Fairfax High School (Los Angeles, California)

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Fairfax High School
FairfaxHigh Dec2006.jpg
"Fare fac" (Say and Do)
Los Angeles, California
United States
Coordinates 34°04′55″N 118°21′36″W / 34.082°N 118.360°W / 34.082; -118.360Coordinates: 34°04′55″N 118°21′36″W / 34.082°N 118.360°W / 34.082; -118.360
Type Public
Established 1924
School district Los Angeles Unified School District
Principal Carmina Nacorda
Grades 9th through 12th
Enrollment 2400+
Campus Urban
Campus size 24.2 acres (98,000 m2)
Color(s) Crimson, gold, black             
Athletics conference Western League
CIF Los Angeles City Section
Mascot Lion
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.[1] 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.[2]


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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[3]

Organized by a group of local theater artists, the first Melrose Trading Post was held in 1998 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.[5]

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.

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
2,838 2,949 3,131 3,174 2,889


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,[7] 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.[8] In 1953 Fairfax High introduced Modern Hebrew classes, initially taught by the principal of the Beverly-Fairfax Jewish Community Center's principal, Ronnie Tofield.[7]

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.[3]

Small Learning Communities[edit]

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[edit]

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 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 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[edit]

Fairfax High School is home to the Greenway Arts Alliance, which operates the Greenway Court Theater, a 99-seat Equity-waver 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 fuel a thriving arts education program on the FHS campus called, Institute for the Arts at Greenway.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Larry Kahn, (NFL) play-by-play announcer, SportsUSA Radio Network


  1. ^ "http://www.laschools.org/employee/mpd/fs-mpd/download/07-08_webmaps/Proj04.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved January 24, 2011.  External link in |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Proposed Changes to Fairfax High School Area Schools, School Year 2009–2010." Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved on March 17, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Horstman, Penny Atkinson. "Why Go to Fairfax High?" Los Angeles Times. February 7, 1998. Retrieved on January 4, 2016.
  4. ^ "http://www.project10.org/history.html" Friends of Project 10, Inc.. Retrieved on June 1, 2013.
  5. ^ "http://www.greenwayartsalliance.org" Greenway Arts Alliance. Retrieved on June 1, 2013.
  6. ^ "Fairfax Senior High School Enrollment Rates". SchoolMatters.com. October 1, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Moore, Deborah Dash. To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and L.A.. Harvard University Press, 1994. ISBN 0674893050, 9780674893054. p. 86.
  8. ^ Moore, Deborah Dash. To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and L.A.. Harvard University Press, 1994. ISBN 0674893050, 9780674893054. p. 87.
  9. ^ a b "Fairfax High School Notable Alumni". Fairfaxclassof61.com. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  10. ^ Noriyuki, Duane (November 9, 1995). "Class Clowns". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "City of West Hollywood to Honor Award-Winning Fairfax High School Marching Band and". Reuters. December 11, 2007. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c Thurber, Jon; Bloomekatz, Ari B. (May 3, 2009). "Jack Kemp, an original pillar in Republican 'big tent,' dies at 73". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f Pool, Bob (May 21, 1999). "Fairfax High Alumni Bridge Generation Gap". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Los Angeles Times Magazine Map No. 7". Los Angeles Times. April 13, 1986. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c "Red Hot Chili Peppers | Music Videos, News, Photos, Tour Dates, Ringtones, and Lyrics". MTV. June 25, 1988. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  16. ^ Thurber, Jon. "J. Curtis Counts; Labor Negotiator Headed Federal Mediation Service", Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1999. Retrieved July 2, 2009.
  17. ^ Haldane, David (October 4, 1987). "Mother's Murder Unsolved, Too". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  18. ^ "California State Meet Results – 1915 to present". Hank Lawson. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  19. ^ McGreevy, Patrick; Fox, Sue (March 8, 2001). "Heavy Hitters' Gifts to Padilla Strike Some as Excessive". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  20. ^ Writer, California (May 1, 2008). "Janet Fitch at Santa Monica College". Californiawriter.blogspot.com. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
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  22. ^ Chavez, Stephanie (January 23, 1993). "Hard Times at Fairfax High". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  23. ^ Michele Greene biography at her official website
  24. ^ "US Vogue, May 2007". Retrieved August 2, 2007. 
  25. ^ a b Goldstein, Patrick (August 18, 1991). Los Angeles Times http://articles.latimes.com/1991-08-18/entertainment/ca-1134_1_pop-eye. Retrieved May 2, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ Lytal, Cristy (October 16, 2008). "I was a good kid". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Barry Latman Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  28. ^ Barker, Andrew (August 22, 2011). "'Hound Dog' lyricist Leiber dies at 78". Variety. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Carole Lombard Bio". Carole Lombard .org. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  30. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (September 7, 1987). "Quinn Martin Is Dead at 65; Produced Popular TV Series". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  31. ^ Rosenberg, Scott (January 1, 1987). "Fairfax Has the Horses in City Title Race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 10, 2012.  As of the 1986–87 school year, Montgomery was a junior at Fairfax.
  32. ^ http://www.nosotros.org/ricardo_stagetoscreen.html Archived April 30, 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy? by Diana Serra Cary, page 197
  34. ^ Ames Daily Tribune. Nov 9, 1940 http://newspaperarchive.com/ames-daily-tribune/1940-11-09/page-8. Retrieved June 16, 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. ^ Conway, Ann (April 13, 1999). "Technically, Samueli Is Leaving Mark Backing Arts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  36. ^ Lieberman, Paul (August 16, 2003). "The Boy at Camp Granada". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  37. ^ Gheorghiu, Cristian (July 5, 2012). "KCET interview". www.kcet.org. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  38. ^ Mikulan, Steven (July 20, 2009). "First Phil Spector Wife Vanishes". Blogs.laweekly.com. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  39. ^ Boucher, Geoff (September 8, 2003). "Warren Zevon, 56; Singer Had a Sense of Grim Theater". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 

External links[edit]