Martin Luther King High School (Riverside, California)

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Martin Luther King High School
9301 Wood Road
Riverside, CA 92508

United States
Type Comprehensive Public High School
Established 1999
Opened August 1999
School district Riverside Unified School District
Principal Darel Hansen
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 3,100+ (as of 2011-12)
Campus type Hood
Color(s)      Navy
Mascot The Wolf
Newspaper The King Courier
Feeder schools Amelia Earhart Middle School, Frank Augustus Miller Middle School
Information (951) 789-5690

Martin Luther King High School is a comprehensive public high school in Riverside, California.


Martin Luther King High School, commonly referred to as "King High School," opened in 1999 and was the first high school to be built in Riverside, California since 1973. The first year enrollment was 858 students in grades 9 and 10. Martin Luther King High School added grade 11 in 2000 and grade 12 in 2001. Its first class graduated in 2002. Its first four-year class (students who attended Martin Luther King High School for all four years of their high school career) graduated in 2003.

There was considerable controversy when the school was named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with parents expressing their concern that their children would face discrimination from college admission officers.

"In 1998, members of the Riverside (California) Unified School Board voted unanimously to name a new high school after slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.(MLK). Naming the school, which opened in September 1999, captured national media attention and sparked vehement protests from many parents. Some parents feared that the school (expected to be two-thirds White) might be perceived as being a predominantly “Black” school, thus hurting their children’s chances of getting into good colleges. Ironically, they cited intolerance and racism in other regions of the United States as justification for not naming the school for King. As one critic was quoted as saying: “In some parts of the country, [King is] not looked upon as somebody famous”

Enrollment at King High School has dramatically increased in the past several years as the population of Riverside has grown: During the 2006-2007 school year, total student enrollment reached 3,028. In 2009 enrollment stood at 3,055. Ninety-nine percent of Martin Luther King High School students live either in the communities of Orangecrest or Woodcrest. Ray Plutko served as the first principal of the school. In 2004, Karen Stevensen took Plutko's place as principal. She was followed by Dan Brooks in 2006, who held the position until June 2011. Darel Hansen was selected as principal starting in July 2011.


In November 2002, Martin Luther King High School was one of twelve schools honored by the Siemens Foundation for having one of the most extensive, rigorous and promising Advanced Placement math and science course offerings in the region.[1]

Martin Luther King High School was recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2005 and 2009.[2]

Martin Luther King High School also has an excellent music program. Their chamber singers, show choir, and treble choir have won numerous awards and traveled to various locations around the United States and to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. The school's marching band and color guard, the Riverside Kingsmen, have performed at Disneyland and in the 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade.[3] The Riverside Kingsmen performed at London, England's New Year's Parade with the RCC Marching Tigers on January 1, 2011.[4][5]

In 2008, Martin Luther King High School attained an Academic Performance Index score of 801, going above their goal and scoring the highest in its school district.[2] In 2009, Martin Luther King High School's Academic Performance Index score rose to 817[citation needed].

Martin Luther King High School's Project Lead the Way engineering program, which began in 2000, has garnered accolades in recent years. In 2008, King HS was named a National Project Lead the Way Model School. In 2009, King HS was named a Riverside County Model School of Excellence for its engineering program.

Teachers of The Year[edit]

1999-00 - the entire inaugural year faculty

2000-01 - Brad Peters, Social Science

2001-02 - John Corona, Social Science

2002-03 - Patti Merriam, Language Arts

2003-04 - Rod Warren, Language Arts
Riverside Unified High School Teacher of the Year and Ambassador S.P.E.

2004-05 - Lorrie Cobain-Danelski, Language Arts

2005-06 - Katie Skrove, Language Arts

2006-07 - Charles Gray, Performing Arts

2007-08 - Brent Brubaker - Language Arts

2008-09 - Jayln Guidangan-Barnard - Social Science

2009-10 - Mike Martin - Engineering

2010-11 - Michelle Hampton - Science
(Riverside County Teacher of the Year)

2011-12 - Florina Lupsiau - Mathematics

2012-13 - Lisa Kells - Language Arts


Martin Luther King High School has five choirs, all under the direction of Brian Holm. There is Mixed Choir which is the beginners level co-ed choir. Men's Choir an intermediate all male choir. Treble Choir is another intermediate choir, but for women. Show Choir is a co-ed advanced choir that combines singing and dancing. Finally, the Chamber Singers is a co-ed, advanced choir. All five choirs perform widely throughout southern California in competitions. The mixed choir and men's choir participate in Music in the Parks every year. Treble Choir participates in local festivals as well as yearly competitions such as Heritage Festivals. Show Choir and Chamber Singer often perform together. During the Christmas season, these choirs often perform in the community for local elementary and middle schools as well as senior citizen centers and the Retired Teachers Organization. They also perform separately. Show Choir has performed in Show Choir competitions in southern California, placing in the top three every time, as well as attending Heritage Festivals and achieving a gold status every time. The Chamber Singers attend festivals in Riverside, California and Fullerton, California annually. They have also performed in the Disneyland Candlelight Festival for eleven years, since the school opened. They attend Heritage Festivals and have achieved gold status each time. The King Choirs hold three concerts each year (fall, winter, and spring) and end the year with a barbecue in the King School's outdoor amphitheater.


