Helix High School
|Helix Charter High School|
|7323 University Avenue
La Mesa, California, 91942
|Type||Charter public comprehensive secondary|
|Motto||Once a Scottie, Always a Scottie|
|School district||Grossmont Union High School District|
|Color(s)||Green & Gray|
Informal: Scottish Terrier
|Accreditation||Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)|
|Website||Helix High School|
Helix High School, in La Mesa, California, is a charter high school built in 1952. It received its charter in 1998. Part of the Grossmont Union High School District, it serves a mid-level socioeconomic community and has a student body of approximately 2,400 pupils. Helix serves parts of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and Spring Valley; however, as a charter school, all high school students in the state of California are eligible to attend.
Helix High School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and is a California Distinguished School in 2001 and 2009.
Helix Charter High School opened as the second high school in the Grossmont Union High School District in September 1951 to relieve record enrollment of 3000 at Grossmont High School. In November 1950, East County voters overwhelmingly approved a local bond issue for $1.9 million that financed “the University Avenue high school.” Helix's first year of studies were held at Grossmont while the new campus was being built. The two schools operated on double sessions that year.
Helix, receiving half of Grossmont High School's students, attended class in the afternoon. Grossmont's 1500 students attended in the morning. Because of rapid population growth in the area, Helix soon grew overcrowded itself. This resulted in plans to build and open El Cajon Valley High School four years after the opening of Helix.
Since the opening of the school, much of the campus and technology has deteriorated or become outdated. With voter approval of Proposition H in 2004 and Proposition U in 2008, Helix High School will undergo remodeling projects. These projects include a new administration building, a new science building, a new performing arts center, and remodeling of all standard classrooms.
The remodeling of the campus has already started, and has been completed for buildings 10, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, the new science building (1800) and the performing arts center (900), which officially opened in January 2014. The remaining buildings to be remodeled include 700, 1000 (Gym), 1100, 1140, 1200, 1300 (lecture hall), and 1600 (cafeteria). Building 800 will be demolished, and the new Administration/Student Services Office will be located in its old location. In addition to the renovation efforts of the campus buildings, all of the landscaping on the school grounds will be rehabilitated.
Helix Charter's Scottish tradition is brought to life by the school's pipe and drum corps. The pipe band includes several pipers and 4 snare drummers, 2 tenor drummers, and one bass drummer. During autumn, the bagpipe band accompanies the Helix Highlander Band in parades, football games, and sometimes field competitions. Additionally, they march the varsity football team out onto the field before home games. During the spring, the band performs frequently at paid as well as volunteer gigs, and participates in Scottish Games and bagpipe competitions. The bagpipe band is funded by the Helix Instrumental Music Association.
Battle for the Musket
Every year since the school's opening in 1951, Helix and Grossmont High School have competed against each other for this musket, given to the winner of the Grossmont vs. Helix varsity football game. Typically, this football game is one of the most attended of the season. This is just one of several weapon-themed rivalry games that Helix holds with the surrounding high schools.
Since 2006, four former Helix High School teachers (hired by the Grossmont School District) have been convicted of sex crimes. In June 2008, the school hired an ethics consultant to develop a training program for employees to prevent future cases and improve reporting of illegal and questionable conduct around students. Because of controversy over the way the school handled the misconduct cases, the Grossmont Board of Supervisors voted to issue a letter of "Intent to Revoke" the school's charter.
In 2010, the Grossmont Charter Board voted, and Helix was able to keep its charter under the condition that its principal, Douglas Smith, step down at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Many believed the district was aiming at Smith because of his charter against the district in 1998. After Smith resigned as the school's principal, Rani Goyal was hired during the summer of 2010 to fill the vacancy. Goyal served as school principal for nearly two years before resigning in May 2012. She was succeeded by former assistant principal Mike Lewis.
||This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability or notability policies. (April 2011)|
- Evan Arapostathis, former NFL punter
- Reggie Bush, 2003; NFL running back, Detroit Lions
- Chuck Cecil, 1983, former NFL free safety for the Green Bay Packers, Phoenix Cardinals, and Houston Oilers; currently defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans
- Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Nationally renowned wind ensemble conductor
- Karl Dorrell, 1981, NFL wide receiver coach for the Miami Dolphins; former head football coach of the UCLA Bruins; former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and UCLA Bruins; All-American as a high school senior in 1981; All-American as a college senior in 1986; won the Rose Bowl in 1983, 1984 and 1986
- Dennis Hopper., 1954, actor and film director
- Barry Jantz, 1977, La Mesa City Councilman 1990-2006, CEO of Grossmont Healthcare District 2004–present, political writer
- Cordelia Mendoza, 1967, antiques expert and philanthropist
- Kyra Phillips, 1986, news anchor, Cable News Network (CNN)
- Victoria Pynchon (Pike), 1970, attorney mediator, Forbes contributor, and author of Success as a Mediator For Dummies
- Marc Raab, NFL center
- Brandon Sanders, former NFL defensive back
- Cathy Scott, 1967, true crime author and national journalist
- Dr. J. Michael Scott, 1959, author, senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and distinguished emeritus professor
- Jim Sinegal, 1953, co-founder and CEO of Costco
- Alex Smith, 2002, National Football League quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs, and #1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft
- Casey Tiumalu, former NFL running back
- Bill Walton, 1970, sportscaster and former National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Fame center Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics and San Diego Clippers (now the Los Angeles Clippers); three-time College Player of the Year as Center for the UCLA Bruins
- Bruce Walton, NFL offensive lineman
- Todd Watkins, 2001, wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders
- Leon White, 1980, former National Football League Line backer, 1986 - 1991 Cincinnati Bengals, 1992 -1993 Los Angeles Rams
In 2004, two of the five finalists for the individual honor in college football, the Heisman Trophy, were Helix graduates quarterback Alex Smith and running back Reggie Bush. This was the first time ever that two graduates from the same high school achieved this. Bush would then go on to claim the 2005 Heisman—since vacated.
- Daniel Lewis, founding band director, former director of Pasadena Symphony and conducting professor at USC
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- Sullivan, Tim. "Alex Smith answers call as top choice by San Francisco 49ers". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on December 15, 2011.
- BasketballReference.com, Bill Walton
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- Article on Heisman trophy winners