Virginia High School (Virginia)

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Virginia High School

1200 Long Crescent Dr
Bristol, Virginia 24201

36°36′55.6″N 82°10′42.7″W / 36.615444°N 82.178528°W / 36.615444; -82.178528Coordinates: 36°36′55.6″N 82°10′42.7″W / 36.615444°N 82.178528°W / 36.615444; -82.178528
School type Public, high school
Founded 1895
School district Bristol Virginia Public Schools
Superintendent Mr. Rex Gearhart
Principal Mr. Ronnie Collins
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 670[1] (2011)
Language English
Color(s)      Black and      Orange
Athletics Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross-Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track, Volleyball, Wrestling
Athletics conference Clinch Mountain District
Region D
Mascot Bearcats
Rival John S. Battle High School
Tennessee High School
Abingdon High School
Feeder schools Virginia Middle School

Virginia High School is a high school located in Bristol, Virginia. In 1999, Virginia High started offering the Tri-Cities area's first International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.[2] Classes from the Advanced Placement program are also offered to help students who are headed to college. A vocational wing was added to the main school building to help students who wish to go into a trade straight from high school. Courses offered for this path include: culinary arts, computer networking and repair, cosmetology, and criminal justice.

Activities include: athletics, academic teams, Spring Festival, and Queen of Hearts. The Spring Festival is an event where students can showcase talent and art combined with a beauty pageant to choose Mr. and Miss Virginia High. The Queen of Hearts Program is an event every February where students at Virginia High, Bristol Tennessee High School, John S. Battle High School, and Sullivan East High School compete to raise money for the American Heart Association.[3] Virginia High offers competition on academic teams via the Virginia High School League Scholastic Bowl and Southwest Academic Conference (SWAC). Forensics is another way for students to showcase their speech and intellectual abilities.


Virginia High School
Virginia High School (Virginia) is located in Virginia
Virginia High School (Virginia)
Virginia High School (Virginia) is located in the US
Virginia High School (Virginia)
Location 501 Piedmont Ave., Bristol, Virginia
Coordinates 36°36′17″N 82°11′1″W / 36.60472°N 82.18361°W / 36.60472; -82.18361
Area 5 acres (2.0 ha)
Built 1914
Architect Kearfott, Charles Baker
Architectural style Classical Revival, Modern Movement
NRHP Reference # 97000159[4]
VLR # 102-0030
Significant dates
Added to NRHP February 21, 1997
Designated VLR December 4, 1996[5]

From 1914 to 1953 Virginia High School was located on Piedmont Avenue in the building that now houses Virginia Middle School.[6][7] This original building designed by Clarence Kearfott[8] is listed with the National Register of Historic Places and as a Virginia Historic Landmark.[9]

In 1954, Virginia High School started classes in its current building on Long Crescent Drive which was designed by architect A.L. Aydelott of Memphis, Tennessee.[10]



Virginia High has been to 11 state baseball championship finals and won 7 championships as detailed below. Virginia High plays baseball at Devault Memorial Stadium which it shares with the Bristol Pirates.

Baseball State Championship Games[11]
Year Winning Team Losing Team Class
1981 Virginia 4 Colonial Heights 0 AA
1983 Virginia 1 Mills E. Godwin 0 AA
1985 Midlothian 10 Virginia 7 AA
1986 Waynesboro 2 Virginia 0 AA
1992 Virginia 4 Harrisonburg 3 AA
1993 Virginia 1 Turner Ashby 0 AA
1996 Virginia 7 Nansemond River 2 AA
1998 Dan River 5 Virginia 4 AA
2010 Rappahonnock 7 Virginia 4 A
2014 Virginia 7 Strasburg 2 2A
2015 Virginia 16 Lebanon 8 2A


Virginia High plays football at Gene Malcolm Stadium which is adjacent to Devault Memorial Stadium. The original venue for football was Bristol Municipal Stadium which was shared with Tennessee High School. Virginia High has won AA state football championships in 1927 and 1933. The Bearcats won the Division III, Region IV Championship in 1987 under head coach Paul Wheeler, who coached the Bearcats from 1984-1990 and 2011-2012. The current head coach is Michael Crist, who was hired in 2013. In first season as head coach, Crist led the Bearcats to a 6-6 record, which featured a 1st round-upset against traditional power Gretna (45-40) and a 37-34 triple-overtime loss to Richlands in Round 2 of the 2A playoffs.

Other sports[edit]

Virginia High has won two state II boys' basketball championships in 1916 and 1927.[11] Virginia High won boys' state AA cross-country championships in 1979 and 1980 and girls' AA cross-country championships in 1980 and 1981.[11] Virginia High won state AA boys' tennis championships in 1977 and 1980.[11] The school won girls' outdoor track championships in 1978, 1980, and 1981.[11] The school's boys soccer team also won the Clinch Mountain District championship in Spring 2008 and have repeated again in Spring of 2009. The girls soccer team in 2008 not only won the Clinch Mountain District championship but advanced to the State semi-final game before falling. In 2009, the girls finished the regular season undefeated, winning the regular season and tournament championships.

