W.T. White celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend with a golf tournament, pep rally and gala. Hundreds of alumni and retired teachers returned to walk the halls on Saturday and reminisce about the brief yet seminal moments that shaped their lives.
The building opened in the 1964-65 school year, graduating its first class the following year. At the April 11 pep rally and assembly, nearly every decade was represented, filling the seats of the auditorium. One group, however, stood out from the crowd — the 1970s.
“There was this whole post-Vietnam war thing going on and just a craziness of freedom,” says 1979 W.T. White alumna Marty French.
The W.T. White band, choir and cheerleaders performed at the assembly, and returning educators were honored. In a surprise ending, the man of the hour became David Shepherd, or “Coach Shep” as he’s affectionately known. The legendary W.T. White baseball coach took the team to 33 consecutive playoffs. Shepherd sat in a chair on stage, surrounded by several of his former players, some who knew him as coach of the Marsh Middle School Matadors before he began at W.T. White more than 30 years ago.
Shepherd came to Dallas from East Texas, landed a job coaching baseball for Dallas ISD and never left.
“God has a plan for everyone,” Shepherd says, “and he certainly gave me a great plan.”
Over the years, W.T. White has produced notable graduates including former White House communications director Karen Hughes (1975), philanthropist Susan Dell (1982), Olympian Dennis Bowsher (2001), Detroit Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday (2006) and Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams (2008).
Now, more graduates are settling in North Dallas and raising their families here.
“We’re reaching that point where we’re going to have third-generation students,” says French, whose children also graduated from W.T. White. “That’s typical of a small town, but you don’t usually see that in a big city.”
To learn more about the alumni association, visit wtwhite.org.
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