Vestavia Hills City Schools

Learning Without Limits

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  • Serving Without Limits: JDRF Kids Walk at West

    Posted by VHCS at 6/20/2017

    The 2016 - 2017 school year was the fifth year for Vestavia Hills Elementary West to host a JDRF Kids Walk, and they raised over $10,500. In total, they’ve raised $41,420.67 for type 1 diabetes (T1D) research!

    Sharman Martin, head P.E. coach, serves as the school coordinator. The work she does is personal, because her nephew was diagnosed with T1D when he was in third grade. They are really close and every year she leads the Walk in honor of her nephew and all the students with T1D whom she has taught over the years.

    Every day in P.E. for the two weeks that the students are fundraising, Sharman plays music to build excitement and displays the students’ JDRF paper sneakers in the gym to remind them to keep fundraising. Vestavia West also helps promote fundraising by putting up the Kids Walk on their Facebook page—and by celebrating “Put a Cap on Diabetes” day where the students can pay $1 to wear a hat.

    Sharman says, “We are a big school so, to me, it is amazing to see how our whole community chooses to come together like family for JDRF. When I see the kids out walking, they may not fully understand why they are raising money and walking, but they are learning compassion.”

    There is one face at Vestavia West that really makes the Kids Walk personal. Third-grader Caden James was diagnosed two days after his second birthday. Once the overwhelming reality of this disease settled in, his family jumped head first into the JDRF world. His mom Stacy says, “I think the Kids Walk is a phenomenal resource for Caden James and the school to better understand T1D. With him being an athlete and spending five days in school, it gives them a better idea of what he deals with on a daily basis.”

    A special thanks to Sharman Martin, Ford McGuffey and Dyan Staub for working determinedly to make JDRF Kids Walk an event loved by everyone involved!

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  • Leading Without Limits: Pizitz Teachers at AMLE

    Posted by Christa Brogan at 6/6/2017

    Pizitz teachers at AMLE In October 2017, three ELA 7 teachers from Pizitz Middle School presented at the AMLE annual conference in Austin, Texas. AMLE is the Association for Middle Educators, and their annual conference is described as the most valuable and comprehensive professional development opportunity in the world for any person working with students ages 10–15.

    Stratton Brock, Christa Brogan, and Brad Carpenter presented their House Cup program in a roundtable session. House Cup is a grade-wide program at Pizitz in which all 7th grade students are 'sorted' into houses much like those found in English boarding schools and the Harry Potter book series. Throughout the year, students earn points for their houses until, in May, a winning house is named and celebrated. This program allows for and promotes character, team-building, school spirit, and positive peer pressure among students.
    The Pizitz teachers presented on how to implement and maintain such a program to educators from across the US. 
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  • Celebrating Without Limits: Excellence in Vestavia 2016-17

    Posted by Oliver Aaron at 5/25/2017


    There are 467 seniors.  (205 of the seniors will graduate with the Advanced Academic with Honors Endorsement on their diplomas)

    • 86% going to four-year colleges
    • 10% going to two-year colleges
    • 4% entering military, working full-time, or taking a “gap year”
    • 23% will enroll in 63 different colleges in 23 states outside of Alabama
    • 4 students will be studying outside of the United State
    • Those staying in Alabama will enroll in 22 different colleges and universities
    • 17 National Merit Finalists
    • 7 National Merit Commended Students
    • 67% of the graduates were offered scholarships.  The amount offered is more than $31 million dollars (most in school history) and the accepted is more than $12 million (also the most in school history).


    Academic Accomplishments:

