Notable alumni of Columbus High School:
Reggie Abercrombie, Major League baseball player (Florida Marlins, Houston Astros)
Garey Ingram, former Major League baseball player (Los Angeles Dodgers), current AA hitting coach for the Mississippi Braves
Nunnally Johnson, class of 1915, screenwriter and filmmaker. He wrote movies ranging from "The Grapes of Wrath" to "The Dirty Dozen" and directed "The Three Faces of Eve," "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" and many others.
Carson McCullers, class of 1933, novelist, playwright and poet. Her most famous novel is "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter," written when she was 23 years old. She is considered one of the South's greatest writers.
John McNally, class of 1974, distinguished pistol marksman, member of the 1984, 88, 92, 96 and 2000 Olympic teams (international rapid fire pistol event)
Sam Mitchell, former NBA player (Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers) and head coach (Toronto Raptors)
Skeeter Newsome, former Major League baseball player (Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies)
Ketia Swanier, WNBA basketball player (Phoenix Mercury)
Frank Thomas, class of 1986, former Major League baseball player (Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays), All-Star player (five times) and two-time MVP for the American League. Thomas was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. The White Sox retired his number, 35, and erected a statue of "The Big Hurt" at the stadium in Chicago.
Columbus High Timeline:
1890: the high school opens with co-educational classes. Classes are held in the existing boys' school at 10th Street and 2nd Avenue.
June 1892: Columbus High School graduates its first class: sixteen girls and two boys. Graduation exercises are held at the Springer Opera House.
1897–1898: a building is constructed to house CHS at 11th Street and 4th Avenue.
1900: three curricula are adopted for students – college preparation, classical, and scientific.
1913: The first COHISCAN, the CHS annual, is published. The name is derived from COlumbus HIgh SChool ANnual.
1923: the "Blue Devil" nickname is first applied by General John J. Pershing in reference to spirited game play exhibited against Phillips High in Birmingham, Alabama. Previously, several other nicknames had been used for the CHS sports teams. The "Orange Avalanche" is perhaps the best known.
1924–1925: sixteen acres in Wildwood Park are selected as the site of a new Columbus High School. Starrett and Van Vlock of New York are chosen as designing architects, with Hickman and Martin as local architects.
September 2, 1925: the cornerstone for the new building is set at 1700 Cherokee Avenue.
September 16, 1926: the dedication exercises for the new building take place.
1943–1945: Annie Massey, the first female CHS principal, leads the school during the war years.
1962–1963: the building is expanded and additions are made.
June 12, 1981: fire ravages the original section of the building.
1981–1983: construction and renovations to the building are undertaken. Air conditioning is added. Grades are split and classes are held at two locations, Rosemont School and Columbus Junior High School.
August 27, 1983: rededication ceremonies are held.
1988: construction of the alumni wall begins with the first students of the class of 1988.
1990: Wilfred Graves, Jr. becomes the first African-American valedictorian of Columbus High School.
1991–1992: the first year of the Liberal Arts Magnet program; entering freshman class includes the first magnet students. Linda Kellett is the founding lead teacher of the program. The first section of the Alumni Wall is completed.
2001–2002: CHS Liberal Arts Magnet becomes a total magnet school.
2004–2005: CHS is named a Georgia School of Excellence and a National Blue Ribbon School.
Summer 2005: the school and parking area are renovated.
2013: Girl's varsity volleyball wins the state championship.
2015: JV and Varsity Public Forum Debate wins the state champions.
2015: Girl's Varsity Volleyball wins State Championship
2017: Girl's Varsity Basketball wins State Championship
Photo of Big Hurt statue by Ken Lund licensed by Creative Commons.