Manual Crimsons

DuPont Manual High School

DuPont Manual High School is a secondary school located at 120 West Lee Street in the Old Louisville neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. It is part of the Jefferson County Public School district. It is directly across the street from the main campus of the University of Louisville, and qualifying students may attend classes at the college if they wish.

The three story building is in the Gothic style, made prominent by a large tower that protrudes upward from the structure's center. There is one classroom on the "fourth floor" at the base of the tower.

Principal Beverly Keepers, PhD, became the principal of the Youth Performing Arts School in 1988, three years later adding the title of principal at duPont Manual to her resume. She retired at the end of the 2007-2008 school year. She was replaced by Larry Wooldridge, a former assistant principal and athletic director.


DuPont Manual traces its roots through the University of Louisville back to the Jefferson Seminary (1798). After several changes, the Jefferson Seminary was divided into the University of Louisville and the Louisville Male High School (1856). Soon, the Louisville Girls High School became operational (1856). In 1892, a grant of $150,000 from Alfred Victor du Pont became the foundation for the duPont Manual Training High School.

The endowment allowed for the purchase of a property at the corner of Brooke and Oak and construction of buildings there, completed and dedicated in May 1893. By 1923, there were over 1,700 students and a faculty of 56. At this time the facilities were expanded and Manual Stadium, now with a capacity of nearly 11,500, was built a year later in 1924.

Although originally designed to teach young men industrial ("manual") skills that would fit them for their duties in life, in 1950, the nationwide trend of coeducation led to the joining of the duPont Manual Training High School and the Louisville Girls High School, which had long been counterparts. This fusion of institutions resulted in the birth of the modern duPont Manual High School - dropping 'Training' from its previous name - in Reuben Post Halleck Hall, former home of the Louisville Girls High School, at 120 West Lee. The huge, signature Gothic architecture inspired structure was built in 1933 and remains in use, although two major additions have since been made.

In 1995, duPont Manual High School became one of the first secondary high schools in the United States to have a web presence. That page was initially written by two students, and updated by a third in late 1995. That updated page was captured by the Internet Archive's Wayback machine in early 1996.


Today, Manual combines traditional education with modern novelties. It offers five distinct magnet programs:

  • High School University (HSU)
  • Math/Science/Technology (MST)
  • Visual Arts (VA)
  • Communications/Media Arts (CMA)
  • Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS)

Among these, the Math/Science/Technology program and the Youth Performing Arts School have achieved national recognition on multiple occasions.

Manual holds Kentucky's state record from 2000 of 52 National Merit Semifinalists, ranking third in the United States for that year behind only the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Stuyvesant High School. In the past few years it has won both National Science Bowl (2000) and National Academic League championships, and performed exceptionally in Quiz Bowl tournaments throughout the eastern half of the nation, even achieving 7th place at the NAQT's High School National Championships. Manual has been mentioned several times in Redbook Magazine's "America's Best Schools", based on its innovative programs and commitment to excellence. It has also been featured in the United States Department of Education as a National School of Excellence. In 2002, Manual became its own region for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The YPAS chorus was the only chorus to perform at the inauguration of President George W. Bush.

Many interior shots of the 1999 film The Insider were shot at Manual. Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, the subject of the film, taught science and Japanese at Manual after he was fired by tobacco company Brown & Williamson in 1993.

Notable alumni


Though primarily known as a school focused on academics, Manual excels in several different sports as well.Cheerleading
The varsity cheerleaders have won several NCA National Championship titles. In 1997, 1998, 2004 and 2005, they won the Large Varsity Division, and in 2003 and 2006 they won the Medium Varsity Division title.Cross Country
In 2006, the Manual Girls' Cross Country team finally won the school's first team title after placing second in 2004 and 2005. The 2006 win was the first championship for a Jefferson County, Kentucky Class AAA Public School since 1980. In 2007, the Manual Boys' Cross Country team attained a Class AAA state championship, matching the feat that the Girls' team earned the previous year. The Boys' and Girls' Teams are both coached by Debra Moore. Football
The duPont Manual Crimsons are one of the oldest high school football teams in Louisville, Kentucky. Their rivalry with the Male Bulldogs, dubbed the Old Rivalry, dates directly to 1892 and claims to be the oldest high school rivalry in Kentucky. The rivalry item is The Barrel. After a six year losing streak, the Crimsons beat Male 34-14 in 2007 regaining the Barrel.Soccer
Varsity Boys' Soccer was second at state in 2005 and third in 2004. They are coached by Bob Ramsey and John Paul Schuster.Swimming
The swim team has maintained state titles for the past five years. From 2004 through 2008, Manual has won the Combined Girls and Boys State Championship, and the girls alone have maintained their own state championship from 2005 through 2008. Both the boys' and girls' teams are coached by Gary Webb.Tennis
The boys' tennis team achieved their best finish at the KHSAA State Tennis Tournament in the year 2006 by tying rival St. Xavier High School for second place. The boys' team also won the state doubles title, which was the first state title in Ram Tennis history on the boys' side. The team had five consecutive runner up positions from the 2001-2002 until the 2005-2006 year. In 2008, the Manual boys' tennis team went on to win the first ever regional tournament in Manual history. The state team won the state title in 2008, making Manual the second public school to ever win the title.

The school also offers baseball, basketball, bowling, dance, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, stepping, track, and volleyball among other sports teams.

Campus life

There is no uniform policy in place at the school, though students' attire must comply with a basic dress code. During lunch, students may eat outside in the rear courtyard, weather (and administration) permitting.

Manual is reputed to be one of the most diverse high schools in the region, enrolling students from various countries and of multiple ethnicities, backgrounds, religions and financial circumstances. Due to this great diversity, along with its focus in liberal arts programs, it is perceived to be a primarily liberal institution, though there are strains of conservatism among a respectable portion (though minority) of the student body.

The staff and administrators at Manual are all highly qualified in their respective fields, some holding a Doctoral degree (PhD) or equivalent. Many of the school's athletic coaches are also academic teachers, a symbolic reflection of Manual's balanced emphasis on academics as well as athletics, both areas in which the school has obtained considerable acknowledgement.

The Youth Performing Arts School, also of national recognition, is located nearby. YPAS is considered one of Manual's magnet programs because YPAS students take their academic classes at Manual, but YPAS itself remains semi-autonomous; it has its own assistant principals, counselor, administrative staff, and parents' organization. Many Manual students take classes at YPAS, even if it is not their academic major.


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