Walnut Hills High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Walnut Hills High School (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Infobox Secondary school
name = Walnut Hills High School
motto = "Sursum ad summum" (Latin: "Rise to the Highest")
established = 1895
type = public college-preparatory high school
principal = Jeffrey J. Brokamp "(2007)"
students = 2100
grades = 7—12
address = 3250 Victory Parkway
city = Cincinnati
state = Ohio
country = United States
district = Cincinnati Public
campus = Urban
colors = Blue and Gold
mascot = Eagle
yearbook = "Remembrancer"
newspaper = "The Chatterbox"
National_ranking = 56 ("2007, Newsweek")
website = http://www.walnuthillseagles.com/
nickname =

Walnut Hills High School is a public college-preparatory high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. Operated by the Cincinnati Public Schools, it houses grades seven through twelve and maintains a culturally diverse student body. The school has been given an excellent rating by The Cincinnati Public School district.Fact|date=October 2008 "Newsweek" named it the 57th best public high school in America in 2007 [ [http://www.newsweek.com/id/39380] Newsweek's Top 100 Public High Schools of 2007] .

The school colors are blue and gold. The motto is "Sursum ad summum", which is Latin for "Rise to the Highest". The mascot is the eagle, and the sports teams are known as "The Eagles."


The school was the third district public high school established in the city of Cincinnati, following Hughes H.S. and Woodward H.S., and was opened in September 1895 on the corner of Ashland and Burdett Avenues in Cincinnati. As a district high school, it accommodated the conventional four years (grades 9-12). It began with 20 teachers and 684 students.

In 1919 Walnut Hills became a classical high school (college-preparatory school) and was expanded to accommodate six years (grades 7-12). Students were drawn from the entire city, rather than from a defined district within the city. As a classical high school, its organization was modeled on eastern college preparatory schools in general, and on Boston Latin School in particular.

A new building on Victory Boulevard (now Victory Parkway) was built on 14 acres acquired from the Catholic Archdioces of Cincinnati and was occupied in 1931. It remains in use today. The facility was designed for 1700 students and included 31 class rooms, 3 study halls, choral harmony and band rooms, a general shop, a print shop, a mechanical drawing room, 2 swimming pools (separate swimming for boys and girls), a library, a large and a small auditorium, and a kitchen for teaching cooking (with pantry and adjacent living room and dining room) [ "Visiting Committee Report Walnut Hills High School" by the Cincinnati School Foundation, page 4, April 1969] .

The front of the building was inspired by Thomas Jefferson's designs at the University of Virginia and modeled after U. Va.'s library building, including the iconic, domed library at the center of the structure. Examples of Cincinnati's famous Rookwood Pottery are to be found throughout the building, including the masks of comedy and tragedy adorning the proscenium arch of the large theatrical auditorium. The school's original Ashland and Burdett location became the Burdett School in 1932, which was closed in 1979. Abandoned for many years, the building was renovated in 2005 as the Schoolhouse Lofts.

Four temporary, prefabricated steel classrooms, called "The Colonies" or "the Old Colonies" were installed in 1958 to accommodate the increasing student population [ "Visiting Committee Report Walnut Hills High School" by the Cincinnati School Foundation, Appendix A, page 48, April 1969] . Currently, only one of these is used as a classroom and the other three are used as additional weight rooms. In 1960, a one-story Annex added 17 classrooms, including a language laboratory and typing lab, to the school [ "Visiting Committee Report Walnut Hills High School" by the Cincinnati School Foundation, Appendix A, page 48, April 1969] . In 1976, a Fine Arts Complex was added, partially replacing existing facilities near the main Auditorium, including a secondary facility that had been called the "Small Auditorium," "Small Theater," or "Little Theater." In 1998, the Annex was razed and an Arts and Science Center containing 30 classrooms replaced it in 1999. This addition was unique in that its construction was funded entirely with $9 million dollars of private donations from the school's alumni, after the voters in the Cincinnati Public School District rejected a tax levy that would have paid for it.

The Robert S. Marx stadium, a 2000 seat all-weather football and soccer field, was dedicated on 1 September 2006. At the same time the 8-lane William DeHart Hubbard Track was dedicated. Construction of both facilities was funded by the Cincinnati Public Schools. They are named for successful alumni who had distinguished themselves in athletics during their student years, and in Hubbard's case, was the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event.

As is usual in American high schools, students in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 are called Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors, respectively. At Walnut Hills after 1919, students in the 7th Grade are called 'Effies' and those in the 8th grade are called 'E-flats.' This derives from a different scheme for naming classes that was in use in the early part of the 20th century. Then, the 12th grade was the A-class, 11th grade was the B-class, and so forth, with the 8th grade the E-class and 7th grade the F-class. The other remnant of this system surviving into the late 20th century was the event called the "B-A Prom," which was the Junior-Senior Prom.

