Valdosta High School
|Valdosta High School|
|3101 North Forrest Street|
Valdosta, Georgia 31602
|School type||Public, high school|
|School district||Valdosta City School District|
|Principal||Dr. Janice Richardson|
|Color(s)||Gold and black|
|Website||Valdosta High School|
Valdosta High School serves grades 9-12 in the Valdosta City School District. It offers a wide range of academic choices, including technical, college preparatory, dual enrollment, and Advanced Placement classes, and an International Baccalaureate program.
Valdosta High is home to 31 faculty-sponsored clubs, including Drama, Debate, Robotics, Key Club, FBLA, DECA, Model UN, Science, Journalism, and Beta Club. The Valdosta High Math team won the 2009 regional championship, and VHS won the regional Academic Bowl in four of the last five years.
The first African American students attended Valdosta High in 1965. Full integration was achieved in 1969, with the merging of Valdosta High and Pinevale High School. This caused severe overcrowding; in 1971, VHS had 1400 students in a building designed to hold 700. This was quickly remedied after additions were built, but the school remained extremely full for many years.
The present school building opened in 1973; it replaced the old Williams Street building which had served as Valdosta High since 1922 and burned to the ground in 1977. J.L. Newbern and Valdosta Middle School are the two main feeder schools for Valdosta High.
As of July 1, 2014, the Valdosta City School system still has a federal lawsuit against for failing to comply fully with desegregation. The lawsuit originally filed in 1970 is being reviewed for dismissal by a federal judge.
The Cats have had a long winning tradition on the baseball diamond. Valdosta High has one state title and multiple region titles.
Valdosta High School is home to the high school football program with the most wins in the United States, with a record 911 wins, 227 losses, and 34 ties, for a winning percentage of 77.73% as of 2017 season. From 1913-2016, the Wildcats have won six national championships in football, 24 state championships, and 42 regional championships.
Valdosta High plays its home games at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium in downtown Valdosta. Cross-town rival Lowndes High School has also built a strong program, winning five state titles (1980, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2007). Since 1968, the Wildcats' record against Lowndes County is 33-16 with 0 ties, scoring an average of 20.9 ppg as compared to Lowndes County's 10.1 ppg. The Wildcats, however, had a dry run, losing seven straight until their 21-17 come-from-behind victory in 2011.
In the summer of 2008, due in part to the successes of the Valdosta High School athletic programs, Valdosta was featured on ESPN as a candidate for TitleTown USA. This was a month-long segment on ESPN that 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 20th finalist. SportsCenter visited each city in July, and fan voting July 23–27 determined the winner. On July 28, 2008 Valdosta was named Titletown, United States by ESPN.
In 2008, the Valdosta High School basketball team was one of the most successful basketball teams in school history and also one of the best in the state; they went 28-2. The team was coached by Rufus McDuffie, who previously coached Mitchell Baker High and won five state championships.
The boys' golf team at Valdosta High won six consecutive state championships in the 1950s. Valdosta won three state titles in Class A (1954, 1955, 1956), two in Class AA (1957, 1958), and one title in Class AAA (1959). The golf team has won seven region championships (1959, 1961, 1970, 1977, 1978, 2002, 2003, 2014).
The girls' golf team has also been region champions four times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2005).
The boys' soccer team has not won any championships. It first team was formed in 1995. The current head coach is Sandy Turner
The girls' soccer team also has not won any championships and was instituted at the same time as the boys' team. The current head coach is Brent Doughty.
This is a new sport at VHS, having started in 2015.
The wrestling team has had success by crowning many individual state champions, and earning a fourth-place finish at the State Duals tournament in 2010, and a third-place finish at State Duals in 2011.
The marching band "Marchin' Cats" is the most recognizable performing group of Valdosta High School. They have a history of success, beginning with their former and nationally recognized director, Frank Butenschon. He led the Marchin' Cats to numerous national field and parade championships and sweepstakes during his tenure as head director.
The band is now under the leadership of Michael Thomas. Since his arrival in 2006, the Marchin' Cats have won five contest grand championships. Their latest win was at the Battle on the Border in Lowndes County, on October 22, 2011. In 2016 they placed 1st runner up at the Sound Of Silver Invitational.
Thomas also conducts the wind ensemble, which has received straight Superior ratings at the Georgia Large Group Performance Evaluations held in Waycross and then Jesup. In 2006, the wind ensemble performed in the Heritage Festival in New York City, receiving Superior ratings and second place overall in the concert band category. In 2007, the ensemble performed at the Music USA Festival in Orlando, Florida, receiving straight Superior ratings as well as overall concert band Grand Champion. The ensemble consistently performs level 6 music, which is most challenging level in the state.
The jazz ensemble is under the direction of world-renowned trombonist and vocalist Andrew Hill. They perform at events in the state of Georgia, including the ABAC Jazz Festival, the Waycross Jazz festival, and country club and social events in south Georgia. Their musical selections include swing, Latin, bebop, funk, rock, and big band.
Starting in 2015, a new symphonic band was instituted, to add more variety to the program.
- Buck Belue - football and baseball player; sports radio personality
- Luther Blue 72-73 Played for Detroit Lions
- John Bond - four-year starting quarterback at Mississippi State
- Dusty Bonner -Kentucky Wildcats football quarterback, later played for Valdosta State Blazers and eventually NFL for the Atlanta Falcons and Arena Football League
- Dana Brinson - former NFL player
- Ellis Clary - former professional baseball player (Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns)
- Buck Coats - former professional baseball player (Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays)
- William "Red" Dawson - only surviving coach of the 1970 Marshall tragedy, chronicled in the documentary Marshall University: Ashes to Glory and dramatized in the movie We Are Marshall
- Willie Gary - St. Louis Rams NFL player, played in Super Bowl XXXVI
- DL Hall - professional baseball player and former first round pick
- Noah Langdale - president of Georgia State University 1957-1988
- Malcolm Mitchell - football player, former Georgia Bulldog college player, current New England Patriot NFL player
- Todd Peterson (born 1970) - former NFL player
- Charles Ramsey - saved three kidnapped girls
- Stan Rome - former Kansas City Chiefs NFL player
- Coleman Rudolph - football player, former Georgia Tech college player, New York Giants and New York Jets NFL player
- Sonny Shroyer - actor, best known for playing Deputy Enos Strate on The Dukes of Hazzard and Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant in Forrest Gump. Shroyer played tackle for the VHS Wildcats.
- "Valdosta High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
- National High School Sports Record Book
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-09-06.
- "Titletown" (English). Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- "ESPN - TitleTown USA - SportsCenter". Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "Valdosta High School". vhs.gocats.org. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
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