Bakersfield High School
|Bakersfield High School|
|1241 G Street
|School district||Kern High School District|
|Grades||9 to 12|
|Color(s)||Blue and white|
|Athletics conference||Southwest Yosemite League|
|Rival||East Bakersfield, Garces Memorial, Centennial|
Institutional names and dates of operation:
- Kern County High School 1893-1915
- Kern County Union High School 1915-1945
- Bakersfield High School 1945–present
- Bakersfield Junior College 1913-1956
- Bakersfield Adult (Night) School 1917-1985
It was the only high school in Bakersfield until 1937, when East Bakersfield High School was opened. The first name change, adding the word "Union," came when the high school separated from the Bakersfield City School District. Then it was known informally as K.C. or Kay Cee High School. It was formally renamed by the school board in 1945.
The school has been in the same location since its inception, though most of the buildings have been reconstructed. A 1952 earthquake precipitated a great deal of reconstruction.
It hosts several buildings, each with multiple floors. One of its most prominent buildings is Harvey Auditorium, which houses a main theater and one little theater, in addition to a number of classrooms. It serves as a venue for the local arts community. There are two Industrial Arts buildings, which house both a functioning automotive garage along with a wood shop and weight room and fitness center. With a student population just over 2,800, it has the largest student body on one of the smallest campuses (25 acres) in the Kern High School District.
- Larry Barnes - MLB player (Anaheim Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Theo Bell - former NFL football player
- Jeff Buckey - former NFL football player
- Pete Cross - former NBA player
- Ric Drasin - actor, author, designer of the Gold's Gym and World Gym logos, and retired professional wrestler
- Robert Duncan - Robert Symmes Duncan, American poet, was a key figure in the San Francisco Renaissance
- Frank Gifford - Pro Football Hall of Fame and Monday Night Football commentator
- Merle Haggard - while not an alumnus - he was a student from time to time
- Kevin McCarthy - Congressman
- Spain Musgrove - former NFL defensive lineman
- Doug Loman - MLB player (Milwaukee Brewers)
- Steve Ontiveros - MLB player (San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs)
- Dennis Ralston - Davis Cup winner
- Rick Sawyer - MLB player (New York Yankees, San Diego Padres)
- Jeff Siemon - former NFL football player
- Jeremy Staat - former NFL player
- Michael Stewart - former NFL football player
- Robert Swift - former NBA player
- Jake Varner - four time All-American and two time national champion wrestler at Iowa State University and winner of a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London at 26
- Earl Warren - California Attorney General, three-term Governor of California, Chief Justice of the United States, and chairman of the Warren Commission
- Larry Welz - noteworthy early contributor to underground comics movement
At BHS another long-standing tradition has been community service. Throughout its history BHS students have contributed countless amounts of money, food and clothing to the poor, have given up tens of thousands of hours to cleaning up their community, and even started a new environmentally friendly electronics waste recycling committee run by the BHS Virtual Business Team. This "E-waste" recycling club is the first of its kind in the Kern High School District.
The BHS Drillers have been competing in football since 1896. The Drillers hold the California state records for most state football titles (8), and the most section championships (36), commonly called valley titles for being within the San Joaquin Valley. In 2013 Bakersfield High won the CIF Division I State title over Loomis-Del Oro played at the Home Depot Center at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson. Bakersfield High has the most wins in California high school football history, running neck and neck with Long Beach Poly at a close number two. Bakersfield has 737 wins as of the end of the 2013 season, Long Beach Poly has 734. It clinched its 700th win, the first team in California to do so, on October 23, 2009, in that season's Homecoming game. The most recognized Driller alum is Frank Gifford, who played college football both at Bakersfield College and the University of Southern California, and pro football with the New York Giants. Gifford is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was a part of the legendary Monday Night Football broadcasting team with "Dandy Don" Meredith and Howard Cosell during the 1970s and 80's on ABC television. The Drillers have called Griffith Field their home field since 1923. The field features a monolithic concrete structure for home seating on the western home side with the Drillers locker rooms inside it. The field is unusual in that the visiting eastern bleachers are located on the grass inside the dirt practice track. The bleachers run from end zone to end zone with the front row only about 12-feet away from the sideline with nothing separating the fans from the field. Griffith Field can seat approximately 8,000 spectators. Griffith Field is scheduled to undergo a massive renovation project to be completed in time for the 2016 season.
In 1906 Bakersfield High joined a large number of high schools and colleges across the nation and played under the Rugby Football Union rules instead of American Football due to the large amount of nationwide deaths playing football in the 1905 season.
The Bakersfield High football tradition was the basis of the movie The Best of Times starring Kurt Russell and Robin Williams. The story is based on an actual football game in the mid-1970s between mighty Bakersfield High and the small ill-respected Kern County oil town Taft High Wildcats.
The school has also enjoyed success beyond the gridiron, including six state championships in track and field—amazingly without having an official track to practice on—and two state championships in wrestling. The wrestling team's 2002 championship squad set state records for points, champions, placers, and finalists.
The school also won the Southern CIF in 2013.
Awards and achievements
Bakersfield High School has a long standing tradition of excellence which can be viewed on the KHSD website: "First place in Kern County Academic Decathlon for the last 6 out of 7 years and a top 15 placing at the state level the past three years, Visual Arts Department first program in California to receive Exemplary Program Award in all nine areas possible, Scholarships and grants awarded to last year’s graduates totaled over $1.2 million and included 43 Gold Seal recipients, Oldest continually produced school newspaper in the district, which won 1st place, “Best of Show,” at state and national Journalism competitions. Elected to National Hall of Fame 2001 and has consistently earned NSPA All-American honors since 1991, 76% passage rate on all Advanced Placement tests which is the highest passage rate in the KHSD and well above state and national averages, and Valley Championship Forensics Team 6 out of the last 7 years in a row. Three national qualifiers and 13 state qualifiers." This year, the Bakersfield high school forensics squad won the district tournament.
Another notable achievement came from the BHS Virtual Business Team, the Source, who took first in the National's Competition for their business plan, and second in the World Competition for their website in 2009. On October 23, 2009 the Driller Football Team experienced their 700th win in their long history.
- "Siemon reached top at every level", Jeff Evans, The Bakersfield Californian.
- Van Horne, Rick; Bumerts, John; Frank, Gary (2006). Friday Night Heroes: 100 Years of Driller Football. Bakersfield, CA: Rick Van Horne. ISBN 0-9786071-0-4.
- Wallace, J. S. Recollections of a high school district, 1893-1968 : an informal history of the Kern County Union High School and junior college district. Published circa 1980. ISBN 0-9619924-0-9
- Bakersfield High School
- Driller Marching Band
- Bakersfield Haunted History