Los Angeles High School

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Los Angeles High School
Romans Seal.jpg
Official seal of LAHS
Location
4650 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90019

United States
Information
TypePublic high school
Established1873
School districtLos Angeles Unified School District
PrincipalDr. Helena Yoon-Fontamillas
Enrollment2,178
Color(s)Royal blue      and white     
Team nameRomans
AlumniLAHS Alumni Association
Website
 
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Los Angeles High School
Romans Seal.jpg
Official seal of LAHS
Location
4650 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90019

United States
Information
TypePublic high school
Established1873
School districtLos Angeles Unified School District
PrincipalDr. Helena Yoon-Fontamillas
Enrollment2,178
Color(s)Royal blue      and white     
Team nameRomans
AlumniLAHS Alumni Association
Website

Los Angeles High School is the oldest public high school in the Southern California Region and in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Its colors are royal blue and white and the teams are called the Romans.

Los Angeles High School is a public secondary high school, enrolling an estimated 2,000 students in grades 9-12. After operating on a year-round basis consisting of three tracks for ten years, it was restored to a traditional calendar in 2010. Los Angeles High School receives accreditation approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Concurrent enrollment programs, provided in large by the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Community College District, are offered with West Los Angeles College, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Los Angeles City College, or Santa Monica College.

Los Angeles High School is a large, urban, inner-city school located in the Mid-Wilshire District of Los Angeles. The attendance boundary consists of a contrasting spectrum of economic diversity ranging from affluent Hancock Park to the low-income, densely populated immigrant community of Koreatown. Within the school is a College Incentive Magnet Program. Forty-four percent of the student population is identified as LEP, or Limited English Proficient. Currently, 66% of the students are identified as eligible to receive supplemental instructional services and materials through the Federal Title I Program.

The magnet high school has a university preparatory secondary high school program and a "school within a school." First established as a part of student integration services in the 1970s, the Los Angeles High School Math/Science/Technology magnet prepares students with an intensive, rigorous course load in order to better prepare them for university entrance. There are 317 students enrolled in the magnet program, grades 9-12.

Typically, the senior class has approximately 35% of seniors entering into four-year universities and schools. The magnet senior class typically has 85% of its senior class entering into four-year colleges and universities.

History[edit]

Los Angeles High School
at night.
Original LAHS location, on Poundcake Hill, 1873.

Early buildings commissioned to house the Los Angeles High School were among the architectural jewels of the city, and were strategically placed at the summit of a hill, the easier to be pointed to with pride. One of the school's long standing mottos is "Always a hill, always a tower, always a timepiece."

Construction on Los Angeles' first public high school, (the Jesuit Loyola High School is older) began on July 19, 1872, at the former site of Central School on what was then known as Poundcake Hill,[1] at the southeast corner of Fort Street (later Broadway), which the front of the school faced, and Temple Street, with the back of the school to New High Street (later Spring Street). The approximate coordinates are 34°03′20.44″N 118°14′36.48″W / 34.0556778°N 118.2434667°W / 34.0556778; -118.2434667. As it was on the hill, a few hundred feet from the streets below, steep wooden stairways led up to the schoolyard.

The two-story wooden structure was so big and grand, the finest school south of San Francisco at that time, with classic lines and a tower with a clock in it, that people traveled from miles around to see it.[2] The teachers liked the wide corridors, walnut banisters, generous windows and the transoms over the doors.[2]

The schoolhouse was completed at a cost of $20,000, in 1873.[1] Nearby, in succession, was the Court House, the City Hall, the Jones-Lindley Market and the Post Office.[3] The first principal was Rev. Dr. William T. Lucky (1821–1876) and the first graduating class, in 1875, consisted of seven students.[1] In 1879, a natural science club, the Star And Crescent Society, was founded at LAHS and consisted then of the entire student body. It soon left its specific focus on science and became a de facto student government and organizational body.

