Tahoma Senior High School

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Tahoma Senior High School
Established 1927
Type Team [R]o[C]
Principal Terry Duty
Students 1,735 (2008)
Grades 10–12
Location 18200 SE 240th St,
Covington, Washington, USA
District Tahoma School District
Campus Suburban
Colors Blue and Gold
Mascot Bears
Newspaper Tahoma Times
Website tshs.tahomasd.us

Tahoma Senior High School (or more frequently Tahoma (High) School or THS) is part of the Tahoma School District #409. THS is a public high school serving grades ten through twelve, adjacent to Tahoma National Cemetery, and mainly provides for students from the city of Maple Valley, Washington. The school's class schedule features six periods that alternate in three-period blocks every other day (known as Blue and Gold days). The school is a class 4A school in the North Division of the South Puget Sound League.[1]


The front of Tahoma Senior High School

Tahoma Senior High School is a suburban school located where the borders of the cities of Maple Valley, Covington, and Kent come together. It is generally viewed as having high academic standards. The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction reported the school's graduation rate as 87.8% for the 2005-06 school year with a 3.3% dropout rate,[2] while the statewide graduation and dropout rates were reported as 75.0% and 5.7%,[3] respectively, for the same year. Additionally, Tahoma High School consistently outperforms the state average on the tenth grade WASL examination by a wide margin. A table illustrating the percentage of students who passed the 2007 tenth grade WASL is shown below.[2][3]

Statewide Tahoma High School
Reading 80.8% 90.7%
Mathematics 50.4% 62.9%
Writing 83.9% 91.7%
Science 36.4% 55.5%

The school offers a wide variety of tech prep, honors, Advanced Placement, and University of Washington "college in the high school" courses, in addition to the district's school board-approved curriculum. Students may take courses in automotive repair, video production, theatre, culinary arts, woodworking, metalworking, and business and marketing. These classes take advantage of the school's fully furnished autoshop, advanced video editing equipment, wood and metal shops, student store, and up-to-date computer labs. Advanced Placement classes offered by the high school include Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Computer Science A, Computer Science AB, European History, US History, US Government and Politics, Environmental Science, Literature, Studio Art, and Psychology.[4] These classes are usually offered at no cost to the student, and Tahoma High School encourages all students in AP classes to take the Advanced Placement exams corresponding to the classes they are enrolled in. The exams are given in early May. UW "college in the high school" courses that are offered include classes in Spanish, French, geology, English composition, and literature. These classes allow students to earn credits from the University of Washington, and a fee for each class is required. Tahoma High School's Outdoor Academy program which integrates Health and Fitness, Science, and Language Arts, has received recognition statewide for its work in changing the concept of Physical Education.[5]


TaHoMa High School, 1926. Now Tahoma Middle School.

The first large public school building in the Maple Valley area to serve secondary students was the Maple Valley Grade School, which opened in 1920 and housed grades one through twelve (now home to the Tahoma Transportation Center and the Maple Valley Historical Society).[6] In 1926, not long after the building opened, the Taylor, Hobart, and Maple Valley school districts merged to create a cooperative high school district and purchased a parcel of property for the construction of a dedicated local secondary school. This school, known as TaHoMa High School, opened in 1927 and held both junior and senior high students of the area for many years. After several remodels, this first TaHoMa High School building still exists today as TaHoMa Middle School.[7]

The present day high school building opened in 1974 as an open concept school, while the previous building remained as the district's junior high. The open concept design proved unsatisfactory to the faculty at the time, and temporary walls were constructed early in the school building's life.

The next major change came in 1999 when an intensive remodel of the Tahoma Senior High School building commenced. Despite gutting most parts of the building for modernization, the project was done in phases so that the facility could remain open as the district high school. Notable changes made to the campus during this remodel included construction of the present-day 100 wing, installation of an all-weather athletic track, expansion of the administrative offices, brightening of the commons area, application of an exterior brick facade, and complete renovation of the interior of the school, making it aesthetically appealing and technologically up-to-date.[8]

Following voter approval of a $10 million, four-year Instructional Technology Levy in 2006, the Tahoma School District has started to outfit the campus with wireless internet service, Activboard digital whiteboards, and upgraded computer labs.

