State title adds to makeover at Hillside High
Posted December 13, 2010
Durham, N.C. — Hillside High School has been known for poor student performance and school violence, but students say that their championship football team is a sign things are changing at the school.
The school defeated Davie County High School 40-0 on Saturday to win the state 4-A title.
"I saw a lot going on for Hillside right then at that moment. I saw a lot happening even for the future," sophomore Lindsay Anderson said Monday. "Usually, Hillside is known for being negative – fights – but now I believe it's going to change for a positive."
Principal Hans Lassiter said he hopes the football title and a state championship won by the Hillside High marching band will boost academic morale at the school.
"It's cool that we achieved academically, athletically and in marching band, but the proof of our growth here at Hillside will be measured by how we do on those final exams," Lassiter said.
State education officials have labeled Hillside High a low-performing school because of poor results on standardized tests, but Lassiter said scores went up significantly last year.
Sophomore Jordyn Smith said the push from Lassiter has been critical to changing attitudes at Hillside High.
"He has faith in us, and he believes that we can do anything academic-wise (or) sports-wise – anything that we want to do in life," Smith said. "I couldn't be any more proud to say that I went to Hillside."
"We have a new purpose to think about, not just the bad stuff," said Daniel Jordan, a center on the football team. "We've got good grades, and we've got athleticism to go with it."
Hillside High won back-to-back state championships in 1943 and 1944 when it was a segregated school.