Our History

Gadsden County is the only predominantly African-American county in Florida. Gadsden County is home to two high schools - West Gadsden High School (merged from the former Chattahoochee High and Greensboro High) located on the western outskirts of Quincy near Greensboro, and East Gadsden High School (merged from the former James A. Shanks High and Havana Northside High) located on Highway 90 east of Quincy.

HNHS open on Aug 2, 1962 and serves students in grades 7th thru 12. It is located in the northeast section of Gadsden County. When opened, the physical campus consisted of several classrooms, including portables, a cafeteria, gymnasium, an agricultural wing, a home economic suite, a science lab, a music room, central office and a guidance area.

The school's first principal was Willie L. Williams, who was succeeded by John A. Williams. Afterwards, several other individuals served as principals of the school.

In 1970 and after integration, the school was changed to Northside Middle school and the following year it was changed to Havana High school when the high school students were moved back to the better equipped facility. In the Fall of 1980, it was named Havana Northside High school. The school mascot was the gladiator and the school colors were brown and gold. The school remained a high school until East Gadsden High was built and opened in 2004.

The basketball team under the guidance of Vernell Ross won three state championships with one at Havana High school under the mascot of the bear.

Basketball State Championships

1971BHavanaV. RossFather Lopez90-62Jax Coliseum
19742AHavanaV. RossMelbourne54-50Jax Coliseum
19782AHavanaV. RossAvon Park84-81 (3OT)Lakeland Civic Center

Northside High is the first school in the Northeast sector of the county built to educate African Americans. Individuals that served as faculty and attended as students have played significant roles in society with a range of professionals.


  1. Freddie Groomes, former instructor of Northside High, former FSU Executive Assistant to the President, member of Board of Trustees at Edward Waters College and has served as National secretary and National Parliamentarian for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
  2. Harold Henderson, former Havana Northside Music teacher and former superintendent of Gadsden County Schools
  3. Vernell Ross, former Havana Northside High P.E. teacher, Havana City Commissioner, FAMU Hall of Fame inductee (Football)
  4. William McGill, former Northside High teacher


  1. Al Lawson, Florida State Representative, Florida State Senator
  2. Eugene Lamb, Havana Northside graduate, former Midway City Commissioner and TCC Board of Trustees member
  3. Regina Browning, Havana Northside graduate and Leon County Schools Principal
  4. Dr. Lloyd McGriff, Havana Northside graduate and Medical Doctor
  5. Dr. Buhilda McGriff, Havana Northside graduate and Medical Doctor
  6. Dr. Natasha Canty, Havana Northside graduate and Medical Doctor
  7. Jerrod Holton, Havana Northside graduate and Mayor of Midway and city commissioner
  8. Audrey Lewis, Havana Northside graduate and Gadsden County School Board member
  9. Catherine James, former English teacher at Havana Northside and former Gadsden County School Board member
  10. Honorable Sandra Givens, Graduate of Havana Northside High and Georgia State Representative
  11. Antonio Jefferson, Graduate of Havana Northside High and Gretna City Manager
  12. Dr. Angela Henderson, Havana Northside Graduate and Clinical Psychologist
  13. Willie Earl Norwood, Havana Northside Graduate and former Warden of the Florida Department of Correction
  14. Bruce James, Graduate of Havana Northside and Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia
  15. Ronald Colston, Graduate of Havana Northside, Pharmacist, former Mayor of Midway, Florida and Midway City Commissioner
  16. John Andrews, Graduate of Havana Northside and 2015 FAMU Hall of Fame inductee (Basketball)
  17. Rosa Hudgins, Graduate of Havana Northside, present Gadsden County teacher and FAMU Hall of Fame inductee
  18. Kelvin Lawson, Havana Northside graduate, Chair of FAMU Board of Trustees, and National Client Service Director with Acosta Sales and Marketing