NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — News 8’s meteorologist Gil Simmons paid a visit to the Elm City Friday morning to highlight the best parts of James Hillhouse High School as a part of his Education Express Tour.
Interim Principal Peggy Moore explained that there are multiple activities and groups for students to get involved in at Hillhouse, including the chess club, math club, honor society, and student athletes. Even a manufacturing program is in progress.
The National Honor Society takes on school events, including Spirit Week. Friday marks Hillhouse Pride Day. Throughout the year, students organized a food drive, which one student explained had a huge turnout.
Another organization, the JROTC Drill Team, helps motivate people to be better citizens. One student said that the team helps the community through different events like the New Haven Road Race and help elementary students read.
The JROTC created different entertainment pieces for veterans. One student said they want veterans to know that they should be celebrated every day, not just on Veteran’s Day.
The Student Council serves as a voice for the student body. Darrell Brown, the student council advisor, said that the council takes on difficult conversations between the students and teachers, as well as the students and administration.
“Those conversations don’t always go well, but those conversations are necessary,” Brown said.
He said viewpoints are about perspectives, and “once we all get to look at things differently and better, we can meet in the middle.”
Sports are also a highlight at Hillhouse. The Scholar Athletes include some of the best athletes in the school; students are going to various colleges on scholarships including UNH, UCONN, Dartmouth, LSU, and Baylor.
Principal Moore said that when people think of athletes, they think of kids who can run, jump, and swim, but these kids are not only athletes, but scholars, noting that they’re all in the top 10% of their class.
Hillhouse’s baseball team is a tight-knit community. One player, Donte Carter, said that the team is mainly a program, not just a baseball team.
“We built a family here, a family that’s going to last forever,” Carter said.
They’re a state playoff team with hopes to advance as the season goes forward. Carter said their last home game is Friday night at West Rock Park at 4 p.m.
Tim Kane, an English teacher and drama club advisor, has a trumpet in his room all the time. He said that he plays ‘Happy Birthday’ on the instrument for students’ birthdays. Kane shared the Hillhouse Alma Matter song.
Chess Club, another popular team at the school, meets three days a week. One student said the club’s goal is “mainly to create rivalries, so when you win, it leaves you with good intentions.”
Ty Scurry, who runs Hillhouse’s drama club known the Academic Theatre Company, said the club closed their season with the musical BKLYN.
The Greater New Haven Math League competed against 17 schools this year. Last year, they represented New Haven in the state championships. Students said their favorite thing about math is how there’s always an answer, how math is used throughout the world, and fast problem solving.
Amid the athletes and scholars, there are creative minds at work as well at Hillhouse. Reggie Augustine, a visual arts teacher at the school, said the developing art program is trying to put together a curriculum that exposes students to cultural art. They take a look at art from the ’60s, as well as graphic art.
“We’re really working on trying to get them used to using different mediums to tell their story, their narrative,” Augustine said.
Next year, they hope to focus on comic book drawing and craftwork.
Science teacher Rochelle Thomas spoke about an upcoming blood drive, which will take place at the school in conjunction with The Red Cross amid the need for blood donations across the country. The event is open to students and the community to help save a life.
The Education Express tour has visited schools in New Britain, Waterbury, and Hartford. Another edition will air next Friday, May 27.