University of San Diego High School

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University of San Diego High School
Address
5961 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, California 92110
Information
Type Private, Coeducational
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1957
Opened September 1957
Founder Rev. John Dickie
Status Defunct; transitioned to Cathedral Catholic High School in 2005
Closed July 2005
President Dr. Richard Kelly (until 2004), James Tschann (2004–2005)
Dean Mark Sperrazzo
Principal Timothy Derenthal
Vice principal Margaret Mauro
Asst. Principal Leslie Beswick
Chaplain Fr. John Puodziunas
Faculty 84
Grades 9-12
Color(s) Red and Gold
Mascot The Don
Rival St. Augustine High School, Academy of Our Lady of Peace
Newspaper The El Cid
Yearbook The Presidio (48 total volumes)
Affiliation Diocese of San Diego
Website

The University of San Diego High School (USDHS), also known as The University High School (UHS) or "Uni", was a Catholic, co-educational, college preparatory secondary school located in San Diego, California. In 2005, the school was closed and reopened in Del Mar as Cathedral Catholic High School.

History[edit]

University High School, as the school was commonly known (from its inception through the 1980s) was founded in 1957 on a site overlooking Mission Bay to the west and Mission Valley to the south, and dedicated to providing a value-centered education to San Diego's young men. In 1970, sister-school Cathedral Girls High School merged with UHS to become a co-educational school. The class of 1971 was the first co-educational graduating class in USDHS history. It maintained its emphasis on teaching solid values and strong discipline, while at the same time, providing opportunities for each student to grow according to his/her individual potential. Over 10,000 students have graduated from the school.

Up until the transfer, the Linda Vista campus held 1,450 students who studied a college preparatory curriculum in fulfillment of the school mission "...to assist parents in the spiritual, intellectual and physical development of their children." Students were also afforded opportunities to participate in a wide variety of extracurricular activities including fine arts, athletics, clubs, service organizations and leadership roles. Beginning with the 1998–99 school year, students were required to complete service hours for community organizations to fulfill their graduation requirements.

Alumni of USDHS and CGHS supported the educational process by sending their children to USDHS and enhancing the academic offerings. Brother Michael Wallgren, 1985–1991, assisted by a generous gift from the George Pflaum, Jr. Foundation, started the Learning Center at USDHS to provide necessary assistance for students with certified learning differences. Through the generous financial assistance of parents, this facility has increased its capacity to 90 students with two full-time and two part-time faculty.

Dr. Richard Kelly, Principal and President from 1991–2004, acted on the Strategic Plan prepared for USDHS with the assistance of the School Board, Parents Association, and Faculty. The Strategic Plan provides for academic, athletic, and social enhancement, often made possible only by physical plant improvements. Academically, there has been an expansion of the Fine Arts Program, the addition of eight new classrooms, and an increase of five Advanced Placement courses. The initial purchase of ten high-end research computers linked to the Internet and a new writing lab complemented the enhancement of the Campus Center building. The computer lab received all new iMac computers and all classrooms had a new computer and printer installed to allow teachers to write lessons, input grades, post homework and keep parents updated on student progress in 2000.

In 1999, the Diocese of San Diego proposed a plan to relocate University of San Diego High School. The plan was proposed because the rate of student applicants to USDHS was rising and the current campus was too small to handle such a number of students. The plan was approved, and the diocese, contracting with Sundt Inc., began construction on a brand new campus, in a location in Carmel Valley. The new school was to have larger facilities to accommodate up to 2000 students, and host many extra curricular activities and sports such as football, swim/dive, water polo, basketball, sailing, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, softball and baseball. The majority of these activities have had to hold practices and events outside of the USDHS campus, such as at USD, or at improvised locations on campus, due to the lack of facilities.

The new campus was due to be completed in summer of 2005, and USDHS officially shut down after the 2004–2005 school year. The new school opened as Cathedral Catholic High School in August 2005, with all the same faculty and administration, and the remaining three classes who came from USDHS (Classes of 2006, 2007, and 2008). The new freshmen class of 2009 was the first to graduate from Cathedral Catholic after all four years at the new location.

Awards[edit]

In 1998, the then-United States Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, named University of San Diego High School a Blue Ribbon School. USDHS, as well as two other San Diego area schools, are among 166 secondary schools nationwide being recognized for their excellence in teaching, student achievement and parental involvement.

Note: The first Principal of University of San Diego High School was Reverend Father James Cadden, a world class scholar of Church History. All of the faculty were ordained Priests for the first few years of Uni High's existence.

