Vashon High School
|Vashon High School|
|Entrance to Vashon High School|
|3035 Cass Ave
St. Louis, MO 63106
|Type||Comprehensive public high school|
|Established||September 6, 1927|
|School district||St. Louis Public Schools|
|Principal||Terry Houston (Principal)|
|Enrollment||818 (as of 2009–2010)|
|Color(s)||Blue and white|
|Song||Vashon We Love|
|Yearbook||Blue and White|
Vashon High School is a public high school located in St. Louis, Missouri that is part of the St. Louis Public Schools. When it opened in 1927, it was the second high school for black students in St. Louis. Since 1934, the school has won 14 state basketball championships – eight as a member of the Missouri State High School Activities Association and six as a member of the Missouri Negro Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Designed by Rockwell M. Milligan, the school opened on September 11, 1927, and it was named in honor of two African-American educators: George Boyer Vashon, the first black graduate of Oberlin College, and his son, John Boyer Vashon. Located at 3026 Laclede Avenue, construction costs were slightly less than $1.2 million. Vashon was the second high school built for black students in the St. Louis Public Schools, after Sumner High School.
While at the Laclede Avenue location, Vashon's boys basketball program won six state titles as part of the Missouri Negro Interscholastic Athletic Association, in 1935, 1936, 1944, 1947, 1948, and 1949. Vashon was barred from joining the Missouri State High School Activities Association until 1949, and between 1949 and 1954, it was prohibited from participating in both MNIAA tournaments and MSHSAA state tournaments.
In June 1963, the school relocated to the Hadley Vocational-Technical High School building at 3405 Bell Avenue, and the original building became part of Harris–Stowe State University. The Bell Avenue building had been constructed in the early 1930s with large shop classrooms that were subsequently divided into classrooms and offices with partition walls, causing noise problems throughout the school. Its architectural design also strongly resembled a factory, and according to a local newspaper report, "the main school building, gym and auditorium make one think the people inside might be manufacturing cars or widgets." The move was accompanied by protests in the local community and a student march against the transfer.
After the transfer, Vashon students were offered more vocational classes, including auto repair, fashion design, cosmetology, dry cleaning, woodworking, shoe repair, drafting, and commercial cooking. From 1974 to 2006, Vashon's boys basketball team was coached by Floyd Irons, a Vashon alumnus, who would become one of the winningest basketball coaches in Missouri history. Irons went on to coach the team through four state championships in the 1980s.
In 1990, the Board of Education considered several options to deal with both noise problems and facilities issues at Vashon; among the options were closure of Vashon, partial renovation, full renovation, or complete demolition and replacement. Ultimately the Board decided against closure and opted for partial renovation of the building; support from the school's alumni and the school's strong boys basketball program played a role in the decision to keep the school open. In 1994, the Vashon boys basketball team won another state championship under Irons.
In August 2002, Vashon moved again, to a new building at 3035 Cass Avenue designed by Kennedy and Associates and built at a cost of $47.3 million. The boys basketball team also saw a series of state championship victories in the 2000s, including wins in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2006. In 2005, the school's boys basketball program was ranked as the top program in the United States by USA Today.
In 2006, the Riverfront Times, a local newspaper, published an investigative report that detailed extensive allegations of misconduct by Floyd Irons as coach at Vashon. The allegations eventually led the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) to strip Vashon of its 2001, 2002, and 2006 titles due to violations of MSHSAA rules on recruiting and eligibility. In July 2006, Irons was dismissed as coach and administrator at Vashon, and he was replaced as head coach by Anthony Bonner, a retired NBA player and Vashon alumnus. Bonner himself resigned in 2009.
For the 2011–2012 school year, the school offered 18 activities approved by the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA): baseball, boys and girls basketball, cheerleading, boys and girls cross country, football, music activities, boys and girls soccer, softball, speech and debate, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, girls volleyball, and wrestling. In addition to its current activities, its students have won several state championships:
- Boys basketball: 1935, 1936, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1971, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1994, 2000, 2002
- Boys cross country: 1956, 1958, 1960
- Boys track and field: 1984
The school also has produced one individual wrestling state champion.
- Mary Branch: Later president of Huston–Tillotson University
- Anthony Bonner: Professional basketball player
- Virgil Akins: world champion boxer
- Devon Alexander: World champion boxer
- Henry Armstrong: World champion boxer
- Rick Baker: Professional baseball player (class of 1988)
- Anthony Bonner: Professional basketball player (later became faculty and basketball coach at Vashon)
- Jerome "Jerry" Brown Jr.: NFL & CFL football player. Last played with the Dallas Cowboys. Killed in a tragic car accident involving teammate, Josh Brent in 2012.
