Southside High School (Fort Smith, Arkansas)

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Southside High School
Insignia that designates a Blue Ribbon School
4100 Gary St
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Coordinates 35°20′55″N 94°23′19″W / 35.34861°N 94.38861°W / 35.34861; -94.38861Coordinates: 35°20′55″N 94°23′19″W / 35.34861°N 94.38861°W / 35.34861; -94.38861
Type Public
Established 1963 (1963)
Superintendent Doug Brubaker[1]
NCES School ID 050633000373[2]
Principal Wayne Haver
Faculty 98.37 (on FTE basis)[2]
Grades 10–12
Enrollment 1,547[2] (2010–11)
Student to teacher ratio 15.73[2]
Campus Urban
Color(s)      Columbia blue
Athletics conference 7A Central
Mascot Mavericks
Team name Southside Mavericks
Information (479) 646-7371

Southside High School is a comprehensive public high school in Fort Smith, Arkansas, United States. Southside provides secondary education for students in grades 10 through 12 and is one of two public high schools in Fort Smith, the other being Northside High School, both of which are administered by the Fort Smith School District. The school is a three-time recipient of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

The school was opened in 1963 and has had over 15,000 graduates. Since 1966, the school has been accredited by AdvancED, formerly North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Southside was ranked 625th in Newsweek's Top 1,300 High Schools in the U.S. in 2008. In 2008, Southside was the recipient of "Best Practice School" by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. For the 2007-2008 school year, Southside received the Siemen's Award for Advanced Placement exam scores. Southside was in Newsweek's Top 1,000 High Schools in America for the 2009-2010 school year.



The building originally consisted of 44 classrooms in total and was continually expanded beginning in 1968:

  • 1968: 9-room wing
  • 1973: 12-room wing
  • 1977: 600-seat auditorium
  • 1978: All-weather track
  • 1981: Physical education facility
  • 1988: New stadium
  • 1988: 10-room wing for business and financial classes and a cafeteria addition
  • 1997: Athletic complex (weight room, dressing room, training area, and office space)
  • 1999: 12-classroom addition for science classes.
  • 2000: Fine arts complex (band, orchestral, choral, drama, speech, and counseling facilities)
  • 2008: Indoor athletic training facility
  • 2008: A new bathroom addition underneath the stadium bleachers
  • 2008: The remodeling of 2 of the bathrooms (1 male, 1 female)
  • 2009: Re-constructed parking lots
  • 2009: Landscaping including a Columbia blue sculpture
  • 2011: Installation of artificial turf football field and overhaul of HVAC systems

Principals and administration[edit]

  • Victor Stewart, 1963–1982
  • Wayne Haver, 1982–present
  • Steve Arnold, Assistant Principal
  • Travis Biggs, Assistant Principal
  • Liana Bolton, Assistant Principal


Graduating statistics[edit]

The first graduating class was the Class of 1966 with 282 graduates. In the Class of 2004, there were 417 graduates. The Class of 1978 was the largest graduating class with 503 graduates. Southside had its 10,000th graduate in the Class of 1991 and its 15,000th graduate in the Class of 2003. In 1963/1964 the tenth grade was the highest class, in 1964/1965 the eleventh grade was the highest class and the class of 1965/1966 became the first graduating senior class.[3]

Awards and recognition[edit]

The school flies three flags for "Excellence in Education" presented by previous presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton at ceremonies held in Washington, D.C..

  • In 1982–1983, Southside received its first National Blue Ribbon "School of Excellence" recognition.
  • In 1986–1987, the first year any previously selected school was eligible to be renominated, Southside was one of only four schools nationally to be selected to repeat as a "School of Excellence."
  • In 1999–2000, Southside was recognized for the third time as a "School of Excellence".[4]
  • Siemens Award for Advanced Placement 2008
  • Two students have been recognized as a state winner of a Siemens AP Scholar Award.
  • Eight students have been recognized as Presidential Scholars.[5]

Advanced Placement (AP)[edit]

Fort Smith Southside offers AP courses in:

English Language; English Literature; Calculus AB; Calculus BC;
Spanish Language; US Govt./Politics; American History; World History;
German Language; Chemistry; European History; Physics B;
French Language; Biology; Psychology; Environmental Science
Latin (Vergil); Music Theory; Statistics; Computer Science

Alma mater[edit]

Southside High, we hail you 
And hold your honor high.
Never will we fail you; 
Your glory cannot die.