In 1887, the decision was made to move the high school building to Sand Street (later California Street, now part of the Hollywood Freeway), just to the west of North Hill Street and below the south side of Fort Moore Hill, in order for the Los Angeles County Courthouse to be built on Poundcake Hill.[2] The contractor, Mr. Hickam, said he could do the job with scaffolding, rollers, horses and workmen. But his bid turned out to be too low. He lost a considerable amount of money because of his elaborate preparations, including the high wooden trestle which carried the building over the intersection of Temple and Fort Street.[4] Hickam managed to get the schoolhouse halfway up Temple Street when he ran out of money and left it right in the middle of the street.[2] It was there for a good while. They jacked it up on scaffolding high enough for the Temple Street street cars to run under it. Finally, they got it moved up to its new location on Sand Street,[2] where LAHS students and faculty remained until the second high school was built a few years later.

Second LAHS location, on Fort Moore Hill, 1891.

The original schoolhouse remained at the Sand Street (California Street) site for many years, while in continuous use. After the high school moved out, it became a school for the lower grades. It went completely unharmed by the Long Beach earthquake in 1933, which did a lot of damage to the newer buildings in downtown.[2] By April 1936, nearly 300 children attended school there.[2]

In 1890, construction began on a new red brick schoolhouse facing North Hill Street on Fort Moore Hill,[5] between Sand Street and Bellevue Avenue (later Sunset Boulevard, now Cesar Chavez Avenue), at coordinates 34°03′30.39″N 118°14′32.84″W / 34.0584417°N 118.2424556°W / 34.0584417; -118.2424556, which was a short distance from the older wooden one then facing Sand Street below.

Second location circa 1910s. Broadway Tunnel is to the right.

That same year, the Los Angeles City High School District was formed. It served students of LAHS while the Los Angeles City School District and various other elementary school districts served elementary and junior high school students.[6]

This second location atop a hill was completed in 1891 and LAHS moved in. It was an enormous, for then, building.[5] The new high school was built on part of the site of the abandoned Fort Moore Hill Cemetery,[5] the first Protestant cemetery in Los Angeles, which was spread over the slopes of the hill. It had become neglected, practically unattended and desecrated by grave robbing vandals. The Board of Education purchased the property from the city in 1884, and other portions of land were sold as residential lots. The city neglected to remove the remains and clear away the grave sites and some LAHS students in the 1890s thought it was "fun" to sit and eat their lunch while they leaned against a tombstone.[5]

1894 LAHS football team.

At a meeting regarding the improvement of the school grounds on June 4, 1896, the committee was directed to wait on the Board of Education the following Monday evening to secure the cooperation of the board in having dirt being taken from the Hill Street cut used in filling up the grounds of the high school, so that shrubbery could be grown about the building.[7] LAHS was the only high school in Los Angeles until 1905.

In 1917, the school moved to its current location on Olympic Boulevard, and Rimpau, with 1,937 students. An edifice was erected that became an international cultural landmark for the famed school. To insure a permanently beautiful vista for their contemplation, and to honor classmates who had fallen in World War I, the students purchased the land across the street for the creation of a tree-filled memorial park.

South view of 3rd location, with graduating class of 1940 in foreground.

Actual student government was instituted at LAHS in the early 1900s, eliminating one of the main reasons for Star and Crescent's existence. Meanwhile, as the size of the student body increased over years, the lower grades were successively dropped from Star and Crescent until by 1935 only seniors were members. Star and Crescent probably disappeared after World War II, but it is difficult to determine the exact year since no one at the school today can say when it ended. In particular, yearbooks were published during the years of America's involvement in that war, so it seems likely it might have disappeared after the war years. In the S'42 yearbook a page was devoted to Star and Crescent with its Officers and Faculty sponsors listed. The graduating class of 1970 received their Star & Crescent pins at a special ceremony.

