Columbus High School (Columbus, Georgia)

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For schools of a similar name, see Columbus High School.
Columbus High School Liberal Arts Magnet
1700 Cherokee Ave.
Columbus, Georgia 31906

United States
Coordinates 32°28′46″N 84°57′48″W / 32.479395°N 84.963285°W / 32.479395; -84.963285Coordinates: 32°28′46″N 84°57′48″W / 32.479395°N 84.963285°W / 32.479395; -84.963285
Type Public magnet school for the liberal arts
Established 1890
Principal Dr. Marvin Crumbs
Enrollment 1300
Color(s)          Orange and blue
Mascot Blue Devils
Information (706) 748–2534
Student: teacher ratio 24: 1
Partners in Education AFLAC

Columbus High School is located in Columbus, Georgia, United States. It serves as one of the Muscogee County School District's[1] liberal arts magnet schools. It opened in 1890.

In the 2006–2007 school year, CHS was ranked first in the state and 38th in the nation. In 2005, the school shared the ranking as the top high school in the state of Georgia[citation needed] with John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta. Columbus High School was awarded Gold Status in the "2012 Best High Schools in the Nation" by U.S. News & World Report.[2]

Graduation requirements[edit]

All Liberal Arts College Preparatory Magnet students entering the program as 9th graders must earn a total of 32 Carnegie units. To stay in the magnet program, a student must maintain at least a "C" average in any taken course. Failure to do so can result in the removal of the student from Columbus High School, the one exception being for freshmen who fail during their first semester, as the transition to high school may be overwhelming. Students take one core course each year in English, math, science, and social studies.

Course type Credits needed
English 4 units
Foreign Language 3 units
Math 4 units
Science 4 units
Social Studies 4 units
Physical Education 1/2 unit
Health 1/2 unit
Humanities 1 unit
Academic Electives 3 units
Student Choice Electives 6 units
Fine Arts Elective 1 unit

Community involvement[edit]

Each year, students serve 20 hours of volunteer work around the area as part of their social studies class. 12th graders do a senior project in which they pick an activity they have never tried before, and have a mentor teach them what to do and how to do it. Each senior must spend 100 hours on this and maintain a portfolio documenting their progress from the summer before their senior year until the final presentation in April. Then they present their project in the form of a speech to a board.[3]


Students qualify for entrance into the program based on:

  • 8th grade course averages of an 82 or better, with the exception of algebra and foreign languages.
  • Recommendations from middle school counselor, math, and English teachers.
  • Entrance exams performance in math, reading, and composition.
  • Students must maintain a "C" average in each academic course with the exception of one "F" allowed in the first semester of freshman year.


The school sits atop a hill in the Lakebottom area of the city and across Cherokee Avenue from Lakebottom/Weracoba park, where the school shares athletic facilities with the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department.


Students are required to wear ID cards around their necks at all times during school hours. This serves as the students' library card and can only be removed at the end of the day once off of school property. Lack of wearing student ID can result in detention, and is the most common disciplinary problem at the school.

The second most common infraction results from the district's cell phone policy. In accordance to the policy, if a cell phone is used in class and discovered, it is confiscated and a student is assigned detention. The cell phone may be retrieved by the parents after a few days, depending on the regularity of the offense.


Students can spend their time out of class in the following extracurricular activities.


Columbus High School is ranked fourth (2004) in AAAA schools in Georgia. The school is rated 5A by student population. Two thirds of the students participate in 41 teams:

  • Boys'/girls' cross country
  • Boys'/girls' track
  • Boys'/girls' basketball
  • Boys'/girls' tennis
  • Boys'/girls' golf
  • Boys'/girls' soccer
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Marching Band - Drumline/Colorguard
  • JROTC Drill Team
  • JROTC Colorguard
  • JROTC Raiders
  • Swim team
  • Softball
  • Cheerleading (competition, football, and basketball)
  • Wrestling
  • Rifle Team
  • Girls' volleyball
  • Girls' lacrosse

GHSA Class AAAA State Champions[edit]

  • Baseball[4] - 1984, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Boys' golf - 2010, 2011, 2015
  • Cheerleading - 2008, 2010
  • Cross country - 2008, 2010 (girls')
  • Softball - 2009
  • Volleyball - 2007, 2013, 2015
  • Wrestling - 2006
  • Boys' tennis- 2013

Fine arts[edit]

CHS is well known for its fine arts program, led by Martha Jane Collins. The program includes chorus, drama, band, and orchestra. At CHS the drama department or "full house productions" usually produces a one-act show that is used to compete in a local competition, and a spring musical. In the theater department the two acting classes also each produce their own class showcase in the form of a play.

Clubs and organizations[edit]

Clubs and organizations at CHS include Young Activists; Junior Civitan; GSA; Ballroom Dance Club; Fellowship of Christian Athletes; National Art Honor Society; National Honor Society; Beta Club; National English Honor Society; Students Against Destructive Decisions; Language Clubs: Spanish, Japanese, French, Latin; Science Club; Envirothon; FIRST Robotics; Columbus Space Program; Dead Poet's Society; Competition Mathematics Team; Academic Decathlon; Thespians Drama Society; Dance Team; Model UN; Gavel Club; Fired Up; Debate; Youth Alive; Student Council; Chess Club; Future Business Leaders of America; and Health Occupations Students of America.


The school annual is written by students as part of their creative writing class.

