Fairfax High School (Los Angeles, California)
|Fairfax High School|
"Fare fac" (Say and Do)
|Los Angeles, California
|School district||Los Angeles Unified School District|
|Grades||9th through 12th|
|Campus size||24.2 acres (98,000 m2)|
|Color(s)||Crimson, gold, black|
|Athletics conference||Western League
CIF Los Angeles City Section
|Newspaper||The Colonial Gazette|
Fairfax High School (officially Fairfax Senior High School) is a Los Angeles Unified School District high school located in Los Angeles, California, near the border of West Hollywood in the Fairfax District. The school is located on a 24.2-acre (98,000 m2) campus at the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and trendy Melrose Avenue.
Several sections of Los Angeles, including the Fairfax District, Park La Brea, portions of Hancock Park, and Larchmont, and the city of West Hollywood are served by Fairfax. Some areas (including parts of West Hollywood) are jointly zoned to Fairfax High School and Hollywood High School. In fall 2007, some neighborhoods zoned to Hamilton High School were rezoned to Fairfax High School. Bancroft Middle School, Emerson Middle School, Le Conte Middle School, and John Burroughs Middle School feed into Fairfax. In 2009 some territory from the Los Angeles High School attendance boundary was transferred to Fairfax High School.
Fairfax High School was founded in 1924 under the direction of Principal Rae G. Van Cleve, for whom the athletic field is named. The original Spanish Colonial Revival main building did not meet earthquake safety standards, and most of the original campus facilities were demolished in 1966. However, the historic D. S. Swan Auditorium and iconic Rotunda were spared by preservationists and retrofitted. The theater was renovated in 2014. Greenway Court, originally built in 1939 as a social hall by the students at Fairfax as a class project, was also spared and was moved to its current location on Fairfax Avenue, where it was converted into a theater in 1999 by the Greenway Arts Alliance and renamed the Greenway Court Theater.
Fairfax High School has been known since the 1930s as a breeding ground for future major figures in the entertainment industry.
In previous eras the school had a reputation of academic excellence and it had a majority Jewish student body.
Former NFL official Jim Tunney served as the school's principal from 1964 to 1970. Under his watch, most of the current campus facilities, except for those mentioned above, were built between 1966 and 1968, including the gymnasium.
When the 1971 Sylmar (San Fernando) earthquake struck on February 9, 1971, with a magnitude of 6.7 on the Richter scale, nearby Los Angeles High School was damaged severely and closed for repairs. Students from Los Angeles High attended Fairfax High on "double sessions," with Fairfax students using the campus from 7 am – 12 noon, and LA High students from 12:30 pm – 5 pm.
Fairfax was the foreign language magnet school in the 1960s and 1970s, offering Hebrew, German, Chinese and Latin, among other languages. The Fairfax Magnet Center for Visual Arts opened in 1981 and remains the only visual arts magnet in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
In 1984, Dr. Virginia Uribe, an LAUSD teacher and counselor for 42 years, founded LAUSD’s Project 10 program, the first dropout prevention program specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in the United States.
By the 1980s, the proliferation of magnet schools caused an exodus of many White students and many of the school's best teachers. By that time the test scores declined and many school clubs and activities ceased operations.
Organized by a group of local theater artists, the first Melrose Trading Post was held in 1996 in the school's parking lot. Regarded as most successful on-going fund-raising activity in the LAUSD, the flea market evolved into the Greenway Arts Alliance, the Friends of Fairfax and the Institute for the Arts at Fairfax High School, all which are of immense benefit to the school and students.
In Fall 2008, Fairfax High School was reconfigured from a comprehensive high school into a complex of five new small learning communities (SLCs) and the existing Fairfax Magnet Center for Visual Arts.
The table below represents the number of enrolled students at Fairfax High School through 2003–2007.
As of the 2011–2012 school year, there were 2,407 students enrolled in Fairfax High School.
The racial/ethnic composition (as of the 2011–2012 school year) was as follows:
In the 1950s Fairfax High School was known for having a large Jewish student body, as a Jewish community surrounded the school. It became known as a "Jewish" high school, and some non-Jewish parents withdrew their children from Fairfax as they felt discomfort with the Jewish character of the school. In 1953 Fairfax High introduced Modern Hebrew classes, initially taught by the principal of the Beverly-Fairfax Jewish Community Center, Ronnie Tofield.
As of 1997, the student body was 46% Hispanic and Latino; 21% black; 19% other/white, many of whom were immigrants from Israel and Russia; 12% Asian; and 2% Filipino.
Small Learning Communities
Fairfax High School re-opened in Fall 2008 reconfigured into a complex consisting of the existing Fairfax Magnet Center for Visual Arts and five new small learning communities (SLCs). The campus was divided into six areas of "contiguous space." Non-magnet students and staff were reorganized into five new schools-within-a-school. Subsequently, in 2010, two of the SLCs were replaced by a single SLC, bringing the total down to four SLCs and the Magnet. Currently, these SLCs are:
- Academy of Media & Performing Arts (AMPA)
- Academy of International Business and Communications (IBC)
- Health Sciences Academy (HSA)
- School of Mathematics, Science and Technology (SMST).
Fairfax Magnet Center for Visual Arts
Fairfax is home to the Fairfax Magnet Center for Visual Arts, which attracts students from across the 700 square miles (1,800 km2) of the district. It opened in 1981 and is the only visual arts magnet in Los Angeles Unified School District.
