Walt Whitman High School

Walt Whitman High School

Infobox School
name = Walt Whitman High School

motto = Pride + Determination = Success
established = 1962
type = Public Secondary
principal= Dr. Alan Goodwin
enrollment = 1872 (2007-2008)
grades = 9-12
city = 7100 Whittier Boulevard Bethesda
state = flag|Maryland
country = flag|USA
district = Montgomery County Public Schools
campus = Suburban
colors = Black, White, and Columbia blue color box|#000000 color box|##FFFFFF color box|#9BDDFF
nickname = WWHS
mascot = Viking
yearbook = "Saga"
newspaper = [http://www.theblackandwhite.net/ "The Black & White"]
information = 301-320-6600
website = [http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/whitmanhs/ Walt Whitman Home Page]

Walt Whitman High School is a public secondary institution serving roughly the western part of Bethesda--an unincorporated suburban area of Washington, DC, in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The school, which takes its name after the American poet, ranks as the least racially diverse school in Montgomery County. With rare exceptions, only students who live within the school's territorial boundary are permitted to attend Whitman. It is fed into by just one school, Pyle Middle School.


The school opened in the fall of 1962 with 1,418 students. It was built on 17 levels, with a center courtyard and a geodesic dome for its gymnasium and auditorium until renovation in 1992. A Ford Foundation grant underwrote the design and construction of the dome. During the first school year, Broadway composer and lyricist Meredith Willson visited the school to assist teacher Monica McMindes with her production of "The Music Man", which was his creation. In 1981, a 1,200-seat auditorium was added to the school. Legendary Dr. Jerome Marco was Principal from 1975 until his retirement in 2004. Currently, the Principal is Dr. Alan Goodwin, who was Assistant Principal for several years before taking his current post. Six elementary schools feed Thomas W. Pyle Middle School, which in turn feeds to Walt Whitman. The elementary schools are Wood Acres, Bannockburn, Burning Tree, Carderock Springs, Bradley Hills, and Bethesda.

The "Black & White"

The "Black & White" is a national, regional and state award-winning newspaper that is student-financed and student-run. In addition to informing students, teachers, parents and community members of relevant issues and events, it also provides an open forum for an exchange of student ideas. It was established in 1961 and produces 12 issues each academic year. The newspaper was inducted into the National Scholastic Press Association Hall of Fame in 1991, during the tenure of longtime adviser Mr. Atwood. In 2001, the staff of the "Black & White" collaborated to launch the "Spectator", a supplementary paper covering sports features and recreation. The newspaper has gathered numerous national awards for its print edition as well as its website, [http://www.theblackandwhite.net Black & White Online] , established (at a different URL) in 2001 and remade in 2008. The Black & White has over 70 staff members (print and online positions included) and the Spectator has more than 30 members. Some staff positions, like photographers, graphic artists, business and advertising managers, are shared by both papers. Louise Reynolds is currently the adviser to the "Black & White", succeeding Dr. Jan Bowman, who retired in 2007.

Performing Arts

The Choral Music department contains 5 regular ensembles and smaller chamber groups and is directed by Jeff Davidson. The Chamber Choir has been regularly recognized as one of the top groups on the East Coast for many years. Like the Instrumental Music department, the Choral Music department regularly wins straight 1's ("Superior"--highest rating) for Level VI (most advanced) choral arrangements in county, state, and national competitions. Combined, the [http://www.waltwhitmanmusic.org/InstrumentalMusicDownloads.htm Choral and Instrumental Music] programs regularly place graduating students in top U.S. music schools and conservatories.

[http://www.wwhsdrama.com Whitman Drama] is an award winning theater department directed by theater professional Christopher Gerken and produces a fall musical (with a student Pit orchestra), a student-directed talent show, and a winter play. The home of the theatre program, the Daryl Shaw Auditorium, holds 1,200 seated audience members. The school is a member of the Critics and Awards Program for High School Students (Cappies) National Capital Area and has been nominated for and won several awards at the annual Gala. In June 2008 Whitman was awarded the Cappie award "Best Musical" for its production of "Aida" and won one of the most competitive awards - "Lead Actress in a Musical" for graduating senior Andrea Carroll's performance in the title role of Aida. The same year, Whitman put on the production of The Nerd by Larry Shue, another success for Whitman drama.

In 2007 Whitman Drama was recognized as one of the top 50 American high school drama programs by the American High School Theater festival and invited to perform at the International Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Scotland in August 2008. 17 Whitman students traveled to Scotland to perform their production of Jason Robert Brown's "Songs For a New World".

Every other year, Whitman holds a schoolwide "Shakespeare Festival" for one day in April. It is based in student projects, which encompass posters, food, live performances, videos, demonstrations, costumes, and trebuchets. Everything is linked to some aspect of Shakespeare, his work, or the Renaissance. The festival is organized and run by students, with the aid of the English department. This year the Shakespeare Club produced "The Taming of the Shrew", which was also student run and student directed. In the 2008-9 school year, the Club will put on "Macbeth", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and the Shakespeare Festival 2009.

