Independence High School (San Jose, California)
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|Independence High School|
|San Jose, California 95133
|School type||Public, magnet high school|
|School district||East Side Union High School District|
|Color(s)||Red, white and blue|
|Athletic conferences||California Interscholastic Federation
Central Coast Section
Independence High School, also referred to as IHS and Indy, is a public high school located in the Berryessa district of Santa Clara County, California, United States. The school is operated by the East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD). Its namesake is the United States Declaration of Independence, which celebrated its bicentennial in the same year Independence was established in 1976.
Independence is considered a magnet school, with three specialized programs, called "academies": electronics, finance, and teaching. Later magnet programs were extended into the performing arts and space technology, which were cut in 2009 due to budget constraints.
On Wednesday, May 9, 2012, the school was involved in a lockdown after an unidentified Latino male, presumably a student, reportedly slid a handgun into his jacket and walked into the campus. The school eventually went into lockdown mode as police began searching the campus. The lockdown was later lifted.
Out of the sixteen high schools ESUHSD operates, Independence services the largest student population, with 3,436 students as of the 2008-2009 school year. Out of these, 3.0% identified as African-American, 0.3% identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, 56.4% identified as Asian (19.8% identified as Filipino), 34.8% identified as Hispanic or Latino, 0.9% identified as Pacific Islander, 4.3% identified as White, and 0.2% gave either mixed or no response. 20.1% of the student population are considered English learners.
As of the 2008-2009 school year, the pupil-teacher ratio was 21.8 to 1, with 94.4% of teachers being fully credentialed; as of the same time, the full-time equivalent of Independence's teachers is 157.4. Class size at Independence is an average of 26.8 students.
Independence High School consists of over fifty buildings, each labeled with a specific letter. The four primary groups of buildings are referred to as the villas, including A-Villa (American Hall), which includes the school bank; B-Villa (Bicentennial Hall); C-Villa (Constitution Hall), which includes the disciplinary committee; and D-Villa (Democracy Hall). During the fall of 2005, E-Villa (Eagle Hall) was removed indefinitely, only to be used as the name place for all music rooms. All villas are architecturally identical and surround a concrete clock tower in the middle of the school.
Other academic structures include complexes also labeled with letters, including the G-Complex, housing art classes; H-Complex, housing the main office; K-Complex, housing the science courses; L-Complex, housing business and home economics courses; M-Complex, housing industrial classes; N-Complex, housing foreign language courses; and the P-Complex, which are portable buildings currently in use by KIPP, which runs a charter school on campus called KIPP San Jose Collegiate.
Along with a now-defunct planetarium and the Luis Valdez Center for the Performing Arts, the school also houses Olympic-sized racing and diving pools, as well as an Olympic-regulation track. Independence also contains seven tennis courts, four baseball fields, and two gymnasiums.
As of Fall of 2009, Independence will be acquiring the building housing the San Jose Educational Park Public Library, and turning it into its own campus library. The current public library is relocating down the street, using funds from bond measures passed in 2002 to construct 20 new public libraries in San Jose.
The American was Independence High School's Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold- and Silver Crown-winning yearbook. In 2008, Independence High School confirmed that The American would cease publication due to debt accumulation and budget problems. In 2011 the school yearbook returned, using a site called MBROSIA, the students would be able to get a hard copy of their yearbook for their friends to sign, while also getting an online yearbook. In 2012 the school started using a different program with the company, Herff Jones. In 2013, the yearbook staff, along with Carla Hansen, and Stacy Johnson, kept the yearbook on and going, with the help of Yearbook, Editor-in-Chief, Alvin Castillo Bunales.
Until the late 1980s, a student newspaper titled the Declaration of Independence was distributed throughout the school, though it eventually ceased publication. In 2004, three student papers—including The Independent Voice, The Independent Times, and a revived Declaration of Independence—were almost simultaneously founded, though by 2006 only The Independent Voice had any significant representation in the school. As of the 2009-2010 school year, the Voice continues to be the school's sole student-run, monthly newspaper, distributed throughout the school to selected classrooms and villas. All publication and equipment costs are funded solely through fundraisers and advertisement sales.
Band & Orchestra
Independence High School's instrumental program, led by Dr. Kenneth Ponticelli, includes Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble.
Under the direction of Bob Russell and Dan Smith, the marching band started with humble beginnings. Originally competing in jeans, t-shirts, and their trademark Cavalry Stetson hat. They found early success by defeating the powerhouse, and former National Champion Emerald Regime from Live Oak High School (Morgan Hill, CA). In 1979, the 76th Cavalry band made their first trip to Whitewater, Wisconsin to compete at the Marching Band of America National Championship. Their first endeavor came fractions of points away from the title. The band vowed to return. In the Summer of 1981, they did just that. The band completed their first undefeated season by capturing the MBA National Championship Title in 1981.. Their repertoire was "Light Cavalry Overture"(Franz von Suppe), "Imaginary Voyage"(Jean-Luc Ponty), "Sud de la Ciudad Del Oro"(Mike Smith), "She Believes in Me"(Steve Gibb), "Fanfare for the Common Man"(Aaron Copland), "Simple Gifts/Appalachian Spring" (Aaron Copland/Elder Joseph Brackett). From there, the 76th Cavalry band went on an incredible winning streak and went undefeated for three more years. Special Note: There were 12 members of the 76th Cavalry Band who not only won the National Championship at MBA, but also went on to win a World Championship with the Santa Clara Vanguard at the 1981 Drum Corps International Championships in Montreal, Canada. The band made a comeback in 2005 with a show entitled "The Art Of War", placing third overall in WBA class A, AA, and AAA Championships, at Johansen High School in Modesto Ca. In 2006, the 76th Cavalry became Class AA Champion with a performance of Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony, garnering 85.85 points at preliminaries and 87.69 at the finals—the first championships the Cavalry had won since 1981. The 76th Cavalry placed fourth in the overall A/AA/AAA classification. In 2007, the 76th Cavalry became Class AA Champion once again with a score of 82.5. This allowed them to advance into finals with all other A, AA, and AAA bands, where they placed fifth overall with a score of 84.1. In 2008, the 76th Cavalry placed second in Class A with a score of 80.40, clinching High General Effect and High Auxiliary captions with their show entitled "The Gathering, Selection by Rachmaninoff". In 2009, the band again took second place with a performance of Sergei Prokofiev's music from the ballet Romeo and Juliet with a score of 85.25; also earning High Percussion. They moved onto A, AA, AAA Finals, and placed 4th overall with a score of 88.10. One of the Cavalry's highest scores ever! They also took High Auxiliary. The 76th Cavalry has also been invited to London in Winter 2009 to play in a New Year's parade.
