Monday, August 15, 2022 Aug 15, 2022
99° F Dallas, TX


By Aimee Larrabee |

Kenyon, Tracy, Miriam and Bill Hiser weren’t cheerleaders when they attended Woodrow Wilson High School in East Dallas. But today they’re “cheerleaders” not just for Woodrow Wilson, but for the whole Dallas Independent School District. Each of the four Hiser children has been recognized as a nationally superior student, and collectively, they claim, they’re living testimonies that, despite the woes of DISD, the school district can still produce exceptional students.

James and Marigold Hiser enrolled their first child in kindergarten at Lakewood Elementary School in 1964. In May 1983, their youngest graduated from Woodrow Wilson. All four children attended Lakewood Elementary, J.L. Long Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High. Each went on to eastern colleges and were ranked at the top of their freshman classes. The children claim that they couldn’t have done it without DISD.

Kenyon graduated from high school in 1976 and went on to the U.S. Naval Academy. During his first year, he took an English placement test along with 1,400 other incoming students. Thirty-two were allowed to skip freshman English. Kenyon, who had only made B’s in English at Woodrow Wilson, was one of the 32. Kenyon’s advanced English class at the academy began reading The Odyssey during that first semester, but Kenyon had read the book in a junior high English class in Dallas.

Woodrow Wilson doesn’t offer computer science courses, but Kenyon’s high school math teacher, J. Willy Brown (who has been at Woodrow Wilson for more than 30 years), taught computer science, anyway-during lunch hours and after school. Brown even arranged for interested students to use computers at SMU during off-hours.

Now, Kenyon is the officer of the deck of a U.S. Navy destroyer-one of the youngest officers to ever hold that position. Soon he will enter a master’s program in computer science at Harvard; the Navy is paying his way.

Kenyon’s sister Miriam graduated from Woodrow Wilson in 1979. She chose Wesleyan University in Mid-dletown, Connecticut. She. too, received a full scholarship and recently graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in history. When she was in high school, she won the Dallas Bar Association’s mock trial for high school students. Now. she hopes to spend a year in Germany, then return to the University of Texas to attend law school.

Tracy, who was offered scholarships to nine colleges, is studying psychology at Yale. She says that her English professors in college aren’t nearly as talented as her DISD high school teacher, Ann McSpadden.

Bill graduated from Woodrow Wilson this spring and plans to attend Princeton. During his junior year at Woodrow Wilson, he was chosen out of every public and private school in the state to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate/Japan scholarship program. While in Japan, Bill attended a Japanese school (Japanese schools have been said to be far superior to those in America). The students in Bill’s class were using the same trigonometry textbook that Bill’s class had used at Woodrow Wilson.

Bill was recently informed that the Japanese Foreign Minister named him the best American student sent to Japan. Bill graduated from Woodrow Wilson as a National Merit Scholar.

None of the Hiser children participated in the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program at DISD, although they were certainly eligible. Mrs. Hiser says her children chose not to go with the program because they “went after the academic schedule” along with their own choices of extracurricular activities. All four Hisers had paper routes when they were younger, and they continued to work through high school and college.

Mrs. Hiser has not workedoutside the home since her oldestchild was born. James Hiser is apension salesman for an insurance company. Both parentscredit the school district withtheir chidren’s success. “If youwant the opportunity to learn,DISD gives it,” Mrs. Hiser says.”[It did] back in 1964, and [itdoes] now.”