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Fairfax High School (Fairfax, Virginia)

Fairfax High School is a public high school in the eastern United States, located in Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb west of Washington, D.C. The school is owned by the City of Fairfax, but is operated by Fairfax County Public Schools as part of a contractual agreement.

Fairfax High School
Fairfax High School.jpg
Fairfax High School in 2010
Fairfax High School is located in Fairfax
Fairfax High School
Fairfax High School
Fairfax High School is located in Northern Virginia
Fairfax High School
Fairfax High School
Fairfax High School is located in Virginia
Fairfax High School
Fairfax High School
Fairfax High School is located in the United States
Fairfax High School
Fairfax High School
3501 Rebel Run

Coordinates38°51′36″N 77°17′10″W / 38.860°N 77.286°W / 38.860; -77.286Coordinates: 38°51′36″N 77°17′10″W / 38.860°N 77.286°W / 38.860; -77.286
School typePublic, high school
MottoRebel Pride
Founded1936; 1972 (relocated)
School districtFairfax County Public Schools
PrincipalErin Lenart
Staff233 (approximately)
Enrollment2,384[1] (2016–17)
Color(s)Rebel Blue, Grey, & White
MascotRebel Lion
NewspaperThe Rebel Roar
YearbookThe Sampler
Feeder schoolsLanier Middle School
Athletic conferencesPatriot District
Class 6A Region C

The school building, opened 47 years ago in 1972, is located on Old Lee Highway in eastern Fairfax City. In 2007, FHS underwent a $54 million renovation designed by architectural firm BeeryRio7. Renovations began in March 2005 and added 86,500 sq ft (8,040 m2). of classroom space. Student size has increased at such a high rate that three trailers have been installed.

The previous campus (1936–72) on Fairfax Boulevard is now Paul VI Catholic High School.



For the 2013–2014 school year, Fairfax High School's student body was 41% White, 25% Asian, 20% Hispanic, 9% Black, 0.2% Native American, 5% Other.


Principal Years
Erin Lenart 2018–present
David Goldfarb 2009–2018
Scott Brabrand 2005–2009
Linda L. Thomson 2002–2005
Lillian Lowery 1999–2002
Donald Weinheimer 1988–1999
Harry Holsinger 1983–1988
Dr. Joan Curcio 1981–1983
Clarance P. Drayer 1977–1981
Robert Tabor 1972–1977

Known forEdit

Fairfax High is known for having high AP exam scores and SAT scores.

The school is especially known for their marching band, state champion cheerleading team, state champion girls' swim and dive team, 7th consecutive district champion field hockey team, high school academy, AVID program, yearly AP Boot Camp, City of Fairfax-sponsored annual performing arts program in April Spotlight on the Arts, Math Creative Classrooms Program, New Chinese Language Program, Pride Time, Professional Learning Communities, Marimba program, Rewards and Remediation Program, College Success Program, and the best DECA chapter in the State of Virginia which is also ranked top 10 in the world.

Test scoresEdit

Fairfax High School is a fully accredited high school based on the Standards of Learning tests in Virginia. The average SAT score in 2009–2010 for FHS was 1657.[2]


In 2010–2011, Fairfax High School was ranked the nation's 201st best high school.[3]


Fairfax's nickname is the Rebels, and the athletic teams currently compete in the AAA Liberty District and Northern Region. The closest high schools to Fairfax are Oakton (1.9 miles (3 km) north) and W.T. Woodson (2.4 miles (4 km) south). The Northern Region was realigned for the 1994–95 school year, with Fairfax moved to the Liberty District, and Annandale to 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 three successful head coaches. The first was Dick Claypool (1961–78), with the most wins at Fairfax. He left after the 1978 season and the football program languished until the fall of 1983.

