South Gwinnett High School
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|South Gwinnett High School|
|2288 East Main Street
|School district||Gwinnett County Public Schools|
|Color(s)||Navy and gray|
|Region||8A in Class AAAAAAA (GHSA)|
|Website||South Gwinnett High School|
South Gwinnett High School (SGHS) is a public high school for students in grades 9–12. The school is located in Snellville, Georgia, United States. It is part of the Gwinnett County Public Schools system, one of the 15 largest public school systems in the country. South Gwinnett is home to about 2,800 students.
The oldest of the four high schools in southeastern Gwinnett County, Snellville Consolidated High School was formed by the 1957 merger of Snellville High School (founded in 1923) and Grayson High School. As Gwinnett County saw extremely rapid population growth in the 1980s, Shiloh High School and Brookwood High School were opened to accommodate the rapid growth in South Gwinnett's school district. As Gwinnett County continued to see more students enter its system, South Gwinnett's district was split in half in 2000, when Grayson High School was "re-opened" at a new facility in Grayson.
The first commencement of the Snellville Consolidated High School, later to become South Gwinnett High School, was held in May 1923, following its opening in fall of 1922. Early in the life of Snellville High, school colors of red and black were chosen and the bulldog became the school's mascot. The eighth grade was considered part of the high school program until 1952. The school had eleven grades from 1922 until then, when the twelfth grade was added. There was no graduating class in 1952. The 1952 class had the privilege of being seniors for two years and graduated in 1953, the first class to complete the 12-year program. In 1953, due to increased enrollment, property adjacent to the school was purchased and the dwelling thereon was converted into classrooms for the second grade. In 1954, it was necessary to further expand. When Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta was dismantled, the building was purchased and restructured to be used for third grade classes.
A new high school, called South Gwinnett High School opened in 1957, combining with students from Grayson High School. After 35 years of existence, the Snellville Consolidated High School building was renovated and, along with a new brick addition, became Snellville Elementary School for students in grades one through eight. The new school would be located at 2288 E. Main Street (Highway 78), one-half mile east of the school it replaced. South Gwinnett High School, which combined Snellville and Grayson High Schools, first opened its doors in the fall of 1957 with 300 students in grades 9 through 12. During the summer before the school opened, a teacher/student committee chose the comet as the school symbol and blue and gray as the school colors. Jimmie Powell selected Cometa as the name of the school yearbook, because it is the Latin word for "stars".
Awards and recognition
South Gwinnett was ranked as the 711th best high school in the State of Georgia in 2002 by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The school was ranked 159th in the state and 12th (of 16) in Gwinnett County in the 2010 GPPF Report Card.
In 2002, the South Gwinnett HS Engineering Education program was awarded the National Program of Excellence by the ITEEA.
The school's literary magazine, The Myriad, won Best Literary Magazine in Georgia in 2006-2007.
The school's Odyssey of the Mind team won first place at the Georgia State competition and qualified for the OM World Competition in 2003.
South Gwinnett High School made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2009. Under the No Child Left Behind act, a school makes AYP if it achieves the minimum levels of improvement determined by the state of Georgia in terms of student performance and other accountability measures.
The South Gwinnett High School Theatre Department won Runner-Up in the Regional 8-AAAAA One-Act Competition with the show For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls by Christopher Durang. This show starred Joseph Johnson, recipient of the Best Actor Award, and Danielle Reid, recipient of the Best Actress Award.
South Gwinnett Football
Prior to 1986, South Gwinnett football had not made the state playoffs since the 70s. The 1993 season was arguably the best team South has had to date, making it to the state championship game. No team had before or has to this date (2011) made it to this level. Led by a strong rushing attack, South had two backs (Robbie Woelfl and Nick Carmichael) go over 1,000 yards rushing, which still remains a school record. This team was led by coach Larry Williamson.
Between the 1998 and 2004 seasons, the South Gwinnett High School football program was very successful. This was mainly due to the legendary Head Coach T. McFerrin who took over the failing program in 1998, turning it into an almost overnight powerhouse. In the first season McFerrin and the Comets went from having a previous 0-10 season to making the Georgia High School AAAA State Playoffs. The team went deep into the playoffs and surprised a lot of the surrounding Gwinnett talent. The following season (1999) was also successful. Along with having UGA standout David Greene (class of 2000) at the helm, the Comets again made it deep into the Georgia High School AAAAA State Playoffs, upsetting many state perennial powerhouses along the way. However, the 2000 season saw an unpromising future for McFerrin and the Comet Program; the top ten team from just one year earlier ended up finishing the 2000 season with a 3-7 record, which was McFerrin's lowest during his time at South Gwinnett. Parents and staff members alike were unsure what to think about the upcoming 2001 season, but with a strong finish, the 2001 football season gained McFerrin and the Comets their respect back as they went back to the AAAAA State Playoffs, losing to Stephenson High School in the first round. The 2001 season ended with a 7-3 record. McFerrin again came back and surprised the Gwinnett football community when the 2002 season came around, this time reaching the second round of the AAAAA State Playoffs, upsetting the Cobb County powerhouse Walton High School in the first round and losing again to Stephenson High School the following week, bringing the Comets' overall record to 10-2.
The 2003 season saw yet another successful year for McFerrin and the Comets. Returning not many starters from the previous year, the Comets captured the Region 8 AAAAA title after going undefeated in the regular season, beating crosstown rival Brookwood High School. This team would reach the quarterfinal round of the GHSA AAAAA State Playoffs, eventually losing to Westside High School from Macon (not to be confused with Westside High School in Augusta). The 2003 season finished with a 12-1 record. The 2004 season would prove to be yet another one of McFerrin's great seasons, where again the top 10 team from the year before graduated many of its starters. McFerrin and the Comets ended the season 5-5. However, during the season the Comets presented McFerrin with his 300th win, a huge honor for the legendary coach. McFerrin retired at the end of the 2004 season. Taking over his position was John Small, former defensive coordinator for Oconee County High School, and former defensive ends coach at South Gwinnett. South Gwinnett comets opened their 2010 season against number-two Lowndes County of Tara.
Notable alumni and faculty
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- Clay Cook (1996), singer-songwriter and Zac Brown Band guitarist
- David Greene (2000), former quarterback in the NFL
- Larry Highbaugh, six-time CFL Grey Cup Champion and All-Star with the Edmonton Eskimos
- Jonathan Krause (2010), NFL player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Mike Mercer (2005), former college basketball player for the University of Georgia and the University of South Florida
- Nakia Sanford (1995), former forward/center in the WNBA 
- Adam Selzer (1999), author
- Rodgeriqus Smith (2004), wide receiver for the Auburn Tigers
- Louis Williams (2005), pro basketball player for the Houston Rockets
- Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph (21 Savage), Hip hop recording artist
- Georgia High School Report Card for Parents, Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Accessed May 13, 201.
- Participant History & Past National Winners, National High School Mock Trial Championship. Accessed July 1, 2007.
- Info on South Gwinnett, Education.com. Accessed August 20, 2010.