Bolton High School

Bolton High School is a secondary educational institution located in the Garden District of Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish and the largest city in central Louisiana. The school is named for its benefactor, James W. Bolton (1869–1936), an Alexandria banker who was one of the most prominent civic and political leaders of central Louisiana during the first third of the 20th century.

During the long era of segregation, Bolton was the only high school for white students in Alexandria and neighboring Pineville, a smaller city located to the east of the Red River. African Americans attended historically black Peabody Magnet High School. The construction of Pineville High School and Alexandria Senior High School (sometimes known as ASH), along with Tioga High School thereafter provided new options.

Bolton has a tradition of academic and extracurricular excellence and performance. On its website, the school claims "a demanding academic program, coupled with opportunities to excel in athletics, music, forensics, publications, and academic competition, helps prepare our students to meet the challenges they will face as productive adults." Bolton has had the highest average ACT composite in Rapides Parish for the past seven years. This year Bolton's average ACT composite score is 23.20. Bolton is ranked in the top 3% of the nation’s public schools. Bolton is the only school in the parish that has received a gold, silver, or bronze medal by US News & World Report, and is one of only five silver medal rated schools in the state.

Modest beginnings

Bolton actually began in 1888 as a six-room framed structure on the corner of Seventh and Johnston Streets, next to what was then called the Red Ditch, for all then existing eleven grades. In 1900, as pushed by then-president of Alexandria Central High School, a brick building replaced the original structure at a cost of $50,000. During the 1907-1908 academic year, Alexandria High School, as it was known, enrolled only fifty-six students, with three instructors. Within seven years, enrollment grew to some two hundred, with eight faculty members.

James Bolton, a member of the Rapides Parish School Board, proposed a separate building for high school students. He therefore purchased land at Sixth and Beauregard streets for the consideration of the board. On that site, the original Bolton High School, named for James Bolton, was constructed in 1915, a structure for up to four hundred students. Records show that for the year 1916-1917, there were few more than 300 students, with 45 graduates and fifteen teachers. For the first eleven years, enrollment increased from three hundred to nine hundred students. The overflow was handled through the old Presbyterian church next door and temporary frame building.

Before the school was officially opened, there was an open house of sorts held in the school on September 25, 1915. The people were able to see their achievements towards education, and multiple teachers were stationed around the school, explaining the many merits of the different departments. 41 pupils graduated the first year it opened.

As board president, Bolton obtained the purchase of 15 acres (61,000 m2) for a new school, located adjacent to the City Park. The current building opened on November 2, 1926. The building contractor, George A. Caldwell, also designed twenty-five other public buildings in Louisiana, including courthouses in Baton Rouge, Minden, and Monroe.

Renovations throughout the decades

In 1953, the board approved a new football stadium that would seat some six thousand fans. A gymnasium and a new industrial arts building were completed. The auditorium was renovated, with band and choral rooms added. In 1964, the board authorized the enlargement of the cafeteria and the construction of a gymnasium for girls. Air conditioning was installed in the auditorium, the cafeteria, the home economics department, and in the rear section of the first floor of the main building. In 1967, a second parking lot was completed for the use of faculty and staff, and the choral room was modernized. In 1968, the U.S. Air Force ROTC program was added to the Bolton curriculum.

In 1990, Bolton High School underwent major remodeling, with the addition of a central heating and cooling system and fire doors. Ceilings were lowered, and new lighting was installed. In 1992, the football stadium was completely rebuilt because the presence of lead in the original paint made it impractical to have the old structure repainted.

In 1995, Bolton was wired for the Internet. In 2001, construction began on a new building for ROTC and journalism classes. The school has also modernized technologically, with computerized attendance, grading system, library service, and digital video equipment. Laptops have become nearly as common as textbooks.

Also in 1995, Bolton added a Scholar’s Program and Gifted Curriculum giving students from all over Rapides Parish the chance to attend Bolton. Bolton was also made a magnet school. Bolton currently follows a seven period day. With seven credits available per year, a student can complete up to twenty-eight units over four years.

As the result of several private and state grants, Bolton High School has issued Apple Mac OS X laptops to all of their students and teachers. In addition to the school issuing laptop computers to students, Bolton High School now has wireless internet connection everywhere on campus. The school also renovated an unused classroom into the "Bolton Internet Cafe." Though renovations are still in progress, the cyber cafe is open, and accessible before and after school, as well as at lunch, providing students without internet access at home with a place to use their laptops.