Francis Dall was hired by Athletic Director Pat Laing as Head Coach in 1983 and led the Rebels from 1983–88. Pat Laing also hired long time Wrestling Coach Mitch Sutterfield in the early 1980s as well as long time Basketball Coach Steve Henry & Field Hockey Coach Starr Karl. Coach Dall's arrival changed the culture at FHS and helped propel Fairfax High School Athletic teams for the next 15 years. Dall turned FHS sports from losing programs into winning programs. Dall hired friend & UVA roommate Tom Verbanic who would succeed Dall as Head Coach & lead the FHS Baseball successfully from 1986-1999. Dall hired two coaches from West Springfield High School former West Springfield Head coach Bill Hanley (FHS Softball Head Coach) & Pete Gallagher. Dall hired assistants Mike Kowalski, Mike Campbell, Clevland Lott, Dan Keating & kept holdovers Mitch Sutterfield & Lyndsey Ott. Fairfax football teams under Dall made the VHSL Northern Region playoffs for the 1st time under Dall with the 1987 was 7-3 reaching the Division 5 Northern Region Final to Marshall High School. In Dall's final season Fairfax went undefeated for the first time going 10-0. The 1988 team defeated 70's & 80's rival and powerhouse Annandale High School for the first time since 1973. The 1988 season ended poorly as the team suffered a shocking first round loss to West Potomac High School 20-13. In early January 1989 Coach Dall stunned everyone and stepped down as Head Coach of Fairfax to take a similar position at Lake Braddock High School.

In 1989 Tom Verbanic succeeded his friend Francis Dall. Verbanic only elevated the Fairfax High School football program which Dall had transformed starting in 1983. His teams achieved perfect 10–0 regular seasons in 1991, 1998, and 1999, but the team's greatest success came in 1994. That team was 9–1 in 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 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)).[4]

Following the 1999 season, Coach Verbanic left Fairfax to start the football program at the newly opened Westfield High School.[5] Westfield's Director of Student Activities was Francis Dall, Verbanic's college roommate at the University of Virginia.[6] Prior to his current role, Dall was an extremely successful head football coach in his own right at Lake Braddock, which had the most wins of any high school in the Northern Region in the 1990s.

Following Coach Verbanic's departure, Fairfax has returned to the playoffs twice; in 2009 and 2010. 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 322 points. By comparison, the 1994 team only allowed 90 points during the regular season, and 153 points including the three playoff games. The 2016 season was by far one of the worst seasons in recent memory as the team finished 0–10.

Most recently the Rebel Pride brought home the state title for cheerleading (2009, 2013), the school's second and third state titles (first being in Swim & Dive). The Fairfax HS Cheer Program is under the direction of Head Coach Wes Vaughan.

Fairfax athletes who have been first team All-Met selections by the Washington Post, since the 1990–91 school year:
2016-17: Emily Deivert (Field Hockey)

2014–15:Rachel Barborek (Gymnastics),[7]
2013–14: Nick Scott (Football),[8] Kiana Sherlund (Softball),[9] Joe Rice (Soccer)[10]
2010–11: Samantha Cormode (Soccer)[11]
2009–10: Kevin Dowd (Boys Cross Country),[12] Joey Kelly (Boys Swimming),[13] Kelli Stockton (Girls Swimming)[14]
2008–09: Sidarth Balaji & Jason Luu (Tennis)[15]
2007–08: Emily Ferguson (Swimming),[16] Coach Matt Salerno (Girls Swimming),[17] Sidarth Balaji (Tennis),[18] Lauren Palmucci (Tennis)[19]
2006–07: Gina Winters (Soccer),[20] Sidarth Balaji (Tennis)[21]
2005–06: Gina Winters (Soccer)[22]
2001–02: Sean Doolan (Gymnastics, Gymnast of the Year),[23] Ray Hacker (Gymnastics)[24]
2000–01: Matt Johnson (Golf),[25] Coach Mike Personick, Sean Doolan & Ray Hacker (Gymnastics),[26] Adam Jelinek (Soccer)[27]
1999–2000: Brandon Royster (Football),[28] Matt Johnson (Golf),[29] Sean Doolan & Ray Hacker (Gymnastics)[30]
1998–99: Brad Thomas (Football),[31] Coach Milt Papke (Golf),[32] Sean Doolan & Ray Hacker (Gymnastics)[33]
1997–98: Katie Silverthorne (Field Hockey),[34] John Eastman (Wrestling, Co-Wrestler of the Year)& Justin Potter (Wrestling),[35] Inhar Chong (Outdoor Track)[36]
1996–97: John Eastman (Wrestling),[37] Melanie Brophy (Softball),[38] Inhar Chong (Outdoor Track)[39]
1995–96: Chuck Freeman (Baseball),[40] Linda Young (Softball)[41]
1993–94: Coach Lisa Burner (Field Hockey),[42] Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics)[43]
1992–93: Tina Boyce (Field Hockey),[44] Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics)[45]
1991–92: Britta Connolly, Amber Moshos (Field Hockey),[46] Heather Schnelzer (Gymnastics),[47] Earl Smith (Indoor & Outdoor Track)[48][49]
1990–91: Carrie Hartley (Field Hockey),[50] Katie Gultnieks (Tennis),[51] Mara Cunningham (Basketball),[52] Jamie Dykes (Girls Soccer),[53] Bill Pulsipher (Baseball, Player of the Year) , Brian Buchanan (Baseball)[54]

