|Valdosta High School|
|3101 N. Forrest St.
Valdosta, Georgia, 31602
|School type||Public, high school|
|School district||Valdosta City School District|
|Principal||Dr. Janice Richardson|
|Color(s)||Gold and black|
|Website||Valdosta High School|
Valdosta High School serves grades 9-12 in the Valdosta City School District. It offers a wide range of academic choices, including technical, college preparatory, Advanced Placement, and an International Baccalaureate programme.
Valdosta High is 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 it combined with Pinevale 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 school building opened in 1973; it replaced the old Williams Street building which had 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 for Valdosta High.
As of July 1, 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.
The Cats have had a long winning tradition on the baseball diamond. Valdosta High has one state title and multiple region titles. Alumni include 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 893 wins, 217 losses, and 34 ties, for a winning percentage of .791% as of November 14, 2014. From 1913-2010, the Wildcats have won 6 national championships in football, 24 state championships, and 41 regional championships.
Valdosta High plays its home games at Bazemore-Hyder Stadium 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 seven 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 was featured on ESPN as a candidate for TitleTown USA. This 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; they went 28-2. The team was coached by Rufus Mcduffie who previously coached Mitchell Baker High and won five 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. They 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 band is now under the leadership of Michael Thomas. Since Thomas' arrival in 2006, the Marchin' Cats have won five contest grand championships. 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 and then Jesup . 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. They perform 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.
- Buck Belue - football and baseball player, sports radio personality
- 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
- Noah Langdale - president of Georgia State University 1957-1988
- Coleman Rudolph - football player, former Georgia Tech college player, New York Giants and New York Jets National Football League player
- National High School Sports Record Book
- "Titletown" (English). Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- "ESPN - TitleTown USA - SportsCenter". Retrieved 2009-11-11.
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