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Annandale High School

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Annandale High School
4700 Medford Drive
Annandale, Virginia 22003
School type Public, high school
Founded 1954
School district Fairfax County Public Schools
Principal Tim Thomas
Staff approximately 250
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 2,162 (2014 [1])
Language English
Campus type Suburban
Color(s) Red and white
Athletics conference Patriot District,
Northern Region
Mascot Atoms
Feeder schools Holmes Middle School,
Poe Middle School,
Robert Frost Middle School

Annandale High School is a public high school in Annandale, Virginia, United States.[2] It is part of the Fairfax County Public Schools system.

The school's student body has been well-recognized for its high level of racial and cultural diversity since at least the 1980s.[3] Students derive from over 90 countries and speak more than 50 languages.[4]

The school's diverse student body has been noted by multiple US presidential administrations. In 1998, AHS was chosen by then-President Bill Clinton's Race Initiative Advisory Board as the site and focus of round-table discussions on race and education.[3] In 2006, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings visited Annandale to commend the school's diverse language programs, and to announce a $188,000 grant for Fairfax County Public Schools to expand Arabic and Chinese programs.[5] And in October 2011, AHS was visited by First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady of South Korea Kim Yoon-ok, who spoke at a school ceremony celebrating education and the school's diverse ethnic composition.[4]

AHS is the publishing site and focus of The A-Blast Newspaper, a Washington Post YJDP paper that was consistently honored as one of the top-10 high school newspapers in the country from the late 1990s to 2009 by the National Scholastic Press Association and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

Historically AHS has also had a competitive football program. The Atoms have won six state championships since 1965, and were ranked as the best high school football team in the country by the National Sports Service after completing an undefeated season in 1978.[12] The team has seen district-wide and sporadic statewide success since the mid-1990s.

Recent history and programs

Recognition of diversity

Annandale was chosen in 1998 as the site and focus of the Race Initiative Advisory Board's round-table discussions on race and education.[3] The event was hosted by members of the board, including Thomas Kean and William Winter, and chaired by historian John Hope Franklin.[3] The discussions were held as part of President Bill Clinton's One America Initiative.[3]

In 2006, then-Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings visited Annandale to announce that a $188,000 grant would be given to Fairfax County Public Schools to expand Arabic and Chinese programs, as part of the National Security Language Initiative.[5] At the time, Annandale students taking Arabic were among "the less than 1 percent of high school students studying languages deemed critical."[5]

In October 2011, AHS was again noted by the White House for its cultural diversity, hosting a visit by First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady of South Korea Kim Yoon-ok, both of whom praised the school's widespread ethic make-up in speeches to the student body.[4] During her address, Obama said of AHS, “This is the perfect place for you to find out who you are and what you want to become, and that’s really what education is all about.”[4] The visits were accompanied by a ceremony featuring Grammy-nominated violinist Jennifer Koh.[13] At the time, Madame Kim was traveling on a state visit to the US with her husband, Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who were invited as guests of honor to a White House dinner that week after Congress approved the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement.[14] During the 2009–2010 school year, Korean and other Asian-Americans represented 22 percent of the AHS student body.[15]


In 2011–2012, Annandale's student body was 32.28% Hispanic, 23.97% White, 24.97% Asian, 16.37% Black and 2.41% other.[16] During the 2011–2012 school year, 51.89% of the student body received free or reduced price lunch.[17] 74.79% of the school was proficient in English.[16] No single racial group formed the majority. AHS is considered one of the most diverse schools among FCPS, itself one of the most diverse school districts in the country.[4]

The 2009–2010 school year marked the first year that Hispanic students represented a plurality of Annandale students, and the first year in the school's history that any racial group other than White students represented a plurality within the student body.[15] In fact, White students represent the only group not to see consistent growth in percentage student body representation over the last three years.[15]

The A-Blast

The A-Blast is Annandale High School's student-run, student-sponsored newspaper. It was consistently recognized as one of the top-10, +17-page high school newspapers in the country from the late 1990s to 2009, during which the paper won a number of National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Awards, placed among the Best-in-Show at a variety of NSPA national conventions, and won the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown Award (in 2009).[6][7][8][9][10][11] The A-Blast has also been a national fore-runner among high school papers for publishing online content, being one of the first fourteen newspapers in the country to be awarded the NSPA's Pacemaker Award for an Online Edition.[18] The A-Blast, in 2009, had adopted a new multimedia program which trains journalism students to create projects pertaining to the news around Annandale High School, and is currently in its fourth production year.

