Waltrip Alumni Association

S.P. Waltrip Senior High Trivia and Highlights

Waltrip has the tallest flag pole in the area - when we opened it was the tallest in the state. Our original flag came from the nation’s capital and was brought by Mr. Waltrip’s friend and U.S. Congressional Representative, Mr. Albert Thomas. 

Waltrip was the first high school in Houston to have an original school song and it was written by Jon Enloe and Joe Stuessy, Class of 1961.  When Waltrip opened in the fall of 1960, there were 166 seniors, 288 juniors, 445 sophomores and 122 freshmen.  The Band started with 56 members. The first Issue of the “Tribune” was October 6, 1960 and they won Best sports writer in HISD 1960. We have had national merit scholars since the first class and in some classes eleven in one year. We had the National Defense Cadet Corp from the beginning, now ROTC. 

The columns in front of the school had no color but were painted bright red in the later years.  The window panes were originally red to match the roof line that is red. In 1961 the seniors gift to the school was landscaping, in the tradition of Mr. Waltrip.

We had a bowling club from the beginning and it was the largest extracurricular club. For the first 12 years , Waltrip won the Sportsmanship Award.

The Waltrip Band was the last band to play for JFK before his death and The Imperial Guard marched in the parade for JFK held in downtown Houston.

From the beginning, we had a number of organizations dedicated to leadership and service: High Y, Guard, NDCC, American Legion, Omega Chi Y, Tri Y, Hi Y, Student Council.  In 1961, Waltrip won the national forensic tournament and orchestra, ‘best in the state’ and had national merit scholars, all-state choir. 1962: “W” Association formed, national merit scholars, national debate, 11 UIL Music, VB City Champ, first zone in FB, Swim Team 6th in State. 1963 first winning FB season and we beat Reagan 12-0, was co-district FB champ, won golf championship and again was the best marching band and the first all-state choir members were:  Duane Kerr, Lynne Tuttle, and Jon Enloe. The “Gordonettes,” an all girl accapela choir, was  formed being named for Mr. Cotton.

In 1964, the first exchange student, BB Zone Champs, City FB Champs, Golf District and Volleyball City Champ. In 1965 we had the first color yearbook, FB Zone, BB District. In 1966, Waltrip opened a new wing at the school.

Pep Rallies were held on the porch roof, there were national and state honors for choir, art and poetry and the Tribune won 1st Columbia Scholastic Press. And the Golf team won District. Waltrip is the only school in Houston to win the City Championship in Football and Basketball in the same school year 66-67. Two boys played on both: Tim Duff and David Yaege. We had the national sewing contest winner 1968, Pam Sebasta,  and All American First Team in Football 1968, Frank Ditta. In 1969, President George Bush ’41 spoke at the school.  We had more national merit scholars, chemical scholar, state typing, choir and Prep Bowl Winners.  There was the basketball championship and we continued to win the Sportsmanship award. Zoning was a hot topic in 1970 and we continued to compete on all fronts in the 1970’s.  The Ram was stolen by Scarborough during homecoming week in 1973. Waltrip won the Texaco Academic Challenge in 1989. The Homecoming Parade began tradition in 1998.

In 2001, Waltrip was first recognized by TEA for the academic accomplishments and again in 2008, 2009. In April 2010, we ranked 4th in Best Urban High School for Low-Income Students in Texas and in the Top 6% of High Schools in America. Waltrip is one of only 6 HISD Comprehensive High Schools in HISD to achieve TEA Recognized Status.

As of 2022 graduation, Waltrip has 24,731 graduates. The highest graduating class was in 1972 with 762 and the lowest graduating class was 1998 with 128. 

Famous Graduates, Faculty and More History

Waltrip High School Band director Charlie Stephens receives the Opus Award

NEW YORK -- The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation presented its 8th annual music teacher awards at Carnegie Hall in New York on April 16, 2010

Five music teachers were selected from across the country to receive $10,000 each. The award recognizes music teachers who best emulate the personal characteristics and dedication of "Mr. Holland," portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss in the hit 1995 movie.


PTA Brick Patio dedication 10/2/10

The Waltrip Band played for President Kennedy the night before his assassination. My husband, Richard Gamel, was in the band and got to meet him. Also, he had an older cousin who was an attending physician in the emergency room at Parkland Hospital when they brought in the President. Kind of ironic that you would have two family members touched by the same historical event.


The professional wrestler known as The Undertaker graduated from Waltrip in 1983 as Mark Calaway. He was a member of the basketball team.

Year book photo

Basketball team photo

The actor Patrick Swayze Graduated from Waltrip in 1971 See Yahoo bio

Year Book Photos

Kennan McCardell, receiver for Tampa Bay, is from Waltrip. He caught a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVII.


Did you know that Texas Senior Senator John Whitmire graduated from Waltrip in 1968? 


Do you know why there is such a rival between Waltrip and Scarborough?  The first year for high school at Scarborough was 1971.  Tenth & eleventh graders that had been attending Waltrip that lived in Scarborough's zone now HAD TO go to Scarborough H.S.  Seniors had a choice to stay at Waltrip or transfer to Scarborough.

Just a tidbit for you:  I moved to Houston in 1971.  I understand that 1971 was the first year for zoning in HISD.  I graduated from Scarborough in 1973 (the first class to go all three years of high school at Scarborough).  Scarborough was a Jr./Sr. High School then (imagine letting your 6th grader going to school with seniors!!)

