Downey High School

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Downey High School
11040 Brookshire Ave.


United States
School typePublic, High school
MottoHome of the Vikings
School districtDowney Unified School District
SuperintendentJohn Garcia
PrincipalTom Houts
Grades9th - 12th
Enrollment4,221 (2016-17)[1]
Color(s)Cardinal and Gold
Athletics conferenceSan Gabriel Valley League
SportsBoys' and Girls': Basketball, Baseball, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Track & Field, Tennis, Volleyball, Water Polo, Wrestling
RivalsWarren High School

Downey High School is one of two senior high schools located in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, California, and within the Downey Unified School District. It is located at 11040 Brookshire Ave. At the present time the school has an enrollment of about 4150 students, of a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic levels.

Currently, Tom Houts is the principal. In addition, there are five other administrators, as well as seven full-time counselors. The instruction staff consists of 151 teachers and the operation functions with the assistance of a staff of 85 specialized employees (custodians, secretaries, nurses, security guards, etc.)


Around the start of the 20th century, Downey was a small agricultural community. There were, however, enough boys and girls of high school age that a group of citizens got together and organized what was then called Los Nietos Valley Union High School. On August 16, 1901, Los Nietos Valley High School became the eleventh high school in the Los Angeles County School System.

In 1903, the first building at Second and Church Streets, where Walker Hall now stands, was formed. The original cornerstone of this building is now preserved in front of the Viking Tower. Before the building was ready for use, classes were held for 45 students in the auditorium of a grammar school. The faculty consisted of one principal, A.E. Farlington and one teacher, Miss Gertrude Smith. The first graduating class of 1904 had four students who received their diplomas. The course of study for the first few years was a college prerequisite curriculum, but in 1911, a commercial course was offered for students which enabled them to work immediately after graduation.

The name of the school was changed to Downey Union High School in 1919. The following year, the school got its first bus, since the only previous transportation had been supplied through Mrs. Van Matre, who used her car to bring students who lived within a mile of the school. In 1926-1927, the original building was condemned as a fire hazard and torn down. A gymnasium was built on the site. In turn, the gymnasium was demolished in 1957-1958, and Walker Hall constructed in its place. It was named in honor of William H Walker, a retired teacher and former superintendent. The first building for junior high school students was built in 1929-1930, which is the present “R” building. The senior and junior high schools were combined on a single campus in 1951-1952. Because agricultural lands were being developed as residential sub-divisions, more schools were needed. The first separate junior high school was South Junior High School (Sussman Middle School), dedicated on May 1, 1952, teaching about half the students in grades seven, eight, and nine. The remaining half of the students stayed in what was then called Central Junior High School. In 1953, these students moved away to become North Junior High School (Griffiths Middle School). In 1954, the third junior high school, East Junior High School was formed. In 1957, a second senior high school, Earl Warren Senior High School, and a fourth junior high school, West Junior High School opened their doors. A fifth junior high school, Woodruff Junior High School, opened in September, 1959. On July 1, 1961, the Downey Union High School District was merged with the four elementary districts to form the Downey Unified School District.


Downey High School offers a wide variety of AP (Advanced Placement) courses: AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Psychology, AP Calculus, AP Spanish, AP European History, AP United States History, AP Government/Economics, AP Music Theory, AP Studio Art, AP Human Geography, AP English Literature, AP English Language and Composition, and AP Seminar.


In terms of race and ethnicity, Hispanic and Latino students comprised the majority (75.5%) of the student body. Caucasian students were the second largest group; they make up 12.7% of the student body. African American students and Asian students made up 5.5 and 5.4% of the student body respectively. The remaining 0.9% of the student body are composed of American Indian and multiracial students.[2]


Downey High School is part of the San Gabriel Valley League, which also includes the Dominguez High School Dons, Gahr High School Gladiators, Lynwood High School Knights, Paramount High School Pirates, and Warren High School Bears.

Student activities[edit]

Student government[edit]

Downey High School's student government, more popularly known as the Associated Student Body (ASB), comprises 30 different jobs. It usually has about half its members as seniors and the other half as lower classmen. The top four positions, ASB President, ASB Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, are all returning ASB members and the captains of the group.

Recent achievements[edit]

During the 2005-2006 school year Downey High School raised over 50,000 dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in their annual Pennies for Patients fundraiser. Downey High excelled over 17,000 schools from across the country under the leadership of Brandy Rodriguez, the community service chairwoman. The school is also ranked #1 in their region for most pints of bloods donated through the American Red Cross-oriented blood drives.

The Downey High School Drumline and Percussion Ensemble were awarded a 1st place Championship in the Open Division and Concert Division from the American Drumline Association in 2005. The Downey High School Jazz Ensemble made history on June 23, 2006, when they were the first high school band to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. The Downey High School Marching Band was awarded 5th place in the SCSBOA Championships in the 4A division in 2008, the highest placement in the school's history.

The Boys' Volleyball program, coached by Mark Rand, won its first CIF title in 2009. The Downey High Dance Team, led under the supervision of Leslie Patterson and Cindy Foley, are currently the three times state champions in four categories, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, & Novelty.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ "Downey High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-10-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Joe Rudi". Baseball Gauge. Retrieved May 31, 2019.