Johnny Reb lunch tray used at Fairfax High School during the 1970s

Johnny Reb ControversyEdit

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 students and parents, and at the suggestion of the school's Minority Achievement Task Force, the principal (Harry Holsinger) removed the Johnny Reb symbol in 1985. 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. After Johnny Reb was removed, the mascot was a set of crossed swords, and an unusual mascot, that resembled a ball of lint, called the Rebel Rouser. In 2002, the school changed its mascot to a set of 5 stars, and their sports teams were nicknamed "Fairfax Stars", a reference to Fairfax High School's Honor Roll, which from 1995 had referred to talented, upcoming students as 'Rising Stars', rather than the atypical 'Honor Roll Student'. In 2004, the nickname was returned to the Rebels, however the mascot for Fairfax High is now a lion.


Fairfax High School currently follows the Virginia Department of Education curriculum. The school also hosts Fairfax Academy: School for the Arts, which includes classes such as graphic design and photography. The Academy also features Korean and Chinese. The school has a strong AVID Program, a Reward and Remediation Program, and Honors programs in all areas.

Extracurricular activitiesEdit


Find out more about clubs:


The Fairfax High School Choral Department is currently under the direction of Luke Frels and consists of five ensembles divided by skill level, as well as by the requirement of audition. A beginning group, Women's Concert Choir which is available to freshman women only. Intermediate groups, Men's Ensemble and Select Women's Choir which are made available to men in grades 9-12 and women in grades 10-12. Finally, the two auditioned advanced choral groups, Bel Canto, a group of select women in grades 10-12 and Voce, a selective mixed ensemble for students in 10-12th grades. The choral department also has two extracurricular groups the Show Choir, Fairfax Fame, and Rebel Treble, an auditioned student-led mixed a Cappella ensemble. Approximately 110 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 music theory. The choir program holds several concerts over the course of the year, the largest, Spring Show is held in early May and a Cabaret is held in the early winter. In addition to the choral concerts held at FHS, students have performed in the Fairfax musicals, at the Fairfax Festival of Lights, George Mason basketball games, corporate parties, Fairfax Corner, the New York City Festivals of Music, Heritage Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Festival Disney.


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, third in 2010, and second in 2011. In 2009, they performed in Dayton, Ohio for Winter Guard International and received 4th place in their preliminary group and 18th in semifinals. Overall, they placed 18th out of 60 groups. Other teams that accompany the Band program are the Fall Guard (competes with the marching band) and the Winterguard (competes separately). The Fairfax High School Band was under the direction of Ms. Meghan Benson, and won second place at a band competition at the Smoky Mountain Music Festival, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the spring of 2008. The Marching Band won third place in the local 4 July Parade independence Day celebration, and was awarded $2000 in 2008. At the end of the 2008 Marching Rebel season the band received a 1- Superior rating at the VBODA Championships. The Fairfax High School Band Program received a superior rating at both Marching and Symphonic Band festivals making it eligible to receive the award of Virginia State Honor Band for the first time in the school's 75-year history. The band has repeated the feat every year since. Because of the work of the Marching Band and Symphonic Band along with the work of the orchestral and choral departments, Fairfax was able to earn the title of Blue Ribbon School for the performing arts, which is achieved by Superior ratings at VBODA state marching festival, and a Superior rating for each of the top performing groups at District Festival. At the competition on their spring trip in the year 2009 to Orlando, Florida, the Rebel band placed second in its class by a margin of less than one point and received the Silver Award Overall in Festival Disney.

Marching RebelsEdit

In its 2009 season, the Marching Rebels won all of the competitions they competed in and got awards for quality music and general effect. They performed the show called Heroes, Gods and Mythical Creatures and performed at the Herndon USSBA Regionals, the Oakton Classic, and the James Madison University Parade of Champions. The Rebels placed first in Class 3A in the Herndon Showcase of Bands without proper uniforms which were destroyed in a flood due to a heating malfunction, also received first at the Oakton Classic. At the final major competition, the band placed 1st in Class 3A with a score of 84.75. At the VBODA state marching festival the rebels received a superior rating and got straight 1s from all of the judges. The symphonic band received straight 1s the following spring to complete the Virginia Honor Band title.

