duPont Manual Magnet High School is the academically dominant high school of Louisville, Kentucky. It has five magnet programs: Math/Science/Technology, the Youth Performing Arts School, Visual Arts, Communications, and High School University. The first two are the most well-known, each with a national reputation.
Manual ranks as one of the best public high schools in the United States. It holds the current state record of 52 National Merit Semifinalists (class of 2000), ranking third in the US for that year behind only the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and Stuyvesant High School. In the past few years it has won both National Science Bowl and National Academic League championships. Manual recently became it's own region for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The YPAS chorus was the only chorus to perform in the most recent presidential inauguration.
Manual has an atmosphere that inspires a great devotion to it in its students and alumni. As a collection of mostly artists and scientists, nerdiness (of one sort of another) is the norm. Manual seems, from what I've heard, to have a much less stressful atmosphere than many other elite schools, though the workload is certainly intense.
Manual is located in a beautiful Gothic building with a large front lawn perfect for playing Ultimate Frisbee.
Jefferson Seminary was opened in Louisville in 1816. After several changes, it was in 1856 split into the University of Louisville and Louisville Male High School. At this time the Louisvile Female High School was also created. Since Male High School focused on academics, the need was felt for a school to teach manual skills. This was created as a subdivision of Male in 1890 and was created as a separate high school in 1892 by a grant from Victor du Pont. In 1893, the annual Male-Manual football rivalry, the longest running high school football series in the nation, began (these days Manual almost invariably loses, excepting last year). In 1934, the Louisville Girl's High School (formerly Female) moved to Halleck Hall at the current site of Manual. Over the period 1948-50, Manual moved to its current location and merged with the Louisville Girl's High School. In 1984, Manual became a Magnet school and quickly established itself as the dominant school in Kentucky academically and as one of the best public high schools in the country.