Moving to Abilene (Houston, Austin, Fort Worth: upper-class, appointed, credit)
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I graduated, as did my sister, from Abilene Cooper High School. She did in 2003, I in 2005. It was a great school and I made many many friends and memories. But to give you a fair choice, I'll break it down for you:
Abilene is almost entirely served by AISD (Abilene Independent School District) which takes in roughly 17,000 students every year. There are two 5A high schools in AISD - Abilene High School on the north side and Cooper High School on the south side. They each have roughly 2,000 students. They both have marching bands, choirs, orchestras, football, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, golf, dozens of Honors/AP classes, and traditions and loyalties that run deep and strong in the community. Abilene High School is located at N 6th and Mockingbird in a rather disgusting part of town. I hate driving up there and I hate AHS (can you tell I'm from Cooper?). It's strange that the school takes in the richest of the rich neighborhoods in AISD and is located in one of the worst. Cooper is located at S 36th and Sayles in a 1960s-era little neighborhood. My sister lives a few blocks away in a little 2-bedroom house and it is quiet, safe and rather pleasant. There are actually brand-new houses being built directly across the the street from Cooper that are selling in the $200K range.
I can't go without mentioning Abilene's 3rd high school - Wylie. It is located in far south Abilene (Antilley Rd) and is in a separate school district. It is currently a large 3A high school with roughly 1,000 students. It takes in virtually every new neighborhood and many extremely wealthy neighborhoods in town. They won the 3A Div I football state championship in 2004 and consistently excel in band, choir and sports as well as academics. The school has a large majority of middle- and upper-class white kids, making diversity almost unheard of. Some people like it, others don't. It is what it is. There are many neighborhoods around WHS and one large one is being built directly across the street, with houses in the $150K-$200 range. Wylie takes in much of the land south of town as well, so if you want country living on a couple of acres, you can do that too and still go to Wylie.
Let me know if this helps or if you need any more input. I hope you enjoy it here.
Thank you very much, your answer was very illustrative.
My daughter had a great plans for next year, all her classes are advanced, she takes AP classes and she was planning to get enrolled on many clubs and now we are moving; that is the reason why we are concern about a great school for her.
You helped a lot. Thanks!!!!
if you have any sense about you i would beg your husband's job to reconsider and transfer me elsewhere....this is a horrible place...middle of nowhere....if you are not from here you are really not welcome.....football and church.....that is it....we are moving in may....and i do not think may can get here fast enough...alot of poor people....job salaries do not equal cost of living....good luck...maybe you will not have to come at all!!!!!
Last edited by dojeta; 08-27-2008 at 08:29 AM..
First, 'dojeta' makes a point. Abilene is not necessarily a destination city to live or visit. Put your emotions aside, you may need them later. However, it can be a rewarding experience.
Second, if you have a few weeks send off now for the Texas Travel Guide. It's free free free.... It'll be something to look at during the drive and includes a map of Texas. If you're leaving soon, wait til you get here to order it. It's free.
Abilene schools are rich in history for excellent academic and sports. As 'WestTexan87' alluded, Abilene is somewhat divided in half, north and south. The older school Abilene High is on the north side, Cooper on the south. After nearly 50 years of competition between the two the UIL (university interscholastic league) has separated them. Historically the schools participated in a district that included Abilene, Midland, Odessa and at one time included San Angelo and Big Spring. I think Big Spring has blown away so that leaves San Angelo. This is the district of 'Friday Nite Lights', football.
However, beginning this year the above schools excepting Abilene High will be competing while Abilene High has been re-assigned to a Fort Worth District. This can bode well for AHS as it will gain recognition from playing in the 'big city'. I mention this in regards to your daughter's interest in excelling in her studies. Ultimately, focus on participation and university recognition.
Abilene, again somewhat divided north/south, in its expansion from a central city has moved a great deal of its interests to extreme north and extreme south (towards Wylie/Buffalo Gap). Much of the central portions of town are being neglected, lots of strip malls/shops that are vacant. Businesses have moved in the direction of the population.
The south area around Cooper High is a younger area and neighborhoods run from poor to wealthy. There are lots of new subdivisions to enhance your residential choices. Shopping as well.
The north side is trending to ACU (Abilene Christian University) and neighborhoods also run from poor to wealthy and includes downtown. I'm a bit disappointed in WT87's description of the north side, near the high school. Yes, some areas are more suitable than others.
