Baldwin High School (Georgia)

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Baldwin High School
BaldwinHSLogo.jpg
Address
155 Highway 49W
Milledgeville, Georgia 31061
United States
Information
Type Public high school
Motto "It's a Better Baldwin"
Established 1957
School district Baldwin County School District
Principal Cloise Williams
Grades 9-12
Enrollment Approx 1260
Color(s) Red, black, gray and white
              
Mascot Braves
Website

Baldwin High School (BHS) is located at 155 Highway 49 West in Milledgeville, Georgia, United States. The original building opened in 1988 as a combination of Milledgeville's two former high schools, Boddie High School and the original Baldwin High School. New additions since 2003 include a classroom wing, a JROTC building, and a fine arts wing, with more additions under construction. Baldwin is the only public high school in Baldwin County, and the largest of the three total high schools. The other two are private schools: John Milledge Academy and Georgia Military College.

Early days[edit]

During segregation, Boddie was the black school and Baldwin was the white school. To integrate the schools in 1971, many years after Brown vs. Board of Education, the main buildings of Baldwin became the high school, containing grades 10-12. Boddie became the junior high school, containing grades 8-9, with one of the buildings at Boddie called Sallie Davis Middle School and containing grade 7.

In 1988, Baldwin County built the current Baldwin High School and graduated its first class in June 1989. The old Baldwin High School became Baldwin Middle School, and Boddie became Boddie Middle School. Around the year 2000, Baldwin Middle and Boddie Middle were closed, and were merged into Oak Hill Middle School, a short distance from Baldwin High. A new condo development called the Bellamy is at the old Baldwin Middle site, and an apartment complex known as Baldwin Park is located where the old football stadium used to be.

The new school[edit]

Though Baldwin High was outdated compared to Baldwin County's middle school and four elementary schools, new areas have been added, such as a new 900 wing and the JROTC building. A performing arts center which includes a new auditorium, band room, and chorus room has opened, and a new administrative suite is now in use. A new football stadium was completed in time for the 2006 season. For all of the 2005 football season, the stadium had only one side of stands constructed. The stadium, called Braves Field after the football team, replaced the field at the old Baldwin High School. In 2016, the Braves field is again under construction to add in new additions, like metal stands, a black track, new fences surrounding the stadium, new fences to go in front of the stands, and new turf. The stadium should be finished by 2017.

BHS has many athletic teams including football, basketball, track, cross country, softball, soccer, and swim. Its marching band is the Band of the Braves, also called the Baldwin High School Marching Pride.

Lyn Chandler served as principal of Baldwin from the new school's opening in 1988 until he retired in December 2009. Dr. Jessica Swain is the new principal after serving as interim principal from January 6, 2010, through March 22, 2010. Jessica Swain retired from the principal position at the end of the 2014-15 school year. Dr. Cloise Williams is now the principal.

Football team[edit]

The sports teams at Baldwin High School are known as the Braves, with the football team being the most widely followed. Under Jesse Hicks as coach, the team went to the first round of the playoffs. The Braves have reached the playoffs almost every year since then. The Braves also hold a preseason scrimmage game against Wilkinson County High School. Every year since 2005 or earlier, the Braves have defeated Wilkinson County. The Braves won the Region Championship in 1963, 1983, 1986, 2008 and 2009. Former Braves football stars include Earnest Byner (East Carolina 80-83 and NFL 84-97), Nick Harper (Fort Valley State and NFL 01-09), Leroy Hill (Clemson and NFL 05-12), and Darius Marshall (Marshall University 07-09 and IFL 2012). The Braves have had greats running backs throughout their history, majority of them had all rushed for 1,000 or more rushing yards.

2002–2006[edit]

Jesse Hicks arrived at the school as head coach in 2002, and led the team to the first round of the playoffs. Although they did not make it to the playoffs in 2003, the Braves did make it to the second round in 2004 despite five regular-season losses. In 2005 the Braves made it farther than ever before, playing in the AAAA semifinals at the Georgia Dome. The team has not made it this far since, but has enjoyed overall better seasons than 2005 each year. In 2006 their record was 10-2, and they made it to the second round of the playoffs.

2007–2009[edit]

In 2007, the Braves had an unexpected loss to Fayette County in the first round of the playoffs, ending the season with an 8-2 record. In 2008, Baldwin High School was moved from class AAAA down to class AAA, which was beneficial for the Braves. In 2008, the Braves became region champions and had the school's first undefeated regular season. Losing to Flowery Branch in the third round of the playoffs, Baldwin completed the season with a 12-1 record. In 2009, Baldwin became region champions again despite two losses early in the regular season. Making it to the second round of the playoffs, the Braves lost to defending AAA state champion Cairo High School, ending the season with a 9-3 record. For the 2010 season, the school has been moved into AAA Region 2 from Region 3, giving the school several new teams to play in the upcoming season. In March 2010, head football coach and athletic director Jesse Hicks resigned, intending to relocate to Dougherty County High School in Albany, Georgia. On April 28, 2010, it was announced that Twiggs County High School's football coach, Dexter Copeland, would succeed Hicks.

