Central High School (Fresno, California)

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Coordinates: 36°45′54″N 119°58′16″W / 36.76500°N 119.97111°W / 36.76500; -119.97111[1]

Central High School is one of many high schools in Fresno, California. The school has two campuses in the Central Unified School District. The first campus is known as the West Campus, erected in 1922. The second campus, called the East Campus, opened its doors to students in August 1996. Current speculation is that the now Central Unified School District will approve a new high school campus, Central High North Campus, set to open in 2015.[2]

Central Union High School: The Beginning[edit]

On March 1, 1922, the Central Union High School District was formed. Newly elected board members from the elementary schools had met earlier that year with Walter G. Martin, who would become the new principal. A piece of property on the corner of McKinley Ave. and Dickenson Ave. was purchased from the Charles Mutchler family, which operated a 120-acre farm and dairy at that location.

On October 2, 1922, Central Union High School opened for its first term in two temporary buildings. It had four teachers, including principal W.G. Martin, who taught history. Ward R. Miles taught plane geometry, general science, biology and physical education, Maude Starbuck taught algebra, Latin and English, and Darlene McAllister taught Spanish, English, and physical education. Student enrollment was 70 students. By the end of the first school year, enrollment was close to 100 students.

By January 1, 1923, construction of a permanent building began. It was considered to be the largest high school in California. It was a two-story brick and stucco building, containing approximately 20 classrooms, a library, offices, and a 750 seat-capacity auditorium.

Originally the district included only four grammar school districts: Barstow, Pershing, Roosevelt and Houghton. Later schools, Herndon, Teague, McKinley, and Figarden joined the district.

Dedication of building[edit]

On November 27,1923, the new Central Union High School building was formally dedicated and opened to the public. In honor of the occasion, the school board secured an invitation to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Will C. Wood, to deliver a short address at the dedication ceremony

Central High School East Campus[edit]

Facing the near capacity situation at the West Campus, as well as the increase in enrollment in the following years, the Central Unified School Board approved the construction of another high school campus. The campus was built on 60 acres on the northwest corner of W. Dakota and N. Cornelia Avenues. The campus officially welcomed its students during the 1996–97 school year.

Much controversy came from which students would attend which campus or if students would be divided and attend both schools. Currently, all freshmen students attend the West Campus. Some upperclassmen continue to attend the West Campus, however with the steady increase in freshmen students every year, that may soon change. In 2012, The district decided to let freshman choose to go to either West Campus or East Campus. However, freshman attending East Campus must enroll in one of four of the career academies on Campus. Enrollment in either of the Academies requires a four-year commitment to East Campus.


Central competes in Division I of the CIF Central Section and also in the Tri-River-Athletic-Conference (TRAC), with Buchanan, Clovis High, Clovis East, Clovis West, and Clovis North.

Water polo[edit]

Central High School is not known for its aquatics program. Their 2010 season was led by goal keeper Kevin Richey, with over 280 saves, making first team All-TRAC, Honorable mention for All-Valleys and Honorable mentions for Nor-Cal All American awards. Senior Greg Bracamonte led the team in goals scored, ending the season with 82. He finished the season with Fresno Bee All Star Team, First Team All-TRAC, as well as Second Team All-NorCals accolades. Both seniors have plans to attend Fresno Pacific University after high school where they will continue to play under head coach Bryan Suhovy. The team's most memorable game was against Clovis North High school. Central won the game in a fourth quarter upset, thanks to Alex Marquez and his game winning lob. The Central Grizzlies had a rough end to the season. They were seeded last after Clovis East and SunnySide High School, who Central defeated twice, ending the season 12-11.[3]


Central's 2012 men's soccer team earned a regular season record of 24–3, the number one seed for the playoffs and started the season with 16 wins in a row. They reached a high of 10 on the ESPN Fab 50 national rankings during the regular season.[4]

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Central High School
  2. ^ Central High School
  3. ^ Klatt, Rick. "Central Grizzly Aquatics". Fresno Dolphins Aquatics. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 
  4. ^ Giannandrea, Nick. "Central High boys earn top seed for soccer playoffs". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved 12 February 2012.