Homecoming at Scarborough was always with Waltrip.  My Sr. class, 1973, was the only class/time that the Ram (the one we just brought out again this year) was stolen by Scarborough students.  They pretended they were cheerleaders from Waltrip and the custodians let them in and they took it.  They were suspended and had to miss homecoming activities.  I was dating a football player and he was also in ROTC.  He and a group of other football players and ROTC members would spend the night on campus homecoming week to protect the school.

The feelings, Scarborough VS Waltrip, were the same then as it is now!


The first senior class of Scarborough was composed of about 100 students who resided within the Scarborough attendance zone who had been Waltrip students, many of whom were student leaders at Waltrip. They and their parents were disgruntled about their being made to go to Scarborough when it opened as a relief junior- senior combination school from Waltrip, Frank Black and Hamilton. They did things like picket the HISD building, stand up at the ball games when the Waltrip school song was sung or played by the band, wear Waltrip colors to school, etc. The Scarborough administration and teachers bent over backwards to please these students, their plight being understood and empathy was extended. However, Board policy was upheld.  Shortly before Thanksgiving, as I best recall, because of so much pleading and unhappiness caused by these students and their parents, they were told by board of education action they could return to Waltrip and make an orderly exit from Scarborough. These students were called to the auditorium by the administration, Woodrow Fromain, Principal at Scarbrough and previously principal at Fonville, and Perry B. Pope, then Assistant Principal at Scarborough and later principal at Waltrip, to be told the news, with the senior class president presiding. The students discussed the situation. They decided that by then they were content with being Scarborough's first senior class and they voted to stay at Scarborough. Thereafter, they exhibited loyalty and outstanding leadership at Scarborough as the first graduating class.  


Reading Dr. Teddy Pope's comments brought back a flood of memories.  As a member of the famous first graduating class of Scarborough  back in 1971, I had been uprooted from my beloved Waltrip (where I had been very active in the band and had lots of friends in that organization) and forced to go to a new school that had been open only two years as a junior high school, but was now anointed as a junior-senior high school!  I had been hearing rumors that this would happen all during that summer of 1970, but I had assumed that the transfer would not be applicable to seniors.  That's what I got for thinking.

I showed up for the first day of school at Scarborough in September 1970 feeling as though I were checking into Alcatraz.  I hated everything about the place, especially the junior high kids darting about.  I was 17 years old and surrounded by 13-year-olds!

I was a member of Scarborough's first high school band.  We had no uniforms, so all band members wore button-down short sleeve orange shirts, white duck pants and white shoes.  No hats.  Since there was no standard for buying the shirts (yes, each band member had to buy his/her own shirt and white pants.....I believe my mother bought mine at Sears), there were about 80 different shades of orange on display when the band took the field at football games (the football team played junior varsity that year....they did not qualify yet for varsity games).  I can still remember the humiliation of marching in our orange shirts and white pants while the opposing band marched in their flashy uniforms.  One of our favorite marching pieces that year was the theme from "Hawaii Five-O". 

I also remember the school song contest.  The music department hired a few composers to come up with a school song for Scarborough and, after many terrible submittals,  we finally arrived at the one we currently have ("As Spartans of long ago did fight, so let us now be in strife.....").

Although about 100 former Waltrip students had been brought to Scarborough against our wills that fall of 1970, we eventually realized that there was a very good side to this.  We had the opportunity to begin new traditions.  We "blazed the trail" for generations of future Spartans who are still coming to Scarborough.  We were treated with awe and respect by the younger students and even by the faculty.  At the end of the year, our class picture was put on display in the auditorium lobby trophy case and stayed there for many years (I do not know if it is still there, but it should be!) 

So Scarborough Spartans.....remember that the class of 1971 (now 53 year old geezers) is still watching you.  Make us proud!



Just an addendum to the first year of zoning in HISD. There were those of us at Hamilton J H in 1971 that had aspirations of graduating from Regan, but due to the new zoning regulations, were forced to go to Waltrip in '72. I guess it all worked out.


Shelley Duvall was born in Houston, Texas, July 7, 1949.

She is a 1967 Graduate of Waltrip High School.

Duvall's film career began when Robert Altman discovered her in Houston while filming Brewster McCloud in 1970. He gave her a small part in the film. Duvall was given larger roles in later Altman films including McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Thieves Like Us, Nashville, 3 Women, and Popeye.

Since Popeye, Duvall has only appeared in a few films. She has produced high-quality children's programming for cable TV and home video. She has won numerous awards as the producer of "Faerie Tale Theatre," "Shelley Duvall's Tall Tales," and "Shelley Duvall's Bedtime Stories."


Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator on CNN. Graduated from Waltrip High School 1972. Barbara Olson was killed on September 11, 2001, when the airplane she had just boarded for Los Angeles was hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the Pentagon.


Elizabeth Pena and Jennifer Ertman Memorial



Waltrip is the only high school in Houston to win the city championship in football and basketball in the same school year . 1966 1967. Only two boys played on both of those two teams Tim Duff and David Yaege.


Senator Kenneth Armbrister, class of 1965, served in the Texas House of Representatives 1983-1986 and the Texas Senate 1987-2007. Now serves as the Legislative Director for Governor Perry.


Rep. Debbie(Young) Riddle class of 1967 currently serves in the Texas House of Representatives. 2009


Congratulations on the opening of Julia W. Kahla Middle School in Cy-Fair ISD  The dedication was Sunday, October 9, 2005.
Mrs. Kahla was Waltrip's speech teacher when the school opened.  She
then went on to be a teacher and an administrator in C-Fair I.S.D.  The 1963 graduating class of Waltrip has donated $100.00to the library at Kahla Middle School in her name and challenges other classes to honor her memory by matching this donation.


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