2010[edit]

The 2010 season marked the inaugural season for new head coach Dexter Copeland. The season was just as successful as other recent seasons had been. The Braves' final record was 10-2, losing the last regular-season game to the Peach County Trojans, the 2009 AAA State Champions, as well as losing to the Burke County Bears in the second round of the playoffs in tight game with a final score of 21-20, despite the Braves having defeated the Bears in the first game of the season.

2014-present[edit]

In 2014, Lee Hannah arrived in Baldwin County ready to improve a struggling Baldwin Squad. The 2014-2015 Baldwin Braves football team boasted a 7-5 record at season's end. Baldwin played for the 2014 Region 2-AAAA Championship, but fell 55-21 to the Mary Persons Bulldogs. With a revived Baldwin that went to the second round of the playoffs, Lee Hannah and the Braves looked ready for the future. A record, 7 players, received scholarships and went on to college. In 2015, the Braves struggled, as they fell to a 4-6 record. The Braves look to build for the future with some young stars. In 2017, Jesse Hicks returned as head coach for the Braves hoping to turn the program around.

Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps[edit]

A NJROTC unit was established at Baldwin in 2000, including a drill team, academic team, rifle team, and orienteering team. The drill team is composed of two divisions: the Warrior Guard (armed exhibition) and the Lady Bravehearts, or Lady B's for short (all-female unarmed exhibition). Baldwin High School Warrior Guards and the Lady B's have competed in many drill meets.

In 2003 and 2004, the NJROTC competition team finished second and third in the state and went to the Navy Nationals in Florida, where they finished sixteenth and seventeenth in the nation. They were led by LT Frank Hernandez, SgtMaj Primm, SCPO Williams, and CPO Lee.

Baldwin High School NJROTC would continue to be a force until 2012. The unit went without a single trophy for 4 years. In 2016, Baldwin High School NJROTC made a resurgence. The unit is led by LCDR Thomas Johnson, CPO Ronald Bailey, and SCPO Manaani Jefferson.

LCDR Thomas Johnson is commander (SNSI).

Basketball teams[edit]

The boys won the AAAA State Championship in 1981. The girls won the AAAA State Championship in 1986, 1987, and 1988.

Former Braves basketball stars include Donald Hartry, Georgia (82-86); Michael S. Reaves, Iowa (84-88); Audra Smith, Virginia (88-92); Tasha Butts (96-00) and her aunt Valerie Freeman (79-83), Lisa Webb College, Tennessee; Gerald Riley, Georgetown (96-00); Larry Turner, UGA, and Nehemiah "da goon" Ingram, Temple.

Other sports[edit]

Former Braves track and field stars include Celena Mondie (also '86 class president), Illinois (86-90), who won a gold medal at the 1995 World Championships in Athletics in the 4x100 relay. In 2008, the Bravettes volleyball team won a regional championship in region 3-AAA.

Band of the Braves[edit]

The Baldwin High School Marching Pride, also called the Band of the Braves, is the school's award-winning marching band. The band has participated in the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Atlanta Christmas Parade, the Hollywood Christmas Parade, the Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Rose Parade, and the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago. The band always marches in the Milledgeville Christmas Parade and the Mayoral Motorcade Parade at Central State Hospital.

The band is the largest organization in the school, with more members than any sports team, cheerleading team, or other group. It is supported by a Band Booster group, headed by and made up of band members' parents. The band attends two or three competitions every year, always including the Heart of Georgia in Warner Robins, Georgia.

The director is James McMillan and the assistant directors are Tim Pietrofere, and Christie Edwards.

2000–2005[edit]

Raburn first came to the school in 2000, when the band performed a halftime show called Cuban Fire, written by Raburn's predecessor Eldon Lundin. A part of this first show, "Johnny's Mambo," was later used in stands whenever Baldwin would play Jones County, where Lundin had become the band director. Raburn's early years saw the band play shows like Les Miserables, TV Land, and the Broadway-inspired show The Lion King. The 2004 show, Reflections of Earth, was not as successful as past shows. In 2005, the show was Spies Like Us, and used music from Mission Impossible, 007, and Austin Powers. The band achieved fourth place at the Heart of Georgia with this show, which was a higher place than it had achieved in previous years.

