Gardendale High School

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Gardendale High School
800 Main Street
Gardendale, Alabama
United States
School type Public
School district Jefferson County Schools
Grades 9-12
Nickname Rockets

Gardendale High School is a public high school located in Gardendale, Alabama, United States, operated by the Jefferson County Board of Education. The school's first graduating class was in 1968. Gardendale High School was developed in the mid-1960s as a result of population growth in the area. Until this time, local students mostly attended Mortimer Jordan High School in nearby Morris.

The school mascot/nickname is "Rockets." The name was chosen by vote of the first student body in school history and was chosen to honor the U.S. Space and Rocket program, which at the time was actively pursuing the goal of placing a man on the moon. The school colors are maroon, gray, and white.

A merger was proposed in 2007 between Gardendale High School and nearby Fultondale High School. But the merger was cancelled for the time being by Superintendent Phil Hammonds on March 29, 2007.[1]

In the aftermath of the scuttled merger, the district announced plans for construction of a new $46 million school building that will include separate competition and practice gyms, a 600-seat auditorium and 100-seat lecture hall, with potential future expansion to add as many as 32 additional classrooms down the road. The expansion will allow the school's 960 student enrollment to be expanded to accommodate 1,200 students. Demolition of the old school was completed in 2009. The new high school officially opened in February 2010. Once all students had transferred to the new high school campus the Rogers campus was demolished. A new baseball stadium as well as a soccer field were built on the site of the former Rogers campus. The high school basketball teams began playing their home games in the new gymnasium in the fall of 2010. [2]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Gardendale High School's program was recognized by the Alabama Department of Education as recipient of the "Outstanding Program of the Year Award" in 2003 for its Family and Consumer Sciences Education Program and the integrated efforts of the school's chapter of the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).[3]


The school's football stadium was originally called Rocket Stadium but the name was changed to Driver Stadium later to honor the man who was responsible for the stadium lighting (a former Alabama Power employee). During the 1970s, it was the largest capacity on-campus high school stadium in Jefferson County and second largest overall, only to Legion Field in Birmingham. The stadium hosted several Dental Clinic Charity football games as well as one Crippled Children's Classic charity football game during the 1970s.

Girls' Softball- a new facility was built on the site of the former baseball field. Basketball/Volleyball-are located in the new gymnasium Baseball-a new stadium is being built on the site of the former Rogers Campus. Soccer-a new lighted soccer field has been built on the site of the former Rogers campus.


Until the mid-1980s, the Alabama High School Athletic Association maintained a four classification system for high school athletics in Alabama. Since then, the AHSAA has maintained a six classification system. Gardendale High was mostly a 3A school (but did participate at class 4A for two years) in the four-class system. Since the advent of the six-class system, most years Gardendale High was a 5A participant, but has spent time in the 6A classification. The classification system is based on enrollment grades 9-12 and is re-evaluated every two years. As of the 2010-2011 school year, Gardendale is classified as a 6A school.

Gardendale High School has achieved the highest success in track and field. The boys' indoor track team has won the Alabama state indoor track championship, winning titles in 1978 (Class 1A/2A/3A), 1979 (Class 3A), 1980 (Class 3A), 1984 (Class 3A), 1988 (Class 4A/5A) and 1989 (Class 6A).[4]In 1980, The Gardendale Girls Indoor Track team won the one and only state championship for girls' sports in the school's long history. The boys' cross-country team has won the state Class 3A championship five times, including four consecutive years from 1976 through 1979, and again in 1982.[5] Gardendale has also had success in the regular outdoor season winning state championships in 1979 and 1984 for 3A. Another state title followed in 1989 for Class 6A. If teams and coaches are always measured by their success, then the Gardendale teams along with their head coach, Tom Jennings, dominated the 70's and 80's with an impressive 15 State Championships. While coaching at GHS, Coach Tom Jennings produced a large number of individual state champions with the two most notable being: Keith Clay (in the late 70's) captured 8 individual state championships and Micah McAnnally (in the early 80's) captured 7 individual state championships.

Gardendale's first state championship in any sport was in wrestling in 1974. The school has produced multiple wrestling state champions. Steve Mordecai was a four-time state champion from 1974 - 1977.[6] Tripp Otis was named Most Outstanding Wrestler in Class 5A for 2007, and completed his senior season by winning the Class 5A state championship in the 189-pound weight class, losing only one match all season long.[7] Fellow wrestler Chad Bearden won the 2007 Class 5A heavyweight championship,[8] winning the Class 5A state championship for the third time in his career.[9]

State Championship Teams[edit]

Cross Country 1976 Class 3A 1977 Class 3A 1978 Class 3A 1979 Class 3A 1982 Class 3A

Track & Field 1979 Class 3A 1984 Class 3A 1989 Class 6A

Indoor Track 1978 Class 1A-3A 1979 Class 3A 1980 Class 3A 1984 Class 3A 1988 Class 6A 1989 Class 6A

Wrestling 1974 Class 3A 1975 Class 3A

Girls Indoor Track 1980 Class 3A

Football 2015 Class 6A

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Jeffco high schools won't merge", The Birmingham News, March 30, 2007
  2. ^ "Superintendent previews Gardendale school features", The Birmingham News, April 18, 2007
  3. ^ Alabama Department of Education Board Resolution, dated August 14, 2003, accessed April 20, 2007.
  4. ^ Indoor Track - Past State Champions - Boys, Alabama High School Athletic Association, accessed April 20, 2007.
  5. ^ Past State Champions (Boys), Alabama High School Athletic Association, accessed April 20, 2007.
  7. ^ "Tripp Otis of Gardendale High School SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK", The Birmingham News, April 4, 2007, accessed April 20, 2007. "He finished his senior season with a 57-1 record and won a state championship in the 189-pound weight class. He was named Most Outstanding Wrestler in Class 5A and honored for the best match in the 189-pound category at the state tournament."
  8. ^ AHSAA State Wrestling Championships, The Birmingham News, February 4, 2007.
  9. ^ AHSAA State Wrestling Championships Tournament, accessed April 20, 2007.
  10. ^ Alan Ogg player profile, accessed April 21, 2007.
  11. ^ Willie Wyatt, database Football. Accessed October 27, 2007.
  12. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°38′43″N 86°48′44″W / 33.64538°N 86.81217°W / 33.64538; -86.81217