East of Mockingbird (a major north/south through fare and the street AHS is focused on) are older homes from a 1940's era, typically 2BR/1B frame. West of Mockingbird are 1950's era homes more with 3BR/1+B and brick. This is the area I grew up in. The further east the older the homes (towards downtown), the further west and north the newer the homes, to a point.
Abilene has been a very church oriented city and has three church colleges, Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University. However, in the mid-50's Abilene doubled in size largely due to the air force base west of town, Dyess AFB. Today it is a home of the B1 Bomber and since it's inception has been a principle foundation of Abilene's economy. There's nothing more comforting than the rumble of a B1 bomber in the morning.
There are some posters on this board who like/love Abilene. There are some who loathe it. But put your emotions aside and make of it what you can. When your daughter goes off to University of Texas you'll get to make frequent trips to Austin to visit. BTW, the current quarterback of the UT football team is Colt McCoy, a graduate of that Wylie School district mentioned by 'WT87'. Hook 'em Horns.
Welcome to Abilene! I moved here about 20 months ago and really love it! We have a beautiful restored downtown area with historic theater and LOTS of arts, theater and music. Abilene has more arts for its size than any other similar city I know (a Philharmonic, Ballet company, opera company, community theater, museums, etc.).
I moved here myself without knowing a soul and am continually impressed by how kind and caring folks are here. If y'all are kind and outgoing, you'll be welcomed into the community without a problem!
Abilene schools are VERY highly rated and ranked. I believe I saw an article stating they were ranked 16th in the entire nation. Check with the school district -- I believe they're starting an early college program at McMurry University for high school students. Your daughter may be interested in that.
Abilene is a great place. There are more colleges than the three church related universities. All offer college credit courses on the high school campuses. There is also a medical magnet high school on the campus of Hardin-Simmons University. Cisco Junior College is a great place to start college at very little cost. THere is a science and math magnet 5th grade that meets on the campus of McMurry University.
As old as the post is, I assume you either have moved here by now or have decided not to. Let us know what you did, and if you are here, what do you think of Abilene.
We live in the Houston area and are planning to move to Abilene summer 09. We have many of the same questions about the area. We have been looking to move out of the Houston area for sometime now. We have looked all over TX and we really have enjoyed the Abilene area. Any insight into this area and what is has to offer as well as the areas people don't like to talk about would be helpful.
Lady, I went to public schools in Abilene, left town at 21 in '69, and my mom continued to live there until last year. I've always said 'it's a great place to raise a kid but you wouldn't want to live there.' At one time Abilene was a cohesive city with two great competitive high schools and appeared to be in a growth mode.
I spent some time with my mom a couple of years ago and it appears Abilene is trending into three parts, the north and the south and leftovers in what remains of the city. I say remains because while there are plenty of people in the city proper, many... far too many strip shops are vacant. Places I used to go when I lived there. Or if not vacant, then in degraded mode.
Now, don't take this too severely as the populace is trending to the far south or far north. The most recent evidence of that trend is that after 40+ years of UIL district competition, the two high schools are going into different districts. Abilene High will be participating in a primarily Fort Worth district while the 'other' high school, Cooper, will continue in the west Texas district including Midland and Odessa (yes, Friday nite lights) and some other schools.
To further define that separation, Hardin Simmons University and Abilene Christian University are on the far north end of Abilene and McMurry University is in the south end. As is the mall, Home Depot and Lowe's. Two WalMart's, one north and one south.
Abilene continues with its arts, as Teatime describes above. Depending on your preferences you might find Abilene to be a good place. I always appreciated the rumble of B1 bombers in the morning, giving me a nationalistic sense of security.
You'll find just about anything you'd want in Abilene and if not, Fort Worth is just a couple of hours away on the interstate. And a current cause for celebration is the area is that the quarterback at UT, Colt McCoy, is from (I think)Tuscola, one of the outlying communities in the area. And his dad is now a coach at Abilene Christian U. (again, as I understand).
There are some good experiences to be had there, a good escape from 'big city' life and highly principled neighbors. Clean air, low humidity. It gets really hot and really dry and winters can be refreshing.
I agree with the poster who said that Abilene is a horrible place. When I was a teenager, my mom had a job interview there and took me with her to see the town. It was horrid. "The middle of nowhere" doesn't even begin to describe it. There are, quite literally, tumble weeds rolling through the streets. I can go my whole life without ever going back to Abilene.
No offense to those for whom Abilene is home. I just wouldn't want to live there.
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