Your colors we'll remember, 
The white, the red, the blue!
Your memories live forever. 
Our youthful hearts are true.

Like a torch in the night, 
With a beam strong and bright
We will stand til we die
To proclaim you're the best

Extracurricular activities[edit]


The Southside High School mascot was originally the Rebels, more specifically Johnny Reb who is a fictional personification of a Confederate soldier. The mascot generated controversy along with the school's fight song, Dixie, due to Confederacy's association with, and support of, slavery. In 2000, Principal Wayne Haver banned the display of the Confederate flag at school and school events; many students had taken it to be the school flag due to Johnny Reb being a Confederate soldier. Talks of replacing Johnny Reb with a mustang had circulated since the 1980s but no change was made until the summer of 2015.

On June 23, 2015, a Fort Smith School Board committee voted to ban the playing of Dixie beginning the 2015-16 school year and to replace the Rebels mascot before the 2016-17 school year.[6]

On July 27, 2015, the Fort Smith School Board voted 7-0 to change the Rebel mascot and fight song.[7] A committee headed by Principal Haver, including business leaders, alumni and students, helped to select a new mascot for the 2016-17 school year. Principal Haver stated that a new fight song would be implemented immediately for use at all school-related events for the 2015-16 school year. On July 30, 2015, Haver announced that a new fight song, Wabash Cannonball, was selected after he had personally listened to more than 500 potential fight songs.[8]

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the mascot was changed to the Mavericks.



The Southside football teams have won seven state championships at the state's highest classification (1983, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2002, 2006). Four of those titles came under longtime Southside head coach Barry Lunney Sr., who left the school after the 2004 season for conference rival Bentonville. Jeff Williams took over the program and led Southside to their last title in his second year in 2006. In 2008 and in 2009, Southside made a surprising run to the championship game, but fell short to Bentonville in 2008 and Springdale Har-Ber in 2009.

Battle of Rogers Avenue Plaque

In the early 1960s when Fort Smith High School was separated into two schools, what formed was one of the premier rivalries in Arkansas. Because the town is divided down the middle by Rogers Avenue and the fact that Southside sits on one side of Rogers and Northside on the other, the game has become known as the "Battle of Rogers Avenue". This game has become a huge event locally in the city of Fort Smith and the surrounding area (usually drawing around 10,000 people to the event), even elevating to the level of shutting down some local schools and businesses on the day of the game. Southside beat Northside, for the first time, in 1978 and repeated in 1979. Once 2006, including 2010's game at Southside 56-29. The game was filmed by NFL Network as part of their American Great Rivalries Program and aired on national television in January 2011.

Fort Smith Southside has several sports rivalries, including:


Fort Smith Southside volleyball teams have won seven state championships (4A - 1997; 5A - 1999, 2003, 2004; 7A - 2006, 2009, 2013).


The bowling teams of Southside High have been one of the state's most successful with state championships in 2008, 2009 (boys), and 2010 (girls).

Track and field[edit]

The Southside track teams won three consecutive 7A class state track championships (2009, 2010, 2011). The Lady Mavericks are one of the state's most successful with 10 state track championships (1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995). 2007

Educational competitions[edit]

The school has routinely done well in education/knowledge based competitions, to include:

  • Quiz Bowl State Champions (3A - 1996; 7A - 2007, 2010, 2013, 2014[9])
  • National Science Bowl (NSB) – Arkansas Regional (and State) Champions (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2014)
  • National Science Bowl – National Event 2007 (tied-13th place)
  • Knowledge Master Open State Champions (01F, 02S, 02F, 03S, 06F, 07S, 07F, 09S, 09F, 10F, 11F, 12F)

Notable alumni[edit]

The following are notable people associated with Southside High School. If the person was a Southside High School student, the number in parentheses indicates the year of graduation; if the person was a faculty or staff member, that person's title and years of association are listed:

  • Denny Altes - Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives.
  • Jim Files - former NFL linebacker with the NY Giants.


External links[edit]