King High School has a rivalry with Poly High School in both athletics and academics.

Athletic awards and distinctions earned by the school's sports teams include the following:

- Baseball Sunkist League Champions 2004, Ivy League Champions 2008

- Boys Basketball: League Champions 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and Southern Section Semi-Finals 2004, 2007; Southern Section CIF FINALS 2002; Southern California Section Champions 2002, and California State CIF Division 2 Champs in 2002, CIF Division 1A Champions 2008, 2009 and 2014 CIF Division 1AA Champions. Ranked 2 in California during 2008-2009 season and 7 Nationally. 2008-2009 team included World Famous Kawhi Leonard, plays for the San Antonio Spurs, MVP of the 2014 NBA Finals, and Tony Snell, player for the Chicago Bulls.

- Boys "Cross Country" League Champions 1999, 2004, 2005, 2010. The team won the school's first-ever League Title in 1999 (Arrowhead League) and advanced to the CIF Finals in 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2010. Individual Lane Werley (class of 2011) qualified as an individual to run in the 2009 Nike Cross Nationals after finishing 3rd in the Division One CIF State Finals. He finished 25th at the Nike Nationals. Werley again qualified for the Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) after finishing 3rd at the 2010 State Finals. He finished in 6th place at the 2010 NXN meet and was ranked by ESPN/Rise as the 6th fastest runner in the nation at the end of the 2010 season.

- Girls Cross Country has won the league title 11 years—2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. CIF-SS Finalists 2002-2010. State Finalists 2009. Individual runners to qualify for the California State Championships include Carissa Bowman (2006), Kelsi Tippets (2008) and Hanna Peterson (2010).

- Football Ivy League Champions 2005. Big 8 Program established by Coach Ken Mushinskie. Succeeded by Coach Kevin Corridan. Notable Players: Robert Malone (P) New York Jets, Garrett Swanson (P/K) Fresno State Bulldogs.

- G Golf Ivy League Champions 2003, 2004. Big VIII League Champions 2011. Nicole Smith CIF Individual Champ 2001 (Freshman Season).

- Boys Golf: Big VIII League Champions 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2013, and 2014. Michael Drake CIF State Finalist 2005 "Boys Golf Website"

- G Soccer 4 in a row undefeated league Champions 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. CIF Champions 2010

- B Soccer 2 in a row Sunkist League Champs 2003, 2004; Ivy League Champs 2005, 2007; CIF Semi-Finals 2005

- G Softball - League Champions 3 years in a row 2002, 2003, 2004 and CIF Champions 2003.

- G Swimming 3 in a row league Champs 2002, 2003, 2004

- G Tennis - Undefeated League Champions 10 years in a row 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009; CIF Finalist 2002, Semi-Finals 2003, Semi-Finals 2008, Quarter-Finals 2009

- B Tennis - Undefeated League Champions 7 years in a row 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

- G Track & Field - League Champions 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010.

- B Track & Field - Undefeated league Champions 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008.

California Track and Field State Meet Qualifiers:

Gayle Hunter, 2002 jumps.

Orlisha Henlon, 2003 High Jump.

Manny Santiago, 2008 Triple jump.

Lane Werley, 2010 3200m. He then competed at the New Balance Nationals in June 2010. There he competed in the 5000 meters race, finishing 6th overall and earning King High's first-ever "All American" title. Werley qualified again for the State Championships in 2011, competing in the 3200 meters where he finished 5th overall. He set the Riverside County record for the 3200 meters during the 2011 season, running 8:53.21 at the State Meet.

- Volleyball Undefeated league Champions 4 years in a row 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006

- Volleyball CIF Champions and State Runner Up's in 2012-2013 season

- G Water Polo League Champions 2003 2004

- B Water Polo League Champions 2011

- B Water Polo CIF Champions in 2012-2013 season

- Wrestling 2x CIF Champion Harlan Kistler, 2x CIF Champion Matt L'Huiller, 1x CIF Champion Nolan Kistler, Jimmy Kirkemo CIF Wrestling and Masters Champion 2004; Ivy League Champions 2005, 3x CIF Champion 2x Masters Champion and 2x State Champion Sean Kain, 16x World Champion Dominic Lazarus

Professional athletes who attended King High School:

- Kawhi Leonard - NBA San Antonio Spurs & NBA Finals MVP 2014

- Nicole Smith - LPGA

- Tony Snell - NBA Chicago Bulls

- Robert Malone - NFL New York Giants


  1. ^ "Siemens Foundation Announces Winners of the 2002 Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement" "Martin Luther King High School Wolves Territory", accessed December 18, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "King High School", "Riverside Unified School District", accessed December 18, 2010.
  3. ^ "About the Riverside Kingsmen" "Riverside Kingsmen", accessed December 18, 2010.
  4. ^ Riverside Kingsmen - London Tour "Riverside Kingsmen", accessed December 18, 2010.
  5. ^ "RCC to host 'Bon Voyage Event at Riverside Poly High School" "Riverside Community College Marching Tigers", accessed December 18, 2010.

External links[edit]

33°53′N 117°20′W / 33.883°N 117.333°W / 33.883; -117.333Coordinates: 33°53′N 117°20′W / 33.883°N 117.333°W / 33.883; -117.333