Granby High School

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Granby High School
Granby HS 1.jpg
7101 Granby Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23505
United States
School type Public, high school
Founded 1939
School district Norfolk Public Schools
Superintendent Dr. Melinda J. Boone
Principal Dr. Lynnell Gibson
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 2,287 (2006-07)
Campus Urban
Color(s) Silver, Gold, and Blue
Athletics conference VHSLAAA Eastern Region (Eastern District)
Team name Comets
Rival Maury High School
Communities served Ocean View
Willoughby Spit
Talbot Park
Wards Corner
Colonial Place
Park Place

Granby High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school in Norfolk, Virginia. The high school is part of the Norfolk Public Schools system. It is the only high school in the school division that offers an International Baccalaureate program. The building is located on historic Granby Street where the south end is at Downtown Norfolk and the north end where the beaches of Ocean View lie. Granby is also less than a mile away from the historic Wards Corner, a local shopping and eating center. In 2010, Newsweek placed Granby in the top 1300 of "America's Top Public High Schools". Granby was the only school in Norfolk, VA to place on the list. Granby's mascot is the comet.


Opened in 1939, the school was previously known as Granby Street High School, reflecting the street on which it is located. Both the street and the school are named after John Manners, Marquess of Granby, a hero of the Seven Years' War. The twenty-four acre tract on which Granby was built was once part of the Talbot Plantation before the property was donated to the city by Winton W. Talbot. The current principal of Granby High School is Dr. Lynnell Gibson.

Blue, Gold, and Silver are the school colors. Blue representing the color of the Chesapeake Bay, which is in Granby's vicinity. The gold and silver is derived from the proverb:"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." This quote is also hung on a plaque in the hallway.

Granby's school symbol is the comet. It also has a newspaper entitled "The Spectator," and annually publishes a literary magazine called "The Cupola," named after the structure on the top of the school's roof. The weathervane on top of the cupola was bent as a result of tropical storm Ernesto, but was fixed within six months.

"Granby 1" and "Granby 2"[edit]

In 1996, the school system invested $21 million in a construction project in order to expand and renovate the 57-year-old building. Because of this construction, the entire student body could not stay in the original building. To fix this problem, the 1100 freshmen and sophomores were sent to the former Norfolk Catholic High building a half-mile away from the building. Catholic High was vacant at the time since Catholic High moved to Virginia Beach. The Catholic High building was nicknamed "Granby 2" while the original building was "Granby 1." Under Principal Michael Caprio, the school had to double everything including scheduling, busing, orientation, and lunches. Several headaches later, the 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) expansion was complete with comprehensive voice, video, and high speed data network and a media resource management system for 110 classrooms and laboratories. In addition, the building gained two multimedia presentation rooms and an innovative CCTV security system.

Plaque in front of Granby High.

The Academy System[edit]

Main entrance with skylight structure.

Granby High School operates on an academy system where the student body and faculty are divided into four distinct groups. While the principal oversees the school as a whole and focuses on building-wide issues, an assistant principal administers each academy. The building is numbered by a classroom number and then the academy letter. The academies (A, B, C, D) allow for the administration and guidance department to have a better focus on the students. Academy A are strictly freshmen classrooms and is located downstairs. Academies B, C, D are for the sophomores, juniors, and seniors. These academies are located upstairs.

International Baccalaureate Program[edit]

Granby High School is the only school in the Norfolk Public Schools system that offers the International Baccalaureate Program, or IB, abbreviated. Specifically known as the IB Diploma Program, the program is a two-year academically rigorous curriculum intended for juniors and seniors who desire in-depth scholastic preparation for college or university. Students study courses from the IB subject groups of Language A1 (English), Language B (French, Latin, or Spanish), Individuals and Their Societies (History of the Americas and 20th Century World Topics), Experimental Sciences (Biology or Physics), Mathematics (Mathematics SL or Mathematical Studies), and Fine Arts (Psychology, Music, Theatre Arts, or Visual Arts).
In addition, IB students must complete three unique elements of the IB Diploma Program: write a 4000 word Extended Essay, be involved in their community through the IB CAS component, and take a unique Theory of Knowledge course. Integrating elements of curricula and standards from various nations, this program culminates in the International Baccalaureate Diploma upon successful completion of external examinations in the six subject groups and completion of the three unique program elements.
Students who earn the IB Diploma may be awarded college credits and advanced standing at colleges and universities throughout the world at the discretion of the individual colleges or universities.
To prepare students for the rigor of the IB Diploma Program, Granby High School has a specially designed Pre-IB sequence which begins in the ninth grade. The Pre-IB Program is open to all rising ninth grade students who reside in Norfolk and meet the application criteria. The IB program was initialized in Norfolk Public Schools by its first coordinator, Lynette S. Corley, who retired in June 2008. Rebecca Stein, Granby's English Department Chair took on the position for the 2009-2010 school year and is currently the IB coordinator at Granby High.[1]

Clubs and organizations[edit]

Granby's 2008 Annual Fashion Show sponsored by the SCA.

