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Lee High School Turns 50 Years Old

LHS will be celebrating 50 years:

 By the late 1950’s and early 1960’s as a result of the West Texas oil boom, the high school population of the Midland Independent School District in the heart of the Permian Basin had grown too large for the single Midland High School campus to accommodate.  A three and one half million dollar bond was passed by the community to build a new high school.  The Midland school board named the school Robert E. Lee High School after the great Confederate general and gentleman who some say is the most remarkable man the American South has ever produced.  Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class at West Point (1829), distinguished himself as a Mexican War hero (1846-48), and was Abraham Lincoln’s first choice to be the commander of the Union army in the Civil War (1861).  Lee agonized over the decision but resigned his U.S. army commission and responded to President Lincoln’s offer to command by saying he “could take no part in an invasion of the Southern states.”  After the Civil War Lee received many lucrative offers which he turned down to accept the post of president of Washington College in his beloved home state of Virginia.  Lee wrote: “I have led the young men of the South in battle.  I must teach their sons to discharge their duty in life.”  Washington College was later renamed Washington and Lee University in 1870 after the death of the great general and recognized educator.


     Preston M. Geren, Jr. FAIA, the architect selected by the MISD School Board from Fort Worth to build the new school, would claim thirty years later in a 1991 oral history interview that LHS was the public sector building he was the most proud of because of the threshold that was crossed by its design.   The new facility won an A.A.S.A. design citation and was widely acclaimed both regionally and nationally as a giant step into justifying the cost of air conditioning in public schools.  Its unique design included seven pods arranged around a central courtyard.


     Leslie R. Hinds was selected as the principal to open the new school in the fall of 1961 for two thousand students including for the first time seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen.  A planning committee of students selected “Rebels” for the school mascot unanimously over the other two choices - the Generals and the Chargers.  Considering the colors already in place at Midland High, the two schools in Odessa, Abilene, and San Angelo, the committee chose a most appropriate color scheme of maroon and white.  The first faculty consisted of approximately one hundred teachers.  The first graduation ceremony took place in the Lee auditorium on May 31, 1962.  LHS standards and traditions for those who would follow had been set.  The Tradition of Excellence the school is known for had begun.  Among many notable distinguished Lee High School graduates are retired United States Army General Tommy Franks (1963) who served in Vietnam and was Commander of the U.S. Central Command during the invasion of Iraq.  Also, former First Lady Laura Welch Bush (1964) is a published author and advocate for literacy in public education.

     During the 2010-2011 school year, the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community of Robert E. Lee High School will be celebrating their 50th anniversary.  For more information on how to join in the celebrations, you can explore additional links on the 50th Anniversary page on the LHS website.



1961-1964 Leslie Hinds
1964-1967 Douglas W. Brown
1967-1974 Garland Chapman
1974-1976 L. Glen Neswick
1976-1983 Joe Smith
1983-1986 Stan Cobb
1986-1987 Henry Kitzman
1987-1993 Jack Fryar
1993-2004 George Cooper
2004-2007 Patrick Jones
2007-2013 Stephanie Howard

2013- 2015 Jeanette McNeely

2015- present Stan VanHoozer