Oct. 20, 2015
HPHS Student Council Paints the Town Purple
Iconic Dallas buildings to be lit purple on October 23

Carson Yeager, HPHS Student Body President, and Katie Dalton, HPHS Senior Class President, are helping to promote a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle through the Project Purple campaign. Four iconic Dallas buildings will be lit purple on Oct. 23 to pledge support for the cause.
During the Oct. 23 football game, both Highland Park and Mesquite football players will wear purple decals on their helmets to support Project Purple.
Photos by Brian Smith

Inspired by a former pro athlete's message regarding the dangers of substance abuse, the Highland Park High School Student Council had a fascinating idea: to paint the town purple.

On Friday night, Oct. 23, residents of Dallas and those traveling through the city will see the result of their work: Four of the city's iconic downtown buildings will be lit up entirely in purple to demonstrate their support for the students and their cause.

The Student Council wrote letters to the operators of Dallas' Reunion Tower, the Bank of America Tower (the building usually outlined in green), the Omni Hotel and One Arts Plaza about the idea, and all four have pledged to support the initiative.

The HPHS varsity football team will host Mesquite High School on Oct. 23, and both teams are on board to support the project. Players will wear Project Purple decals on their helmets during the game at Highlander Stadium.

Carson Yeager, an HPHS senior who is the Student Council President and is on the varsity football team, helped spearhead the initiative to turn Dallas and the Park Cities purple.

"Substance abuse and underage drinking are issues that have challenged several generations of students before us. In fact, we have learned that 90 percent of addictions get their start when individuals are in their teenage years," Yeager said. "We want to send a message to others within our school, within Dallas and throughout the region that you owe it to yourself and your future to go through high school without either drugs or alcohol."

During last year's Red Ribbon week, former NBA player Chris Herren gave a riveting presentation regarding the dangers of substance abuse and underage drinking to students at Highland Park High School. Herren now leads THP (The Herren Project) Project Purple Initiative, so named because of a talk he gave in 2011 at a school where students wearing purple T-shirts courageously stood up in front of their peers to announce their pledge not to take drugs or use alcohol.

"As a Student Council, we feel it is important to take a stand and set a tone for the rest of the school that you can have a great time in life without using drugs or drinking alcohol," Yeager said. "Our message is simple: We are Highland Park and we are purple."

"This past year, former Boston Celtic Chris Herron shared with our student body his path from high school student to adult by describing what led him to abuse drugs and alcohol. The story resonated with many students, because it speaks of self-doubt and an informal beginning to drug and alcohol usage," HPHS Principal Walter Kelly said. "From that point, the Student Council moved the message forward in very tangible and remarkable ways. Our student leaders have established a positive school culture of reflection while serving as role models. This group of students is having an impact that we, as adults, rarely have and I am tremendously proud of their efforts."

Yeager and the Student Council have created a video and posted it on YouTube to support their project, which can be seen at this link