Lowndes High School

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Lowndes High School
Lowndes High School Campus Sign.jpg
1112 North St. Augustine Rd.
Valdosta, Georgia 31601
United States
Coordinates 30°50′25″N 83°19′16″W / 30.840244°N 83.321239°W / 30.840244; -83.321239Coordinates: 30°50′25″N 83°19′16″W / 30.840244°N 83.321239°W / 30.840244; -83.321239[1]
Motto "Excellence Every Day"
Established 1966
School district Lowndes County School District
Principal LeAnne McCall
Teaching staff 153 FTE [2]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,880[3]
Student to teacher ratio 18:1[4]
Color(s) (Official) Crimson and white          (Alternate) Maroon and gray         
Fight song LHS Fight song (an adaptation of Old Mountain Dew)
Sports Football, basketball, soccer, track & field
Mascot Viking
Nickname Plowboys
Team name Vikings
Rival Valdosta High School
Publication The Hugin
Newspaper The Saga
Yearbook The Munin
Telephone (229) 245-2260

Lowndes High School is a public high school in Valdosta, Georgia, United States. The school is part of the Lowndes school system, which serves Lowndes County except for the city of Valdosta.[4]


In 1957, voters in Lowndes County approved an $800,000 bond issue and the board got assistance from the State of Georgia for the construction of a new high school.

Lowndes County High School opened in 1959 in the southern portion of the county below Valdosta, serving a totally white enrollment of 671 students. In 1961 students from the local black high schools, Lowndes County Training School and Webb-Miller, were integrated into Westside High School.

In 1966 LCHS and Hahira High School consolidated to form the new Lowndes High School (LHS) and began with an enrollment of 805. The new school was relocated to its present facility on Norman Drive near I-75 on the western side of Lowndes County. The former facility became Lowndes Middle School.

In 1969, when the county integrated their schools, the former black school, Westside High, was also combined into Lowndes. LHS became a comprehensive high school in 1972 and was classified as a Georgia School of Excellence in 1980.[5]

LHS is now one of the largest high schools in the state of Georgia, with a student enrollment of over 3000 students and 170 faculty members.[6]


The facility built in 1966 has undergone multiple expansions to accommodate continued growth in student population.

In 2001, 17 classrooms were added to the freshman building. In January 2002, a $5 million cafetorium was constructed which significantly expanded seating capacity over the former space. The new structure also featured updated cooking and disposal technology and a full multi-purpose stage.[7]

In 2007, a new $8 million 49,549-square-foot (4,603.3 m2) gymnasium was completed. The former gym, built in 1966, seated approximately 1,600, while the new facility seats approximately 3,056. The building also contains five classrooms, locker rooms, and coaches' offices.[8] The project was funded through SPLOST II. The gym was designed by Manley Spangler Smith Architects.

In 2007 a new main road entrance to the school was opened on Norman Drive, along with a new front parking lot and office entrance. The old entrance on St. Augustine Road was closed due to congestion but is still used for large events. JCI Construction of Moultrie built the gym and Rountree Construction of Valdosta built the new entrance, new parking lot, and portico.[9]

Death of Kendrick Johnson[edit]

Main article: Kendrick Johnson

In January 2013, three-sport athlete Kendrick Johnson was found deceased at the school in a rolled up wrestling mat.[10][10][11][12] On October 31, 2013, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced he would open a formal review into Johnson's death.[13] The U.S attorney has yet to release his findings.[14]

National Principal of the Year[edit]

On August 26, 2010, Lowndes High Principal Wes Taylor was named the 2011 MetLife/NASSP National High School Principal of the Year.[15] In April, Taylor was named the 2011 Principal of the Year by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals and in July was named one of six finalists for the national honor.[16] Taylor received a $5,000 grant to use for either professional development or school improvement projects. The event featured guests such as State Representative Amy Carter, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston, and state superintendent of schools Brad Bryant.[17]



With the arrival of head coach Randy McPherson in 2002, the Lowndes High football program has undergone tremendous growth. The Lowndes High School Vikings were ranked by ESPN at #2 in the United States on August 18, 2008.[18] The team has been the Georgia State 5A Champion in 1980, 1999, 2004, 2005, and 2007, and has been region champion ten times.[19] They were undefeated in 2004 for a perfect 15-0, and the 2008 regular season.[20]

In the summer of 2008, Valdosta was featured on ESPN as a candidate for Titletown USA.[21] The month-long segment started in the spring of 2008 and continued through July. Fans nominated towns and cities across the country based on their championship pedigree. A panel reviewed the nominees and fan voting in May determined the 20 finalists. SportsCenter visited each city in July, and fan voting July 23–27 determined the winner.[22] On July 28, 2008, Valdosta was named Titletown, United States by ESPN. The history of athletic accomplishments at Lowndes was a factor in Valdosta achieving the title.

