Fairfax High School is a public high school in Fairfax, Virginia. The school is owned by the City of Fairfax, but is operated by Fairfax County Public Schools as part of a contractual agreement.
The original school building, opened in 1936, is located on Lee Highway (U.S. Route 29) in western Fairfax City, and is currently occupied by Paul VI Catholic High School. Fairfax High School moved to its present site, on the east side of the city, in January 1972. FHS recently underwent a $54 million renovation designed by architectural firm BeeryRio that was completed November 2007. Renovations began in March 2005 and added an additional . of classroom space.
As of the 2005-06 school year, Fairfax High School's student body
is 48.90% white, 9.71% black, 12.50% Hispanic, 25.35% Asian, and 3.54% other.
Fairfax High School is a fully accredited high school based on the Standards of Learning
tests in Virginia. The average SAT score in 2006 for FHS was 1,620 (530 in Critical Reading, 560 in Math, and 530 in Writing).
Fairfax's nickname is the Rebels, and the athletic teams currently compete in the AAA Concorde District
and Northern Region
. While the closest high schools to Fairfax are Oakton
(1.9 miles north) and W.T. Woodson
(2.4 miles south) many graduates consider FHS's biggest rival to be Annandale High School
. This can be attributed to fierce competitions in many sports when both were members of the now defunct Potomac District. The Northern Region was realigned for the 1994-95 school year, with Fairfax being placed in the Liberty District, and Annandale in the Patriot District. Without district competition, the rivalry with Annandale has lessened, and Fairfax's main rival is now nearby W.T. Woodson
In athletics, Fairfax is probably best known for the strong football teams that it fielded under the guidance of head coach Tom Verbanic. His teams achieved perfect 10-0 regular seasons in 1991, 1998, and 1999. However, the team's greatest success came during the 1994 season. That team achieved a 9-1 record during the regular season, with the only loss being a 17-0 drubbing to rival Annandale in Week 2. Before losing in the state semifinals, the team captured the school's only Northern Region football title, by way of a closely contested 15-14 win over West Potomac. Fairfax's final record in 1994 was 11-2, with the only losses being to teams that won state titles in the largest classifications - Patrick Henry-Ashland (AAA Division 5) and Annandale (AAA Division 6).
Following the 1999 season, Coach Verbanic left Fairfax to start the football program at the newly opened Westfield High School. Westfield's Director of Student Activities was Francis Dall, Verbanic's college roommate at the University of Virginia. Prior to his current role, Dall was an extremely successful head football coach in his own right at Lake Braddock Secondary School, which had the most wins of any high school in the Northern Region in the 1990s.
Following Coach Verbanic's departure, Fairfax has not returned to the playoffs. To understand how far the program has fallen, one only has to look at the 2007 season, which resulted in a second straight 1-9 record, including being shut out six times and allowing a total of 322 points. By comparison, the 1994 team only allowed 90 points during the regular season, and 153 points including the three playoff games.
Fairfax athletes who have been First Team All-Met selections by the Washington Post, since the 1990-91 school year:
2007-08: Emily Ferguson (Swimming), Coach Matt Salerno (Girls Swimming), Sidarth Balaji (Tennis), Lauren Palmucci (Tennis)
2006-07: Gina Winters (Soccer), Sidarth Balaji (Tennis)
2005-06: Gina Winters (Soccer)
2001-02: Sean Doolan (Gymnastics, Gymnast of the Year), Ray Hacker (Gymnastics)
2000-01: Matt Johnson (Golf), Coach Mike Personick, Sean Doolan & Ray Hacker (Gymnastics), Adam Jelinek (Soccer)
1999-2000: Brandon Royster (Football), Matt Johnson (Golf), Sean Doolan & Ray Hacker (Gymnastics)
1998-99: Brad Thomas (Football), Coach Milt Papke (Golf)
1997-98: Katie Silverthorne (Field Hockey), Justin Potter (Wrestling), John Eastman (Wrestling, Co-Wrestler of the Year), Inhar Chong (Outdoor Track)
1996-97: John Eastman (Wrestling), Melanie Brophy (Softball), Inhar Chong (Outdoor Track)
1995-96: Chuck Freeman (Baseball), Linda Young (Softball)
1993-94: Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics)
1992-93: Tina Boyce (Field Hockey), Coach Lisa Burner (Field Hockey) Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics)
1991-92: Britta Connolly (Field Hockey), Amber Moshos (Field Hockey), Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics), Earl Smith (Indoor & Outdoor Track)
1990-91: Carrie Hartley (Field Hockey), Katie Gultnieks (Tennis), Mara Cunningham (Basketball), Jamie Dykes (Girls Soccer), Brian Buchanan (Baseball), Bill Pulsipher (Baseball, Player of the Year)
Johnny Reb controversy
The previous mascot
of Fairfax High School was a caricature of a Confederate soldier known as "Johnny Reb
" (see picture at left). Due to complaints from black
