The history of Fairfax High School begins in 1927 when the first high school courses in the town of Fairfax were held in the old Fairfax Elementary School on Main Street. The high school program there ended in 1932, and for 3 ½ years students enrolled in the old high school building at Oakton. The first Fairfax High School building opened on February 22, 1935 on what is now called Fairfax Boulevard in the City of Fairfax. The school was built with grant funding from the federal government’s Public Works Administration and was located on the old Fairfax County Fairgrounds.
The first graduating class in 1936 had 47 members. Also that first year, Fairfax High School had just 13 teachers and English teacher, Gordon Smith, also served as the Principal.
Explore Old Fairfax High School Yearbooks
School enrollment grew quickly during the “baby boom” era, and in 1954 Fairfax had 80 teachers and 1,000 students, 210 of whom were in the graduating class. Eight additions were constructed between 1935 and 1970, at which point the school could no longer support the burgeoning student population and the modernized educational curriculum of the time.
On May 23, 1970, the School Board of the City of Fairfax held a groundbreaking ceremony at our current school site. On January 3, 1972, 1,800 students moved from the old vine-covered building into the new Fairfax High School, bringing old traditions like the Honor Code with them.
The Honor Code, composed by students in 1949, stated that students should try to:
- Promote clean and wholesome speech.
- Be helpful to students, officers, patrols, monitors and bus drivers.
- Encourage and foster proper conduct at home and away.
- Use what the school offers to better oneself.
By the mid-1990s, Fairfax High School had grown to house 170 faculty and staff, and a student population of 2,500. Beginning in March, 2005, our school underwent an extensive $54 million, 2 ½ year long renovation - the first comprehensive improvements to our building since 1972. Our school was rededicated on November 10, 2007, debuting 17 new science and social studies classrooms, a new library, and technology improvements in every classroom.
Do you know the origin of the name Fairfax?
What Happened to the old Fairfax High School?
After Fairfax High School transitioned to its new building in 1972, the first Fairfax High School building was purchased by George Mason University (GMU) and was used as the university’s North Campus for ten years. In July, 1983, GMU sold the building to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington and Paul VI Catholic High School opened the following September. In 2015, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington announced plans to move Paul VI High School to a new campus in Loudoun County. As of the time of this writing, the fate of the original Fairfax High School building is still being decided.
Fairfax High School Principals
1935-1941: Gordon E. Smith
1941-1944: Harold F. Weiler
1944-1946: Robert B. Walker
1946-1960: Samuel J. Coffee
1960-1969: Cyrus Doub
1969-1977: Robert Tabor (Took a 1 year sabbatical in 1973)
1973: Robert Russel (Acting Principal)
1977-1981: Clarence P. Drayer
1981-1983: Joan Curcio
1983-1988: Harry Holsinger (Graduate of Fairfax HS, Class of 1954)
1988-1999: Donald Weinheimer
1999-2002: Lillian Lowery
2002-2005: Linda L. Thomson
2005-2009: Scott S. Brabrand
2009-present: David Goldfarb