Lafayette High School (Lexington, Kentucky)

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Lafayette Senior High School
401 Reed Lane
Lexington, KY 40503
Type Public
Motto Learners, Leaders, Legacies — Lafayette
Established 1939
Principal Bryne Jacobs
Enrollment ~ 2000
Nickname Generals

Lafayette Senior High School (LHS) is a public high school located in Lexington, Kentucky's Picadome neighborhood. The school is one of five high schools in the Fayette County Public Schools district. It is among the largest high schools in Kentucky.


Lafayette High School opened in 1939 to replace Picadome High School. The school was named for the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general who became famous during and after the Revolutionary War. The family of the Marquis de Lafayette granted the school permission to use their family coat of arms.[1] The original building was constructed as part of a Public Works Administration project on the campus of what had once been an orphanage. By 1940 the LHS vocational program was expanded into a national defense trade school and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, several more buildings were constructed to meet the demand for skilled workers in the war-related industries.[2]

LHS was the first white school in Lexington to be integrated. In 1955 16-year-old Helen Cary Caise enrolled in a summer course in U.S. History.[3] Her uncles and her grandfather at first escorted her to class each day, fearing for her safety. She did not have any problems in completing the course successfully. Most of the white students ignored her during class. However, white supremacists called her family home to threaten them and her father lost his job.[4] In 1958, LHS graduated its first black students. The first black teachers, Viola Greene and Betty Newby, joined the faculty in 1963. With the merger of the Lexington and Fayette County school systems in 1967, many more black students enrolled at Lafayette High School.[2]

SCAPA at Lafayette High School[edit]

Fayette County's art magnet program, the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, or SCAPA, is associated with Lafayette. Its facilities are located on Lafayette's campus.

Academic achievement[edit]

Lafayette has been widely recognized for a high level of academic achievement. The school has produced scores of National Merit Finalists. Students representing Lafayette have had repeated success in speech, debate, drama, and music competitions. The Lafayette Times and the Marquis have won many awards for excellence in student journalism. In 1987 Lafayette won the Kentucky Governor's Cup, often seen as tantamount to the state academic championship.[5]


Lafayette's athletic teams have been among the most successful in Kentucky high school history. The school has claimed more than 50 Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) titles, including championships in boys basketball, baseball, boys and girls soccer, boys track, boys cross country, boys and girls gymnastics, boys and girls swimming, boys and girls golf, and boys and girls tennis. Several graduates (including Tyson Gay, Gay Brewer, Austin Kearns) have gone on to successful amateur and professional athletic careers. Lafayette/Picadome has been a member of KHSAA since 1924. School colors are red, white and navy blue.


LHS has claimed six Kentucky Sweet Sixteen state championships (1941, 1950, 1953, 1957, 1979, 2001) - a record matched only by arch-rival Henry Clay.


Lafayette has won three state championships (1988–89, 1992).

Several former Lafayette baseball stars have enjoyed successful college and professional careers, including 1998 Kentucky Mr. Baseball winner and current Miami Marlins left fielder Austin Kearns.


Lafayette holds a total of seven boy's track team championships: 1953, 1954, 1963(tie), 1964; Class AA 1970, 1978; Class AAA 1985. The school holds state track and field records in the following events:

  • Boys’ 100 Meter Dash - KY (AAA) Tyson Gay, Lafayette, 2001, 10.46
  • Boys’ 400 Meter Relay - KY (AAA) Lafayette, 1985, 42.06


Lafayette has claimed three boy's team golf championships. Former professional golfer Gay Brewer played for the school and won three consecutive state titles from 1949-51.


The girls soccer team won a state championship in 1992, defeating northern Kentucky powerhouse Notre Dame.

The boys team won the state championship in 1990.


Lafayette plays its home football games at James D. Ishmael Stadium. Originally built in 1953, the facility has been expanded several times and seats more than 4,000, making it among the largest stadiums in the state.

