Hephzibah High School

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Hephzibah Comprehensive High School
4558 Brothersville Road
Hephzibah, Georgia, 30815
United States
Coordinates 33°18′08″N 82°05′48″W / 33.302131°N 82.096677°W / 33.302131; -82.096677Coordinates: 33°18′08″N 82°05′48″W / 33.302131°N 82.096677°W / 33.302131; -82.096677
Type Public
Established 1860
School district Richmond County School System
Principal Walter Reeves
Teaching staff 83
Grades 9–12
Number of students 1,245
Student to teacher ratio 1:18[1]
School color(s) Crimson and Black
Mascot Rebels
Feeder schools Hephzibah Middle School, Spirit Creek Middle School, Morgan Road Middle School

Hephzibah High School is a high school, located in south Richmond County in the town of Hephzibah, Georgia, United States. It is a part of the Richmond County School System. Hephzibah High School is the largest high school, by attendance, in the Richmond County School System. It is located in a rural area and its students generally live in a rural or suburban setting.


The school was chartered in 1860 by local residents and is the second oldest high school in Richmond County. It was originally named Brothersville Academy, after the surrounding area. The school was renamed Hephzibah after the Hephzibah Baptist Church took over instruction at the school.[2] Eventually, the school was incorporated into the Richmond County School System.

Original School House 1860-1925
2nd School 1925- 1969
3rd School 1969–Present day

An explosion at the school on November 19, 1953 caused by a gas leak in the boiler room killed six year old Gilda Joyce Martin and injured five others.[3]

In the 1998-1999 school year, Hephzibah's freshman class was housed at the Freshman Academy, housed in the old building for Floyd Graham Elementary School. This was done partially to ease overcrowding at the school and partially as a pilot project for the Richmond County Board of Education.[4][5] Freshman Academy was shuttered after the construction of Cross Creek High School was completed in 1999 and made operating a second location for the Hephzibah unnecessary.[6][7] A new wing was added to the main facility that same year to finish the push to ease overcrowding at the school.

In 2008, Hephzibah unveiled its new football stadium whose construction caused a major redesign of its athletic facilities. A land swap occurred between the Richmond County School System and the Richmond County Recreational Department in order to provide enough land adjacent to Hephzibah to complete the design. The new stadium has double the capacity of its predecessor.[8][9]


Hephzibah offers two main tracks to graduation: vocational and college preparatory. The school offers Advanced Placement courses and honors-level courses within its college preparatory curriculum. The vocational track allow for a concentration in a particular vocation and offers programs in JROTC, agriculture, cosmetology, welding, and engine repair. The school also offers classes on the Christian bible.[10]

The high school meets many of the traditional markers of both failure and success in high school academics. On one hand, for the class of 2007, Hephzibah High School was cited as having a graduation rate of 39.7%.[11] This statistic was found by the Augusta Chronicle by comparing the number of freshman when the class entered high school to the number at graduation. Using the No Child Left Behind standard, which does not count students who have left school rolls without notice as dropouts, the school's graduation rate at 65.2% for the same year.[12] Neither system has been verified with a student-by-student study of a given class. Many believe that the Augusta Chronicle's formula disadvantages schools like Hephzibah, given the large amount of military children enrolled in classes. The school's proximity to Fort Gordon ensures that a number of student enroll and leave the school each year due to their parent's transience.[13]

On the other hand, the school received an award for the largest positive change in average SAT score in the Georgia AAAA classification for the 2003-4 school year.[14] The average SAT score for the 2006-2007 year was 1377.[15]

Student activities[edit]


The school's mascots are The Rebels and Lady Rebels, and the school colors are red and black. With a student enrollment of 1,245, Hephzibah High is in the state's highest classification for varsity sports. Hephzibah's traditional athletic rival is nearby Butler High School, with many pranks between the two having been conducted since Butler's opening in 1960.[16][17] When Cross Creek High School was opened in 1999, pulling students from these two rivals, Hephzibah High found a second rivalry.

The Lady Rebels basketball team is the most storied athletic team at Hephzibah High School. In 2005, they won the AAA Georgia State basketball championship.[18] In the championship game, they defeated Kendrick High School to finish the season with a record of 33-0. The team's coach, Wendell Lofton, has coached the team to more than 500 wins and has produced multiple NCAA Division I players.[19] The Lady Rebels are 1-4 in state championship finals under Lofton.[20][21] Le'coe Willingham, also a member of the Lady Rebels basketball team, won the 1998 AAAA state track and field high jump title.[22] Two Hephzibah graduates, Itoro Umoh-Coleman and Joanne Aluka, played together on the Nigeria women's national basketball team at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

In 1972, the Rebel men's baseball team won Hephzibah's first state championship in any sport by defeating South Gwinnett High School in the Class A state baseball championship. This was after coming in second the year before to Roswell High School. The team was coached by a graduate of the class of 1952, Al Turner, who became the first inductee into the Hephzibah High School Hall of Fame. The entire baseball team was also inducted into the Hall. The baseball component of the athletic complex built in 2008 was named in Coach Turner's honor.[23]

JROTC Rebel Battalion[edit]

Hephzibah High School's Army JROTC unit has been ranked as an honor unit with distinction for most of the recent past.[24] The unit's motto is "Rebel Battalion Leads the Way." In Fall 1998 the Men's Raider Team was the runner-up at the state competition. In 1999, they placed third in the same competition. In 2003, the Women's Raider Team were runners up in the state competition. The Raider Team also competed in the first Raider Team national championship, held in Athens, Georgia in 2007.[25] The unit also has strong ties to the community, performing over 3,000 hours of community service in 2008.[26]

In 2010, Hephzibah's rifle range facility was destroyed in an apparent arson. Five juveniles were arrested in connection with the crime.[27]

Marching Band[edit]

Hephzibah's marching band is nicknamed the Big Red Machine. For thirty years, the band was directed by Atys Kirkland as a traditional, high-stepping style marching band (such as those seen in the motion picture Drumline as opposed to the styles of most Colleges such as Fightin' Texas Aggie Band).[28] In the 1980s they were successful enough to be invited to perform at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. They were forced to decline the invitation due to a lack of funding.

