Towson High School

Towson High School is a high school in Baltimore County, Maryland, founded in 1873. The school's current stone structure was built in 1949. Located in the northern Baltimore suburb of Towson and serving the surrounding communities of Towson, Lutherville, and Ruxton, it is part of the Baltimore County Public Schools system, one of the nation's largest school systems. Area middle schools that feed into Towson High are Dumbarton Middle School, Ridgely Middle School, and Loch Raven Technical Academy, although students from other areas attend the Law and Public Policy magnet school. In 2008, Towson was ranked #240 in Newsweek magazine's "The 1,300 Top U.S. high schools" annual national survey.


The school has risen steadily in Newsweek's annual nationwide high school survey during the five-year period culminating in its #240 ranking in 2008, having previously placed #279 in 2007, #317 in 2006, #452 in 2005, and #511 in 2004. The #240 ranking is the highest of the ten Baltimore County high schools making Newsweek's list in 2008. Following publication of the magazine's survey in May 2008, Towson High's principal Jane Barringer said: "I'm very proud of our parents and our kids and our teachers. It takes all of their efforts to make sure that students are prepared to take challenging tests."

Law and Public Policy Program

The law magnet requires seven total law credits, which can be obtained within the span of four years by approved courses. In the 9th grade, students take an Introduction to Law Research and Legal Writing Course. This class is currently taught by Towson High alumnus Randy Dase, longtime soccer coach. In 10th grade, students take a Trial Advocacy and Criminal Law course in a classroom that replicates a courtroom, complete with witness box, jury box, defense/prosecution tables, etc. In the next two years, students can choose from a variety, of electives, including Latin, forensic science, international law, business law, philosophy, and other law-related courses, to fulfill the remaining law credits required for graduation in accordance with the Law and Public Policy magnet.


Towson High School was originally located on East Chesapeake Avenue, in a small brick structure built in 1873. When it burned down in 1906, a replacement was built on Allegheny Avenue. In 1925, the high school moved to a larger 3-story brick structure at an adjacent site on Central Avenue and the vacated building was converted into an elementary school. This old Allegheny Avenue building still stands today, now used for County offices.

Construction of Towson High School's spacious present-day campus on the site of the old Aigburth Vale estate began in the late 1940s, as the Towson area's population surged upward following World War II. When the current campus at Cedar and Aigburth Avenues opened as Towson Senior High School in 1949, the former Central Avenue building became a Junior High School for grades later, Towson Elementary School. It is now a senior citizen center.

With the end of racial segregation in Baltimore County public schools in 1954, the African-American student body of the old Carver High School on York Road (now the Carver Center for Arts and Technology vocational school) was merged with Towson High School.


The present, attractive 5-level stone structure completed in 1949 includes a large auditorium with theater-style seating, a gymnasium, and a cafeteria. Classrooms are on the lower three floors. The fourth floor was originally used for administrative offices, then became an art studio, and currently contains two classrooms and a computer lab. The fifth floor of the school may not be used for classes as it would not comply with fire codes for proper evacuation. It is used to store books, and is occasionally used as an office.

The library and science wing were added in the mid-1960s and the entire school underwent extensive upgrading in the late 1990s, including the installation of modern heating and air conditioning. As of 2008, only eight of Baltimore County's 23 public high schools are air conditioned. The school exceeded state-rated capacity according to September 2007 enrollment figures.

Extracurricular activities

There are many clubs and activities in the arts, languages, music, career interests, and recreation from which students may choose. Particularly noteworthy are:

  • The school's newspaper, the Talisman.
  • The school's Yearbook, "Sidelights"
  • Colophon, the school's literary arts magazine, has won national prizes from organizations such as the National Scholastic Press Association and Columbia University, as well as state prizes from the Maryland Scholastic Press Association. It is ranked as one of the top magazines in the country.
  • Towson High School's Marching Generals Band, though nonexistent for some time, was restarted by band director David Rhen in 2003. As of the 2007 band camp, it now has 68 members.


The "Generals" have won the following Maryland state championships:

Baseball 2000
Boys' basketball 1963
Boys' lacrosse 1988, 1989, 1992
1993, 1994, 1997
Boys' soccer 1972, 1986, 1991
2003, 2005
Boys' track and field 1953
Boys' cross country 1952, 1953, 1955,
1974, 1987
Girls' cross country 1980, 1982, 1984
Girls' lacrosse 1997
Mixed-Varsity Badminton 2006, 2007
Volleyball 2001
= denotes co-champions
''Source: MPSSAA Official Tournement Records

Michael Phelps, as a 15-year old student at Towson High School, competed in the 2000 Olympics, the youngest American male swimmer to do so, and later that year he became the youngest man ever to set a world record in swimming.

The traditional rivals of Towson High School's Generals are the Lions of nearby Dulaney High School.

Notable Alumni

The school's alumni association, founded in 1907, says it is "one of the oldest, continuous, public school alumni associations in the U.S.". Well-known alumni include:

Alma Mater

Towson High School's alma mater#English is:


External links

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