Dreher High School

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Dreher High School
Dreher High School front.JPG
3319 Millwood Avenue
Columbia, South Carolina
Coordinates 33°59′56″N 80°59′37″W / 33.99889°N 80.99361°W / 33.99889; -80.99361Coordinates: 33°59′56″N 80°59′37″W / 33.99889°N 80.99361°W / 33.99889; -80.99361
Type High school
Established 1938
Principal Jeanne Stiglbauer
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,302
Color(s) Blue and white          
Mascot Blue Devil
Newspaper The Blueprint
Affiliation Public

Dreher High School is a co-educational four-year public high school in Richland County School District One located in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. Dreher, established in 1938, is one of the oldest public high schools in the state.[1] In 2009, Dreher was listed as the 702nd best school in the country by Newsweek in their annual best-high school rankings.[2] In 2015, Dreher was ranked the 7th best high school in South Carolina by US News and World Report.[3]


D. Leon McCormac served as the first principal of Dreher from 1938 to 1947

In 1938, the third high school in Columbia was completed. It was built at 701 Adger Road on a ten-acre lot, which at one time was part of Governor Wade Hampton's estate, purchased for $25,000 from Burrell D. Manning. Construction of the new building was completed by the Mechanics Contracting Company at a cost of $239,306. The new school was named for Ernest S. Dreher, who served as the second superintendent of Columbia City Schools from 1895 to 1918. Mr. Dreher was also responsible for the building initiative that led to the construction of Columbia and Booker T. Washington High Schools.[1]

The first principal, D. Leon McCormac, and five faculty members formulated the organization of the new school. Doors to the first facility opened in 1938, with a faculty of 30 and 651 students in grades 9–12. The first 123 students graduated in 1939. A new auditorium, the south wing, was completed in 1954. With the completion of this wing, Dreher was an enclosed facility with a central courtyard. Through the efforts of several classes, the courtyard became a focal point of the school, complete with statuary and a fountain. From the air, the Dreher complex had a block “D” appearance.

In 1962, Dreher became the first school in Columbia to offer Russian as a foreign-language class. Two years later the first black students to enroll at Dreher were Oliver Washington and Brenda Fruster, as part of the Freedom of Choice plan in 1964. Both went on to graduate from Dreher in 1968.[1]


R. Lynn Kalmbach (L) and Dewey Gentry (R), teachers at Dreher High School, working on the first SCETV broadcast in 1958 at Dreher

In 1958 South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV) began recording and airing productions in a studio at Dreher, through the efforts of R. Lynn Kalmbach. Kalmbach's student assistants were Henry J. Cauthen and Thomas Stepp, with Cauthen becoming SCETV's first president. The SCETV call letters WRLK were named for Kalmbach, as well as Dreher's original gymnasium until renaming in 2002. In one of the first broadcasts, Dreher teacher, Lucille Turney-High taught French over the radiowaves.

New building[edit]

In November 2002, a $381 million bond referendum[4] passed for school construction in Richland District One.[5] The original Dreher High School complex had been in existence for sixty-four years. The condition of the physical plant, the inadequacies of space and classroom size, as well as the technological shortfalls of the old school made the construction of a new facility necessary.

Construction began in June 2005. Construction continued for two years followed by the demolition of the old school from June 7 until August 8. Occupancy of the new facilities took place on August 16, 2007, with a new address of 3319 Millwood Avenue.

The new $42,000,000[5] complex has 80,000 more square feet of floor space, a large commons area, a 2,000-seat air competition gymnasium, classrooms, meeting facilities, a NJROTC suite, arts facilities, an auditorium and a media center. Athletic facilities were added at Memorial Stadium. Parking for students and staff is provided on campus. The architecture reflects the tradition of the old school including an interior courtyard with the dolphin fountain and other artifacts. The new school incorporates a covered seating area, a wall built from bricks of the old building with some of its seals and plaques and a lamppost donated by alumni.[5] Additional reminders of Dreher's proud past include statuary and the extensive art gallery (professional and student works) that was accumulated through the efforts of various school organizations, graduating classes, and donations from many benefactors.[6]

The school has 1,302 enrolled student and is classified AAA by the SCHSL.

Student numbers[edit]

  • 1938 - 651
  • 1941 - 854
  • 1957 - 1,278
  • 2001 - 1,246
  • 2009 - 1,302
  • 2017 - 1,583
  • The smallest graduating class at Dreher came in 1948, when 41 students graduated.
  • The largest graduating class was 1960, when 453 students graduated.
  • In its first 60 years Dreher has graduated more than 15,000 students and produced more than 300 National Merit Scholarship Finalists.[1]


Dreher annually boasts some of the best AP, SAT and ACT scores in the state.