AP/Dual Enrollment Program

Advanced Placement classes are currently offered at Bolton for many of the AP tests. These tests are taken by the students at the end of the year to receive college credit for the classes. In 2007, a Dual Enrollment program was put into full swing. The Dual Enrollment classes are taught through LSUE.

The AP classes offered are:

  • Art (AP Studio Art, AP 3-D Art)
  • Western Civilizations (AP European History)
  • American History (AP United states History)
  • American Government (AP Government and Politics: United States)
  • Geography (AP Human Geography)
  • World History (AP World History)
  • Psychology (AP Psychology)
  • Microeconomics (AP Microeconomics)
  • Macroeconomics (AP Macroeconomics)
  • English III (AP English Language and Composition)
  • English IV (AP English Literature and Composition)
  • Biology II (AP Biology)
  • Chemistry II (AP Chemistry)
  • Environmental Science (AP Environmental Science)
  • Computer Science (AP Computer Science A)
  • Advanced Mathematics: Functions and Statistics (AP Statistics)
  • Calculus I (AP Calculus AB)
  • Calculus II (AP Calculus BC)

The Dual Enrollment classes offered are:

  • American History GT (American History 2057)
  • Advanced Mathematics: Pre-Calculus
  • World History GT (World History 1001)
  • French II OR French III (Elementary French 1101 (Fall) and Elementary French 1102 (Spring))
  • Spanish II OR Spanish III (Elementary Spanish 1101 (Fall) and Elementary French 1102 (Spring))
Course Offerings

ENGLISH-RELATED ELECTIVES English I (GT, Pre-AP) English II (GT, Pre-AP) English III (AP) English IV (AP, DE)) Creative Writing Introduction to Film and Literature Library Worker Debate I, II, III, IV Theatre I, II, III, IV Journalism I, II Publications I, II, III, IV Speech I, II, III, IV

SCIENCE-RELATED ELECTIVES Physical Science (GT, Pre-AP) Biology I (GT, Pre-AP) Biology II (AP) Chemistry (GT, Pre-AP) Chemistry II (AP) Physics (GT, Pre-AP) Environmental Science Basic Electricity/Electronics Aerospace Science I, II, III, IV

SOCIAL STUDIES-RELATED ELECTIVES World Geography (GT) World History (GT) Civics (GT, Pre-AP) Free Enterprise (GT, Pre-AP) American History (AP) European History (AP) Macroeconomics (AP) Microeconomics (AP) Emerging China Psychology (AP) American Government (AP) SMART Program

MATHEMATICS-RELATED ELECTIVES Algebra I (GT, Pre-AP) Geometry (GT, Pre-AP) Algebra II (GT, Pre-AP) Algebra III (DE) Advanced Math (GT, DE) Calculus AB (AP) Calculus BC (AP) Statistics (AP)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE French I, II (DE), III (DE) Spanish I, II (DE), III (DE) Latin I, II (LVS Course)

BUSINESS/VOCATIONAL Basic Technical Drafting Advanced Technical Drafting Entrepreneurship Photography Keyboarding Desktop Publishing (GT) Web Mastering (GT) Teacher Cadet (STAR) (Intro to) Business Computer Applications

FINE ARTS Band I, II, III, IV Choir I, II, III, IV Orchestra (String) Fine Arts Survey Sculpting Art I, II, III, IV (AP)

PHYSICAL EDUCATION Sports Medicine Physical Education I, II, III Health Education Strength and Conditioning (Baseball, Softball, Track and Field, Football)

Gifted Program

The school offers a full slate of gifted classes, making it the only school on the parish with the offerings to support a gifted population.


The high schools sports teams, the Bolton Bears, are members of LHSAA. Bolton, previously one of the only high schools in Central Louisiana, has all of the amenities that an athletic organization needs. The S.M. Brame Memorial Gym, built in 1951, is home to Bolton High School Basketball games. Before the Brame Gymnasium was constructed, the basketball games were held inside of the auditorium, which featured retractable seating. The Boy's Gym's Lobby's walls are covered with plaques designating the many athletic championships. The Girls' Gym, built in the 1960s, is home to Lady Bruins basketball games. It is also home to the Badminton Club, and it has the floor markings for high school volleyball and badminton. The Football Stadium, built in 1953, has been replaced by a new, modern stadium. It has a full 6-lane track, with a 200-yard (180 m) straightaway with 8 lanes. The softball field is between of Washington Drive and Masonic Drive, and the baseball team plays at historic Bringhurst Field. The many amenities of Bolton High School allow teams in any sport to excel to championships.

Bolton's 2009 football team is currently 1-5 in district 3A play.

