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History of Highland

Highland High School was built in 1949 in southeast Albuquerque . The original plan for the school was to build it in the shape of an “H” with the school library being a separate building on what is now the student parking lot north of the gym. However, when the school opened, only the east wing of the present main building and the gym were actually built. Today, Highland is the second oldest public high school in Albuquerque, and currently operates out of the oldest school building and occupies 33 acres.

To accommodate growth and expansion Highland added the East wing and the West wing in the 1950′s. The history building, theater and music complex, and science building were added in the 1960′s. In the 1970′s a third gym, vocational building, and swimming pool were added. In the 1980′s came the performing arts center, new gym floor, bleachers, auditorium and a greenhouse. In the 1990′s a new science building was built.

Highland‘s first faculty and staff consisted of one principal, two secretaries, and thirty-four teachers. Highland currently has one principal, four assistant principals, one hundred and twenty eight teachers, sixty eight support personnel, over twenty seven cafeteria and janitorial staff.

During Highland's first school year, 1949-50, the students voted in their homerooms to choose the name “Hornets” as their school mascot. The inspiration for this choice was the U.S. Aircraft Carrier “Hornet”. The “Hornet” was the World’s first aircraft carrier, it was invented by the U.S. during World War II. In April, 1942, it was used for the first time in a surprise raid on Tokyo, Japan. This raid and the “Hornets” battle shortly after it to save Midway Island, turned the tide of the war with Japan (after the famous Pearl Harbor attack) in favor of the United States. The Hornet statue in the glass case by the main office, has become our official school symbol. It is an official copy of the symbol for this aircraft carrier.

Originally, Highland consisted of the main buildings and the gymnasium.  The library was on the second floor, above the current cafeteria.  They were planning to have the theater located at the site of the cafeteria and the cafeteria located at the site of the library.

Then came our current math building.  At one time, it stood on stilts and served as the science building.  Students often hung out in the shade underneath the structure.  Eventually, a bottom floor was added; along with this, a new building was built, the history building, Figge Hall, named in honor of Roger and Robert Figge, co-teachers of a popular history class.  Also, came a theater, now the book room and lecture hall.  This building was originally suppose to be the crossbar of the second “H”.  However, Albuquerque Public Schools switched contractors and plans of an aerial view “HHS” were dropped.

In 1990 a new science building was added to Highland’s campus, named after Marshall Floyd, a longtime teacher at Highland.  The old science building was converted to a math building with a bridge conjoining the two for handicap access.  Also, in 1981 a new Performing Arts Center was build across Jackson.

Highland High School was built during a time when the threat of nuclear warfare was great.  As a safety precaution, underground tunnels and bomb shelters were constructed connecting all of the early buildings on campus.  By way of tunnels, the main building is attached to the gym, current math building, and Central Avenue.  From the math building, tunnels lead to Figge Hall.  All tunnels joined to the main building are tall enough to walk through, and the tunnel under Figge Hall has lighting, but is crawl room only.

But now, worries of war and the necessity of bomb shelters and tunnels have been long forgotten.  Now water lines, gas lines, and electrical wiring are found throughout the tunnels, and some of these passages have been blocked off.