Vernon Secondary School enrolled its first students in September, 1968. For the next fifteen years, the school housed all of the grade 11 and 12 students from the Vernon and Coldstream areas. In 1983, Vernon School District Secondary Schools changed to an 8 – 12 structure and Vernon Senior Secondary School enrolled its first grade eight classes to become Vernon Secondary School. In January, 2013 the school proudly moved into a new $38 million dollar state of the art building on the same grounds. The three-story LEED Gold rated building is on 184, 500 square feet and has a natural light design with water flow reductions, a ground source heat exchanger, and a geothermal field that makes VSS a carbon neutral success story.
Vernon Secondary has approximately 930 students, with thirty of these students being from various countries around the world as part of our district international program. The majority of our students come from our three elementary feeder schools; Silver Star, BX, and Hillview. In addition VSS regularly attracts at least 30 more students per year from outside these three schools. English is the primary language spoken in the homes of 97% of our students. VSS offers three language programs French, German, and Spanish. Ten percent of our students are Aboriginal and these students are serviced by our Aboriginal Support Worker. Ten percent of our students are also coded with a special education category. Ten of these students belong to our district Resource Room program for students with significant physical and/or intellectual challenges. VSS also offers a school based Life Skills program designed for students with mild intellectual, social and behavioural challenges. This program provides basic academic, job readiness, and life skills that they will need after high school. The majority of these students will be pursuing an “Evergreen” School Leaving Certificate. All our students have access to our School Support Services Team that includes 4 Learning Resource Teachers, 2 School Based Counsellors, a team of certified Educational Assistants, a North Okanagan Youth & Family Support Services Worker, a District Drug & Alcohol Counsellor, a Mental Health Worker, and an RCMP School Liaison Officer.
Vernon Secondary School has a proud history of achievements in athletics, fine arts, and academics. VSS athletes are recognized provincial contenders in football, volleyball, basketball, and cross-country running. Our Fine Arts and Applied Skills programs have earned a reputation for excellence in musical theatre productions, artwork, metalwork, woodwork, and automotive. Academically, VSS students have been recognized among the best in British Columbia in economics in the past few years. Most recently, VSS has received recognition for a variety of strong career education programs and its High Performance Program to support elite performers in Athletics and Fine Arts. The academic awards presented at our graduation ceremony regularly exceed $150,000 through scholarships, grants, and bursaries. We proudly offer a number of ACE-IT Apprenticeship opportunities through our district coordinator. Specifically, Professional Cook Training Level 1 is offered on site through our cafeteria program’s partnership with Camosun College.