Porter High School was built to alleviate the over-crowded conditions which had existed at Brownsville High School, now Homer Hanna High School, for three years. Even before the construction began, the school's colors and mascot were chosen at a board meeting on October 2, 1973. The school was named for Gladys Sams Porter (1910-March 16, 1980), the daughter of Earl C. Sams, who was the first president of the J.C. Penney retail chain and Lula A. Sams. Ms. Porter was a well-known Brownsville civic leader and philanthropist. It is a magnet school for Technology and Engineering. Tony Ortiz was selected the school's first principal.