Golden Valley High School (Merced, California)

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Golden Valley High School
2121 E. Childs Ave
Merced, California 95341
Coordinates 37°17′18.8″N 120°27′2.2″W / 37.288556°N 120.450611°W / 37.288556; -120.450611Coordinates: 37°17′18.8″N 120°27′2.2″W / 37.288556°N 120.450611°W / 37.288556; -120.450611
School type Public
Established 1994
School district Merced Union High School District
Principal Kevin Smartwood
Faculty 103.4 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,316 [1] (2009-10)
Student to teacher ratio 22.4 [1]
Campus size 48 acres (190,000 m2)
School colour(s)


Athletics conference Central California Conference
Mascot Cougar
Rival Merced High School
Newspaper Cougar Tracks

Golden Valley High School is a high school located within the Merced Union High School District in the community of Merced, California, United States. The school first opened in August 1994, with its first class of seniors graduating on June 5, 1996. The current enrollment is over 2,300 students in grades 9 through 12.[2]



According to the United States Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment characteristics for the 2009-2010 school year were as follows:

Enrollment by grade
9 10 11 12
Students 640 563 585 528
Enrollment by gender
Male Female
Students 1,152 1,164
Enrollment by race/ethnicity
American Indian/Alaskan Asian/Pacific Islander Black Hispanic White Two or more races
Students 15 444 142 1,152 546 17


Golden Valley's Advanced Placement program has earned the praise of Newsweek magazine, which named it a "Top 1300" school in the United States, three years running.[3] Golden Valley has also garnered a Silver Award from US News & World Report, which named it one of the top 1,800 schools in the United States.[4]


The cross-town Bears of Merced High School have been the Cougars' rivals since Golden Valley opened in 1994.

Merced has a deep and long-standing animosity with the Atwater High School Falcons, both in sports and in academics. As the city of Merced grew, so did its student population, forcing the freshmen to be bussed to a different area of the city known as "East Campus" in order to adequately fit them all. This eventually drove the city to develop plans for a second city high school, Golden Valley High. Until the new school's opening, the main rival for the Merced Bears was the Atwater Falcons.

However, the opening of Golden Valley prompted a split in districting of Merced, and nearly half of the first-year students at the new campus were from Merced High. Since then a great competition between "old school" and "new school" has sprung up, and Atwater has fallen into a close second-rival for both city schools.

The Netherlands[edit]

In 2010 the school visited the Stedelijk Dalton lyceum for an interchange project, in Dordrecht in the Netherlands. They were there from 6–9 April, and visited the school, Amsterdam, the windmill of Kinderdijk, and Paris in France.

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