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Towson High School

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Towson High School
Towson Law & Public Policy High School
Towson HS logo.jpg
Towson High School.jpg
United States
TypePublic Secondary
MottoA Tradition of Excellence
School districtBaltimore County Public Schools
SuperintendentDarryl L. Williams
PrincipalCharlene DiMino
Enrollment1,442 (2008)[1]
Color(s)Maroon and White          
RivalsDulaney Lions
National ranking341st
NewspaperThe Talisman
Literary MagazineColophon

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, the 25th largest school system in the nation as of 2005.[2] 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.[3] In 2010, Towson was ranked No. 341 in Newsweek magazine's "America's Best High Schools: The List" annual national survey.[4] In a Baltimore Style readership vote in 2018, Towson High School was named "Best Public High School" in the Baltimore area.[5]


The school has risen steadily in Newsweek's annual nationwide high school survey during the five-year period culminating in its No. 246 ranking in 2008, having previously placed No. 292 in 2007, No. 317 in 2006, No. 452 in 2005, and No. 511 in 2003.[4][6] Following publication of the magazine's survey in May 2008, Towson High's then-principal Jane Barranger, 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."[6] Barranger retired in June, 2013, after 12 years as the school's principal, succeeded by Charlene DiMino, the current principal.[7]

Law and Public Policy Program[edit]

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, philosophy, international law, AP Government, and other law-related courses to fulfill the remaining law credits required for graduation in accordance with the Law and Public Policy magnet.


The original school on Chesapeake Avenue, built in 1873.
Allegheny Avenue location (1906–1925)
Central Avenue location (1925–1949)

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.[8]

Construction of Towson High School's present-day campus on the grounds of the old Aigburth Vale estate began in the late 1940s, as the Towson area's population surged upward following World War II; the Aigburth Vale house, still standing near the school's athletic field, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.[9]

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 7 and 8 and, later, Towson Elementary School. It is now a senior citizen center.[10]

Towson High's current campus underwent a renovation from 1996 to 1999. Classrooms were rebuilt to be smaller, air conditioning was retrofitted, and all exterior doors and windows were replaced.

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 George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology magnet school) was merged with Towson High School.[11]


The present 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. In the early 1960s, the fifth floor was also used by a student-operated ham radio station.

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. In 2006, the historic stone structure was designated a Landmark by the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission.[12]

The school exceeded its state-rated capacity of 1,260 pupils in 2007, according to enrollment figures.[13] By 2018, the school exceeded design capacity by approximately 300 students, using portable structures to accommodate the overflow.[12] Various solutions to the overcrowding problem, including the possibility of one or more new schools, have been proposed; the Baltimore County Board of Education included funding for replacement buildings for Towson and Dulaney High School in its overall capital budget request of $216 million for Fiscal Year 2020, renewing the request in its FY2021 budget submittal to the state of Maryland for appropriation.[14]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

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.[15]
  • Towson High School's Marching Generals Band, though nonexistent for some time, was restarted by band director David Rhen in 2004.[16] As of the 2017 season, it had 99 members.
  • The school's Robotics team, The Towson Terminators.


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

Boys' basketball team, 1921
State Championship basketball team, 1963
      SPORT        Flag of Maryland.svg       YEAR
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
2001, 2008[17]
Girls' lacrosse 1997
Mixed-Varsity Badminton 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013
Volleyball 2001, 2010
= denotes co-champions
Source: MPSSAA Official Tournament 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 in 2001 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.[19]

Notable alumni[edit]

Cedar Avenue entrance

The school's alumni association, founded in 1907, says it is "one of the oldest, continuous, public school alumni associations in the U.S.".[10] Well-known alumni include:


  1. ^ "School Profile for Towson High". 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
  2. ^ 100 largest school districts, by enrollment size, United States Department of Education (2004-05 school year)
  3. ^ "School Profile", Baltimore County Public Schools, Dec. 7, 2006 Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b [1]
  5. ^ Gregg, Jessica. "Our 2018 Readers' Choice Winners". Baltimore Style. Mid-Atlantic Media. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  6. ^ a b S. Ann Johnson, "Towson high schools make magazine's list", Towson Times, p. 10.
  7. ^ Meoli, Jon (August 14, 2013). "New Towson High principal working on transition". Towson Times. p. 12.
  8. ^ Gunning, Brooke. Towson and the Villages of Ruxton and Lutherville. Arcadia Publishing, 1999.
  9. ^ "Aigburth Vale (Building), #99001016". National Register of Historic Places. 1999. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
  10. ^ a b Loni Ingraham, "Alumni group celebrates 100 years, 3 schools", Towson Times, September 19, 2007
  11. ^ Ingraham, Loni (July 29, 2009). "Bittersweet recollections of segregation, and change". Towson Times. pp. 6–7.
  12. ^ a b Margarita Cambest (2018-01-31). "Stakeholders push different visions for Towson High". Towson Times. p. 9.
  13. ^ Virginia Terhune (2008-04-09). "No stopping review of school plan". Towson Times.
  14. ^ Boteler, Cody (August 14, 2019). "County requests state money for Towson, Dulaney high schools". Towson Times. p. 10.
  15. ^ "Contest Winners", National Scholastic Press Association, Dec. 23, 2006
  16. ^ "Towson band marches to proud new beat", Towson Times, Dec. 27, 2006.
  17. ^ Clary, Craig (2008-11-19). "Generals put their best feet forward". Towson Times. p. 13.
  18. ^ MPSSAA Official Tournament Records
  19. ^ Graham, Glenn (October 2, 2019). "Alexander, Fong key win". Baltimore Sun. p. Sports 5.
  20. ^ Klingaman, Mike (May 31, 2007). "Towson High proud to have its own star in Phelps". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  21. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°23′29″N 76°36′05″W / 39.39137°N 76.60140°W / 39.39137; -76.60140