In 2007, Walnut Hills's Principal for fifteen years, Marvin O. Koenig, retired. Before the 2007-2008 school year began Jeffrey J. Brokamp was named the new Principal. A member of the Class of 1978, he is an alumnus of Walnut Hills and the son of previous Walnut Hills' Principal, and Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools, Raymond Brokamp. Jeff Brokamp claims to be putting renewed emphasis on the school's athletic programs, school spirit and club participation, while maintaining its longstanding commitments to excellence in academics and the arts. Mr. Brokamp feels that the school's motto, "Sursum ad Summum", should be reflected in all its programs.

Appearance in Media

Walnut Hills was a location shot of a 1981 made-for-TV movie called "The Pride of Jesse Hallam" starring Johnny Cash and Brenda Vaccaro. Many students were used as extras. It was also a location for the movie Traffic (2000 film).


Walnut Hills has long admitted only students who pass a standardized test. College-preparatory programs are also available in the city's other high schools. Admission to the college-preparatory program, whether in a district high school or at Walnut Hills, requires passing a standardized test.

In keeping with its classical format, emphasis is placed on ancient Greek and Roman history and culture. For example, lower school students (grades 7-9) must complete at least 3 years of Latin instruction. The classical emphasis is complemented by a broad range of academic options in the higher grades, with more Advanced Placement courses being offered than in any other school in the country, according to the [http://whhs.cps-k12.org/curriculumguide.htm Curriculum Guide.] The high school was also ranked no. 57 in Newsweek Magazine's best US schools in 2007 and 83rd in Newsweek's 2007 list of Gold Medal Schools [ [http://www.usnews.com/articles/education/high-schools/2007/11/29/gold-medal-schools.html?s_cid=related-links:TOP] Newsweek 2007 list of Gold Medal Schools] .

tudent Publications

The first student publication at Walnut Hills was "The Gleam." It began publication in January 1896, according to a summary in the 1905 Remembrancer. "The Gleam" began as a monthly school newspaper and student literary journal. Its name, selected by W. H. Venable, first head of the English Department, comes from the last line of Tennyson's poem, "Merlin and The Gleam."

The school yearbook is called the "Remembrancer" and was first published in 1899. It has sometimes been published as the "Remembrancer Number" of "The Gleam," even as late as the 1920s. More often it has been a separately edited and published work.

Over the years, "The Gleam" placed more and more emphasis on student literary efforts and less on news. In 1922, a mimeographed, one-page newspaper called "The Chatterbox" began weekly publication. After a few years, accumulated subscription funds permitted purchase of a multigraph press. In March 1932 "The Chatterbox" moved to conventional print reproduction. For the 1932-33 academic year it became the official school newspaper and "The Gleam" became purely a literary journal, reducing its publication frequency to three issues per year. Both publications were initially obtained by payment of a single, annual subscription. Eventually, "The Chatterbox" and "The Gleam" separated completely.

"The Gleam" was reduced to one issue per year some time before 1960, but increased for a time to two issues during the 1980s. "The Chatterbox" continued weekly publication into the 1980s and reduced to publication every second week sometime thereafter.


Walnut Hills offers a wide variety of sports opportunities. Students can play on teams ranging from football to rugby to Ultimate Frisbee. While the football team has struggled in recent years in a new conference, the Ultimate team is second in the city in their division, and the boys rugby team placed first in the city and 6th at state in 2007.

The sports teams have played in a number of leagues since the demise of the Public High School League in 1984. Today, in most sports, they play in the Cardinal division of the Fort Ancient Valley Conference. Exceptions are club teams like the rugby team, which plays a unique schedule, and the quiz team, will continue to use the old Buckeye/Cardinal divisions for regional qualification reasons.

In recent years the school's most notable teams have been their academic, volleyball, boy's tennis, boy's rugby, soccer, girl's track teams, and their marching band.Fact|date=March 2008

*Boys Football-As of October 26, 2007, Walnut Hills' football team had lost 36 consecutive games, the longest losing streak in Cincinnati high school football since Taft High School lost 45 straight from 1977 to 1982. This losing streak ended on August 22, 2008 when they defeated Purcell Marian High School 10-7.

Ohio High School Athletic Association Team State Championships

*Boys Swimming - 1950, 1955 cite web|url=http://www.ohsaa.org/|title=Ohio High School Athletic Association Web site|accessdate=2006-12-31|author=OHSAA]

Other Athletic Accomplishments

*Boys Tennis Singles 2003 Eric Thomas
*Boys Tennis Doubles 2001 Eric Thomas & Jonathan Khoury
*Girls Track & Field Cincinnati HS City Records - 100m Hurdles - Amanda Mullins-Hall, 13.94(2002); Triple Jump - Tamara Fennell, 37' 5 1/2"(2002); 4x200m Relay, 1:38.60(2008); 4x400m Relay, 3:45.89(2008); 800m Sprint Medley, 1:44.10(2008); 1600m Sprint Medley, 4:10.90(2004).