    • The “We the People” Team won the district and state competition (for the 13th year in a row) and placed 8th in the nation.
    • The math team won four tournaments in Georgia, including the University of Georgia and Columbus State University tournaments, and the LSU math tournament.  All three teams won their state competition.  The team also placed second in the Log1 international math competition sponsored by the Mu Alpha Theta math honor society.
    • Approximately 1,026 Advanced Placement Exams were administered to 466 students
    • Walker Burroughs, Markkus Griggs, Savannah Busby, Caroline Stair, Libby Rumore and Hannah Bogard were selected to participate in the All-State Choral Festival.  Savannah Busby was selected as the District III Outstanding Choral Student.  The following choirs received an overall superior rating at State Choral Performance Assessment: Women's Glee, Honor Choir, Show Choir, Women's Advanced, Women's Ensemble and AcaFellas.  Show Choir and Just Singin’ received straight superior ratings at the  ACDA Show Choir and Jazz Choir Festival.  Show Choir participated in three competitions and received the following accolades: Grand Champion, Best Show Design, Best Vocal Sound, Best Choreography, Best Soloist within a Show (Erin Chatman) and the Dot Pugh Spirit of the Southern Showcase Award.  The Choral Department was invited yet again to perform at Queens College and Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the Choirs of America Choir Nationals.  Just Singin’ was invited to perform at the Alabama Music Educator's Association Conference as the first and only pop a cappella group to ever be invited.  Just Singin’ became an internet sensation with their viral video of "Hallelujah" gaining 5 million views.  Just Singin' was invited to open for the professional a cappella group Vocalosity.  Finally, Just Singin' was selected to open the National A Cappella Association Convention in Memphis, TN.
    • The Rebel Marching Band earned superior ratings at marching band festivals in the fall of 2016. The band received first place and all Best in Class Awards at the West Alabama Marching Festival.  All three Concert Bands received superior ratings at Music Performance Assessment.
    • Seven were selected for the Alabama All-state Band.   Eight students were selected for the Alabama All-State Orchestra.  Twelve students were selected for the Alabama All-State Jazz Band.  Two students were selected to perform with the Music for All Honor Band of America.  13 students were selected for the District IV Honor Band.  Two students performed with the Macy’s All American Marching Band.  One student performed in the Marching Honor Band of America in the Tournament of Roses Parade.  Several students performed with honor bands at the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Samford University, UAB, and the University of Montevallo.


    Athletic Accomplishments:

    -15 of 21 teams qualified for state playoffs

    -1 Team State Championship (Wrestling- Duals and Traditional State Champs)

    -3 State Runner-ups (Boys Bowling, Boys Golf, Girls Soccer)

    -5 Individual State Champions (Seniors listed below)

    • Walter Thomas- Shot Put
    • James Edwards- Wrestling



    • The Relay for Life event raised more than $280,000 (the most ever) for Cancer Research. Proceeds went to two charities-  The American Cancer Society and Open Hands Overflowing Hearts.
    • SGA raised over $50,000 for Unless U during the Fall Charity
    • We collected over 22,000 cans during the canned food drive
    • Habitat for Humanity funded and built their twelfth house
    • Three seniors received the PVSA, all at the bronze level for 100+ hours of service

    This is just a sample of many more activities related to community service that occur throughout Vestavia Hills High School.

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  • Learning Without Limits: Pizitz 2016-17 Novelists

    Posted by Christa Brogan at 5/22/2017
    Nine Pizitz Middle School students completed, edited, and self-published novels during the 2016-2017 school year through a school-wide project led by the 7th grade English teachers.
    Students could write about whatever they wanted, but they had to achieve 5,000 words between November 1st and November 30th. In January they wrote query letters to Principal Hanson and included a synopsis of their story. From over 300 query letters, 20 students were approved for placement in the media center. They were given a month to edit and publish their books.
    From those 20, nine students chose to publish their books through the website and make them available to the school.
    One copy of each published book will be placed in the Pizitz Media Center and will be available for check-out beginning in August, 2017.

    Picture - from left to right: Wyatt Raley, Sara Hattaway, Laura Ellen Hayes, Blakely Berryhill, Elisabeth Doss, Faith Pennino. Not pictured: Madison Waldrop, Amelia Johnston, Gram Thornton.
    Pizitz Novelists
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  • Celebrating Without Limits: 2016-17 Pizitz Sports

    Posted by Meredith Hanson at 5/22/2017

    Pizitz All Sports Trophy Congratulations to Pizitz Middle School for earning The Bob Barthel All Sports Trophy for the Metro South Conference for 2016-17. The award is given to the middle school or junior high school that has earned the highest number of points based on their teams’ placements in athletic events throughout the year. This is the second time in Pizitz history that the Pirates have won the All Sports Trophy (2007-08). In addition, three Pizitz coaches received Metro South Coach of the Year honors: Bill Mann was named Coach of the Year for softball, Jason Williams was named Coach of the Year for Track, and David McKenzie was named Coach of the Year for 7th grade girls’ basketball.

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  • Celebrating Without Limits: Riley Holmes

    Posted by Jane Schaefer at 5/19/2017

    Congratulations to Vestavia Hills High School senior Riley Holmes, winner of the Fall InvestWrite essay contest with the Alabama Council on Economic Education. The InvestWrite essay contest challenges students to address real-world financial issues and situations by answering a question about long-term saving and investing. Students in grades 4-12 are asked to analyze an investment scenario and recommend portfolio allocations that target short and long term financial goals. The competition is a culminating activity for the 600,000 students who compete nationwide in the Stock Market Game program each year.