2006–2010[edit]

In 2006, the field show was entitled Caliente!, and was based on music from assorted DCI shows. The band again placed fourth at the Heart of Georgia.

2007 is regarded as the best year in the band's history so far. The field show was called Funkadelic and contained pieces like "Shaft", "Give Up the Funk", "Jungle Boogie", "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", and "Superstition". The band received first place in music and overall first runner-up (second place) at the Heart of Georgia, which remains the highest the band has ever placed at any competition.

The next year, the band hoped to continue its success with Dancing Generation, a medley of dance tunes from the 20th century, featuring Sing, Sing, Sing, Sway, The Tennessee Waltz, Hand Jive, Thriller, and others. The band placed third at Heart of Georgia, but placed second at the Bowdon Invitational Tournament of Bands in Bowdon, Georgia.

In 2009, the show was not a custom show like past shows had been. Gangsta' Jazz, made up of original music written in the style of 1930s jazz, turned out to be another third-place ranking at the Heart of Georgia.

In 2010, a new idea was tried out, in that the school would have two bands: a football band and a competition band. The football band, which is open to anyone, would perform at all home and away football games. The competition band, which is restricted to those who pass auditions, would perform at the three competitions the band attends, including the Heart of Georgia. The competition show, Dream, was formulated by Raburn and Percussion Instructor Marcus Hawkins and, like Caliente!, drew inspiration from DCI shows.

2011-2012[edit]

That 70's Show was the band's 2011 halftime show, which placed runner-up at Heart of Georgia. The following year the show was called Ray, and consisted of many of Ray Charles' most famous songs, including "Georgia On My Mind". Clint Raburn left the high school to work at a local church full-time. In 2013, Ryan Murrell became the new band director.

2013-2015[edit]

The band's halftime show for 2013 was entitled The Michael Jackson Experience, and featured the songs "Beat It", "Thriller", "Bad", and many other songs by Michael Jackson.

In 2014, the halftime show was entitled Fever, Pizazz, Spanish, and Jazz, which included the songs "Firedance", "Fever", "Moondance", and "Adagio".

The 2015 show was entitled Rockstar Revolution, and included many popular old and new rock songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Detroit Rock City", "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark", "Creep", and "Paint It Black".

2016-present[edit]

Band director Ryan Murrell and assistant band director Tab Brown left the band program to teach closer to their home state (Alabama). New band director James McMillan, who is a Baldwin Band alumni, and assistant Tim Pietrofere, were welcomed into the band program.

The 2016 halftime show was picked by the drum majors - Phoenix Rising, meaning rebirth. This show included three parts, "Part 1: Life", "Part 2: Death", and "Part 3: Rebirth". With this show, the Marching Pride place 6th overall at Heart of Georgia, and 3rd at Sound of Silver.

Cheerleading[edit]

The school cheerleading team, a competition cheerleading team, a junior varsity basketball cheerleading team, and a varsity basketball cheerleading squad. The squad dances to upbeat music and often turns popular songs into cheers. They have been known to rival with cheerleading teams from Wilkinson County High School, Mary Persons High School, Westside High School, and Greenbriar High School.

Ongoing renovation[edit]

On September 18, 2007, voters in Baldwin County approved continuing the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The SPLOST, a penny tax, has already funded several operations within the Board of Education, and will cover the extensive upgrade of Baldwin High School. Phase I of the renovations included the construction of the fine arts center, the administrative office suite, three new classrooms, and a new hallway to bypass the main offices. Phase II, completed in 2011, included a new cafeteria and renovation of the interior of the existing school. It also included the demolition of the Vocational Building, which concluded in July 2010, and the construction of the Career Tech Building, completed in September 2011.

The largest addition of Phase I, which was completed in March 2010, was the fine arts wing, which included a band room, chorus room, art rooms, 986-seat theatre/auditorium with an orchestra pit that can be raised and lowered electronically, music theory and music ensemble rooms, theatre classroom, and dressing rooms. Soil testing was performed in late September 2008, and groundbreaking for the fine arts wing occurred in December 2008. Construction on Phase I and Phase II is now complete, and the band moved into its new home in March 2010.

An alumni concert was scheduled for 2010 but indefinitely postponed. It will feature many older alumni of the band, like notable saxophonist Otis Murphy, in addition to more recent graduates.

Mascot controversy[edit]

A Mascot Advisory Committee was formed by the Baldwin County Board of Education.[1] After a year of discussion the Board has decided to retain the "Braves" mascot name but remove some of the stereotypical imagery.[2]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°04′22″N 83°15′01″W / 33.07287°N 83.25030°W / 33.07287; -83.25030