Shades Valley High School

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Shades Valley High School
Shades Valley Mountie logo.jpg
Established 1949
School type Public secondary
District Jefferson County Schools
Grades 9–12
Principal Taki Sarhaan
Enrollment 1,348 (2014)
Colors Maroon and black
Mascot Mounties
Location 6100 Old Leeds Rd

Shades Valley High School (SVHS) is a four-year public high school located at 6100 Old Leeds Road in Irondale. The school was established in 1948 near Homewood and Mountain Brook, moving to its present location in the fall of 1996. SVHS is the largest of 14 high schools in the Jefferson County School System. School colors are maroon and black, and the athletic teams are called the Mounties. SVHS competes in AHSAA Class 6A athletics.

SVHS shares its campus with the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School (JCIB). The Shades Valley Technical Academies (SVTA) are situated on a separate campus two miles away. Both JCIB and SVTA students participate in SVHS student activities and take some elective courses with SVHS students.


Shades Valley High School in 1950

In the mid-1940s, the city of Homewood petitioned the county school board to construct a new high school as a replacement for the aging Shades Cahaba High School to serve Birmingham's fast-growing Over the Mountain suburbs. In 1947 Homewood and Mountain Brook residents approved a five-mill property tax to support development of a new school, which opened in the fall of 1949. The building was dedicated on May 25, 1950 and had an initial enrollment of 870 students, which more than doubled by 1956 before Mountain Brook formed its own school system.

When it was established, SVHS was designed to serve students from across Homewood, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, and Hoover. Over the years, each of these suburbs formed their own school systems, shifting the SVHS student population away from the campus and leading to the need for SVHS to relocate. In 1994, the Jefferson County School Board voted to acquire land for a new site for Shades Valley High School. The new, 42-acre site was located in Irondale, almost eight miles from the school's original location. A groundbreaking ceremony was held October 18, 1994 at the new site and the new school building opened to students on August 14, 1996. It contains 78 classrooms, three science laboratories, a teaching kitchen, nine computer labs, two gymnasiums, a weight room, a large state-of-the-art auditorium, and band and choral suites. The original building was then demolished for construction of the Colonial Bank Building.


Enrollment in grades 9-12 for the 2013-14 school year was approximately 1,348 students. SVHS students are diverse: 61% are African-American, 29% are White, 6% are Hispanic, and 3% are Asian-American. Approximately 50% of students qualified for free or reduced price lunch.

SVHS has a graduation rate of 87%. Approximately 89% of its students meet or exceed state proficiency standards in reading, and about 90% do so in mathematics. The average ACT score for SVHS students is 22 and the average SAT composite is 1560.


SVHS offers a variety of courses at all levels of academic rigor. Approximately 29% of students take one or more of the following Advanced Placement courses:

  • Biology
  • Calculus
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • English Language & Composition
  • English Literature & Composition
  • Environmental Science
  • French
  • German
  • Human Geography
  • Modern European History
  • Music Theory
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Studio Art
  • US Government & Politics
  • US History

Students can also take advantage of four different career-focused academies:

  • Academy of Business & Finance, which partners with local businesses to prepare students for success in college and industry
  • Jefferson County Academy of Theatre and Dance
  • Jefferson County School of Visual Art
  • Pre-Engineering Academy, which introduces high school students to concepts of engineering modeling and design using the nationally-recognized Project Lead the Way curriculum


Shades Valley High School's colors are maroon and black, and the athletic teams are called the "Mounties". The Mounties' field house was designed by Adams Design Associations.

Current Sports

SVHS fields teams in the following competitive sports:

Girls' Sports Boys' Sports
Basketball (Varsity & Junior Varsity) Baseball (Varsity & Junior Varsity)
Bowling Basketball (Varsity & Junior Varsity)
Cheerleading (Varsity & Junior Varsity) Bowling
Cross Country Track Cross Country Track
Golf Football (Varsity & Junior Varsity)
Indoor Track Golf
Outdoor Track & Field Indoor Track
Soccer Outdoor Track & Field
Softball (Varsity & Junior Varsity) Soccer (Varsity & Junior Varsity)
Tennis Tennis
Volleyball Wrestling


SVHS athletic teams have won six state championships:

  • Boys' golf (1957)
  • Boys' soccer (2001, 2004, 2006)
  • Boys' track and field (1966)
  • Girls' basketball (2014)

SVHS teams have also accomplished the following:

  • The baseball team played for the state 4A championship in 1980, finishing runner-up to Davidson High of Mobile, and 1982, finishing runner-up to Fairhope.
  • The boys' basketball team played in the state final four in 1954, 1962, 1971, 1980 & 1984, finishing second in 1971.
  • The girls' basketball team played in the state final four in 1997, 2014 & 2015, winning the state championship in 2014.
  • In addition to the three state championships noted above, the boys' soccer finished runner-up in the 2000 state championship.
  • The football team has won over 500 games all-time, which is the second most all-time wins for any team in Jefferson County. SVHS has also accumulated a total of 13 region & area championships, three undefeated regular seasons, and finished runner-up in the state in 1987 & 1994.



Alma Mater

Shades Valley High School's Alma Mater, is sung to the tune of Joseph Haydn's refrain from his String Quarter in C major, Opus 76,3, which is also used as the national anthem of Germany.

Dear Shades Valley, we do love thee,
Give thee honor, trust, and praise.
And for thee our spirits heighten,
While our loyalty we raise.

Onward Valley, to more glory,
We are with thee all the way.
Please bestow thy richest blessing,
Over us throughout our days.

Fight song

The Mounties' fight song is derivative of "I'm a Tar Hell Born" written in 1897 by William Starr Myers for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

I'm Mountie born, born,
Mountie bred, bred.
And when I die
I'm Mountie dead.
So it's rah rah Shades Valley, Valley!
Rah rah Shades Valley, Valley!
Rah rah Shades Valley, red and black!

The red and black will wave on high.
We'll win this game tonight or die!
So it's rah rah Shades Valley, Valley!
Rah rah Shades Valley, Valley!
Rah rah Shades Valley, red and black!

Notable alumni


  • Hulen, Tara and John Davis. (March 25, 1994). "Shades Valley, Clay To Get New Schools." The Birmingham News
  • "Jeffco Turns First Dirt For Shades Valley High." (October 19, 1994). The Birmingham News
  • Faulk, Kent. (August 7, 1996). "New Shades Valley High $19 Million School Opens At Mid-Month." The Birmingham News, page 1-A .
  • Summe, Sheryl Spradling. (2001). Homewood: The Life of a City. Homewood, AL: Friends of the Homewood Public Library.
  • "Shades Valley High School" (April 12, 2010) Wikipedia - accessed April 12, 2010.

External links