- Butler By'not'e: Professional football player
- Mac Cody: Professional football player
- Will Franklin: Professional football player
- Lloyd L. Gaines: key player in Gaines vs. Canada, which desegregated the University of Missouri School of Law
- Donny Hathaway: Singer, songwriter
- Ed Hopson: Olympic boxer (class of 1990) and IBF Super Feather weight Champion (1995)
- Elston Howard: Professional baseball player, first African-American player for the New York Yankees
- Jimmy McKinney: Professional basketball player
- Theodore McMillian: Missouri Supreme Court and U.S. District Court judge
- Leon Spinks: U.S. Olympic and professional boxer best known for beating Muhammad Ali
- Michael Spinks: champion Olympic and professional boxer
- Norris Stevenson: first African-American scholarship athlete for the University of Missouri football program
- Clark Terry: Jazz musician
- Morris Towns: Professional football player
- Quincy Troupe, author and poet (attended Vashon, but transferred to Beaumont)
- Quincy Trouppe, Former MLB player (Cleveland Indians)
- Maxine Waters: Member of the United States House of Representatives
- Bosenbecker, Ray (2005). So, Where'd You Go to High School? 1. St. Louis, Missouri: Virginia Publishing. pp. 119–120. ISBN 978-1-891442-30-8.
- Missouri DESE: School Statistics
- Prior to its integration in 1954, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) did not permit black schools to participate in postseason tournaments, and Vashon competed in the Missouri Negro Interscholastic Athletic Association (MNIAA), a state athletic association for black schools. For MSHSAA championship counts for Missouri high schools, see Missouri State High School Activities Association (2007). State Championship Histories by Sport (Report). MSHSAA. pp. 129–133. http://www.mshsaa.org/resources/pdf/State%20Championship%20Histories%20by%20Sport.pdf. Retrieved January 15, 2012.; for MNIAA championship information, see John Duxbury (March 12, 2001). "Vashon Can Claim 14 Titles, With Six Before Integration – School Was Not Allowed to Play in MSHSAA Tournament Until 1954". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Vashon had previously held the state championships for 2001, 2004, and 2006; however, its titles were removed due to violations of MSHSAA rules, leaving the team with 8 MSHSAA championships (1971, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1994, 2000, 2002) and 6 MNIAA championships (1935, 1936, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1949). For information on the violations, see Kristen Hinman (June 18, 2008). "Basketball by the Book, Part 6: Fouled Out". Riverfront Times. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- Virginia Hick (February 18, 1990). "Vashon: Past Glory May Figure In Future". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. News 1B.
- Dillon, Dan (2005). So, Where'd You Go to High School: The Baby Boomer Years 2. St. Louis, Missouri: Virginia Publishing. pp. 236–237. ISBN 1-891442-33-3.
- John Duxbury (March 12, 2001). "Vashon Can Claim 14 Titles, With Six Before Integration – School Was Not Allowed to Play in MSHSAA Tournament Until 1954". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Kevin E. Boone (March 9, 2001). "Irons Has Made Vashon Basketball Something Special". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sports F4.
- Jake Wagman and Elizabethe Holland (July 13, 2006). "Irons Leaves Complicated Legacy at Vashon". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. News A1.
- Clint Brunt (March 3, 2004). "Urban Institution". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- Cameron Hollway (January 26, 2005). "Vashon Reaches Top Spot in USA Today Rankings". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sports D1.
- Kristen Hinman (November 1, 2006). "Basketball by the Book: a Riverfront Times Investigation". Riverfront Times. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- Kristen Hinman (June 18, 2008). "Basketball by the Book, Part 6: Fouled Out". Riverfront Times. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- Kristen Hinman (February 11, 2009). "Anthony Bonner Bids Adieu to Vashon". Riverfront Times. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- MSHSAA: Vashon High School
- MSHSAA: Championship Histories by Sport
- Prior to its integration in 1954, the Missouri State High School Activities Association did not permit black schools to participate in postseason tournaments; prior to 1949, Vashon competed in the Missouri Negro Interscholastic Athletic Association, a state athletic system for black schools. See John Duxbury (March 12, 2001).
- Vashon had previously held the state championships for 2001, 2004, and 2006; however, its titles were removed due to violations of MSHSAA rules. Kristen Hinman (June 18, 2008). "Basketball by the Book, Part 6: Fouled Out". Riverfront Times. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
- "Dr. Mary Branch, College Head, Dies". New York Times. July 9, 1944. p. 36.
- Virginia Hick (August 18, 1992). "Vashon's Tradition Defended – Threat Of Closing United Alumni With Current Students". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- John Aaron Wright (2002). "Discovering African American St. Louis: A Guide to Historic Sites" (Second ed.). Missouri History Museum Press. p. 40.
- Tom Wheatley (February 17, 2004). "St. Louis Will Send Three to Olympic Boxing Trials". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sports C7.
- Kevin E. Boone (June 21, 1993). "On Track: By'not'e Running with the Best at Ohio State". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Zone North 13.
- "Mac Cody". databasefootball.com. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- Kathleen Nelson (April 28, 2008). "Franklin, Rucker, Omon Are Picked". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sports C6.
- Bill Coats (December 20, 2002). "Jimmy McKinney". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Sports B1.
- Cathie Burnes Beebe (May 15, 1991). "25 Years of Scholar Athletes". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Everyday E1.