Academic Competition[edit]

Virginia High competes in the Southwest Academic Conference (SWAC) and VHSL Scholastic Bowl. The SWAC teams are coached by Judy Young for Math, Carol Propst for English, Joan Minnick for Science, and Brent Compton for Social Studies. The all around team is coached by all of the coaches. Virginia High holds SWAC championships in Math (2005–2007), Science (2003, 2004, 2006, 2009), and Social Studies (2001). Virginia High School discontinued SWAC Competition after the 2009 season.

In VHSL Scholastic Bowl competition, Virginia High finished fourth in Region D, second in the Clinch Mountain District in 2011-12; and they were Clinch Mountain District Regular Season and Tournament Champions in 2012-13, placing 4th at the Region D Tournament. The VHSL Scholastic Bowl coaches are Carol Propst and Noah Ashbrook.

Music Education[edit]

The Bristol Virginia City Schools have been named to the Top 100 Communities for Music Education for 2007 and 2008.[12][13]
Programs that helped the system reach this honor are Band and Chorus.
The Virginia High School band is a 4 time Virginia State Honor Band and has won such awards as Grand Champion at "Drums Along the Blue Ridge" on October 21, 2006 in Bassett, VA and First Place at Crossroads Marching Band Festival on September 23, 2006 in Knoxville, TN. In 2007, the band finished 5th at the USSBA National Championships in Baltimore, MD. In 2010, the band won the USSBA Southern States Championship at Finely Stadium in Chattanooga, TN. They were previously under the direction of Tom Hopson who had been named Top Virginia Band Director of 2008. In July 2013, Mr Hopson left to become the assistant principal at Elizabethton High School, and Gary Skeen was named the new director. The VHS drumline competes in CIPA and WGI indoor drumline events from December–April. [14]

Year Show Title
2003 Legend of Zorro
2004 Journey of Soul and Sun
2005 Shades of Blue
2006 The Tango
2007 V-Bot
2008 The Contender
2009 The Balance Within
2010 First Flight
2011 Phenomenon
2012 Fusion
2013 Equus Fernus
2014 Duality: The Battle of Good and Evil
2015 In the Center of the Ring
2016 Savage

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Justin Grimm - Pitcher at the University of Georgia and currently a Relief Pitcher with the Chicago Cubs
  • Kevin Barker[15] - Professional Baseball Player, All-American at Virginia Tech (1996)
  • Bobby Carter, Tennessee State Senator
  • Gene McEver - All-American Football Player at the University of Tennessee (1929), College Football Hall of Fame Inductee[16]
  • Beattie Feathers - NFL Running Back (1934–40) & College (University of Tennessee) Football Hall of Fame Inductee,[17] First Professional Running Back to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season
  • Thorton "Bean" Stringfellow- Atlanta Braves Minor League (1985–89) & Virginia Tech Baseball Pitcher
  • Gene "Pappy" Thompson - Sports Writer, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame & Virginia Sports Wall of Fame[18]
  • William Wampler - U.S. House of Representatives (1953–83)
  • William C. Wampler, Jr. - Class of 1977 - Current Virginia State Senator[19]
  • Alex Walls- University of Tennessee Place Kicker (1999–2002), All-American (2001)
  • Darryl Wilson - University of Tennessee Wide Receiver (1979–82), 2nd Round Draft Pick by New England Patriots (1983)
  • Carl Brown, Ph.D.- Director, Grand Valley State University Speech Lab; National Outstanding Communication Consultant (2013)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "VHSL 2009-2010 Football Divisions Enrollment" (PDF). 
  2. ^ Virginia High School
  3. ^ Virginia High School Queen of Hearts
  4. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  5. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  6. ^ J. Daniel Pezzoni (September 1996). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Virginia High School" (PDF).  and Accompanying photo
  7. ^ Virginia Middle School History
  8. ^ Philips, Bud (2008-07-27). "Architect's Buildings Still Stand in Bristol". Bristol, VA: Bristol Herald Courier. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  9. ^ VIRGINIA LANDMARKS REGISTER NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES Updated Through DHR June 19th, 2008 and NPS June 27th, 2008 Announcements
  10. ^ Gilbert, Daniel (2008-06-28). "Former Bristolian's Statue Made International History in 1955". Bristol, VA: Bristol Herald Courier. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  11. ^ a b c d e VHSL Record Book
  12. ^ McGee, David. "City school system wins national music honor for second straight year". Bristol, VA: Bristol Herald Courier. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  13. ^ NAMM Foundation Names the 'Best Communities for Music Education' — NAMM, The International Music Products Association
  14. ^ Virginia High School Band Awards
  15. ^ Kevin Barker Statistics - The Baseball Cube
  16. ^ College Football Hall of Fame
  17. ^ College Football Hall of Fame
  18. ^ Stone, George, Sonya A. Haskins. (2005). "Bristol (TN) (Images of America)." Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-4167-2
  19. ^ Virginia High School 2008 Graduation Agenda