what we believe was our first reunion. Several other reunions have taken place since 1977.  We are truly indebted to those Chairpersons who so willingly gave of their time and resources to ensure the success of our reunions.

Many graduates of Hillside High School have achieved very successful careers because of the solid foundation provided by our teachers and administrators. Collectively, we say thank you for your dedication and commitment in helping us reach our potential.

As we continue to embellish our history of Hillside High, we are seeking any other relevant, historical information that can be incorporated into our school history.  Please send all information to Obie Patterson at 13103 L’Enfant Drive, Fort Washington, MD 20744.

Our Hillside website was established on August 30, 2013.


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