Hampton High School (Hampton, Virginia)

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Hampton High School
1491 West Queen Street
Hampton, Virginia, 23669
United States
Coordinates 37°01′26″N 76°22′56″W / 37.02389°N 76.38222°W / 37.02389; -76.38222Coordinates: 37°01′26″N 76°22′56″W / 37.02389°N 76.38222°W / 37.02389; -76.38222
School type Public high school
Founded 1875
School district Hampton City Schools
Superintendent Dr. Linda Shifflette
Principal Dr. Sharmaine Grove
Assistant principals Randal Pearson
Kimberly Sharpe
Jessica Ellison
Anthony Grimes
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,675 [1] (2007-08)
Language English
Color(s)           Red and White
Mascot Crabbers
Rival Bethel High School
Phoebus High School Kecoughtan High School

Hampton High School is a public secondary school located in Hampton, Virginia. It is the oldest of the four current high schools in Hampton Public Schools, built in 1956. It is an International Baccalaureate World School with the Diploma Programme. Hampton High is the first high school in the Hampton city high school division and the second largest district in Hampton. Hampton High School is the oldest public school in the U.S.A. as it evolved directly from the Syms-Eaton Academy, which combined two of the earliest schools in America.


Hampton High School traces its roots to the first free school founded in the American Colonies, the Syms-Eaton Academy, which opened its doors on February 12, 1634 as the Syms Free School. Syms is the oldest free school and the first endowed educational institution in the United States. In 1634 Benjamin Syms left 200 acres (0.81 km2) and 8 cows to provide a free school for children of the parish. In 1659 Thomas Eaton, a 'cururgeon' (surgeon), left 500 acres (2.0 km2), buildings, livestock, and two slaves for a school to serve Elizabeth City County. The schools were so popular that in 1759 an act was necessary to provide for the attendance of only poor children at Eaton School. In 1805 the schools were merged by act of the General Assembly and called Hampton Academy, which in 1852 became part of the public school system. Its building was burned in 1861 and rebuilt after the war, finally taking the official name of Hampton High. The first graduating class was in 1896, consisting of two students: Miss Bessie Birdsall and Miss Blance Bullifant. From the early 20th century, Hampton High was ranked in the top ten of schools in Virginia, and the West Point Military Academy acknowledged that it accepted Hampton graduates without requiring them to take the West Point entrance exam. The current building for Hampton High dates to 1956; due to the layout of the building, it earned the nickname "Little Pentagon" because of its "seemingly endless hallways."

Feeder pattern[edit]

  • Hunter B. Andrews School
  • Bassett Elementary School
  • Armstrong Elementary School
  • Cooper Elementary School
  • Lee Elementary School
  • Tyler Elementary School
  • Wythe Elementary School
  • Davis Middle School
  • Eaton Fundamental Middle School
  • Lindsay Middle School
  • Jones Magnet Middle School

Accreditation and Rankings[edit]

Hampton High School is fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education based on its performance on the Virginia SOL Tests. It was included in Newsweek Magazine's "Top 1200" high schools in 2008 and 2009 and the "Top 1600" (top 6%) in 2010.[2]


In the 2005-2006 school year, Hampton was 81% Black; 14% White; 3% Hispanic; and 2% Asian.

Hampton High is also the oldest public school still in use. The school was featured in national news in the summer of 1995 for the celebration of the centennial graduating class (1996). There is a section of seating at football games for the alumni that are in their 70s and 80s.


The school's official mascot is a crab, although athletic teams are referred to as the "Crabbers." Occasionally, Freddie the Crab can be found on the sidelines at football games. The Crabbers compete in Group AAA, the largest group in the state, Peninsula District and Eastern Region of the Virginia High School League.


