3RD WARD HIGH BY:Adrian R. Richard

‘’She said ‘Moe-Yo I didn’t know that you rap, I remember you singing way back at the Jack Yates’’
-Big Moe

November 2010-When people hear the name Jack Yates first thing that comes to mind is the basketball team. “Those boys are raw,” one of the fans said. Now that Yates has been all over the news because the principal is under investigation a lot of people talk down on Yates and feel that Yates should close down. Until you actually walk the halls of Yates you find out that this school has much to offer students, some will actually be surprised at how talented and gifted these students are.
The second black high school in the city, Yates Colored High School was established on February 8, 1926. The school was located where James D. Ryan Middle School is now at 2610 Elgin. The school was named after a highly respected minister, considered to be “The Founder of Freedom’s Town” the late Reverend Jack Yates. He was the first black pastor of some of the first black churches originated in Fourth Ward in Texas. Reverend John ‘Jack’ Yates changed the history of the freed slaves in so many ways and was well respected by everyone in the community.
The school opened with seventeen teachers and six-hundred students with James D. Ryan as the first principal and remained so until his death in 1941; William S. Holland followed after him. Some schools in the Third Ward area were named after the former principals of Jack Yates High School. In September of 1958, due to overcrowded conditions Jack Yates Senior High school later moved to its present location 3703 Sampson Street.
“Oooo Ahh Third Ward High,” scream the cheering fans and alumni at the basketball championship game. Yates gets plenty of recognition because of the national state champ’s basketball team, but once you look pass all of that and get a closer look, Yates has a one of a kind communications program. The Magnet School Of Communications has opened so many doors for students in the magnet program. Some students even have the opportunity to work at the Houston Chronicle their senior year, interview celebrities or take a trip to Washington D.C and get a closer look at the president and or the White House.
The Magnet School of Communications which some would call a school within a school focuses on three areas Media Technology, Photography, and Journalism. This Magnet program was established in 1978. This program has let the students have the privileged to take pictures around third ward and showcase them in the Museum of Fine Arts every year, take a closer look behind the camera or in front of the camera. This Program has helped students know what they want to do in life and give them the tools to go far. Some students even have the opportunity to get a job as a newscaster or at least be an intern. Roland Martin, a newscaster for CNN went to Yates and still today he gives back to his alma mater.
For the past ten years, the photography teacher and his students walk through Third Ward and take pictures. MFAH and Yates partnered up and have given the students an opportunity to show their work in the museum. Eye on Third Ward is what they call the exhibition; this project began in 1995 and is still going strong today. These students have so much talent in their work. This project has been ranked as one of the museum’s most admired and successful educational initiatives.
Every time I walk the halls of Jack Yates it takes me back to my freshman year there. I can remember it like it was yesterday, before attending yates I made the Varsity cheerleading team and was ecstatic to say that ‘I go to Jack Yates High’. All I heard when I told everybody that I was going there was “Why Yates?” “You would be better off at Lamar or Bellaire.” I couldn’t believe that everybody was against Yates like that and made me feel that I was going to the worse school ever. What people don’t know until they go to Yates is that this school gives students so many opportunities to go far in life, all the students have to do is want it and try to get it.
Many well-known actress or celebrities went to Yates and are proud alumni’s. Debbie Allen a professional actress, Phylicia Rashard, some know as Claire on The Bill Cosby Show went to Yates. Just to name a few more Monica Lamb, former WNBA star and the late Johnny Bailey, former NFL football player for the Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams also went to Yates. These people have proved Yates students are talented and can be whatever they want to be.
My freshman year I couldn’t wait until football season because I loved my school and has so much school spirit. I was nervous when I walked down by the football field and found out how big the stadium was and how many people loved Yates.
“We are the lions” yelled the captain of our squad. “Ready? J-Y”
“Oh you better know this cheer and can do it in your sleep because this is our home cheer and the alumni’s will know if you mess up.” Oh great that puts more pressure on me that I already have at the time of cheering my first game. I couldn’t wait until the band started to play ‘NECK!’ so I could calm down just a little bit.
While other schools have homecoming king and queen, Yates has a Mr. and Miss Jack Yates pageant. The students Junior year, get to run for Mr. and Miss Jack Yates and show the student body why they should vote for them and show them their talent that no one knew they had. This campaign runs for at least two weeks and following the campaign is the pageant. This pageant has been a tradition of Yates for many years and the students enjoy doing this every year. After selecting Mr. and Miss Jack Yates of the next school year, doing homecoming week all the students dress up in their formal wear and go to the coronation where Mr. and Miss Jack Yates is crowned.
The news media has been all on Yates this year especially when the basketball team scored 170 against Lee. This little issue turned into a big mess all on TV. Also the news media had been on Yates with the big fight that broke out this school year. As an alumnus of Jack Yates I am displeased as how everyone is treating my alma mater. Yates is not a bad school whatsoever as outside people would think it is. It’s the students that go to the school that makes up what it is but the school as a whole is not bad. You can go to Bellaire or Lamar or even Westfield and you can see that they have the same problems that Yates does but the difference between them is that people just don’t talk about it or you don’t see every news media rushing to that school to get the inside story. No matter how many times the basketball team wins a state championship or how many times the photography class showcases their wonderful work at the Museum, people still have something bad to say about this school.
As alumni of Jack Yates I feel that nothing should change about the school. People shouldn’t judge Yates as a whole or think of Yates as a bad school because what they heard from other people or what they saw on the news. Every school has problems but it seems like the media is always targeting these majority African American Schools all around Houston.
For 83 years strong Yates has been a major force in the Third Ward. Jack Yates is a historical marker in third ward and deserves the recognition. So many people doubted Yates and are fighting today to close Yates, but what people don’t know is that Yates has very strong alumni since the beginning that will not let that happen. “If you cut me right now I will surely bleed crimson and gold.”








Jack Yates High School





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