|Valdosta High School|
|3101 N. Forrest St.
Valdosta, Georgia, 31602
|School type||Public, high school|
|School district||Valdosta City School District|
|Principal||Dr. Sandra James|
|Color(s)||Gold and black|
|Website||Valdosta High School|
Valdosta High School (VHS) serves grades 9-12 in the Valdosta City School District. Valdosta High School offers a wide range of academic choices, ranging from technical, college preparatory, Advanced Placement, and an International Baccalaureate programme. Valdosta High is the home to 31 faculty sponsored clubs including Debate, Robotics, Key Club, FBLA, DECA, Model UN, Science and Journalism. The Valdosta High Math team won the 2009 regional championship, and VHS won the regional Academic Bowl 4 of the last 5 years. Valdosta High was fully Integrated in 1969, when students from Pinevale High School combined to Valdosta High School. Although full integration did not happen until 1969, the first African American students attended Valdosta High in 1965 well ahead of most High Schools in the state. (Full integration was achieved by merging two high schools into one, causing severe overcrowding, and in 1971, VHS had 1400 students in a building designed to hold 700.) The present Valdosta High School building opened in 1973; it replaced the old Williams Street building which served as Valdosta High since 1922 and burned to the ground in 1977. J.L. Newbern and Valdosta Middle School are the two main feeder schools to Valdosta High. As of 1 July 2014 the Valdosta City School system still has a federal lawsuit against for failing to comply fully with desegregation. The lawsuit originally filed in 1970 is being reviewed for dismissal by a federal judge as of 1 July 2014.
The Cats have had a long winning tradition on the baseball diamond. Valdosta High has one state title and multiple region titles (Ken Eady). With alumni such as Matt Herring, Buck Belue, and Daniel Tefft.
Valdosta High School is home to the winningest high school football program in the United States with a record 861 wins, 202 losses, and 34 ties with a winning percentage of 78.6% as of November 26, 2010. From 1913-2010, the Wildcats have won 6 national championships in football, 23 state championships, and 40 regional championships. Valdosta High plays its home games at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium located in downtown Valdosta. Cross-town rival Lowndes High School has also built a strong program, winning five state titles (1980, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2007). Since 1968, the Wildcats' record against Lowndes County is 33-16 with 0 ties, scoring an average of 20.9 ppg as compared to Lowndes County's 10.1 ppg. The Wildcats however had a dry run losing 7 straight until their 21-17 come from behind victory in 2011. In 2001, Valdosta High School's football coach, Mike O'Brien, told a national gathering of coaches:
|“||Our program is 86 years old, and has been through 12 head coaches. We have only been below a .500 winning percentage five out of the 86 years. We have accumulated 39 region championships, 23 state championships, and six national championships. Here is a little fact to help you better understand how tough our region is. A team from our region has either won or played for a state championship 40 times in last 52 years. Valdosta is the winningest high school football team in America. Our record is 782-160-33. To put that into a better perspective for you, we could lose every game for the next 60 years and still have a winning percentage above .500. Of course if this were to occur, I would no longer be the coach.||”|
In the summer of 2008, due in part to the successes of the Valdosta High School athletic programs, Valdosta, Georgia was featured on ESPN as a candidate for Titletown USA. TitleTown USA was a month-long segment on ESPN that started in the spring of 2008 and continued through July. Fans nominated towns and cities across the country based on their championship pedigree. A panel reviewed the nominees and fan voting in May determined the 20th finalist. SportsCenter visited each city in July, and fan voting July 23–27 determined the winner. On July 28, 2008 Valdosta was named Titletown, USA by ESPN.
In 2008 the Valdosta High School Basketball Team was one of the most successful basketball teams in Valdosta High School history while also one of the best in the state of Georgia who went 28-2. The team was coached by Rufus Mcduffie who previously coached Mitchell Baker High and won 5 state championships.
The boys golf team at Valdosta High won six consecutive state championships in the 1950s. Valdosta won three state titles in Class A (1954, 1955, 1956), two in Class AA (1957, 1958), and one title in Class AAA (1959). The golf team has won seven region championships (1959, 1961, 1970, 1977, 1978, 2002, 2003, 2014).
The girls golf team has also been region champions four times (2000, 2002, 2004, 2005).
The marching band "Marchin' Cats" is the most recognizable performing group of Valdosta High School. The Marchin' Cats have a history of success beginning with their former and nationally recognized director, Frank Butenschon. Butenschon led the Marchin' Cats to numerous national field and parade championships and sweepstakes during his tenure as head director. The Marchin' Cats are now under the leadership of Michael Thomas. Since Thomas' arrival in 2006, the Marchin' Cats have won five contest grand championships in his six years at the school. Their latest win was at the Battle On The Border in Lowndes County, on October 22, 2011.
Thomas also conducts the wind ensemble, which has received straight superior ratings at the Georgia Large Group Performance Evaluations held in Waycross, Georgia and then Jesup, Georgia. In 2006, the wind ensemble performed in the Heritage Festival in New York City, receiving superior ratings and 2nd place overall in the concert band category. In 2007, the ensemble performed at the Music USA Festival in Orlando, Florida, receiving straight superior ratings as well as overall concert band grand champion. The ensemble consistently performs level 6 music, which is most challenging level in the state of Georgia.
The jazz ensemble is under the direction of trombonist and vocalist Andrew Hill. The jazz ensemble performs at events in the state of Georgia, including: the ABAC Jazz Festival, the Waycross Jazz festival, and country club and social events in south Georgia. Its musical selections include swing, Latin, bebop, funk, rock, and big band.
In 2008 Valdosta High School's music program added an indoor percussion ensemble led by percussion instructor Ted Turner. It is now led by Travis Downs. In its first year the percussion ensemble won a best-in-class award in the novice class of the Ware County indoor percussion festival and contest, and also performed in a festival in the Florida circuit.
- Noah Langdale, President of Georgia State University from 1957 to 1988.
- Buck Belue, football and baseball player, sports radio personality
- Ellis Clary, Former professional baseball player (Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns)
- Buck Coats, Former professional baseball player (Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Toronto Blue Jays)
- Todd Peterson (born 1970), former National Football League player
- Coleman Rudolph, American football player, former Georgia Tech college player, New York Giants and New York Jets National Football League player
- Dana Brinson, former National Football League player
- Stan Rome, former Kansas City Chiefs National Football League player
- Willie Gary, St. Louis Rams National Football League player who played in Super Bowl XXXVI
- Dusty Bonner, Valdosta State Blazers quarterback, later played for Kentucky and eventually National Football League for the Atlanta Falcons and Arena Football League
- William "Red" Dawson, only surviving coach of the 1970 Marshall tragedy, chronicled in the documentary Marshall University: Ashes to Glory and dramatized in the movie We Are Marshall
- Charles Ramsey, Saved three kidnapped girls
- National High School Sports Record Book
- "Titletown" (English). Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- "ESPN - TitleTown USA - SportsCenter". Retrieved 2009-11-11.