The Wind Ensemble have placed first in their division in many Heritage Festivals. During spring break of 2007, the Wind Ensemble went to the New York Heritage Festival and took first in their division, along with winning an Adjudicator's Award for a score over 92, and another award for receiving the highest score of all the instrumental groups at the festival. They brought home two trophies and a plaque, along with an invitation to the 2008 Gold Festival in Boston. The Wind Ensemble has taken a Unanimous Superior in the CMEA Festivals for the past 3 years (2006, 2007, and 2008). They have also been invited to play in many places around the world, including Britain, Australia, and China.
Every year, Independence High School hosts the CMEA Orchestra Festival, using both facilities: the Luis Valdez Theater and the E-Building. In 2012, the Symphony Orchestra placed Unanimous Superior.
Independence High School's choir is under the direction of Tammy Feinberg. Independence offers one choir for students enrollment: Concert Choir.The choir performs in the Fall Concert, Winter Concert, a Fundraising Concert in January, a Spring Concert, the Final Concert, and Senior Honors Night.
Independence High School's drama department annually produces a fall play and a spring musical. The productions are currently under the direction of Pamela S. Douglas-Melvin, along with a student director of her discretion. Past plays have included Once on This Island (1999), Starmites (2000), Cabaret (2001), Pippin (2002), Bus Stop (2005), The Miracle Worker (2006), A Midsummer's Night Dream (2007), Marisol (2008), An American Daughter (2009), Blithe Spirit (2010), and Crimes of the Heart; past musicals have included Guys and Dolls (2004), Godspell (2005), Bat Boy: The Musical (2006), Little Shop of Horrors (2007), Footloose (2008), Starmites (2009), Chicago (2010), They're Playing Our Song (2011), You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (2012), and 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2013). The productions are held at Independence's on-campus theatre, the Luis Valdez Center of Performing Arts.
Dance classes offered at Independence include Jazz Dance, Ballet, Modern Dance, Theatre Dance (also known as IndepenDANCE, Independence's student-run audition-only dance company). Ballet is taught by Cristina McClelland, Modern Dance is taught by Kellye Dodd, and Jazz and Theatre Dance are joint efforts. Each year, the Jazz Dance classes perform at a school rally, while IndepenDANCE performs several rallies throughout the year, as well as an annual concert. Originally, Jazz Dance 1 was offered as PE credit for students who had passed swim tests; however, Independence High School discontinued this practice in fall 2006, though Jazz Dance 1 may still be taken for the East Side Union High School District's performing arts graduation requirement.
Most sports teams are divided among a junior varsity (JV) team and a varsity team, though Independence is one of the schools in the BVAL that does not offer a men's volleyball team, or a field hockey team. Independence High School is most well known for its badminton team, which has won many BVAL league titles and even a few CCS titles, and is currently undefeated as League Champion in the past season of Spring 2011. The girls' cross country and track and field varsity team captain Amanda Nguyen has held a shocking record throughout the whole district when running the 5k.
- Alana Evans, adult film actress
- Eric Guerrero, three time NCAA wrestling champion and 2004 Olympian
- Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
- Phil Johnson, comedian and musician
- Sandra McCoy, actress/dancer
- Mekenna Melvin, actress
- Brian Nixon, author, journalist, and broadcaster
- Viet Pham, chef, Extreme Chef, Iron Chef America
- Matt Sanchez, war correspondent/journalist
- Vanessa Tran, 2011 World Series of Tetris Champion, Paris By Night Guest Host.
- John Tuggle, former National Football League player, member of the 1983 New York Giants, drafted with the final pick (nicknamed Mr. Irrelevant) of the 1983 NFL Draft.
- Thuy Vu '85, broadcast journalist and TV host 
- Rex Walters, former National Basketball Association player and currently University of San Francisco men's basketball coach
- Donna Rothenbaum. "California Department of Education". Data1.cde.ca.gov. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- "Lockdown lifted at Independence High School after search for...". www.ktvu.com. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- "Independence Planeterium Home Page". Web.archive.org. 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- "Columbia Scholastic Press Association". Cspa.columbia.edu. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- "A Collective Film Project - KHALED HOSSEINI". Artfortheworld.net. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- "Thuy Vu: Independence, Class of 1985 — Inducted in 2012", ESUHSD (East Side Union High School District) Education Foundation
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