Hampton High School is best known for their football team, which won 18 Group AAA, on all levels including Division 5 and Division 6, titles dating back to 1912, more than any other school in Virginia. In the 1980s the Crabbers went to 10 straight state championship games, winning 8. The Crabbers have the Peninsula District/Eastern Region/State Record for most consecutive wins. Their most recent AAA Division 5 title was in the 2005 season against Stone Bridge High School of Loudoun County. Before the 2005 season, their most recent title was in 1998, which was the last of a string of four straight AAA championships, led by quarterbacks Ronald Curry ('95-97) and Marques Hagans ('98). Current head coach Mike Smith is the winningest head coach in Virginia High School Football History. Under head coach Mike Smith, the Crabbers have won 11 state titles, and Smith's teams have amassed a 372-53-2 record in 35 seasons. The Crabbers have 2 National High School titles along with 18 state titles and over 700 wins amassed over the history of the school. Smith also ranks in the top 5 in wins and winning percentage in the nation. Hampton High School is also ranked the number #9 dynasty in the country in the history of football 1


Hampton is also known for its basketball teams. The girl's team is a perennial contender within the district, winning the district title more often than not in the last decade, including all of the last seven. The Lady Crabbers are the 2006-07 Eastern Region Champions and the VHSL Group AAA State Champions. Also, the Hampton High boys' team finished first in the district in the 2011-2012 season going on to win the AAA state championship.

Also, the 2006-07 season marked Hampton's first trip to the VHSL Eastern Region Scholastic Bowl. After finishing second in both the PD Regular Season and Tournament, the Crabbers advanced to the regional meet and surprisingly placed third, losing to frequent regional-champion Princess Anne High School of Va. Beach by a mere 15 points - one question away from qualifying for the VHSL State meet.

Drama Club[edit]

In 2011, the Hampton High School Drama Club competed in the District One Act Play competition, where they were second only to Menchville. They then went on the Regional level and took sixth place there.

Concert and Marching Bands[edit]


Early Directors of the HHS band include, Anna Lee Hite(Van Buren)(wife of Daily Press, Inc. co-owner William R. Van Buren, Jr.) T.T. Lawrence, who built the Concert Band's reputation as a Grade 6 Superior rating organization and continued his outstanding work as a band director at W. T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County, VA, Charles Torian, Jr., an HHS Graduate and former oboist with the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, DC, Mark Gilliam, David Anson and Percy Ironmonger (50's-90's)

Prior to 2005 the bands were under the direction of Mr. Rick Allison for 13 years.

In 2005-2006, the Hampton High School Band was under the direction of Mr. Charles Hightower.

From 2006-2009, the Hampton High School Band was under the direction of Mr. Tory Smart, in district 8 concert assessment the bands earned a IV rating of Fair

From 2009-2010 the Hampton High School Band Was Under The direction of Mr. Mike Bartusiak. The Bands did not participate in Marching Assessment, At Concert Assessment the band earned a rating of III (Good) in grade 3 literature.

From 2010 to 2014 the bands were under the direction of Mr. Justin Ratcliff

Mr. Ratcliff was tasked with the rebuilding and branding of the bands from "Traditional Style" or "Show Style" to a competitive corps style marching band and fully comprehensive concert band programs. The "change" was not so much a style issue, as it was bringing the bands more in line with state curriculum, and participation in the marching arts relevant to today. This was in addition to giving the community a product they could be proud of. The bands blossomed over the next 4 years into a thriving program that served students from the entire school. Courses offered included Jazz band (HHS and All-City), Woodwind Tech, Brass Tech, Symphonic Band, Percussion Ensemble, Beginning percussion. 2 Marching bands (one competitive, one more entertainment based ("Friday night group"). In regards to the marching band they coined the Friday night band the traditional "Pride of the peninsula" and the competitive group the Marching Red Machine, as they were called by many judges. The band also offered an after school class in 2013-14 called "9th block" to serve our more advanced wind ensemble students, these students practiced music in the levels 5/6.

In 2010-2011, the Hampton High School Band earned their first VBODA Virginia honor band title which is the highest award any school in the state of Virginia can earn. In 2012 the Hampton High school band once again earned the title of Virginia honor band for the second year in a row becoming the second School in Hampton to earn the title twice. In 2010 the bands for the first time in school history attended state marching band assessment. The bands earned superior ratings in there first attempt at assessment. In the spring the concert bands performed grade 2 and grade 4 literature at state concert assessment and earned unanimous superior ratings.

