'It prepared us': Hillside High School celebrates 100 years as pillar of strength for Durham

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Friday, September 23, 2022
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Hillside High School in Durham is celebrating its 100th year of being a pillar of strength for African American students in this community.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- For 100 years Hillside High School in Durham has been a pillar of strength for African American students in this community. It was first established in 1922 and it has continued adding to its rich legacy.

"We used what we had to prepare us for where we needed to be," Hillside High School alum George Scott said.

The 82-year-old Durham native remembers when the high school was the only school in the city educating black children. He looked over old school photos and reminisced on teachers who encouraged him to go to college and become an electrical engineer.

"I couldn't even spell engineer. 'You ought to be an electrical engineer.' I started thinking well gee maybe I could be an electrical engineer," Scott said.

He is a proud alum, who was a student in the segregated south graduating in 1957.

"Of course the schools were separate. We had no interaction between schools and all the other facilities around town were segregated. So we had our own community," he said.

In 2022, Hillside is celebrating a century of learning.

Principal Dr. William Logan said although the school has changed locations three times over the years, its core values remain the same -- one of which is a focus on producing the next generation of leaders.

A centennial timeline with older photos will go on display in the halls this school year.

"Largely to display in the halls so students can see where we came from and whence we've come and what we're aiming for. We want them to be graduates and be able to tell their stories," Logan said.

Legacy student Alysia Davis is well on her way. Her mother is a Hillside alum.

"It makes you feel like you belong here, but makes you want to make others feel like they belong here as well," she said.