Q: My neighbor and HPHS alum mentioned that the mascot for HPHS used to be a Scottish Terrier. Is this information correct? If so, when did this change?
Your neighbor is correct! Over the years, HPHS has had at least three mascots: the coyote, the Scottish terrier and the Highlander Scot, who eventually became the Fighting Scot.
According to various bits of history we were able to piece together, the coyote was the original mascot, reigning from district's founding in 1914 until 1922. Back then, the school colors were orange and black. When Coach Floyd Betts was hired in 1922, he changed the mascot to the Highlanders and the colors to blue and gold.
The mascot was the classic Highlander bagpiper, and the athletic teams were often referred to as the Scotties. That's when the Scottish terrier apparently started to infringe on the Highlander's turf. Media reports from the 1940s document a tug-of-war over whether or not to embrace the Scotty dog as the mascot. In 1948, a terrier nicknamed Rip had a brief reign, according to these newspaper articles from 1948 and 1949. You'll notice the mascots weren't the only things that have changed over the years - spellings and references have also evolved over the years (see Hi Park, Klansman and Kilty):
From the Bagpipe, May 14, 1948
A Real Scotty Dog Mascot
Hi Park now has a real live mascot. Since Friday afternoon at 4:15, Heather McArthur Rip, pedigreed 2-year-old Scotty, has been the official mascot of Hi Park. Rip, as he is called, was donated to the school by Dr. and Mrs. E. Casey, who purchased him at a kennel and presented him to the team with their daughter, Pat Casey. Rip has a special cage on top of the press box, where he will preside at all the future home games. He will also attend pep rallies, and when possible, road games.
Rip's home life is in the hands of the Student Council's Dog Committee, headed by Hal DeMoss. Until a suitable master is chosen, Rip will stay at the Casey home. Discussion is under way for the Student Council to determine whether it is desirable to leave the Scotty Emblem on the front of the football stadium, change it to a Klansman, the official emblem of the school as cited by the Kilty, or put up the letter Highlander Stadium.
From the Dallas Morning News - Dec. 28, 1949
It's Official: They'll Be Scotties No Longer
Highland Park High School football players, who prefer to be called "Scots" or "Highlanders" instead of "Scotties," are going to get help in their campaign to change names, School Supt. W.B. Irvin said.
The Highland Park Quarterback Club and the board of education have decided to take the figure of a Scottish terrier dog down from the Highland Park Stadium and erect the figure of a kilted Scotch (cq) Highlander instead. Designs for the new figure are now being made and work will begin soon, Dr. Irvin said.
The new figure will be a gift from the board and the Quarterback Club for a good season, Irvin explained. The Highlanders reached the semifinals in Class AA play in the recent season.
Another bit of trivia: In the late 1930s, Highland Park athletic teams earned the name the Golden Avalanche because the uniforms were solid gold with blue numerals and a blue stripe ion the helmets. (Source: 75 Years of Class, a history of HPISD from 1914-1989)
Note: Many thanks to our esteemed resident historians, Jenni Scoggins, Beverly Vaughan, Linda Raya, Susan Cruz and Jacki Moran, for putting together the pieces!
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