The 2010 season was also a great success with the show "Nautilus", with the Marching Rebels winning 2nd place in class 3A at the Herndon USSBA regionals (short to Thomas Jefferson by a fraction of a point), 1st place at the Oakton Classic, 1st place at the JMU parade of Champions, and straight 1s from all of the judges at the VBODA state marching festival. The symphonic band received straight 1s the following spring to complete the Virginia Honor Band title.

The band has quickly become one of the best bands in the state and has become widely renowned for its fantastic sound and quick rise to success.

The new band director was welcomed to Fairfax Band in the year of 2011-2012. The new director, Alan P. Johnson led the Marching Rebels into MANY championships. The Fairfax Marching Rebels got 1st place in all competitions and even won the Esprit de Corps award by the Navy. It is awarded to the band with the most professionalism and patriotism etc. The 2011 season was also a great success with the show "The Struggle Within".

In the 2012 season of the Fairfax Marching Rebels, the band went to numerous competitions and won 1st place in almost all they performed in. The show, "Metamorphosis", was performed at James Madison University Parade of Champions and won them 1st place with a score of over 90 points. Also, the Fairfax Marching Band went to two Bands of America competitions and respectively won 4th and 6th place in the finals round of the competitions. Furthermore, they have won the VBODA state marching festival with a superior rating and straight 1s from all the judges.


The Fairfax High School Orchestra Department is currently directed by Gerald Fowkes. The Orchestra consists of four different levels; Beginning, Intermediate, Concert, and Chamber. The Beginning Orchestra focuses on basic elements of music education and teaches the student fundamentals to prepare them and educate them on music. Intermediate and Concert are 2 different orchestras designed to test and challenge the musicians at a higher level (VBODA pieces grade 4 and 5). And the Advanced Orchestra (playing grade 6 pieces) is the highest level in the Orchestra Department. There are approximately 100 students in the Orchestra program for the enrollment of the 2009-2010 school year. The Orchestra annually participates in District Festival in which the orchestra plays a series of pieces and is graded on them. Often it is believed that the experience is a competition between schools, but it is highly encouraged that the competition be amongst and within the students. The Orchestra also attends a Spring trip annually to various places in America. Some examples include Atlanta, Orlando, New York, and Gatlinburg. The past school year of 2009-2010, the Fairfax High School Orchestra went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for the annual Spring Trip. The Orchestra is also known for their pit appearances in school plays such as Beauty & the Beast and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In the 2017-18 school year, the Fairfax High School Orchestra had the distinct honor of performing in New York's Carnegie Hall.

In 2008-2009, The Fairfax High School Orchestra, along with the Chorus and Band Department earned the Blue Ribbon Award, which is awarded to a school in which the highest section of each music department receives Superiors at District Festival.


The FX Players is the Drama Club at Fairfax High School. They are dedicated toward the promotion of theatre in every aspect. The current director is Erich DiCenzo.

Fairfax Theatre was honored by the Cappies organization with seven nominations, including Best Musical, for the 2009 performance of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and was invited to perform the opening number at the Cappies Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In Mr. DiCenzo's first year at the helm, Fairfax theatre achieved major success in 2014 with 13 nominations, including Best Musical, for its production of "9 to 5: the Musical". Fairfax continued its success in 2015 with nine nominations, again including Best Musical, for its production of "Big: the musical".

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. For the run of The King and I in 2007, however, the pit was opened. It was then closed again, and the orchestra has played at house level since. 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.

The FX Players won the State Title at the VHSL One-Act Competition in 2008. They placed second at Districts in 2009.

It's AcademicEdit

The "It's Academic" team participates in quiz bowl tournaments throughout Virginia, Maryland, and DC, most notably NBC 4's "It's Academic" game show hosted by Mac McGarry.

The team competes well in tournaments. In January 2009, Fairfax placed second in the Concorde District at the VHSL AAA District Tournament. The team advanced to the regional tournament for the first time in several years. Overall, Fairfax placed third in the Northern Region tying with Langley High School.

Feeder patternsEdit

Daniels Run Elementary School, Willow Springs Elementary School, Eagle View Elementary School, Providence Elementary School, and Mosby Woods Elementary School all feed into Lanier Middle School and Rocky Run Middle School, which feed into Fairfax High School.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "Fairfax High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
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External linksEdit