An interesting side note to this building's history is that it has resided in three different cities without ever changing its physical location. At one time or another, the school building's address has included the cities of Kent, Maple Valley, and now Covington.


The following extracurricular clubs and activities are active at Tahoma: Anime Club; Art/Photography Club; Band; Choir; Drama; Destination Imagination; Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA); Fashion Design Club; Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA); Future Farmers of America (FFA); Future Filmmakers Club; Gaming Club; Green Team; Guitar Club; Hands Up Club (for students of American Sign Language); Interact Club; Japanese Club; Key Club; Mu Alpha Theta Math Club; Multicultural/Diversity Club; National Honor Society (NHS); Newspaper; Orca Bowl (participants in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl); Outdoor Club; Robotics Team (participants in the FIRST Robotics Competition); Spanish Club; Speech and Debate; Street Rats; Technology Student Association (TSA); We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution; Yearbook; and Young Authors Club.

Notable accomplishments include:

  • Future Filmmakers Club - Student work frequently receives top awards and recognition at local film festivals.
  • Robotics Team - F.I.R.S.T. Pacific Northwest Rookie Allstars and 11th ranked in division in Atlanta Nationals in 2007. Regional Champions at the Microsoft Seattle Regional in 2008. Engineering Inspiration at the Seattle Olympic Regional and Division Quarter Finalist at the World Championship in 2011. In 2012, the team placed first in the Seattle Cascade regional and later won it, as well as winning the Chairman's award. One of the team's mentors also won the Regional Woodie Flowers award at Seattle in 2012, and the team made it to the quarterfinals in their division at the world championships. Won Autodesk Oregon Regional in 2013. Ranked 6th and won Chairman's award in the Central Washington Regional. Ranked 76th on the Galileo field in the 2013 St. Louis Championships. The team is currently known as Bear Metal, with the team number of 2046.
  • Speech and Debate - Regularly a strong state competitor, and occasionally nationally competitive members. Won State Speech Competition in 2009, placed 2nd in 2010. Under coaches Matt Tucker, Scott Mercer, and Michelle Sutterfield. In the 2010-2011 school year the team brought on new coach, Kaveh Dilmaghani, after Matt Tucker retired from the team.
  • We The People: The Citizen and the Constitution - Washington State Champions from 1994–2006, 2008, and 2010-2013. The teams in 1994 and 2001 placed 4th nationally, the 2008 team won "Best in the West", and both the 2010 and 2011 Unit Five sections of the group won the Best Unit Five Award at the national competitions in Washington, D.C. The 2012 team placed 10th in the nation, and the 2013 team placed 7th in the nation.
  • Destination Imagination - The Tahoma Learning Community team from THS competed at Global Finals in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008. The team took 2nd place at Global Finals for their challenge Obstacles, Of Course! in 2008.
  • Green Team -The club was awarded the Presidential Environmental Youth Award for EPA Region 10 in 2011.


Tahoma students participate in the following sports and athletic activities:

  • Fall Sports: Boys' Tennis, Cross Country, Football, Girls' Soccer, Girls' Swim and Dive, Golf, and Volleyball.
  • Winter Sports: Boys' Basketball, Boys' Swim, Dance, Girls' Basketball, Gymnastics, and Wrestling.
  • Spring Sports: Baseball, Boys' Soccer, Fast Pitch, Girls' Tennis, and Track.