Martin Stadium[edit]

The home field of the Lowndes football team is Martin Stadium, named to honor former Lowndes County Schools Superintendent A.B. "Sonny" Martin. He served 20 years (1960–1980) as the Superintendent of the Lowndes County School System. He previously served as a teacher, coach, and principal of Hahira High School for 10 years. The stadium, nicknamed "The Concrete Palace," was built in 1966 and has been expanded over the years to hold 12,365 fans.[23]


The girls' basketball team at Lowndes has won four National Championships (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980), four State Championships, and 18 Region Titles. The boys' basketball team has also won three region championships.[6]


Lowndes won the 1980 and 2000 Class AAAA baseball State Championships. The team finished second in the state in 1975 and 2001. The Vikings have won 13 region championships.[24]


The boys' golf team won the 2011 Class AAAAA state championship at Summit Chase Country Club in Snellville, Georgia. The state title was the school's first in golf. Lowndes High finished second at the state tournament in 2008.[25][26]


Georgia Bridgemen[edit]

The Lowndes High marching band, The Georgia Bridgemen, are a nationally recognized musical ensemble numbering over 475 members that performs at all Lowndes varsity football games.[27]

Over the past two decades, the Bridgemen have received national recognition from participation in parades across the country such as:

Lowndes High Jazz Ensemble[edit]

The jazz band at Lowndes High School performs throughout the school year at many local and state level functions.[39] The group has recorded four CDs since 2004. Each was produced by New York-based professional musician and record producer and former Lowndes High band student J. Chris Griffin in Nashville, Tennessee.[40] The last CD was released in 2010 and is sold locally to support the band.

The Jazz Band has performed for Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue on multiple occasions, as well as for Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox, State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox, Georgia Congressman Sanford Bishop, and US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

In 2006 these musicians were invited to perform in Pasadena, California for the "Tournament of Roses Executive Committee Luncheon" by Tournament President Libby Evans-Wright and for the 2006 parade grand marshal Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.[29]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Free US Geocoder". Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  2. ^ "school-stats.com". Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  3. ^ "Lowndes County Schools". Lowndescounty.cyberschool.com. 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  4. ^ a b "Yahoo Real Estate". Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived April 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b Irwin, Ron. "Our Noble Quest: Three Centuries of Educational Excellence, the History of Lowndes County Schools". 2009. Indigo Publishing Group, LLC. Lowndes County School System.
  7. ^ 2001-2002 Lowndes High School "Munin" Year Book
  8. ^ "JCI General Contractors Educational Facilities". Jcicontractors.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  9. ^ "Lowndes High dedicates new $8 million gymnasium". Valdosta Daily Times. 2007-09-23. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  10. ^ a b "Gym mat death: Attorneys call for surveillance video". CNN.com. 2013-10-11. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  11. ^ "Kendrick Johnson Lowndes County High School gym mat death: Lawyers ask for surveillance video". Wptv.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  12. ^ "Gym Mat Death Shocker: Body Stuffed With Newspaper | KTLA 5". Ktla.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  13. ^ "Federal prosecutor will look into Kendrick Johnson case". CNN. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "After 18 months, still no answers in Valdosta teen's gym-mat death". OnlineAthens.com. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  15. ^ "2011 MetLife/NASSP Natl. High School Principal of the Year". Principals.org. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  16. ^ Miller, Dave. "Lowndes High Principal wins national honor - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports". Walb.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  17. ^ Johnna Pinholster. "Wes Taylor named national principal of the year » Local News". Valdosta Daily Times. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  18. ^ "Lowndes ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPN". Valdosta Daily Times. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  19. ^ "Lowndes Football official website". Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  20. ^ "Vikings beat Warner Robins, improve to 10-0". Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  21. ^ "Titletown" (English). Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  22. ^ "ESPN - TitleTown USA - SportsCenter". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  23. ^ "Martin Stadium". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  24. ^ "Home". Lowndesbaseball.com. 2013-05-18. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  25. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110901042226/http://vdtvarsity.ourvarsity.com/schools/school-article-profile.php?Article_ID=2300. Archived from the original on September 1, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ [2]
  27. ^ a b "Georgia Bridgemen accomplishments". Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  28. ^ Conklin, Mike (2000-11-23). "Battle Of The Bands". Chicago Tribune. 
  29. ^ a b c Jennifer Tanner. "Lowndes High band marches in nationally televised parade » Local News". Valdosta Daily Times. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  30. ^ "77th on Seventy-Seventh; Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade(R) Still the Holiday Season Favorite. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  31. ^ "Band is D. C. bound - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports". Walb.com. 2005-01-18. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  32. ^ [3] Archived October 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^    (2006-11-23). "2006 McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade 11/23/06 | abc7chicago.com". Abclocal.go.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  34. ^ Anonymous. "Bridgemen in today's Disney World parade » Local News". Valdosta Daily Times. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  35. ^ "The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade 2008 in Washington, DC". Godc.about.com. 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  36. ^ "Georgia Bridgemen official website". Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  37. ^ "Georgia Bridgemen Marching in Chicago • News - Lowndes County Schools". Lowndes.k12.ga.us. 2012-11-18. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  38. ^ "2012 Lowndes High School | McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade". Chicagofestivals.org. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  39. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070808133652/http://georgiabridgemen.com/jazz/jazzband.htm. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  40. ^ Anonymous. "Grooviticity - LHS Jazz Ensemble gets its groove on for third CD » Entertainment". Valdosta Daily Times. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  41. ^ a b Malone, Christian (July 8, 2008). "A recent string of titles for Lowndes". Valdosta Daily Times. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  42. ^ "NFL official website". Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  43. ^ "ESPN Mixed Martial Arts". ESPN. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 

External links[edit]