The A-Blast is a Washington Post Young Journalists Development Program Paper.[19] The paper's writers and editors receive publishing and content-related guidance from Post professional staff, and periodically visit The Washington Post headquarters in Washington, D.C., for collaborative workshops. A-Blast editors regularly participate in Post programs for high school students, including the High School Writing Seminar and the High School Journalism Workshop.[20] The A-Blast is printed on The Washington Post press in Springfield, VA.[19]

The A-Blast uses WordPress as its technology platform and is hosted by School Newspapers Online.

Football program

In 50 years, Annandale has won six football state championships (1965, 1967, 1972, 1978, 1993, and 1994) and numerous district titles as a member of both the Potomac District (Pre-resdistricting) and the Patriot District (Post redistricting).[21] After an undefeated season in 1978, Annandale ended the year ranked #1 in the nation by the National Sports Service.[12] Annandale won Patriot District titles in 2005, 2006,2007, and 2009 (shared with West Springfield High School), but the Atoms fell to their first round opponents each year.

Additional history

Opening its doors in 1954, Annandale High School had 1,000 students, ranging in grades eight-eleven. During this time, the students voted to call themselves "Atoms" after the influence from president Dwight D. Eisenhower's speech called "Atoms for Peace." In the late 1980s, Annandale High School was involved in the creation of the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHHST), ranked as the best high school in the country in 2010 by US News and World Report.[22] TJHSST is one of 18 Virginia Governor's Schools.

The former Thomas Jefferson High School (Jefferson, TJHS), originally occupied the FCPS building of the current TJHSST. Over a two-year period, from 1985 to 1987, the Jefferson students were merged into Annandale. The former TJHS students, now Annandale seniors, were appropriately given the one-time special distinction to use a dual name, TJHS/AHS, for school year 1987–88. No students from Jefferson or TJHSST graduated in 1988.



Annandale High School was ranked #122, with a score of 1.391, in The Washington Post's 2010 Challenge Index, an annual ranking of public high schools in the Washington Metropolitan Area.[23] Each school's score, and rank, was based on a simple formula: "divide the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or other college-level tests a school gave in 2009 by the number of graduating seniors."[23] 172 schools were ranked in 2010.[23] In 2008 Annandale placed #105 (out of 166) in the Challenge Index, with a score of 1.542,[24] and in 2007 it was ranked #107 (out of 190), with a score of 1.425.[25]

Annandale/Fairfax County Public Schools realignment

In early 2010, the Annandale Border Control Force was established by local parent and community groups. Their goal was to realign the school borders by sending residents of Annandale to adjacent county schools such as Falls Church High School and sending Springfield residents to Lake Braddock Secondary School in an effort to address the overcrowding at Annandale High School. The issue has been long and contentious with some residents and students loyal to Annandale. Several options for preventing the realigning and reassigning of students of certain housing developments to different middle and high schools were suggested to the county school board. A major concern to the Annandale parent and community groups included losing sections of the Annandale community which would change the diverse demographics of the school.


Enrollment at AHS during the 2009–2010 school year was 2,257 students.[15] Enrollment at the school reached over 2,000 students for the first time during the 1995–1996 school year.[17] After that year, enrollment grew each year for a decade before reaching 2,568 students during the 2003–2004 school year.[17] Since then, enrollment has experienced non-streaking growth and decline, though has remained at over 2,000 students.[17] During the 2007–2008 school year, enrollment reached a ten-year low of 2,045 students.[17]

Academic programs

AHS has the following FCPS Programs:

Notable alumni


Kugler, Eileen Gale (2003). Debunking the Middle-Class Myth: Why Diverse Schools Are Good For All Kids. Scarecrow Education Press.


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External links