students and parents, and at the suggestion of the school’s Minority Achievement Task Free, the principal (H. Holsinger) removed the "Johnny Reb" symbol in 1988. Student protests, rallies, and a lawsuit followed, which challenged the principal’s actions as violating the First Amendment
guarantees of free speech
. In Crosby v. Holsinger
, 852 F.2d 801 (4th Cir. 1988), the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
affirmed the federal district court decision in favor of the principal. Though the school maintains its nickname of the Rebels, the mascot for Fairfax High is a lion
Fairfax has a strong band program, including a marching band which has won numerous championships. Included in the Rebel Band is the Fairfax High School Drumline, which placed third in the Atlantic Indoor Association (AIA) championships in North Carolina in 2006. Other teams that accompany the Band program would be the Fall Guard (competes with the marching band) and the Winterguard (competes separately). While not yet well known, this up-and-coming sport has a very dedicated team at Fairfax and represents the high school well, consistently placing as one of the strongest winterguard programs in the AIA circuit (Maryland, Virginia, & North Carolina). The Fairfax High School Band is currently under the direction of Ms. Meghan Benson, and won second place at a recent band competition at the Smoky Mountain Music Festival, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
. The Marching Band won third place in the local 4th of July Parade independence Day celebration, and was awarded $2000. The most recent competition that the marching band competed in was in Annapolis, Maryland
, on Saturday, October 4, 2008. The band placed third out of three against Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
and West Springfield High School
, with a score of 79.1. This was the second competition of the Fall 2008 season.
The Fairfax High School Choral Department is currently directed by Susanna Martone and consists of six ensembles: Women's Concert Choir (Freshman Women's Choir), Men's Ensemble, Women's Chorale (Intermediate Women's Chorus), Voce (Advanced Mixed Chorus), Bel Canto (Advanced Women's Chorus), and the extra-curricular Show/Jazz Choir. Approximately 135 students participate in the Fairfax choirs. Fairfax choral students also participate in District Chorus, Virginia Honors Choir and All-State Chorus, as well as a regional competition trip in the spring. Choral groups perform music of many periods and styles and develop musicianship through vocal technique, sight-reading, and basic music theory. In addition to the choral concerts held at FHS, students have performed in the Fairfax musical, at the Fairfax Festival of Lights, the Bailiwick Inn High Tea, the Fairfax City Band Concert, the New York City Festivals of Music, Heritage Festival in Atlanta, GA, and the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in Gatlinburg, TN.
The F/X Players are the theatre troupe for Fairfax High School. They are dedicated toward the promotion of theatre in every aspect. The current director and sponsor is Wendy Knight.
Fairfax has an orchestra pit that can be covered and uncovered, but it is normally kept in the house floor position due to safety concerns. In a recent performance of The King and I, however, the pit was opened. It was then closed again, and the orchestra played in the house floor position in a more recent performance of Beauty and the Beast. The members of the pit orchestra are some of the only musicians in Fairfax County to have ever played a musical in an actual orchestra pit (Hayfield Secondary School also has a working orchestra pit). The pit sinks six feet below the stage.
They are currently the Concord District Champions and Northern Region Champions in the VHSL One-Act Competition, and won first place in the State Competition on March 15, 2008.
Daniels Run Elementary School, Willow Springs Elementary School, Providence Elementary School, and Fairfax Villa Elementary School all feed into Lanier Middle School
, which feeds into Fairfax High School. Additionally, some students from the listed elementary schools attend Willow Springs Elementary school for the Gifted & Talented Center (often referred to as the GT center). All students continuing with the GT program through middle school who would normally attend Lanier-feeding schools attend Rocky Run Middle School
for the Rocky Run GT Center and later attend Fairfax High School.
McCain and Palin visit
On September 10th, 2008, Republic presidential candidate John McCain
and his running mate Sarah Palin
were to visit the school for a campaign rally. However, on September 9th, 2008, the rally was moved from Fairfax High School to Van Dyck Park
. Two possible reasons for the move have since come to light. The McCain campaign stated that there was not enough room in the field house at the High School. However, the Kaye Kory of the Fairfax County School Board
has stated that it was moved due to complaints from parents due to its being scheduled during the school day. Fox News
reported Fairfax County spokesman Paul Regnier as saying that "school system policy prohibits school buildings and grounds from being used for campaign activities during school hours".