  • COHISCAN, yearbook (Columbus HIgh SChool ANnual)


Notable alumni[edit]

  • Reggie Abercrombie, Major League professional baseball player[5]
  • Garey Ingram, Major League professional baseball player, current AA hitting coach for the Mississippi Braves
  • Nunnally Johnson, class of 1915, screenwriter and filmmaker[6]
  • Carson McCullers, class of 1933, writer[7]
  • John McNally, class of 1974, distinguished pistol marksman, member of the 1984, 88, 92, 96 and 2000 Olympic teams (international rapid fire pistol event)
  • Sam Mitchell, NBA player and head coach[8]
  • Skeeter Newsome, former professional baseball player (Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies)
  • John F. Suhr, class of 1954, Columbus advertising icon, composed the 1964 pop hit "I want a Beatle for Christmas," famous for his Pant-O-Rama commercials featuring "Captain Britches" and the talking Barrington Fiats
  • Ketia Swanier, WNBA basketball player (Phoenix Mercury)[9]
  • Frank Thomas, class of 1986, Major League professional baseball player[10]
  • Karen Spears Zacharias, class of 1974, distinguished journalist and author, New York Times, CNN, Washington Post. Her debut novel, Mother of Rain, was awarded the Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian Fiction (Berea College), and was adapted for the stage by Paul Pierce and the Springer Opera House, 2016.


  • 1890: the high school opens with co-educational classes. Classes are held in the existing boys' school at 10th Street and 2nd Avenue.
  • 1891: Homer Wright is elected principal of CHS and serves until he becomes Superintendent of Schools.
  • 1891–1892: the high school moves into the Bussey Home.
  • June 1892: Columbus High School graduates its first class: sixteen girls and two boys. Graduation exercises are held at the Springer Opera House.
  • 1897–1898: a building is constructed to house CHS at 11th Street and 4th Avenue.
  • Fall 1898: the new building opens for classes.
  • 1900: three curricula are adopted for students – college preparation, classical, and scientific.
  • 1904–1907: Georgia high schools begin to be accredited by the University of Georgia.
  • 1913: The first COHISCAN, the CHS annual, is published. The name is derived from COlumbus HIgh SChool ANnual.
  • 1919: Junior ROTC is added.
  • 1921: Edwina Wood, class 1892, is appointed to the School Board. She is the first woman appointed to this board and serves for twenty years.
  • 1923: the "Blue Devil" nickname is first applied by General John J. Pershing in reference to spirited game play exhibited against Phillips High in Birmingham, Alabama. Previously, several other nicknames had been used for the CHS sports teams. The "Orange Avalanche" is perhaps the best known.
  • May 31, 1924: a bond election is held to approve the purchase of land for and the building of a new high school. The bond passes overwhelmingly.
  • 1924–1925: sixteen acres in Wildwood Park are selected as the site of the new high school. Starrett and Van Vlock of New York are chosen as designing architects, with Hickman and Martin as local architects.
  • September 2, 1925: the cornerstone for the new building is set at 1700 Cherokee Avenue.
  • September 16, 1926: the dedication exercises for the new building take place.
  • 1934: Home Economics is added to the curriculum.
  • 1943–1945: Annie Massey, the first female CHS principal, leads the school during the war years.
  • 1962–1963: the building is expanded and additions are made.
  • 1971: This is the last year that military dependents from Fort Benning attend CHS. The following year these dependents are bussed to Wm. H. Spencer High to achieve racial desegregation as ordered by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • June 12, 1981: fire ravages the original section of the building.
  • 1981–1983: construction and renovations to the building are undertaken. Air conditioning is added. Grades are split and classes are held at two locations, Rosemont School and Columbus Junior High School.
  • August 27, 1983: rededication ceremonies are held.
  • 1988: construction of the alumni wall begins with the first students of the class of 1988.
  • 1990: Wilfred Graves, Jr. becomes the first African-American valedictorian of Columbus High School.
  • 1990–1991: Centennial Celebration. Ceremonies are conducted including recognizing AFLAC as our Partner In Education.
  • 1991–1992: the first year of the Liberal Arts Magnet program; entering freshman class includes the first magnet students. Linda Kellett is the founding lead teacher of the program. The first section of the Alumni Wall is completed.
  • 1999–2000: Susan Bryant replaces Dr. Ronnie Shehane as principal. Block scheduling is adopted in a modified 4x4 arrangement with year-long AP courses meeting on alternate days. The Commemorative Plaza is added in front of the cafeteria.
  • 2000–2001: renovations are made to the gym.
  • 2001–2002: CHS Liberal Arts Magnet becomes a total magnet school.
  • 2004–2005: CHS is named a Georgia School of Excellence and a National Blue Ribbon School.
  • Summer 2005: the school and parking area are renovated.
  • September 2008: a CHS teacher is charged and sentenced to one year in prison for sexual assault against a person in custody. [11]
  • 2009: Judy Whitt replaces Susan Bryant as principal.
  • 2011: Marvin Crumbs replaces Judy Whitt as principal.
  • 2013: Girl's varsity volleyball wins the state championship.
  • 2015: JV and Varsity Public Forum Debate wins the state champions.
  • 2015: Girl's Varsity Volleyball wins State Championship
  • 2017: Girl's Varsity Basketball wins State Championship


  1. ^ "Columbus High School". Great Schools. GreatSchools Inc. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Columbus High School Overview". U.S.News & World Report. U.S.News & World Report LP. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Columbus High School". Archived from the original on April 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  4. ^ "The Blue Devils". Columbus High School: Home of the Blue Devils. Columbus High School. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Reggie Abercrombie Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ Stempel, Tom (1980). Screenwriter, The Life and Times of Nunnally Johnson. A. S. Barnes. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-498-02362-0. 
  7. ^ Bloom, Harold (2009). Carson McCullers. Infobase Publishing. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-60413-394-3. 
  8. ^ "Sam Mitchell". Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Ketia Swanier". UCONN Hoop Legends. Retrieved April 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Cox, Ted (1994). Frank Thomas: The Big Hurt. Children's Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-516-04386-9. 
  11. ^ [1]

External links[edit]