The second high school, on Fort Moore Hill, eventually became a school for problem students, a lot of them truancy cases.[8] By September 1948, when preparing for the school to be razed for the construction of the Hollywood Freeway, plans were made to transfer the students to Belmont High School, in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. As Belmont students and parents protested the transfers, an alternative plan provided that 12 persons be assigned to the senior and junior high schools in the six attendance areas to carry out the program.[8] The headquarters of the Board of Education was later built on the property. Most of Fort Moore Hill itself was removed in 1949 for the construction of the freeway, which opened in December 1950.[9] Also located on what remains of the hill is the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, which was opened to the public in 1957.

On July 1, 1961, the Los Angeles City High School District and the elementary school districts were merged into the Los Angeles Unified School District.[6] For many years, The Blue and White Daily was one of the few high school newspapers to be published Tuesday through Friday mornings during the school year except for holidays and the first 11 and last 5 days of the semester. It was a 4 page paper. In 1962, "Daily" was dropped from the name and the publication became a weekly. It is currently published monthly.

Los Angeles High School is shown in the opening credits of the 1940s movie "Strike Up The Band". The popular late 1960s and early 1970s television series Room 222 was filmed at LAHS. The 1917 building sustained moderate cosmetic damage, principally in the tower area, during the Sylmar earthquake in 1971. Efforts spearheaded by the Alumni Association, founded in 1876, to repair and preserve the iconic structure were opposed by certain commercial interests,[10] who lobbied for its demolition, and finally decisively thwarted when it was gutted by a fire of mysterious origin. The replacement structure has been universally decried and finds no champions among either current or former students and faculty, or residents of the neighboring community.

The school population peaked at 10,800, but overcrowding at the school has been relieved by West Adams Preparatory High School, which opened in the 2007-2008 school year.[11][12] In 2009, some territory of Los Angeles High School's attendance boundary was transferred to Fairfax High School.[13]

In February 2012, a gunman shot at teens near the high school. Two were wounded.[14]

Neighborhoods served by LAHS[edit]

Neighborhoods zoned to LAHS include Harvard Heights, Brookside, Lafayette Square, Little Ethiopia, portions of Hancock Park, and portions of Pico-Union District. Many new families in some neighborhoods, including Lafayette Square, do not send their children to public schools.[citation needed]

Advanced Placement Program[edit]

Students are accepted into the Advanced Placement Program and individual advanced placement classes based on faculty and counselor recommendations. A student may be admitted into an AP class by request if the AP instructor has approved the request.

Notable alumni[edit]

Sources not listed here can be found on the linked pages.

Current Administration[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Views of Early Los Angeles". Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Rediscovering Los Angeles." Los Angeles Times. Apr. 13, 1936. p. A 1.
  3. ^ "Sou', Sou'west." Los Angeles Times. Feb. 26, 1891. p. 4.
  4. ^ "Los Angeles Fifty Years Ago; The Re-Creation Of A Vanished City--Part 2." Los Angeles Times. Oct. 11, 1931. p. H 2.
  5. ^ a b c d "Rediscovering Los Angeles." Los Angeles Times. Mar. 23, 1936. p. A 1.
  6. ^ a b "L.A. City Schools Creation". Los Angeles Unified School District. Archived from the original on 1998-02-07. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  7. ^ "The High School Grounds." Los Angeles Times. Jun. 5, 1896. p. 11.
  8. ^ a b "Problem Boys All Won't Be Sent to Belmont High School." Los Angeles Times. Sep. 3, 1948. p. A 1.
  9. ^ Richardson, Eric (2008-12-27). "Fifty-Eight Years Ago Today: Hollywood Freeway Opens Through Downtown". BlogDowntown. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  10. ^ Citation needed
  11. ^ "New High School Completed". L.A.Schools. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  12. ^ "L.A. High School". High School Website. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  13. ^ "Proposed Changes to Fairfax High School Area Schools, School Year 2009-2010". Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  14. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (24 February 2012). "LAPD searches for gunman who shot teens near L.A. High School - latimes.com". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  15. ^ "Bradbury Library at Los Angeles High". School Library. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  16. ^ The Big Book of Jewish Baseball, p. 52.

External links[edit]