Vestavia Hills High School

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Vestavia Hills High School
Vestavia Hills High School logo.png
2235 Lime Rock Road
Vestavia Hills, AL 35216
United States
Type Public
Established 1970 (1970)
Principal Tyler Burgess
Faculty 165
Grades 912
Enrollment 1902
Color(s) Red & Blue          
Team name Rebels
Newspaper The Vedette
Yearbook The Reveille
Vestavia Hills High School.

Vestavia Hills High School (VHHS), founded in 1970, is a public high school in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, USA. It is part of the Vestavia Hills City Schools.


The land was acquired by Louis Pizitz, a Polish immigrant who settled in Birmingham in 1889.[1] Pizitz lived here with his wife, Minnie and their son, Hortense.[1] After their death, their son Hortense sold the land to the City of Vestavia Hills in the 1960s.[1]

The school was built in the 1970s, in the context of the establishment of segregation academies in the 1970s, which enabled white American children to segregate themselves from black children, who remained in public schools.[1][2] Until 2016 the school mascot, known as Rebel Man, was a plantation owner.[3] The school "picked a Confederate Flag-waving Civil War Rebel because it saw itself as rebellious."[2]


Vestavia has 150 courses available on yearly basis. Vestavia offers a number of AP courses (World History, U.S. History, European History, Human Geography, English Language & Lit., Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Computer Science Principles, Psychology, Physics 1, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, French, Latin, Spanish, German, Government, Economics, Studio Art, Environmental Science, and Comparative Government). Vestavia also offers Honors courses for all core subjects to all grades. Dual Enrollment classes are available for both English and Math.[4]

The school has a music department. It publishes a newspaper, The Vedette, and a literary and visual arts magazine, The Muse.


The school is a two-time recipient of the national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education for 1990-91 and 2009.[5]

The debate team, winners of seven national championships, has the distinction of being the first team in history to win both the Lincoln-Douglas Debate and the Policy Debate in the National Forensic League's National Speech and Debate Tournament.[6] The school is also one of two to have won two national championships in Lincoln-Douglas debate at the Tournament of Champions national high school debate tournament.

In 2008, the school won the "Adam Smith Division" in the Council for Economic Education's National Economics Challenge,[7] and its students finished runner up in the national finals of the 22nd annual We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition in 2009.[8]


Vestavia Hills High School fields varsity teams in football, cheerleading, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, golf, tennis, softball, swimming, volleyball, cross country, and indoor and outdoor track and field.

VHHS has won AHSAA state championships in the following sports:[9]

  • Baseball (1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
  • Boys' Basketball (1992, 2009)
  • Girls' Basketball (1987)
  • Boys' Cross Country (1987, 2013)
  • Girls' Cross Country (1981)
  • Football (1980, 1998)
  • Boys' Golf (1991, 1994)
  • Girls' Golf (1973, 1974)
  • Girls' Indoor Track (2005)
  • Boys' Soccer (1991, 1995, 2013, 2014)
  • Girls' Soccer (2001, 2005, 2007)
  • Boys' Tennis (1995, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Girls' Tennis (1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Boys' Outdoor Track & Field (2008)
  • Wrestling (1976, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2017)[10]

Buddy Anderson Field (at Thompson Reynolds Stadium) is home of the Vestavia Hills Rebels football team. The field is named after current head coach Buddy Anderson. Anderson has been coaching at Vestavia since 1972, and has remained the head coach since 1978.

Notable alumni[edit]

2015 mascot controversy[edit]

In the wake of the Charleston church shooting in June 2015, The Birmingham News highlighted this history and called for a removal of the mascot.[2] Meanwhile, the school superintendent called it 'a "point of contention for some members" of the community'.[15] By early July 2015, some Vestavia Hills residents wrote an op ed in The Birminghan News calling on the school board to change its name.[16] By the middle of July 2015, comedian John Oliver made fun of the claim that it was "heritage, not hate" on national television.[3] He argued, "Your logo is a plantation owner. [...] And saying that the image of a plantation owner is not used in a racist way is a bit like arguing the Hitachi magic wand is only used as a back massager."[3]

The Vestavia Hills City Schools System decided to keep the Rebels name but initiate a "rebranding" process.[17] The new branding, developed by Knight Eady, a local sports marketing and event operations group, was approved by the school board on May 18, 2016. The new branding replaced the objectionable mascot and instituted the new slogan "You play one Rebel you play us all."[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Walden, Rebecca Cybulsky (2014). Vestavia Hills. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 17. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Archibald, John (June 23, 2015). "Vestavia Hills Rebel mascot a vestige of racism, a smear on the city". The Birmingham News. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Whitmire, Kyle (July 13, 2015). "John Oliver ridicules Vestavia Hills for rebel mascot". The Birmingham News. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  4. ^ The statistics for this school can be found at[dead link]
  5. ^ "National Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools recognized 1982 through 2015" (pdf). United States Department of Education. September 30, 2015. p. 3. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Board of Education Resolutions". Alabama Department of Education. August 10, 1995. Archived from the original on September 5, 2005. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Vestavia Hills High School and Carmel High School Win NCEE Goldman Sachs Foundations National Economics Challenge Finals". Council for Economic Education. May 19, 2008. Archived from the original on February 16, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  8. ^ "East High School Student Win Nationwide Championship on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights" (PDF) (Press release). Center for Civic Education. April 27, 2009. Archived from the original (pdf) on October 16, 2009. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  9. ^ "All Sports Championships". Alabama High School Football Historical Society. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Wrestling Past State Champions". Alabama High School Athletic Association. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "Steven Black". University of Memphis. Retrieved July 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  12. ^ "Chris Hammond Player Page". SportsDirect Inc. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "Vann Stuedeman Returns Home to Alabama Friday". Ultimate College Softball. October 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Jordan Swing". CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  15. ^ Rodriguez, Ana (June 23, 2015). "'We will be responsive': Vestavia Hills to address Rebel mascot, superintendent says". The Birmingham News. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  16. ^ Vestavia residents: school board must change Rebel mascot, The Birmingham News, July 7, 2015
  17. ^ Wright, Barnett (November 30, 2000). "Vestavia Board lets Rebels, flag, mascot stay.". The Birmingham News. Archived from the original on February 10, 2001. Retrieved February 6, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Vestavia Hills High School's new branding, logos released". Sinclair Broadcast Group, INC. ABC 33/40. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2016. 

External links[edit]