Winter Haven High School
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2008)|
|600 Sixth Street, SE 
Winter Haven, Florida, Polk County, 33880 
|Funding type||Public |
|Color(s)||Blue and Gold |
The school opened in 1886 on the second floor of Boyd’s Hall, currently where City Hall stands. In 1890, a frame school building was built at the corner of Central Avenue and First Street.
When the student population reached 200 in 1912, more space was added onto the structure. Three years later a brick building replaced the wood-framed ones to make room for all elementary and high school students in 12 grades.
In 1922, an eight-room structure for the high school was built on Fourth Street, the present annex (demolished in Winter/Spring 1971) at Denison Junior High School. In 1925 a large stucco building (also now demolished) was built on the adjacent lot for the high school, and the smaller building became a junior high department.
The current structure was built on Sixth Street in 1955 on a 32-acre (130,000 m2) tract of land. The late 1980s and 1990s saw a tremendous expansion of the campus, including a new gymnasium, music building and administrative offices.
The full reconstruction of the school commenced in the fall of 2009. All of the original campus (not including the auditorium, which was the original gymnasium) was demolished and replaced with a total of four new buildings (33, 34, 35, 36). An estimated 24 million dollars was spent on the construction and the new building boast two stories, new laboratories, kitchens, and art rooms.
Most recently, it was announced on January 4, 2012, that Winter Haven High School became a "B" school. This was a major achievement and showed that school was and still is making progress.
The school held a “Celebrate Blue and Gold” event Sept. 15, 2006 to mark the school’s 120th anniversary.
Winter Haven High School is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association and is in Class: 4A, District: 12.
The girls basketball team won the state championship in 2005 & 2007. Former coach LeDawn Gibson led the team to State Championship game in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 before moving on to coach at Florida A & M University.  The team returned to the championship game in 2011 under coach Johnnie Lawson.
The WHHS band program, which dates from 1936, and housed in the Roy Wood music building, is led by band director Juan Tony Mayato, Devilette Instructor Susan Banner and Percussion Instructor John Ostberg. The program consists of the "Pride of Winter Haven" Marching Band, including the Devilette Dance and Flag Ensemble, the Symphonic and Concert Bands, "Messengers" Jazz orchestra,Percussion Ensemble and many student led ensembles.
The Winter Haven High School Marching Band, also known as "The Pride of Winter Haven," performs at football games, marching band competitions, community events and local and national parades. It has performed in many national events, including the Washington DC National Cherry Blossom Parade in the 1960s, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the mid-1990s and then later in 1998 St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City. In 2011 they received their 12th consecutive FBA "Straight Superiors" at the District 12 marching competition.
The Symphonic Band performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 24, 2008 with two other ensembles, The Caltech-Occidental Concert Band from California and Jackson High School Wind Ensemble from Washington.
- Directors of the Winter Haven band
- 1936–1940: Esther Mayhill
- 1940–1942: Everett Shortt
- 1942–1965: Roy V. Wood
- 1965–1979: Jimmy Parker
- 1979–1980: Jim Rees
- 1980–1982: David Christopher
- 1982–1983: Jim Sheldrake
- 1983–1994: David Fultz
- 1994–2000: Mark Lussier
- 2000–2006: Shawn Barat
- 2006–2011: Sean Luce
- 2011–present: Tony Mayato
Blue Devil Drama
Blue Devil Drama, the school's drama program, produces two or three shows a year. Every year, it runs a straight play in the fall season and a musical in the spring season, and in some years a mystery dinner is included. The program has performed many shows such as the hits Lady Pirates of Captain Bre, Anything Goes, It's a Wonderful Life, The Crucible, Shakespeare Comes to Calamity Creek, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Who Killed Elvis?, and The Goodbye Girl. The fall play for 2012 was The Last Gladiator. The spring musical for 2012 was Kilroy Was Here  The WHHS drama program is currently headed by Mr. Fritz. The school is the only one in Polk County to have a working Improv program called the 'Blue Devil Comedy Brigade' which has both a JV and Varsity team. Anyone who joins the club is highly welcomed into a theatrical family, and will grow as an actor in one of the best theatre programs in Polk County.
- James H. Ammons, former president of Florida A&M University
- Andre Berto, boxer
- Otis Birdsong, NBA basketball player
- Kenneth Brokenburr, former Olympic sprinter
- Stephen Christian, vocalist for rock band Anberlin
- John Covington, American football player
- Rowdy Gaines, former competitive and Olympic swimmer and Gold medalist, swimming analyst for ESPN and NBC
- LeDawn Gibson, Head Coach, FAMU Women's basketball
- John Michael Harrison, student 1979-1982, entrepreneur
- Scott Helvenston, former Navy SEAL
- Charlie Manning, Former professional baseball player (Washington Nationals)
- Joseph Milligan, guitarist for rock band Anberlin
- Gram Parsons, a student in 1961-63,; singer/songwriter and member of The Byrds, founder of The Flying Burrito Brothers, discoverer of Emmylou Harris
- Jordan Schafer, major league outfielder for the Atlanta Braves
- Sally Wheeler, actress
- Gary Wright, actor, singer, arts education presenter
- Kevin Wright, actor, singer
- "General Information". Winter Haven High School. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
- Haven High School to Mark 120th Anniversary, article in Lakeland Ledger, May 25, 2006.
- "Girls High School Basketball Records". Florida State High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- "LeDawn Gibson Bio". Florida A & M University. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- WHHS Drama program Website
- "Polk State Honors Coach LeDawn Gibson". The Ledger. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- Gernert, Bob (9 October 2011). "Gram Parsons: 'Cosmic American' music". News Chief (Winter Haven, FL). Retrieved 21 October 2011.