Sports at Granby High[edit]

Granby High School offers a variety of sports as it is a member of the AAA Eastern Region of the Virginia High School League. Comets compete in the AAA Eastern District which is composed of the five Norfolk high schools and the three Portsmouth high schools. The sports offered at Granby include:

Two Granby defenders break up a pass from Great Bridge's quarterback at Granby's Powhatan Field.
  • Baseball, Junior Varsity
  • Baseball, Varsity
  • Basketball, Boys
  • Basketball, Girls
  • Basketball, Junior Varsity, Boys
  • Basketball, Junior Varsity, Girls
  • Cheerleader, Junior Varsity
  • Cheerleaders, Varsity
  • Crew
  • Cross Country
Granby's Field Hockey Team at a match against Cox. The team's pink jerseys and bags are for their support of breast cancer awareness. Cancer has touched more than half the team members in one form or another.
  • Field Hockey
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Soccer, Boys
  • Soccer, Girls
  • Softball
  • Softball Junior Varsity
  • Swimming, Boys
  • Swimming, Girls
  • Tennis, Boys
  • Tennis, Girls
  • Track, Indoor
  • Track, Outdoor
  • Volleyball, Boys
  • Volleyball, Girls
  • Wrestling—Wrestling coach Billy Martin's teams won 21 state titles in 22 seasons at Granby High from 1949 to 1970. In the decade of the 1960s, Granby lost only two matches.[2] Martin's most famous invention was the "Granby roll", a move that used an opponent's aggressiveness against him. It became the basis of the "Granby System," which is still taught today. He was elected to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1980, one of the first high school coaches inducted.[3]

Granby Marching Comets[edit]

Comets at the ACCs in 2006.

Granby High School is home to the Marching Comets, a drum-corps style marching band, which compete in the Tournament of Bands. Under the direction of Mr. Steve Clendenin, the Comets have traveled as far as Scranton, Pennsylvania to compete in the Atlantic Coast Championships (ACCs) with field shows titled "The Mask of Zorro" and "La Corrida de Torres." (The Bullfight) In 2006, the Marching Comets earned the title of Group II ACC Invitational Class Champions with "La Corrida de Torres."

Field productions[edit]

Year Show
2002 The Classics: New World Symphony, Chorale from Jupiter, Farandole
2003 Russian Fanfare
2004 The Mask of Zorro
2005 The Music of Earth, Wind, and Fire
2006 La Corrida de Torres (The Bullfight)
2007 An American Holiday: The Music of Aaron Copland and Ron Nelson
2008 Masters of Disguise
2017 24K Magic- Bruno Mars

Granby Crew[edit]

Granby High School also has a rowing team (, the only one in Norfolk Public Schools' history to compete at the SRA National Championships. The team shares a bay with Maury High School at the Sigrid and Tafton Robertson Rowing Center. Granby Crew has competed at regional, state, and national regattas such as the Stotesbury Cup. Conceived in 2001 as a recreational club, Granby Crew did not become a varsity sport recognized by the school until 2004. In early 2006 after massive efforts on the part of the Board of Directors of the time, Granby High School Booster Club Inc. was established to help fund and support the team. In 2006, Granby Crew made its first appearance at the SRA National Championships with an invitation in the Men's Junior Four+, which finished 7th overall, and a spot in the Women's Senior Four+, finishing 11th overall. In 2008, Granby Crew earned its first Virginia Scholastic Rowing championship with an open-water-win in the Men's Varsity Lightweight Four+. This boat automatically qualified for the Scholastic Rowing Association of American National Championship in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as did the Women’s Varsity Four+, a boat that dominated the petite finals of their event. These two accomplishments mark the second time in history that Granby Crew has qualified to compete at the National level. Student-athletes from Granby Crew have attended USRowing Identification Camps, graduated valedictorian/salutatorian, and continued to compete for such colleges and universities as The United States Naval Academy, Sacramento State, Old Dominion University, Eastern Michigan University, University of Virginia, University of Mary Washington and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumni Contributions[edit]

The Granby High School granite sign, facing Granby Street, was donated by a former graduating class. Several stone benches lining the main sidewalk to the main entrance were donated by various graduating classes. The sidewalk is comprised in part of bricks that were donated by current and former students and faculty as part of the "spirit brick program." An unsanctioned contribution by the 2007 graduating class remains in the form of "2007" spelled in concrete.

Notable former teachers and staff[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°54′25.9″N 76°16′37.7″W / 36.907194°N 76.277139°W / 36.907194; -76.277139