Vero Beach High School

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Coordinates: 27°37′46″N 80°24′14″W / 27.62954°N 80.403857°W / 27.62954; -80.403857

Vero Beach High School
Vero Beach, Florida
United States
Founded 1905 (unofficially), 1925 (officially)
School district Indian River County School District
Superintendent Dr. Harry La Cava
Principal Shawn O'Keefe
Mascot Fighting Indians

Vero Beach High School (VBHS) is located on Florida's east coast, in Vero Beach, the county seat of Indian River County. Officially founded in 1925, VBHS is a large, comprehensive high school. As of 2013, the high school serves 2,803 students in grades 9-12 who reside in the southern portion of Indian River County. [GreatSchools, Inc 1] The school is operated by the Indian River County School District.

The campus of VBHS encompasses approximately 77 acres (310,000 m2), which includes the Freshman Learning Center and main campus areas. The combination of school enrollment and the size of the physical plant make VBHS the largest high school in Indian River County. The Freshman Learning Center serves about 750 9th grade students.

Vero Beach High School has completed a three-year, $51 million remodeling project.[1]

The school's motto is: "VBHS... Together We Achieve Success."


Vero Beach High School can trace its history back to the class of 1905, and a one-room schoolhouse where children of all ages were taught. In 1925, the first official Vero Beach High School opened. It was located about a half-mile north of the current location, where Vero Beach High School's Freshman Learning Center stands today.

After Vero Beach High School moved to its present-day location in 1963, the old high school became Vero Beach Junior High School, and VBHS took on a new official name, Vero Beach Senior High School.

In 1977, the junior high school was becoming insufficient for housing all of the county's junior high schoolers, and was torn down to make way for a new, smaller school, Indian River Middle 8 - the present-day home of the Freshman Learning Center, and soon to become a middle school again, once all the renovations at Vero Beach High School are complete. Prior to the completion of Sebastian River High School in 1994, Vero Beach High School was the only public high school in Indian River County.

Former principal Jane Hudson retired at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. A year later, Vero Beach High School had a new principal, Eric Seymour. Seymour was a graduate of Vero Beach High School himself, and earned a Master's Degree at Nova Southeastern University. Afterward, Seymour became an administrator at Vero Beach High School, but left to become an assistant principal at Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce, Florida. Seymour was principal from the 2009-2010 school year to 2011-2012 school year. Shawn O'Keefe took over for 2012-13.


Vero Beach High School has an AP Program, a Dual Enrollment program with Indian River State College, an Honors program, and regular level classes.

In the AP program students take AP+ Honors classes (also called pre-AP classes) in 9th and 10th grade with the exception of AP Human Geography, AP World History, AP Biology, and AP Psychology. In 11th and 12th grade students can take any of the AP classes they qualify for. AP classes offered include English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Statistics, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Biology, Chemistry, Physics B, Environmental Science, World History, US History, US Government and Politics, Macroeconomics, European History, Psychology, Spanish Language, Geography, and Studio Art-3D. To graduate with AP designation a student must pass at least six credits of AP classes without a grade of D or F in those classes.

The Dual Enrollment Program is offered with Indian River State College to give students the opportunity to take college-level classes at the college, online, or during the summer.

The Honors Program at Vero Beach High School spans all subjects. Honors courses can be found in English, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language, art, and vocational classes. To graduate with honors a student must have a grade of C or better in at least 11 credits of honors-level courses, which may include up to three credits in honors electives. All AP courses count towards honors graduation.

The school also offers career and technical classes in areas such as automobiles, business, health science, drafting, carpentry, culinary, gas engines, and environmental technology. In agreement with IRSC, students who complete a career program may be eligible to earn college credit at IRSC.

Mu Alpha Theta[edit]

The Vero Beach chapter of National Mu Alpha Theta is an honor society that participates in mathematical competitions. The math team has won various individual and team awards at the state[2] and national[3] levels, most notably a first place sweepstakes finish at the national convention at Chicago in 1998. The team is coached by its adult sponsors, who are also mathematics teachers at the high school.[4]


Vero Beach High School has a competitive athletics program with teams qualifying for the state tournament in their respective sports on an almost annual basis. The school currently competes in division 8A.

FHSAA Hall of Fame coach William "Bill" Wilson coached Vero Beach High School to back-to-back boys' track and field state championships in 1989 and 1990.

The football team won the 1981 state championship.

In 1996, history was made when Bucky Stoeckel took the field and at 4'11" became the shortest player ever at the 6A level to participate in a football game.

The 2006 girls' lacrosse team posted a record of 25-1-1, and won the Florida High School Varsity and Interscholastic Associates State Championship. US Lacrosse Magazine ranked the Fighting Lady Indians #23 in the nation. In 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, the VBHS girls' lacrosse team won the Florida State championship again, posting a 25-5 regular-season record. The baseball team made it to the "Elite Eight" in 1998, and the "Final Four" in 2003.


The Symphonic Bands form the heart of the Vero Beach High School band program. These bands have received "Superior" ratings at the FBA District Music Performance Assessments for the past 32 years in a row. The bands have also earned "Superior" ratings at the FBA State MPA for 19 of the past 23 years, the last 20 being consecutive. The bands have the state record for the most Otto J. Kraushaar awards won consecutively. In 2000, the VBHS Freshman concert band was the first all freshman band to receive straight superior ratings at a state level.

Symphonic Band I has performed at the 1985 and 1997 Southeastern U.S. Concert Band Clinics in Troy, Alabama; the 1990 College Band Directors National Association Southern Division in Tallahassee, Florida; the 1996 University of Florida Invitational Band Clinic in Gainesville, Florida; the 1996 University of South Florida Festival of Winds in Tampa; the 1998 University of Georgia Honor Band Weekend; the 1995 and 2005 MENC Southern Division Conference; the Stetson University Honors Festival in April 2000 and 2004; and the 2003 and 2010 National Band and Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall.

In 2011, the bands performed at the Florida Music Educators Association conference. In 2013, two symphonic bands and a percussion ensemble traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Bands of America Music For All National Festival. Vero Beach was one of 2 bands chosen in Florida to attend, and one of 20 groups nationally.

In 2013, James Sammons, director of bands, was inducted to the FMEA Hall of Fame. He has been the director for the past 36 years.

The ensembles include:

  • VBHS Fighting Indian Marching Band
  • Wind Symphony
  • Symphonic Band
  • Concert Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Stage Band
  • Studio Band
  • Freshman Jazz Ensemble
  • Pep Bands
  • Small ensembles
  • Symphony Orchestra

There are currently 230 band members.

Their website can be found here.

Bomb Threats[edit]

In April 2009, two students were charged for making multiple false bomb threats to the school. After each threat, students had to leave their classrooms as investigators searched the school for explosives or any other bombing device. In total, there were six bomb threats.[5]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Vero Beach High School Rating". Retrieved 2013-04-13.