In 1995, the Lions Boys Volleyball Team, under the coaching of Steve Cho/Linda Fadler, took the title of All-City Champions, Division 3A.
In 2007, the Lions Boys Basketball Team, under the coaching of Harvey Kitani, took the title of State Champions, Division 1A.
A special edition of the Zoom Lebron IV was produced for the basketball team using the school's colors.
In 2010, the Lions Football Team, under the coaching of Shane Cox, won the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division II championship.
In 2015, the Lions Football Team, under the coaching of Shane Cox, won the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division II championship.
In 2007, the Fairfax Marching Lions and Color Guard, under the direction of Raymundo Vizcarra, First Place in the LAUSD Division I Band and Drill Championship 2010. It was the first year in more than 20 years that Fairfax had a band eligible to compete.
Greenway Arts Alliance
Fairfax High School is home to the Greenway Arts Alliance, which operates the Greenway Court Theater, a 99-seat Equity-waiver playhouse, and through the Institute for the Arts at Greenway, provides arts educational programs, mentoring, and employment opportunities to Fairfax students.
Since 1997, the Melrose Trading Post outdoor flea market has created opportunities for Fairfax High School and the surrounding neighborhood. Every Sunday 250+ local vendors, collectors, artisans, and artists gather in the parking lot on the corner of Melrose and Fairfax Avenues to celebrate the thriving community culture. Food vendors and live music round out this weekly local event hosted by the Greenway Arts Alliance. Money raised by this nonprofit organization from the low-cost patron admission and vendor booth fees fuels a thriving arts education program on the FHS campus called, Institute for the Arts at Greenway.
- Byron Allen, talk show host
- Herb Alpert, musician, music industry executive
- David Arquette, actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, and fashion designer
- Michael "Flea" Balzary, musician, bassist, trumpet player (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
- Chris Brown, Former Mayor of Hawthorne, CA
- J. Curtis Counts (1915–1999), Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
- Mark Damon, film actor, producer
- James Ellroy, author, L.A. Confidential
- Mike "SuperJew" Epstein, Major League Baseball player
- Danny Everett, 1988 Olympic gold medalist 4x400 metres relay
- Janet Fitch, author
- Manuel Franco, lawyer and judge from the television shows La Corte del Pueblo and Juez Franco
- Larry Gelbart, Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated writer/producer, M*A*S*H
- Michele Greene, actress
- Tracii Guns, musician, L.A. Guns
- Az-Zahir Hakim, retired NFL player
- Jerome Hines, opera singer
- Darla Hood, actress, Our Gang
- Timothy Hutton, Oscar-winning actor
- Chanel Iman, model
- Jack Irons, musician, drummer (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, The Wallflowers)
- Jackie Jackson, musician (Jackson Five)
- Tito Jackson, musician (Jackson Five)
- Rami Jaffee, keyboardist of The Wallflowers
- David Janssen, actor, The Fugitive
- Alain Johannes, musician (Anthym, Eleven)
- Larry Kahn, (NFL) play-by-play announcer, SportsUSA Radio Network
- Jack Kemp, U.S. Representative, 1996 vice-presidential candidate and professional football player
- Anthony Kiedis, musician, singer, writer (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
- Mila Kunis, actress
- Barry Latman, Major League Baseball player
- Alicia Bay Laurel, author, artist, singer
- Jerome "Jerry" Leiber (1933–2011), lyricist of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
- Kelvin McKay-Hill, musician and guitarist
- Carole Lombard, Oscar-nominated actress
- Quinn Martin, producer
- Eric Melvin, musician (guitar, accordion) – NOFX
- Chris Mills, retired NBA player, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, and Golden State Warriors
- Lee Min-young, singer, As One
- Roger Montgomery, basketball player and sports agent
- Demi Moore, actress (dropped out at age 16)
- Ricardo Montalban, actor, Fantasy Island, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
- Baby Peggy, child actor, later author under name Diana Serra Cary; attended in the 1930s.
- Judith Reisman, conservative writer
- Bong Revilla, actor
- Mickey Rooney, iconic Oscar-nominated actor featured in hundreds of Hollywood films
- Ann Rutherford, actress
- Henry Samueli, co-founder of Broadcom
- Allan Sherman, musician, parodist, satirist, and television producer
- Larry Sherry, major league baseball pitcher; MVP of the 1959 World Series
- Norm Sherry, major league baseball player
- Slash, musician, guitarist (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver)
- P. F. Sloan (Philip Schlein) Musician/Songwriter ("Eve of Destruction", "Secret Agent Man") Graduated 1963
- Hillel Slovak, musician, guitarist (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
- Smear (Cristian Gheorghiu), contemporary artist, street artist 
- Craig Smith, basketball player
- Phil Spector, record producer
- Cynthia Szigeti, actress and improv teacher (The Groundlings)
- Peggy Stevenson, Los Angeles City Council member, 1975–85
- Daniel Thompson, inventor
- Karrueche Tran,actress,model
- Marcelo Tubert, actor
- Mel Wasserman, education pioneer, founder of CEDU Education
- Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles City Council member, 1975-1994 and Los Angeles County Supervisor, 1994-2014
- Warren Zevon, musician
- Larry Kahn, (NFL) play-by-play announcer, SportsUSA Radio Network
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