By the late 1990s, members of the Hephzibah community became less comfortable with the increasing influence of Hip Hop and R&B on the band's style. This became evident with a media focus on the dancing corps of the band, known as the Rebelettes, who were deemed too "jiggy" to be appropriate.[29] The dancing corps' style of dress and dance opened a greater dialogue about the shifting attitudes of appropriateness in the community in the 1990s.[30][31] Briefly, the school performed in the corps style of marching, but it has since returned to its original marching style. The band also participates in the CSRA Classic, an annual traditional style marching band competition held in Augusta, Georgia.[32]

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Joanne Aluka 1997 2004 Athens Olympics, Nigerian Women's Basketball [33][34]
James Carpenter 2007 NFL Player, Seattle Seahawks [35]
Rudy Griffin 2001 Former Alabama football player; Assistant coach for Washington State Cougars football [36] Assistant Football Coach For Idaho State University http://www.isubengals.com/roster.aspx?path=football
Kalenna Harper 2000 Singer/Songwriter, part of P. Diddy's group Dirty Money [37]
Brandon Lynch 1999 NFL Player, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts [38]
Arthur Marshall 1987 NFL Player, New York Giants, Denver Broncos [39]
Calvin Roland 2002 Professional European basketball Player, Artland Dragons, Stjarnan Iceland Express [40][41][42]
Vaughn Taylor 1995 PGA Tour Player [43]
Lloyd Turner 1998 Professional baseball player, All-Star at Lancaster Barnstormers [44][45][46][47]
Itoro Umoh-Coleman 1995 WNBA Player, Houston Comets, Clemson head coach [48][49]
Le'coe Willingham 1999 WNBA Player, Phoenix Mercury [50][51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.publicschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/21781
  2. ^ Clark, Walter A. A Lost Arcadia, or, the story of my old community. 1909
  3. ^ http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2011/aug/30/plaque-remembers-lone-student-death-1953-hephzibah-ar-2341631/
  4. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/021298/met_academy.shtml
  5. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/021398/met_051-3069.002.shtml
  6. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/021398/met_051-3069.002.shtml
  7. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/080698/sch_051-3753.shtml
  8. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/083008/hig_471444.shtml
  9. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/102502/hig_174-5680.000.shtml
  10. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/01/09/met_506989.shtml
  11. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/052707/met_130006.shtml
  12. ^ http://heph-high.rcboe.org/www/heph_high/site/hosting/HephzibahHigh.pdf
  13. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/100508/let_478184.shtml
  14. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/092104/met_2070881.shtml
  15. ^ http://heph-high.rcboe.org/www/heph_high/site/hosting/HephzibahHigh.pdf
  16. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2002/08/27/xtr_355228.shtml
  17. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2000/02/06/oth_281736.shtml
  18. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/030605/pre_3549957.shtml
  19. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/030703/pre_213-4615.000.shtml
  20. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/030506/pre_6705028.shtml
  21. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/022005/pre_3416639.shtml
  22. ^ http://www.wnba.com/mercury/news/tribune_080611.html
  23. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/041608/hig_195288.shtml
  24. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2008/12/25/ric_505005.shtml
  25. ^ http://www.themillennews.com/news/2007/1114/other_jenkins_news/029.html
  26. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/110508/met_482246.shtml
  27. ^ http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2010/jun/19/5-teens-charged-hephzibah-high-school-arson-ar-396090/
  28. ^ http://halftimemag.com/articles/09-2008/09-2008-direct-from/north-carolina-central-university-marching-sound-machine.html
  29. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/101398/met_124-5015.shtml
  30. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/102598/opi_046-1054.shtml
  31. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/103198/opi_087-4200.shtml
  32. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/101704/met_2310169.shtml
  33. ^ http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/al/joanne-aluka-1.html
  34. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sd010.htm
  35. ^ http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/recruiting/player-James-Carpenter-47212
  36. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/sports/college/2010-06-02/ex-rebels-star-takes-assistant-coach-post
  37. ^ http://kalenna.webs.com/bio.htm
  38. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/071704/mic_1476865.shtml
  39. ^ http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=MARSHART01
  40. ^ http://www.databasefootball.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=MARSHART01
  41. ^ http://www.eurobasket.com/Iceland/basketball-Imports.asp
  42. ^ http://media.www.commonwealthtimes.com/media/storage/paper634/news/2007/10/15/Sports/Ram-Madness-3032691.shtml
  43. ^ http://www.pgatour.com/players/02/33/25/
  44. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/071308/bas_465528.shtml
  45. ^ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-16801329.html
  46. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/052798/spo_251-1667.001.shtml
  47. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/061098/spo_213-4749.001.shtml
  48. ^ http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/012997/spo_umoh.html
  49. ^ http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/itoro_umoh-coleman/bio.html
  50. ^ http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/lecoe_willingham/index.html
  51. ^ http://www.wnba.com/draft2004/prospect_lecoe_willingham.htm

External links[edit]