Benson Polytechnic High School
|Benson Polytechnic High School|
United by Spirit, Bonded by Name.
|546 NE 12th Avenue
Portland, Oregon, Multnomah County 97232
|School district||Portland Public Schools|
|Principal||Curtis Wilson Jr.|
|Number of students||1045|
|Color(s)||Orange and royal blue |
|Athletics conference||OSAA Portland Interscholastic League 6A|
|Mascot||Techmen / Techsters|
Benson Polytechnic High School is a technical public high school in the Portland Public Schools district. Its 9-acre (36,000 m2) campus is located in the center of Portland's Eastside commercial area. Students are given a special emphasis in a technical area. It is a member of SkillsUSA and Health Occupations Students of America.
- 1 History of Benson
- 2 Academics
- 3 Curriculum
- 4 Athletics
- 5 Notable alumni
- 6 References
- 7 External links
History of Benson
Benson Polytechnic High School began in 1908 as the Portland School of Trades in the Atkinson Building at 11th and Davis in Northwest Portland. It was established to give "boys who wished to enter a trade a better opportunity than do shops and factories of the present time." Any boy from Portland who was at least fourteen years old, or who was a grammar school graduate, could attend. The course of study was three years. Students could also attend night school and/or summer sessions at the trade school.
In 1909, a course of study for girls was added, with classes in sewing, cooking, millinery, and homemaking. The Portland School of Trades was coeducational until 1913 when the girls' departments were moved to the original Lincoln High School.
Beginnings and the First World War
The Portland School Board voted to change the school's name to Benson Polytechnic High School after civic leader and philanthropist Simon Benson gave $100,000 in 1915, with a stipulation that at least the same amount of money be spent by the Portland School District to start the school. Six blocks of land at Northeast 12th and Hoyt were purchased and a building was built, and the new Benson Polytechnic School opened its doors on September 4, 1917. The building was designed by Floyd Naramore. Portable classrooms were required early on and were still used into the 1950s.
Mr. Benson gave the student body $10,000 during World War I, and the first Tech Show was presented to the Portland community. Benson Polytechnic School grew rapidly in course offerings and in student population. In 1920, the printing department was set up and the school paper, the Tech Pep. was published.
In 1926, an aviation department was added to the school.
Benson Polytechnic School served not only the educational needs of the city's youth, but also the defense needs of a nation at war. Beginning in 1919 (during World War I) the federal government contracted with the school, and 50 disabled soldiers were educated.
In May 1921 the Benson Tech Radio Club received a government license to operate telegraph station 7YK, later changing the call sign to 7XAD in October 1923. This would lead to Benson's first broadcasting station on May 4, 1923 at 6:00 PM when station KFIF signed on the air. This was only the second radio station operated by an educational institute.
KFIF would become KBPS on March 17, 1930 when KFIF became too expensive for the student body to operate, the District accepted ownership of the station. The station was renamed KBPS (for Benson Polytechnic School) and has continued to this day to operate on the Benson campus and to be staffed by Benson students.
Expansion and the Second World War
By 1940, Benson had 2,800 students and was the largest school in Portland.
In 1953, the Portland School Board launched a five-year building program to upgrade Benson. A library and automotive wing were completed in 1954. The north shop wing was remodeled in 1955 and the south shop wing in 1960. Benson became co-educational once again in September 1973. Six females attended that year. When the health occupations program was moved from Washington High School to Benson in 1980, Benson's female population grew substantially.
An arsonist's fire damaged offices and classrooms in the main section of Benson on January 2, 1991. Coincidentally, the School Board had already scheduled the Benson facility for major improvements. In 1991, a new health occupation wing, a new library, a new student services center, and a new band room were added; and halls and offices were modernized.
Oregon moved to the Cohort System the next year to identify graduates, which yields a lower rate than years previous. 76% of students graduated Benson in 2009, which is higher than the district average of 66%. Benson is the only school in the Portland Public School district to graduate more minorities than white students.
