Woodlawn High School (Birmingham, Alabama)

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Woodlawn High School
5620 First Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35212
United States
Coordinates 33°32′31″N 86°45′07″W / 33.542°N 86.752°W / 33.542; -86.752Coordinates: 33°32′31″N 86°45′07″W / 33.542°N 86.752°W / 33.542; -86.752
School type Public
Motto Commitment to excellence
Established 1916
School district Birmingham City Schools
Principal Jesse Daniel
Faculty 48
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 857
Student to teacher ratio 18:1
Color(s) Green and gold         
Athletics AHSAA Class 6A
Nickname Colonels
Woodlawn High School

Woodlawn High School is a four-year magnet high school in Birmingham Alabama, United States. It is one of seven high schools in the Birmingham City School System. The school colors are green and gold, and the mascot is the Colonel. Woodlawn competes in AHSAA Class 6A athletics.[1]


Woodlawn High School was established in 1916 when the community of Woodlawn was annexed into the city of Birmingham. The present building on 1st Avenue North was designed by architect William B. Ittner of St Louis, Missouri, in association with Birmingham architect Harry B. Wheelock. Charles Hall was the contractor for the construction, which was completed on January 30, 1922.

The initial enrollment was 901, of whom 700 were transferred from Birmingham's Central High School, which was then being reconstructed after a fire. The dedication was held on February 3 of that year. The student body selected chose "Junior Colonels" as their team name and gold and white as their school colors.

An addition to the school was completed in February 1926 and the school's 4,208-seat athletic stadium was completed in 1929, with eight classrooms and a small auditorium underneath. A large mural around the proscenium arch in the high school's auditorium was painted between 1934 and 1939 by Sidney van Sheck and Richard Blauvelt Coe for the Works Progress Administration. It is the largest WPA mural in the South. The school was further expanded with a $282,000 "delta-shaped" two-story band and shop building, completed before the 1954 fall session.

After World War II, white flight resulted in the loss of many middle-class families in the Woodlawn area. The situation was greatly accelerated by the desegregation of Birmingham City Schools, beginning in September 1963. In the ensuing decades the school deteriorated along with the neighborhood's economic profile. Conditions reached the point where the school was repeatedly placed on the state's "Academic Alert" list. Extracurricular activities were dropped in favor of at-risk counseling and programs for unwed mothers. The building itself became so dilapidated that teachers would walk to McDonald's rather than use the school's bathrooms. There was discussion of closing the school before a decision was made to renovate it for use as a magnet high school with a smaller enrollment.

The Montgomery architecture firm of Sherlock, Smith and Adams coordinated plans for the renovation, which was completed in 2007. The Woodlawn High School Alumni Association helped raise $190,000 for restoration of the auditorium mural. Significant landscaping work at the school was done by volunteers from the Church of the Highlands in the summer of 2008.[2]

Student profile[edit]

Enrollment in grades 9-12 for the 2013-14 school year was 857 students. Approximately 95% of students were African-American, 4% were Hispanic, and 1% were white. Roughly 91% of students qualified for free or reduced price lunch.[3]

Woodlawn has a graduation rate of 54%. Approximately 67% of its students meet or exceed proficiency standards in mathematics, and 52% meet or exceed standards in reading. The average ACT score for Woodlawn students is 18.[4]


Woodlawn competes in AHSAA Class 6A athletics and currently fields teams in the following sports:[5]

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Football
  • Indoor track & field
  • Outdoor track & field
  • Volleyball

Woodlawn has won a total of 21 state championships in the following sports:

  • Baseball (1949, 1956, 1959)
  • Boys' basketball (1927, 1937, 1943, 1957, 1990, 2000)
  • Football (1937, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1955, 1956)
  • Boys' tennis (1945, 1946)
  • Boys' outdoor track and field (1932, 1944, 1945, 1946)

In addition to its six state championships, the Woodlawn football team won regional championships in 1975, 1977, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1994.[6]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "AHSAA School Classification 2014-16" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "Woodlawn High School - Bhamwiki". www.bhamwiki.com. Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  3. ^ "Woodlawn High School-Magnet". SchoolDigger. Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Woodlawn High schMagnet in Birmingham, AL - Niche". K-12 School Rankings and Reviews at Niche.com. Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  5. ^ "Athletics / Homepage". www.bhamcityschools.org. Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  6. ^ "Alabama High School Football History". www.ahsfhs.org. Retrieved 2015-10-01. 

External links[edit]