Spencer High School (Columbus, Georgia)
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1000 Fort Benning Road, Columbus, Georgia
|School district||Muscogee County School District|
|Campus size||37 Acres|
|Color(s)||Green and gold|
William H. Spencer High School, is located at 1000 Fort Benning Road in Columbus, Georgia, United States. The school colors are green and gold. The school mascot is the Owl, representing wisdom. The school also defines itself as "The Greenwave", representing the powerful spirit of the student body.
The original school was established on November 29, 1930, by the Columbus Public Schools as the first African American high school in Columbus. The school was created through a grant from the Rosenwald Foundation and was named in honor of Dr. William Henry Spencer, Supervisor of the Colored Schools in Muscogee County from 1912-1925. The first principal was Professor F. R. Lampkin, who also served as Supervisor of Colored Schools in Muscogee County from 1930-1945. The teaching staff consisted of 15 members. T. Hicks Fort was President of the Board of Education. It is the only high school in Columbus to have ever been at four locations.
The first Spencer High School was built on 10th Avenue at 8th Street. The facility served as the home of Marshall Junior High School after Spencer High School relocated to 1830 Shepherd Drive in 1953. Marshall Junior High operated in this location until it was destroyed by fire.
The second Spencer High School was located at 1830 Shepherd Drive (now Marshall Middle School). The Shepherd Drive location was designated as the Columbus city high school for military dependent students from neighboring Fort Benning would attend after the 5th Circuit Court's 1971 desegregation order was handed down (Previous to this time, Fort Benning agreed it would never build a high school on the military reservation and would instead send their high school age children to either Baker High (children of enlisted personnel were bussed here) or Columbus High (children whose parents were officers were bussed here)). In essence, the desegregation of Spencer High was accomplished with the reallocation of military dependents from Fort Benning, together with non-minority students from outlying Columbus neighborhoods.
In 1978 the Muscogee County School Board voted to close Spencer High School and move the students to a new high school located at 4340 Victory Drive on the Fort Benning military reservation. The name of this new high school was intended to be "Southwest High School" and its colors were to be blue and white. Incidentally, blue and white were the school colors for Baker High School (closed in 1991), about a mile west of the current Spencer High campus. A group of young men, having taken the name "The Golden Owls", came to the rescue of Spencer High School. They appeared before both the School Board and City Council convinced both organizations to preserve the Spencer High School name and its colors of green and gold.
The 4340 Victory Drive facility developed engineering issues such as foundation settling, cracked floors and tilting walls. As a result, in November 2016, the City of Columbus and the Muscogee County School District authorized funding to build a new facility.
The newest Spencer High School, opened August, 2018, is located at 1000 Fort Benning Road, is designed to accommodate around 1,100 students. This includes a rapidly expanding computer science and electronic game design magnet program, growing from an estimated 120 to more than 200 students. Spencer High School is now a 200,000 square foot, three floor, facility:
- First floor: administrative offices, auditorium, gym, library, cafeteria, juice bar and spirit store (run by marketing students), career center and rooms for automotive technology, cosmetology, marketing, art, band/orchestra, chorus and dance.
- Second floor: classrooms for English language arts, math and social studies.
- Third floor: classrooms for science and computer labs.
In addition, Spencer is able to offer each sport its own space, including an artificial turf field for football and soccer (for varsity practice and junior varsity games), a smaller grass field, track, baseball and softball fields, and storage, locker, wrestling and weight rooms.
The Georgia Interscholastic Association held state championship sport competitions from 1948-70. In 1971, GIA high schools joined the Georgia High School Association.
Spencer High School won the GIA Football State Championship in 1950, 1952, 1956 and 1967. Spencer High School was the 1973 co-State Champion in Track and Field
Interscholastic Rifle Championships
Spencer High was a powerhouse in 50-foot gallery small-bore rifle marksmanship from 1972 through 1988. During this period, the Superintendent's Trophy (basically the All-City Championships) was retired in 1975 and again in 1978 after three consecutive wins. Spencer's rifle team won the Georgia State Interscholastic Rifle Championship in 1976. Team members included David Moeller, Glenn Moeller, John Moeller, Denise Canella, Carlos Villa-Gomez and Coach Gordon J. Burke. Spencer won the State Championship again in 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984 and 1985.
Spencer rifle team member Deena Wigger earned a slot on the 1987 Pan American Team and won a gold medal in the 50 meter small-bore rifle prone event and a bronze in the 10 meter air-rifle event. Her medaling in these Olympic level sporting events also earned her the coveted Distinguished International Marksman's badge. Deena was nominated as Georgia High School Female Athletic of the Year for 1987 but lost out to a cheerleader from metro Atlanta.
- Gary Downs – former NFL player
- Randy Fuller – former NFL player
- Ernie Green (1958) – former NFL player
- Michael Registe – American criminal profiled on America's Most Wanted
- Barbara A. Robinson – member of the Maryland Senate
- Kevin D. Rome – university administrator, 16th president of Fisk University
- Eddie Rush – NBA referee
- Otis Sistrunk – former NFL player
- Moe Williams – former NFL player
- "Spencer High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
- Spencer High School. "School History". Retrieved 23 September 2018.
- "Former NFL Player, Spencer Alumni". Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
- "Spencer's Gary Downs, Randy Fuller Reflect on Superbowl". Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
- Hill, Jordan D. "Former NFL player Ernie Green to speak, have number retired at Spencer football banquet," Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA), Friday, January 19, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2018
- "Senator Barbara A. Robinson". Maryland Senate Democrats. Retrieved 23 September 2018.