Walt Whitman High School (Bethesda, Maryland)

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Walt Whitman High School
WW Shield color.jpg
Pride + Determination = Success
7100 Whittier Boulevard Bethesda, Maryland
United States
Coordinates 38°58′53″N 77°07′33″W / 38.981447°N 77.12574°W / 38.981447; -77.12574Coordinates: 38°58′53″N 77°07′33″W / 38.981447°N 77.12574°W / 38.981447; -77.12574
Type Public Secondary
Established 1962
School district Montgomery County Public Schools
Principal Dr. Alan Goodwin
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,928 (2011–2012)
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Black, White, and Columbia blue               
Mascot Viking
Nickname WWHS
Rivals Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Winston Churchill High School
Newspaper The Black & White
Yearbook Saga
Information 301-320-6600

Walt Whitman High School is a public secondary institution serving roughly the western part of Bethesda—an unincorporated suburban area of Washington, D.C., in Montgomery County, in the U.S. state of Maryland. The school is named in honor of the American poet. It is fed into by Thomas W. Pyle Middle School.


Walt whitman hs 20080526 083124 1.jpg

The school opened in the fall of 1962 with 1,418 students. Designed by local architect, Anthony Ferrara, it was built on 17 levels, with a center courtyard and a geodesic dome for its gymnasium until renovation in 1992. A Ford Foundation grant underwrote the design and construction of the dome. In 1981, a 1,176-seat auditorium was added to the school.

Daryl Shaw served as the inaugural principal from 1962 until 1975. Jerome Marco was principal from 1975 until his retirement in 2004. Today, the Principal is Alan Goodwin, who was assistant principal for several years before taking his current post.

Five elementary schools feed Thomas W. Pyle Middle School, which in turn feeds Walt Whitman. The elementary schools are Wood Acres, Bannockburn, Burning Tree, Carderock Springs, and Bradley Hills. The Bethesda area is served by Whitman High School, Walter Johnson High School, and Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

The Black & White[edit]

The Black & White is the student-run newspaper.[1] It was established in 1961 and produces nine issues each academic year. The newspaper was inducted into the National Scholastic Press Association Hall of Fame in 1991.[citation needed]

Role in popular culture[edit]

Walt Whitman High School was the subject of the 2006 best-selling book The Overachievers. The non-fiction work focuses on students who were members of Whitman's class of 2004, 2005 or 2006. From July 20, 2004 to December 9, 2005, Alexandra Robbins followed eight Whitman juniors and seniors through their daily lives.[citation needed]

Helen Thomas was scheduled for June 2010 to be the commencement speaker at graduation. A few weeks before, she was asked to comment about Israel. She replied, "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," and that "they should go home" to Poland, Germany, America and "everywhere else." Thomas issued an apology on her website, but Principal Alan Goodwin said, in an email to Whitman parents, "Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness." Thomas was replaced as speaker by Bob Schieffer.[2]

Westboro Baptist Church protest[edit]

In April 2009, the school was the site for a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church. Seven members of the church traveled to the school to protest the sexual orientation of Walt Whitman, for whom the school was named. The students organized a counter-protest, in which over 500 Whitman students and alumni participated. The protest was covered by national media.[3] Whitman is one of three high schools in Maryland to be protested by the Westboro Baptist Church, the other two being Glen Burnie High School and Meade High School in Anne Arundel County.[4][5]

Awards/Rankings and Recognition[edit]

Walt Whitman is often noted as one of Maryland's best high schools, and is currently[when?] ranked as the #1 high school in the state of Maryland by U.S. News World & Report.

In 2008, Newsweek ranked Whitman at #69 on its "Best High Schools in America" list.[6]

In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked Whitman as the #44 best school nationwide on its list of "America's Best High Schools"[7]

In 2014, Whitman was ranked the best high school in Maryland and #61 nationwide.[8]

In 2015, Whitman remained ranked as the best high school in Maryland and #55 nationwide. [9]


Students can choose from 16 varsity sports and several other club sports, such as ice hockey, rowing, and ultimate frisbee. The sports that Walt Whitman offers are:




Year-round activities[10][edit]

Athletic championships[edit]

  • Soccer Division 4A State Champions (Boys) — '10, '14
  • Basketball Division 4A State Champions (Boys) — '06
  • Cross Country Maryland State Champions (Girls) — '70, '86, '88, '90, '91, '92, '07, '09, '10,'11
  • Golf State Champions — '99,'07
  • Rowing State Champions (Girls) — '11, '12
  • Rowing Nationals (Girls) — '12, '13
  • Soccer State Champions (Girls) — '85, '86, '92, '04, '13, '14
  • Soccer State Champions (Boys)
  • Swimming and Diving State Champions (Girls) — '12
  • Tennis State Champions — '06, '08, '09
  • Volleyball State Champions (Girls) — '98
  • Wrestling State Champions — '05

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "The Black & White". theblackandwhite.net. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  2. ^ Kurtz, Howard (June 8, 2010). "Helen Thomas agrees to bow out as commencement speaker at Walt Whitman High". Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ de Vise, Daniel (April 25, 2009). "At Whitman, A Protest Over Poet's Lifestyle". Washington Post. 
  4. ^ "Counter Protest of Westboro Baptist Church at Meade High School". Christiaan Conover. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Westboro Protesters Met With Opposition Outside Glen Burnie High". cbslocal.com. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ America's Top Public High Schools
  7. ^ "Best High Schools Rankings - Top High Schools - US News". usnews.com. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  8. ^ Whitman Named Best Public High School In Maryland | BethesdaNow
  9. ^ http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/maryland/districts/montgomery-county-public-schools/walt-whitman-high-school-9150
  10. ^ a b c d "Walt Whitman High School Vikings Bethesda MD - Home Page". whitmanathletics.org. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 

External links[edit]