In 2011, the marching bands earned 16 high awards and the Grand Championship award at the first annual Warhill Classic. In 2012, the Crabber Band earned 29 first place awards, and the second place "grand champion" at the Warhill Classic, while going undefeated in class throughout the season. The Crabber marching band at the Hanover Hawk invitational competed in the "AAA" class and earned Grand Champion competing against 24 bands across the commonwealth ranging from members 40-180. In Spring 2012 The Symphonic Band earned straight superior ratings at State Concert Assessment in all categories from all 4 judges for the second year in a row. The band traveled to the Kings Dominion Festivals of Music concert band competition and earned "Best High School Band", and "Grand Champion" of the event.

In 2012 The Crabbers once again continued there success in competitive marching band earning over 26 first place awards, 2 grand championships and superior ratings with the concert groups at state concert assessment. Hampton Hosted VBODA District 8 concert assessment. Hampton was only one of 7 groups to earn superior ratings, and only one of 2 schools (Grafton Hs and Hampton Hs) to have all perfuming groups earn superiors.

In 2013 the Crabbers Earned VBODA Virginia Honor Band again. Both the concert bands earned Superior Ratings in grade 4/5 and 3 music respectively. The marching band earned a combined score of 98 at state marching assessment, as well as all "A"s in all captions. The Percussion section went undefeated for the second year in a row in class. The bands earned grand championships at the Menchville Monarch Competition, the Hermitage Classic and the Hanover Hawks Marching invitational. This is in addition to winning there class at every competition in the 2013 season. The Band also participated in a concert band clinic at The University of Virginia, prior to state concert assessment.

from 2010-2014 consecutive years in a row, the Pride of the Peninsula has been the highest scoring band out of the city of Hampton at the annual Holiday parade.

The Marching "Red Machine" ranged from 30-80 members, including winds, guard and percussion, placing the crabbers in the "AA" category.

The full band program known as the "Pride of the Peninsula" has 167 dedicated members.

In 2014 Mr. Ratcliff announced he would be leaving to open a new high school in Northern Virginia.

As of the 2014 school year, the bands are currently under the direction of Mr. Steven Kunka.

State Championships and Runner Up Finishes[edit]

Hampton has won 35 state championships, which are:

  • 2 High School Football National Championships (1996, 1997)
  • 17 in football {10 in AAA (1936, 1942, 1948, 1950, 1969, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1985); two in AAA Division 6 (1986, 1988); five in AAA Division 5 (1995–1998, 2005)}
  • 7 in boys outdoor track (six in the now defunct Division B in 1926-30 and 1932; one in IA in 1961)
  • 5 in boys basketball (one in the now defunct Division I in 1939; one in the now defunct IA division in 1969; two in AAA in 1989 and1997 and also one in 2012)
  • 3 in AAA boys cross country (1957, 1962, 1967)
  • 2 in AAA girls basketball (2001, 2007)

Hampton has eight runner up finishes, which are

  • three in boys basketball (one in 1964, 1967 in IA; one in 1990)
  • three in football (one in AAA in 1984, two in AAA Division 6 in 1987 and 1990)
  • one in AAA girls outdoor track in 1990
  • one in AAA boys outdoor track in 1978

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Hampton High School Report Card". Virginia Department of Education. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  2. ^ Hampton High, is a Fully Accredited high school serving approximately 1600 students in grades 9-12. It is an International Baccalaureate World School and has been recognized in Newsweek Top 1200 High Schools for the past three years. http://www.newsweek.com/feature/2010/americas-best-high-schools/profile.html?key=_Fw_e-L2z7CpZtlbw0qbAfUt2vA&state=VA&year=2010&id=1592&detailsKey=NI5JWIHvRSb-jjjbpM6qSbgpuLI
  3. ^ Alfred Bernard Vandeweghe obituary. dignitymemorial.com. Retrieved on March 24, 2014.

External links[edit]