As a magnet school, Benson was highly selective amongst the Portland area until fairly recently. Students were required to complete an application for admissions, but is no longer the case due to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act; instead a lottery is used to determine which students are admitted. As of Fall 2008, there were 1134 students enrolled in Benson, and 61.7% qualified for free or reduced lunch.
The student population is 28% African American, 25% white, 23% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 20% Latino.
In addition to a standard high school curriculum, students specialize in a self-selected major during the final two years of enrollment. Students may specialize in the following areas, provided by a partnership with SkillsUSA and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA):
- Arts & Communications Academy
- Communications Technology
- KBPS Radio Broadcasting
- Health Occupations Academy
- Dental Assisting
- Medical Assisting
- Nursing Assisting
- Industry & Engineering Academy
- Automotive Technology
- Building Construction Technology
- Electrical Technology
- Manufacturing Technology
Benson's athletic teams are known as the Benson Techmen, or Benson Techsters for women's teams. The school competes in a variety of sports, and has won numerous district and state championships throughout its history. Benson competes in the Portland Interscholastic League under 5A classification.
- Baseball: 1976
- Men's basketball: 1971, 1973, 1974, 1981, 1990
- Football: 1988
- Men's swimming: 1949
- Men's track and field: 1928, 1936, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2004
- Women's track and field: 1991, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
- Wrestling: 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1936, 1939, 1982, 1983
- Tom Dodd, Major League Baseball
- Jim Elliot, evangelical Christian killed in Ecuador on mission work.
- A. C. Green, NBA
- Alex Green, running back for the Green Bay Packers
- William A. Hilliard, former editor of The Oregonian
- Chris Leben, wrestler; retired professional mixed martial art fighter, formerly for the UFC
- Joel David Moore, actor
- Alex Nimo, USSF Division 2 Professional League, Portland Timbers (USL)
- Kim Rhodes, actor
- Mfon Udoka, Nigerian Olympian
- Richard Washington, NBA, Kansas City Kings
- School Facts: Benson Polytechnic High School, About Section pps.k12.us.or
- "Oregon School Directory 2008-09" (PDF). Oregon Department of Education. p. 139. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
- Polich, Edward L. (1950). A history of Portland's secondary school system with emphasis on the superintendents and the curriculum (Thesis/dissertation). University of Portland. pp. 67,71,81,160. OCLC 232551057.
- Ritz, Richard Ellison (2002). "Naramore, Floyd". Architects of Oregon: A Biographical Dictionary of Architects Deceased – 19th and 20th Centuries. Portland, Oregon: Lair Hill Publishing. pp. 293–294. ISBN 0-9726200-2-8.
- Carlin, Peter Ames (2010-01-10). "Patricia Swenson, longtime manager of Benson radio station KPBS [sic], dies at 93". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
- "Previous Portland-area school fires". The Oregonian. 2009-11-10. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- "State releases high school graduation rates". The Oregonian. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- "Oregon dropout rates for 2008". The Oregonian. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- Melton, Kimberly (2010-01-21). "What will be the fate of my high school?". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
- Owen, Betsy (2009-10-08). "High schoolers building houses in self-funded program". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
- PIL State Championship Team
- "Oregon Ducks baseball players steadily flowing into minor leagues, Major Leagues next?". The Oregonian. 2011-06-30.
- "Life story: Christian missionary Bert Elliot ministered to Peruvians for 62 years". The Oregonian. 2012-03-24.
- "Former Oregon State, NBA star A.C. Green says he can still hear the Gill Coliseum crowd in his dreams". The Oregonian. 2010-11-24.
- Hallman Jr., Tom (May 15, 1994). "William A. Hilliard, Editor Emeritus". The Oregonian. p. L1.
- "Chris Leben UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014.
- "Timbers Insider: Alex Nimo weighing his options". The Oregonian. 2010-11-19.
- Baker, Jeff (April 28, 2014). "18 actors you (maybe) didn't know were from Portland". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon). Retrieved 2016-02-15.