Lafayette's oldest rival is crosstown high school Henry Clay, with the most prominent one today being Paul Laurence Dunbar.


Marching band[edit]

The Lafayette Marching Band, which routinely has more than 200 members, has won 18 Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) [1] state titles (1990–2002, 2006, 2008–09, 2012 and 2013). The marching band has competed at the Bands of America (BOA) Grand National Championships four times: in 1995, 2004, 2009 and 2010, making the finals twice ('95 and '04). In 2009, the band was the class 3A national runner-up, placing 14th overall, in 2010, the band was a semi-finalist and placed 20th overall.[citation needed]

The band has also competed at several BOA Regional contests, reaching the finals at least once every year since 1995. In 1996 and 1997, the band was named Champion at the BOA Regional in Johnson City, Tenn. The band has also claimed the Grand Champion title at the famed Contest of Champions in Murfreesboro, Tenn. nine times (1975–76, 1978–79, 1990–94).

In addition, the band has performed twice at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, N.Y. (1991, 2002). In 2013 the band performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

The band started to grow initially in the mid-1950s under the direction of William Walter Hall.

While the Lafayette Band has always enjoyed a successful reputation, it was not known well until the program reached its pinnacle during the early 1990s. Under the direction of Steve Moore, the band claimed numerous marching contest titles, winning several consecutive state championships.[6]

The 1991 band received the Suddler Shield award for Marching Excellence.[7]

The 1993 season produced what many regard as the finest marching band show in Kentucky history, "Polovetzian Dances". The band finished the season undefeated and beat rival McGavock High School (Nashville, Tenn.) by nearly 10 whole points at the Contest of Champions. The 4A class state championship was never in doubt and Lafayette easily claimed the title.

The band's 1994 rendition of "Les Miserables" is also highly regarded and often lauded among band enthusiasts.

The band is currently directed by Charles Smith, assisted by Dr. Terry McGee.[8]

Repertoire By Year[edit]

18 Total KMEA Championships [2]

  • 2014 Suite Child of Mine-2nd Place Class 5A
  • 2013 With All My Heart-1st Place Class 5A
  • 2012 Desert Rose-1st Place Class 5A
  • 2011 Shadows of Eternity-2nd Place Class 5A
  • 2010 Chime-2nd Place Class 5A
  • 2009 Metamorphosis-1st Place Class 5A
  • 2008 Allure-1st Place Class 5A
  • 2007 Celestial Suite-2nd Place Class 5A
  • 2006 American Times-1st Place Class 5A
  • 2005 Tradition, Tribute & Tomorrow-2nd Place Class 5A
  • 2004 Journey of Sheba-2nd Place Class 4A
  • 2003 Rejuvenation-2nd Place Class 4A
  • 2002 Ancient Storms-1st Place Class 4A
  • 2001 Symphonic Impressions-1st Place Class 4A
  • 2000 Bring on The Night-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1999 Ballets Russes-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1998 Images of Rome-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1997 Belshazzars Feast-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1996 Parisian Venues-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1995 Treasures of The Czars-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1994 Les Misérables-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1993 Polovetzian Dances-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1992 Pictures at an Exhibition-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1991 Oz Wiz-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1990 Superstar-1st Place Class 4A
  • 1989 Cinemagic-2nd Place Class 4A

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Perry, Brandon (10 November 2009). "LHS History". Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Templin, Thomas E. (10 November 2009). "Lafayette's History 1939-1989". Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Lane, Tammy L. "Woman who broke color barrier visits Rosa Parks". Fayette County Public Schools News and Features (Lexington, KY). Retrieved 16 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Davis, Merlene (1 March 1992). "Summer Classes in ’55 Cost More than Tuition". Herald-Leader (Lexington, KY). 
  5. ^ Lafayette High School - Lexington, Kentucky/KY |
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°01′33″N 84°31′30″W / 38.02573°N 84.52492°W / 38.02573; -84.52492