In 2000 Dreher's feeder school, Hand Middle School, was awarded by Time Magazine one of three Schools of the Year and was favorably covered in a feature article.[7]

Academic Honors[edit]

America's Best High Schools by Newsweek[8]

  • 2008, 2009, 2010

Palmetto Gold Award

  • Winner: 2007-08[9]

Red Carpet School

Flagship School of Promise


Alex English, pictured with the Dreher boys' varsity basketball team, would later be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Dreher athletics mascot is the Blue Devil. Boys' sports at Dreher include baseball, basketball, bobsled, bowling, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, and wrestling.

Girls' sports at Dreher include basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball, tennis, and wrestling.

In 2001 and 2003 the girls' basketball team won the AAA Basketball State Championship at the Colonial Life Arena, while falling in the 2002 Championship to York. In winter 2008 and 2009, both boys' and girls' basketball teams won the Region V AAA Championships on their way to undefeated Region seasons.

Dreher's football and soccer teams play at Memorial Stadium located across the street from the Columbia Owens Downtown Airport in the Rosewood neighborhood. Adjacent to Memorial Stadium are the newly built baseball and softball stadiums, along with a new track and field pitch. In September 2007 Dreher was defeated by its crosstown rival Lower Richland 35-21 in football snapping LR's 32-game losing streak.

Recently, boys' and girls' track and cross country teams have been runner-up at the state championships or been crowned champions for AAA. In 2003 the Dreher Track Team won the AAA State Championship.

The boys' and girls' soccer teams have dominated regional soccer, both winning four championships in a row. In 2003 the Dreher girls' soccer team won the state championship. The boys' soccer team emerged victorious from the Lowerstate Finals in 1992, 1999, and 2006. On each occasion, however, they fell one game short, losing to the Riverside Warriors 4-3 in 1992 and 2-1 in 2006 and to the J.L. Mann Patriots 1-0 in 1999.

The boys' swim team has also been commanding at the regional level, boasting four consecutive undefeated seasons (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). In 2014, the boys' 200-yard freestyle relay placed 1st at the AAA Swimming State Championships.

Athletic titles[edit]

  • Boys' football
    • State Champions: 1951, 1956, 1957, 1959
  • Boys' basketball
    • State Champions: 1956, 1957, 1961, 1963, 1979
    • Region Champions: 1979, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009
  • Girls' basketball
    • State Champions: 1969, 1994, 2001, 2003, 2012, 2014
    • Runners-up: 2002
    • Region Champions:1969, 1977, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1989, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2009
  • Track and field
    • State Champions: 2003, 2012
  • Girls' Soccer
    • State Champions: 2003, 2015
  • Boys' soccer
    • State Champions: 1968, 1980, 1982
    • Runners-up: 1999, 2006
    • Region Champions: 1968, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Boys' baseball
    • State Champions: 1969
  • Boys' wrestling
    • State Champions: 1988
  • Boys' swimming
    • State Champions: 2014

Notable alumni[edit]


Arts and entertainment[edit]

Chris Potter, Class of 1989


  • James R. Lewis, Entrepreneur & Investor, Class of 2007



Kary Mullis, Class of 1962



  1. ^ a b c d http://www.thecolumbiastar.com/news/2007-05-11/News/054.html
  2. ^ http://www.newsweek.com/id/39380/?s=dreher&q=2008/rank/1
  3. ^ http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/south-carolina/districts/richland-01/dreher-high-17700?int=bda6b8
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-31. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  5. ^ a b c http://www.free-times.com/index.php?cat=121304064644348&z_Issue_ID=11460207070965046&ShowArchiveArticle_ID=11460207071209807&Year=2007
  6. ^ http://dreherrcsd1.sharpschool.com/about_us/history_of_dreher_high_school/[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Middle Schools Of The Year: Let Them Lift Us Up: WINNER Hand Middle School/Columbia, S.C.". TIME Magazine. 21 May 2001. 
  8. ^ "America's Best High Schools: The List". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c "Dreher High School". Richland One School District. Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "Alex English". NBA.com. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Tramaine Billie #20". Scout.com. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Curtis Sharp Profile". NavySports. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  13. ^ "College GameDay visits USS San Diego". ESPN. 14 November 2012. 
  14. ^ "Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal". South Carolina Supreme Court. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "Coble Bio" (PDF). Central Midlands. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1993 - Kary B. Mullis, Michael Smith". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 

External links[edit]