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  • Celebrating Without Limits: VHHS We the People

    Posted by Amy Maddox at 5/19/2017

    The Vestavia Hills High School We the People team once again had an outstanding year that included a top 10 national finish.  This year's team was the smallest ever with only 15 students.  This meant that three of our students had to "double-up" and compete with 2 units instead of just one.  The team finished in first place at their district and state competitions.  At national competition in April, the team competed against 56 other teams from across the country.  After two strong competition rounds on day one and day two, they made it into the top ten and thus got to compete on day three.  The third day of competition took place in a congressional hearing room in the Cannon building.  When final scores were tallied, the team finished in 8th place nationally.

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  • Learning Without Limits: VHHS Seal of Biliteracy Recipients

    Posted by Lisa Garrison at 5/15/2017

    Vestavia Hills High School awarded the Seal of Biliteracy to 42 students during the 2016-2017 academic year.   Congratulations to these students who have successfully shown proficiency in English and at least one other language.  The Seal of Biliteracy was awarded in the four languages taught at VHHS French. German, Latin and Spanish in addition to Chinese.    The award is not only given in languages taught at VHHS but also to native and heritage speakers of languages other than English.  Students may earn this Seal by showing proficiency in reading, writing and speaking in at least one other language in addition to English. Two students, Wenyun Jiang and Edward Huang earned the Seal in English, Spanish and Chinese. 

    Knowing a second language and understanding other cultures increases students' marketability to both universities and employers. In our global society, cultural competency and language proficiency have become essential skills for the workplace and are required in many fields. In Vestavia Hills alone, more than 40 languages are spoken. The Seal of Biliteracy rewards students who value cultural awareness and can apply their language abilities to real-life settings. We congratulate these young people who are the first in the State of Alabama to receive this Seal. 
    VHHS Seal of Biliteracy Students

    Fall 2016 Seal of Biliteracy

    1. Fallon Carder
    2. Daniel Cotton
    3. Savannah Hayes
    4. Nathan Heiberger
    5. Emma Henderson
    6. Allison Lipford
    7. Marshall Powell
    8. Zoe Tenner
    9. Emily Vick
    10. Brian Young

    1. Lana Chen
    2. Allan Feng
    3. Celeste Johnson
    4. Keene Zhang

    1. Greta Chen
    2. William Cline
    3. Julia DeCarlo
    4. Ashley Dieguez
    5. India Ellison
    6. Katelin Faherty
    7. Giselle Fonseca
    8. Hector Fonseca
    9. Kahlea Haladwala
    10. Connor Johnston
    11. Javier Jurado
    12. Olivia Lumpkin
    13. Abigail Mashburn
    14. Vaughn Moore
    15. Manning Owen
    16. Stephanie Tunnell
    17. Daryl Wilson
    18. Sherry Wu
    19. Wenyun Jiang (Chinese and Spanish)
    1. Grace Millsap
    2. Anastasia Sorochinsky
    3. Louisa Tarrasch
    1. Edward Huang (Spanish and Chinese)
    2. Wenyun Jiang (Spanish and Chinese)
    Awarded in Spanish Spring of 2017 (they do not appear in the picture)
    1) Jessica Riley Holmes
    2) Edward Huang (Chinese and Spanish)
    3) Mary Scott Israel
    4) Jennifer Lao
    5) Daniel Rhodes
    6) Kanika Tiwari
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  • Celebrating Without Limits: Mother's Day in VHCS

    Posted by VHCS at 5/13/2017

    To celebrate Mother’s Day, the Vestavia Voice reached out to Vestavia Hills elementary schools to find out what students love about their mothers. Students from Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights and Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park submitted their artwork and the thing they love most about their mom. 

    Read more in the Vestavia Voice.

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  • Learning Without Limits: VHECH Living Wax Museum

    Posted by Katie Grace at 5/12/2017
    The fourth graders at VHECH brought Alabama history to life with their annual "Famous Alabamians" Living Wax Museum. Each student read a biography to learn about their chosen famous Alabamian. Using this research, the students worked hard in social studies to create timelines using the website Storyboard and language arts to create digital posters using the Canva app. Visitors of the wax museum could scan QR codes to view the digital posters and learn more about the historical figures. 
    VHECH Living Wax Museum
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