Role in popular culture

Walt Whitman High School was the subject of the 2006 best-selling book, "The Overachievers". The non-fiction book concerns itself with several students who were members of Whitman's class of 2004 and 2005. From July 20, 2004 - December 9, 2004, the author, Alexandra Robbins, followed eight Whitman juniors and seniors through their daily lives. It uses the lives of the Whitman students to show pressure in academia and the negative effect in today's society. Robbins is a Whitman alum of the class of 1994.

In 2005, in wake of Hurricane Katrina, a Whitman student and her two younger sisters started Project Backpack, an organization which donated backpacks filled with toys to displaced children. The project exceeded all expectations and received thousands of backpacks which were delivered to the New Orleans victims. To honor their deed, President Bush invited them to light the national Christmas tree.


88% of the seniors attend 4-year colleges.
9% attend 2-year colleges.
More than 72% attend college out-of-state.
Students come from more than 40 countries.
Whitman's average SAT score for the 2006-07 school year was 1880, highest in the Montgomery county public school system
In 2008, Newsweek ranked Whitman at number 69 on its "Best High Schools in America" list.
The class of 2008 included 12 National Merit Semi-Finalists and 13 Maryland Distinguished Scholar Finalists.


Whitman boasts a strong athletic program, in which more than 70% of the student body will participate in at some point. Students can choose from 16 different varsity sports and several other club sports, such as ice hockey, rowing, cricket, and ultimate frisbee.

Athletic Championships

Boys Tennis County Champions- '08
Boys Tennis Division I 1st Place- '08
Washington Area Frisbee Club Champions- '08
Golf State Champions (new state record)- '07
Boys State Cricket Champions- '07
Boys Tennis County Champions- '07
Girls Basketball 4A West Region Champs- '07
Boys Basketball Division 4A State Champions- '06
Girls Field Hockey Regional Champions- '06
Will Sharbaugh - Wrestling State Champion- '06
Eren Civan - Wrestling State Champion- '04, '05, '06
Wrestling State Champions- '05
Boys Tennis Division I 1st Place- '05
Girls Soccer State Champions- '04
Boys Soccer District Champions- '04
Boys Volleyball Regional Champions- '03
Boys Soccer State Champions- '00
Golf State Champions- '99
Boys Rowing State Champions- '98
Girls Volleyball State Champions- '98
Boys Soccer State Champions- '97
Girls Basketball Division 4A State Champions- '95
Boys Cross Country 4A State Champions- '95
Boys Cross Country Class AA State Champions- '70

Notable Alumni

*Eric Pierpoint, '69, actor, ""
*John Ray Hoke Jr, FAIA, '69, architect, "Architectural Graphic Standards"
*Gordon Smith, '70, U.S. Senator, Oregon
*Ken Navarro, '71, jazz guitarist, "Smooth Sensation" and "Love Coloured Soul"
*Lisa Pelikan, '72, actress, "Julia" and "Return to the Blue Lagoon"
*Bob Raba, '73, football player (tight end, New York Jets, Washington Redskins)
*Rodney Alan Greenblat, '78, artist
*Kate Seelye, '80, Middle-east reporter for National Public Radio
*Mark Pryor, '81, U.S. Senator, Arkansas
*Mark Halperin, '83, political analyst, ABC News, Time Magazine, Time.com; former Political Director, ABC News
*Anthony Dilweg, '84, football player (1988 ACC player of the year, Duke University; former NFL quarterback)
*Susan Dynner, '84, movie producer/director, "Punk's Not Dead", producer, "Brick".
*Michael Eisen, '85, noted proponent of open source scientific research
*Jeff Tremaine, '85, co-writer, director, creator, "" (2002) and the MTV show by the same name.
*Richard Ault, '86, Internet Entrepreneur, CNET, myplay, Napster, Technorati, Metroblogging.
*Harold Maroll, '86, editor-in-chief of the Washington Times
*Spike Jonze, '87, movie director, "Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation." and co-writer, "Jackass: The Movie"
* David Dobkin, '87, movie director, "Wedding Crashers", "Shanghai Knights", and "Fred Claus"
*Ryan Kuehl, '90, football player (defensive tackle, New York Giants)
*Giuliana DePandi, '92, celebrity news personality
*Alexandra Robbins, '94, published author
*Andy Corno, '01, lacrosse player (midfielder, New Jersey Pride)
*Andrew Keszler, '03, soccer player (goalie, Pittsburgh Riverhounds)

External links

* [http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/whitmanhs/ Walt Whitman Website]
* [http://www.theblackandwhite.net/ Whitman's Award Winning Newspaper Online]
* [http://www.mcps.k12.md.us Montgomery County Public Schools Home Page]
* [http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/whitmanhs/athletics/ Whitman Athletics]
* [http://www.whitmancrew.org/ Walt Whitman Crew Website]
* [http://whitman.codeboy.net/ Walt Whitman Alumni Tracking Website]
* [http://www.waltwhitman69.com/ Walt Whitman Alumni Class of 1969 REUNION Web site]
* [http://www.whitman73.org/ Walt Whitman Alumni Class of 1973 Website]

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