Albemarle High School (Virginia)

Albemarle High School
2775 Hydraulic Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
United States
School type Public high school
Motto "Pursuing Victory With Honor"
Founded 1953
School district Albemarle County Public Schools
Superintendent Dr. Pamela Moran
Principal Jay Thomas
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,780 (2013-14)
Color(s)           Red and Navy Blue
Athletics conference Virginia High School League
AAA Northwest Region
Commonwealth District
Team name Patriots
Rivals Charlottesville Black Knights, Monticello Mustangs, Western Albemarle Warriors
Feeder schools Jouett Middle School
Sutherland Middle School
Burley Middle School
Website Official Site

Albemarle High School is a public high school serving grades 9 through 12. It is a part of Albemarle County Public Schools and is located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia. The current principal is Jay P. Thomas, who was appointed in 2009.

Features include science labs, two "maker spaces", a media center, a full auditorium, rooms for the band and choir, a ceramics studio, a cafeteria, and two gymnasiums.

Albemarle High School offers Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes through nearby Piedmont Virginia Community College. High school students can also study at CATEC, a joint program with Albemarle County Public Schools and Charlottesville City Public Schools where classes are focused on technical education. Adult Education and LED programs are offered in the evening.

Performing arts

The Albemarle Players are directed by Ms. Fay E. Cunningham. Each year they prepare a show for VTA (Virginia Theater Association), to hopefully move on and compete at SETC (South Eastern Theater Conference) to represent the state of Virginia. In 2006, the players won first place at VTA with the show Black Comedy, and moved on to perform at SETC in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2010, the players won first place at VTA with the show Man of La Mancha, and performed at SETC in Atlanta, Georgia in March 2011. In 2013, the players won second place at VTA with Shakespeare's R&J and then performed the show at SETC in Mobile, Alabama in March 2014. After VTA, the players prepare a show for VHSL and compete there as well. They were titled VHSL State Champions in 2010 with the show The Zoo Story. Every spring they put on a musical, and while each year the musicals are more and more taxing, they represent the extreme talent of the students and director. Past musicals include Les Misérables in 2008, West Side Story in 2009, Disney's Beauty and the Beast in 2010, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera in 2011, and Fiddler on the Roof in 2012, Hello, Dolly! in 2013, and The Sound of Music in 2014. They are scheduled to perform The Addams Family in May 2015. In 2010, the Albemarle Players were one of 50 high schools nationwide invited to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, commonly accepted as the world's largest arts festival.

The forensics team is an important part of performing arts at AHS. Each year a team of students is created representing each category. The forensics team travels to VHSL each year and competes to hopefully move on to states. The Albemarle Forensics team has won the District Forensics Tournament for the past decade, and the Regional Tournament for the past 9 years. However, in the 2011 Regional Tournament they were overcome by Osbourn Park Senior High School, who later went on to win the VHSL State Tournament. In March 2012, the forensics team took home their first state championship trophy.

The various bands (a Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and an award-winning Wind Ensemble and jazz band) are conducted by Mr. Greg Thomas. Each year, the Wind Ensemble prepares a demanding repertoire in preparation for a performance at the All-District Festival, usually held in March. In 2008, the players were awarded a "1" or a "Superior" rating with a repertoire consisting of Grade 6 pieces Mannin Veen, Divertimento, and the Grade 5 March Lucky Two and also achieved perfect individual category scores for the first time in its history. In 2009, they achieved this perfect score for the second year in a row with a repertoire of Frank Ticheli's Blue Shades, Ron Nelson's Rocky Point Holiday, and the popular circus march Thunder and Blazes, arranged by Louis-Phillipe Laurendeau. Ever since, they have continued this winning tradition, continuously getting 1's.

The Albemarle Jazz Ensemble has also seen great success in recent years, as they have advanced to finals in the Chantilly Jazz Festival every year since 2004, and have won 1st place for the past three years consecutively (2008–2010). Their 2010 performance pieces included Bill Holman's arrangement of After You've Gone, Alan Baylock's arrangement of Caravan, and Pat Metheny's Have You Heard.

Mrs. Carrie Finnegan directs the school's two orchestras. At the District XIII Orchestra Festival, the two orchestras also consistently receive a "1". In 2009, they traveled to VA Beach to compete in the Fiesta-Val Music Invitational Competition. This is a national competition for both instrumental and choral groups. The Albemarle, Jouett, Sutherland Combined Concert Orchestra received a Superior Rating and 1st Place in division IV. The Albemarle High String Ensemble received a Superior Rating and 1st Place in division VI. The Orchestras also received the Fiesta-Val Champion Trophy, awarded for the highest numerical score among all orchestras, regardless of division. The Orchestras, as a group, were also awarded the prestigious Grand Champion Trophy, awarded for the highest total numerical score by combining scores from two different performing groups. In addition to being presented the Grand Championship Trophy, the director of the winning group received the Fiesta-Val Award of Distinction in recognition of a notable contribution to musical excellence.

The Albemarle Chorus department, directed by Jennifer Morris, have consistently performed well. Boasting eight choirs and almost 200 members, the program performs throughout the community, state and nationally. The Patriot Singers have consistently received 1's at the annual District Assessment. Take Note! Treble Jazz has been selected to sing at such venues as the President's Park in Washington D.C.and with renowned musician Jim Brickman. No Fella A Cappella and Minutemen, both student-run a cappella groups, perform throughout the year, including performances with the Yale Spizzwinks and Virginia Belles. All groups perform in spring competitions throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. They consistently receive superior ratings and have been awarded the Grand Championship for 17 of the last 16 years.

The Performing Arts program at Albemarle High School Music Department has been awarded the Blue Ribbon award by Virginia Music Educators Association for seven times since the award's inception.


Beyond athletics, Albemarle hosts chapters from a full variety of extracurricular clubs and groups for its students to participate in, and it annually enjoys high levels of participation, especially from upperclassmen. Some examples include:


With a recent addition to the school in 2009 came the addition of a new program for students interested in engineering-related careers. The program, called the Math, Engineering, and Science Academy (MESA), opened for the 2009-2010 school year, inviting approximately 50 rising freshmen and 25 rising juniors. These students were selected by an application which included essays, transcripts, and teacher recommendations. MESA offers an accelerated curriculum which allows students to earn 3 science credits and 3 math credits in 2 years. The junior and senior part of the program earns 4 dual enrollment credits and 4 high school credits in 2 years. The curriculum blends math and science against an engineering and application focus. Collaborative project based learning, robotics, research and competitions are all part of the MESA environment. Students use calculus, physics and chemistry to solve problems analytically and verify their results empirically through experimentation using engineering modeling and analysis tools including MATLAB, Autodesk Inventor and Microsoft Excel at an expert level. In 2013, MESA students won the International Robotic Sailing Regatta beating every college team in attendance and advanced two students to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

The program has attracted some attention from the media, and is a feather in the cap for Albemarle County Public Schools. In addition to representatives from Microsoft and the school board, Congressman Tom Perriello visited during class to talk to students and faculty about the program.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

Coordinates: 38°4′32.5″N 78°30′1.9″W / 38.075694°N 78.500528°W / 38.075694; -78.500528


External links

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