Notable accomplishments include:

  • Baseball - Second in State, 1986; Third in State, 1987; Second in State, 1988; Third in State, 2003;[9] Fourth in State, 2006;[10] Third in State, 2007.[11]
  • Cheerleading - Washington State Champions, 2001 and 2007.
  • Cross Country - Boys: Third in State, 2005; Fifth in State, 2006;[12] Third in State, 2007;[13] Third in Nike Team Nationals Regional Championship, 2007.[14] Girls Second in State, 2009, Third in State 2010.
  • Girls' Soccer - Washington State Champions, 2001 and 2005.[15][16]
  • Wrestling - Fifth in State, 2007. First in state, 2012 - Travis Jourdan: State Champion: 2006, 2007, fourth in State 2005; under coach Brian Higa.
  • Fastpitch - Third in State, 2013


Tahoma's main rivals include Kent-Meridian, Kentridge, Kentlake, Kentwood, Auburn Riverside and Gig Harbor. One of Tahoma's oldest rivals is Enumclaw, but the rivalry has lost some of its intensity since Enumclaw has been moved down to the SPSL Division 3A.

Tahoma's fiercest rivalry is perhaps that with Kentwood High School, owing partly to the mere three-mile separation between the schools. Tensions increased further when Kentwood desecrated the street in front of Tahoma by spray painting the letters "K-DUB" before a football game held on October 14, 2005. The two schools have been a part of some memorable football games in the past couple of years, with Tahoma winning four years in a row, ending with KW winning a last minute thriller in 2009, 21-14. Kentwood won the last meeting 49-3, the largest margin in over 10 years.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Brandi Carlile - Singer/Songwriter. Carlile signed on with Columbia in 2004 and has received worldwide acclaim as one of the Seattle area's most promising new artists.[17]
  • Omare Lowe - NFL Football player and a 1997 Tahoma graduate.[18]
  • Jens "Little Evil" Pulver - Mixed Martial Arts Fighter, Ultimate Fighting Champsionship (UFC) lightweight champion, and former featherweight with World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). Pulver is a 1993 graduate of THS.[19]
  • Douglas Robinson - internationally renowned translation scholar and translator, 1971 graduate of Tahoma.
  • Rebecca Shaw - First officer of Colgan Air Flight 3407. Shaw was a 2002 graduate of THS.[20]
  • Erik Totten - NFL Football player and a 1997 Tahoma graduate.[21]


  1. ^ Welcome to SPSL
  2. ^ a b groupLevel=District&schoolId=112&reportLevel=District&orgLinkId=112&yrs=&year=2006-07 Washington State Report Card
  3. ^ a b Washington State Report Card
  4. ^ Tahoma High School Course Catalog, 2007-08
  5. ^ [1] Seattle Times:"Phys-ed Classes Changing Course
  6. ^ K. Patterson, personal communication, October 10, 2006
  7. ^ Tahoma School District. (2004). Tahoma Middle School Dedication [Brochure]. Maple Valley, WA: Kevin Patterson.
  8. ^ K. Patterson, personal communication, October 6, 2006
  9. ^ http://www.tahomabaseball.com/baseball2/2003/2003%20WIAA%20Tournament%20Brackets.mht
  10. ^ http://www.tahomabaseball.com/baseball2/2006/2006%20WIAA%20Tournament%20Brackets.mht
  11. ^ 2007 4A Baseball Tournament
  12. ^ 4A State Championship
  13. ^ 4A State Championships
  14. ^ Danner Champs Results : OR Nike Pre-Nationals : 2007 Cross Country : Northwest Region - DyeStat high school track and field and cross country | DyeStatNW
  15. ^ 2005-06 Washington State 4A Championships
  16. ^ Tahoma captures 4A soccer title in shootout, Bears finish 20-0-1 after allowing two goals all year - both during the playoffs. The News Tribune. November 20, 2001.
  17. ^ Scanlon, Tom (January 20, 2005). "Brandi Carlile: ready for her breakthrough". The Seattle Times
  18. ^ Walker, Erick (August 20, 2008). "Seahawk Omare Lowe is back home with new team". The Covington Reporter
  19. ^ Walker, Erick (February 23, 2007). "World champ's life has been a fight for survival". The Seattle Times
  20. ^ Box, Dennis (February 13, 2009). "Tahoma High grad Rebecca Shaw dies in Continental 3407 crash". pnwlocalnews.com
  21. ^ http://www.seattlepi.com/preps/243375_totg05.html

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°23′14″N 122°05′55″W / 47.3873°N 122.0986°W / 47.3873; -122.0986