Cathedral Catholic High School[edit]

The transition to Cathedral Catholic High School has been challenging for students, teachers, and alumni. Cathedral Catholic has attempted to continue all of the traditions founded at USDHS, from the Dons mascot to the academic, athletic and social awareness standards.

USDHS 50th Anniversary and final graduating class[edit]

September 2007 marked the 50th year of operation for the University of San Diego High School (now known as Cathedral Catholic High School). To commemorate this, Cathedral Catholic declared that school year "The Golden Era of the Dons", which provided themes for many events throughout that school year, including the annual Star Gala which was held in April 2008.

In addition, the weekend of February 1–3, 2008 honored the 50 year legacy held by USDHS and now Cathedral Catholic, with a weekend of celebration for all alumni from all three institutions (USDHS, CGHS, CCHS).

The dedicated walk of fame that was interred on the quad at Uni was originally proposed to be moved and installed on the quad of CCHS around a new memorial fountain. But due to deterioration and costly efforts, the stones were not brought to CCHS. Those who had names there were honored with a memorial display, which was hung in the USDHS Library at CCHS during the 50th Anniversary Celebration. More notable dedications for major Uni/CCHS contributors have been engraved into the stone benches and lamp posts around CCHS' quad as well.

On May 31, 2008, the final class to have ever walked the halls of USDHS graduated. The class of 2008 was the final freshman class from Uni. Starting with the class of 2009, all students will be fully CCHS students.

USDHS: The Official Documentary[edit]

In honor of the 50 year legacy of the University of San Diego High School, several students from Uni/CCHS worked together to produce a 45-minute documentary detailing the many decades that Uni and CCHS have celebrated so far. The documentary, which was fully student-written and produced, was a big hit at the 50th anniversary celebration.

The documentary featured over hundreds of photos from over the years at USDHS, as well as photos/videos from the campus in its final years. Interviews with many alumni, faculty, and staff were also filmed, and are included as well.

An extended version was proposed and work had begun on it in 2009, but the project was put on hold and eventually scrapped.

Notable alumni[edit]

Linda Vista Campus[edit]

After the closing of USDHS in June 2005, the Linda Vista campus became the home of Notre Dame Academy (San Diego, California), while their new campus, also in Carmel Valley, was being completed. NDA's campus was completed in winter 2005, and the school moved out of Linda Vista in January.

From 2006 to 2007, security around the campus was tightened due to gang vandalism and intruders. The portable classrooms which were added to USDHS were removed during the NDA period, leaving only the concrete buildings to remain. The statues and relics from the old campus, such as the Mary statue from the quad, were all moved to locations around the Cathedral Catholic campus. The campus sign that overlooked the entrance of the school was taken in 2006 by alumni and students, and donated back to CCHS. The sign continued to make appearances at Grad Nights for the past 3 years as a memorial, but is rumored to be auctioned off in 2009.

The Dons Athletic Hall of Fame was moved to the gymnasium at CCHS. The Walk of Fame that was interred on the quad at USDHS could not be brought over due to deterioration, and instead the names of all the contributors and donors were placed on a memorial wall in the USDHS Library at CCHS.

The former campus received much activity between 2007 and 2008. A cleaning crew sanctioned by CCHS and the Diocese came to the campus following the October 2007 Wildfires to sweep up ash and any garbage that remained. The campus was also a filming location for many students of CCHS Multimedia, who had gained permission to enter the remains of the school to shoot for short-film projects, as well as the 50th Anniversary video.

On February 23, 2008, The San Diego Union Tribune confirmed the sale of the USDHS Campus to The Irvine Company for $50 million. The company plans to build 533 apartments on the 16-acre (65,000 m2) site of the former University High School.

On May 5, 2008, demolition began on the site of the USDHS campus. The gym and the campus center were the first to be torn down, followed by the south side of the campus, then moved north towards the rest of the school. The last visitors to the school while it was still standing were alum and long-time Uni teacher, Danny Wilson, accompanied by two of the students who had worked on the school's official documentary in the past year. The remains of the campus and wall were destroyed in October 2008.

In 2010, the land that the campus once stood upon was leveled to the street. A wood fence was put up, and small construction began in some parts, starting with what used to be the former school's basketball courts and faculty parking lot. Production was halted in April due to financing issues, but has since resumed and been completed. The new complex is called Carmel Pacific Ridge Luxury Apartments with an address listed as 5945 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, CA 92110 though it sits atop the same land that Uni once occupied.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 32°46′13″N 117°11′11″W / 32.7704°N 117.1864°W / 32.7704; -117.1864