The city of Athens is located in Limestone County in North Alabama surrounded by nearby cities of Madison, Huntsville, Decatur and Florence. The city of Athens is comprised of an approximate population of 22,000 people. The demographic makeup of Athens is 77% White, 17% Black, 4% Hispanic and 2% other races (Asian, American Indian, Pacific Islander, or two or more races). According to the 2010 Census, the median income for a household in the city of Athens was $45,827.00.
On November 19, 1818, Athens, Alabama was incorporated. It was the first city in the state of Alabama to contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority for electric power. Browns-Ferry, the nation’s largest nuclear plant is located outside the city of Athens. Athens and Limestone County have successfully attracted a variety of businesses to a once agricultural area. Athens has one hospital and three libraries; Houston Memorial Library, Athens/Limestone Public Library and Athens State University Library. There are four elementary schools that serve grades K-4, an intermediate school that serves grades 5-6, a middle school that serves grades 7-8 and a high school. Athens State University is also located in Athens, Alabama. It is a two year upper level university. Athens State University is the only two-year upper level university in the state of Alabama.
Athens High School is a public high school that serves students in grades 9-12 and is located in Limestone County. The current facility was built in 1973. Athens High School has approximately 900 students and has experienced an increase in the student population within the last three years. The demographic makeup of the school is 60% White, 28% Black, 9% Hispanic, 2% American Indian and other races, and 1% Asian. Athens High School has a free and reduced lunch rate of approximately 43%.
Athens High School has 64 certified teachers (including counselors and Library Media Specialist). There is one principal and three assistant principals on campus. There are 23 support staff which includes office personnel, instructional support aides, lunchroom personnel, school nurse and custodians. The demographic composition of the faculty and staff of Athens High School are as follows: 84% White, 15% Black and 1% Asian. Sixty-seven percent of the faculty is female and 29% is male. Athens High School has been fully accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for its’ existence. Mr. Christopher Bolen is the principal.
For the past several years, students have scored above the state and national averages on standardized tests, such as ACT, Advanced Placement, and AHSGE. The AHS campus consists of a large one-story building originally constructed in 1973. In 1991, four additional classrooms, a JROTC Rifle range and office were completed. In 1996, three classrooms, a computer lab, teacher work area and a book room were added. In 1997, a distance-learning lab and new weight training facility were constructed. In addition to the main campus, which houses two gymnasiums, the campus contains a greenhouse, football stadium, track, baseball and softball facilities, parking lots and access to tennis courts in the adjacent city park. In 2007, a new science wing was constructed to include multi-media classrooms and a pre-engineering lab. In 2013, a major renovation of the front lobby area and theater was begun. New office space was designed and completed, which further secured our campus. The lunchroom was also enclosed. The theater and two classrooms were completely renovated.
Unique features of Athens are the small town atmosphere in such close proximity to large cities. Athens High School is the only high school that serves the community of Athens. It is part of the sense of the community. Community activities, such as Art on the Square, Grease Festival, and Camp Hope work with student organizations at AHS for community service.
Athens High School's notable achievements have been many in the past three years. Athens High School has achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for the last three years (total of 12 years in a row). Athens High School has been awarded the Silver Medal Award for the last three years from US News and World Report Best High Schools. Newsweek also awarded the honor of Best High School in 2012-2013. Athens High School's ACT composite score has consistently been above the state and national composite average. The graduation rate for Athens High School has consistently been above the state and national average. The graduation rate for last year was 93% using the National Governor's Association formula. Ninety-nine to one hundred percent of our students meet the Alabama High School Graduation Exam requirements by the completion of their high school career. In the past three years, attendance has been an area of focus for Athens High School. Parental notification and involvement have been targeted to increase student attendance. However, this is also an area that Athens High School will continue to focus on during the next three years. Other notable achievements were in the area of athletics and include Alabama 5A State Champions in Girl's Soccer. Other athletic teams such as Boy's Basketball, Boy's Soccer, and Girl's Basketball advanced to regional and semi-final play.