Publications of the school

The school's publications include the Cumtux (newspaper), the Bruin (yearbook), the Ecrivez (literary magazine), Studio BTV (student-run morning news channel) and its End of the Year Video, a compilation of all events that have happened over the school year. The Cumtux, published on average six times per year, has been student-run since 1912. The Cumtux is the "oldest high school newspaper in the south". The Bruin, published every year since 1925, is the annual yearbook done by the student body. It is in full color, and is a fall delivery book. The Bruin was originally published to alleviate the items in the Cumtux's Senior Issue, which reached in excess of 70 pages in 1924. The Ecrivez was originally done by the Bolton Publications Staff. It has now been absorbed by the English department. It features writings and photography from the student body. Studio BTV is Bolton's news broadcast service. It takes full advantage of the Digital Academy, as it is shown through Blackboard. It ranges from 1 minute to 4 minutes in length. One extinct publication, The Cub, was a somewhat miniature version of the Bruin. Now called "the blue book" by students, it was Bolton's first handbook, complete with rules, regulations, specifications for athletic letters, a pullout map of the school, history of the school, and much more. It was published for the first time in the 1927-28 school year.

Bolton High School principals

Since 1915, Bolton has been served by nine principals:

  • Scott M. Brame- 1915-1947 (An Alexandria junior high school bears his name.)
  • J.D. Smith- 1947-1951
  • W.E. Pate- 1951-1970
  • Joe Campbell- 1970-1971
  • Jesse Doyle- 1971-1991
  • Ron Akins- 1991-2001
  • Penny Toney- 2001-2005
  • Bill Higgins-2005-2008
  • Misty Slayter - 2008-current
Notable alumni
  • Daniel T. Barry (Class of 1971) -- former astronaut
  • W. George Bowdon, Jr. (Class of 1939, 1921–2005) -- State Representative (1948–1952) and (former) mayor of Alexandria (1953–1969)
  • Ed Cullen (Class of 1964) -- columnist for the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, National Public Radio commentator, and author of Letter in a Woodpile
  • Nelder Dawson (Class of 1945, 1928–2006) -- newspaper executive with Alexandria Daily Town Talk
  • Bob Hamm (Class of 1952, 1934–2009) -- writer Radio and TV personality, Cajun humorist
  • Sylvan R. Fox (deceased) -- radio and television station owner in Alexandria
  • Mary Virginia Wheadon deGravelles (Class of 1931) -- former Louisiana Republican national committeewoman
  • Charles W. DeWitt, Jr. (Class of 1965) -- state representative, 1980–2008
  • Eric W. Harris (Class of 1933, 1916–2007) -- Alexandria industrialist who in 1939 started the first chapter of the Jaycees in Louisiana
  • Ken Hollis (Class of 1960, 1942-2010) -- Republican state senator from Jefferson Parish, 1982–2008
  • Catherine D. Kimball (Class of 1963) -- Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court
  • Carroll E. Lanier (Class of 1943) -- mayor of Alexandria, 1977–1982
  • Gillis William Long (Class of 1940, 1923–1985) -- U.S. representative (1963–1965; 1973–1985)
  • Roy O. Martin, Jr. (Class of 1939, 1922–2007) -- Alexandria businessman and civic leader
  • Warren Morris Former LSU and professional baseball player
  • Thomas Jefferson "TJ" Price (Class of 1936, 1919–2007) -- star athlete at Bolton and Louisiana State University; decorated U.S. Army colonel of World War II and Korean War
  • Ned Randolph (Class of 1960) -- former mayor of Alexandria (1986–2006), state senator, and state representative
  • Arnold Jack Rosenthal (Class of 1940, 1923-2010) -- former Alexandria city commissioner (1973–1977)
  • B. Dexter Ryland (Class of 1959, 1941–2005) -- judge of the Ninth Judicial District Court in Alexandria
  • Mickey Slaughter (Class of 1959) -- former quarterback for Louisiana Tech and the Denver Broncos
  • Joe D. Smith, Jr. (Class of 1939, 1922–2008) -- businessman and publisher, general manager, and chairman of the board of the Alexandria Daily Town Talk
  • Jock Scott (Class of 1965, 1947–2009) -- former state representative (1976–1988), lawyer, and educator
  • John K. Snyder (Class of 1940, 1922–1993) -- former mayor (1973–1977; 1982–1986)
  • Buddy Tudor (1935–2010) -- contractor and real estate developer in Pineville
National Register of Historic Places

In 1984, Bolton High School was entered into the National Register of Historic Places, according to the guidelines of the National Preservation Act of 1966.