In 2008 the Girls 800-meter sprint medley relay team of Shauniece Steele, Taylor Ware, Kelly Thomas and Landi Wilson claimed the school's first national championship in track and field at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. Walnut Hills finished the event with a time of 1:44.10 setting a Cincinnati record and recording the second-fastest time in Ohio high school history.

In addition, Walnut Hills won the OHSAA Regional boys' basketball title in 1948. At the time, there were no state championships.

On Friday August 22, 2008 the Walnut Hills Varsity Football Team defeated Purcell Marion High School, breaking a 36-game losing streak. This occurred after a new coaching staff was introduced, including Head Coach George Kontsis. In the closing minutes of the game students and players alike rushed the field with tears in their eyes.Fact|date=August 2008


Famous alumni include:
*Dr. Helen Elsie Austin (1924), Attorney, Foreign Service Office, first Black female graduate of UC Law School
*Stan Aronoff (1950), politician and long time member of the Ohio Senate
*Theda Bara (Theodosia Goodman 1903), early movie star of the silent screen
*Janet Biehl (1971), author and social ecologist
*Ric Bucher, ESPN NBA correspondent and co-author of a book with Yao Ming
*Elisabeth Bumiller (1974), New York Times White House correspondent
*Valerie Celis, Supermodel
*Stanley M. Chesley (1954), attorney who won Bhopal, MGM Grand, and Beverly Hills Supper Club class action settlements, now partner at Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley in Cincinnati
*Douglas S. Cramer (1949), TV and Broadway producer, art collector.
*Jim Dine (1953), pop artist
*Elizabeth Brenner Drew (1953) Political journalist, author and lecturer
*Isadore Epstein (1937), Astronomer
*Frank Benjamin Foster, III (1946) saxophonist, composer, member of Count Basi Orchestra
*Paula Froelich, Columnist Page Six of NY Post
*Marilyn Hughes Gaston, M.D., former Assistant Surgeon General of the United States
*Helen Iglauer Glueck (1925), physician and hematology researcher
*Disk Gordon, professional Football player 1965-1974 for Chicago, Green Bay, Los Angeles, San Diego
*Charles Guggenheim (1942), four-time Academy Award winner for documentaries
*Lawrence Charles Hawkins (1937), an original Tuskegee Airman, civil rights activist
*Fred Hersch, Jazz composer and musician, Grammy Nominee, Latest major work: orchestration of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass
*Pamela Malof Hill (1982), Actress
*John Hoebbel (architect of Carew Tower)
*William DeHart Hubbard (1921), first African-American to win an individual gold medal in the Olympics (long jump - 1924 Paris Summer Games)
*Miller Huggins, managed Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964
*James Levine (1961), pianist, conductor, Musical Director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Boston Symphony Orchestra
*Charles Manson, infamous leader of a murderous cult (attended briefly)
*Robert S. Marx (1906), Ohio Superior Court Judge, "Father of the Disabled American Veterans"
*Stanley B. Prusiner(1960), 1997 Nobel Prize for medicine
*Jerry Rubin (1956), 1960s-era radical and later a social activist
*Stephen Sanger (1964), Chairman and CEO of General Mills
* William K. Schubert (1944), President & CEO Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (retired)
*Robert Shmalo,(1996) international ice dancing competitor
*Itaal Shur, Grammy Award winner (2000) for co-writing "Smooth" the song that bought Carlos Santana back into the spotlight and the top of the charts.
*Lee Smolin (1972), theoretical physicist
*Donald A. Spencer (1932), Realtor, first black Chair of Board of Trustees of Ohio University
*Rick Steiner, Broadway Producer
*Helen Hollingshed Taylor (1960), associate commissioner of the Head Start bureau (1994-2000) and executive director of the National Child Day Care Association (1980-1994)
*Tony Trabert (1948), tennis star of the 1950s, won 1955 French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.
*Evelyn Venable (1930), actress, has a Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame; her father, Emerson, and grandfather William Henry, taught English at the school
*Worth Hamilton Weller (1931) herpetologist
*Jonathon "Yoni" Wolf (1997) Recording Artist
*Mary Wineberg(née Danner) (1998) Track & Field Olympian. Gold medalist in the women's 4x400m relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
*Jonathan Valin (1965) Mystery series novelist

External links

* [http://whhs.cps-k12.org/Alumni/Home.htm WHHS Alumni Association Online]
* [http://www.walnuthillseagles.com/ School Website]
* [http://favcsports.com/index.aspx/ Fort Ancient Valley Conference]
* [http://walnuthillsfootball.org/index Walnut Hills Football]
* [http://www.myspace.com/walnuthillstrack Walnut Hills Girls Track]
* [http://whhs.cps-k12.org/Library/index.htm Walnut Hills High School Library]

Notes and references

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