Irvine High School

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Irvine High School
Irvine High School Logo.gif
4321 Walnut Ave


United States
Coordinates33°42′09″N 117°46′57″W / 33.7026°N 117.7824°W / 33.7026; -117.7824Coordinates: 33°42′09″N 117°46′57″W / 33.7026°N 117.7824°W / 33.7026; -117.7824
School typePublic Secondary
MottoIntegrity, Honor, Social Responsibility
School boardIrvine Unified School District
SuperintendentTerry L. Walker
PrincipalMonica Colunga
Faculty78.06 (on FTE basis)[1]
Enrollment1,991 (2018-19)[2]
Student to teacher ratio25.51[1]
Color(s)      Green, light blue, and white
Athletics conferencePacific Coast League
Team nameVaqueros
RivalArnold O. Beckman High School
NewspaperEl Vaquero

Irvine High School is a public high school, located in the city of Irvine in Orange County, California, United States. It is part of the Irvine Unified School District.

As of the 2014–15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,968 students and 60 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 30.7.[1]

Awards and recognition[edit]

During the 1988–89 school year, Irvine High School was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education,[3][4] the highest award an American school can receive.[5][6]

It was named a California Distinguished School by the California State Board of Education in both 1988 and 2007.[7]

Additionally, in 2000 and again in 2006, the Accrediting Commission for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges awarded Irvine High a full six-year term of accreditation under the Pursuing Excellence format.

Irvine High School has also been named a Grammy “Signature Gold” for its instrumental and choral music departments.

The High School provided facilities for the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in August 2010.


Exterior of Humanities Building

Soon after it opened in 1970, University High School, the first high school in Irvine, began to get too crowded from the influx of residents moving to Irvine's fast-developing housing tracts. The school district had already planned for a second high school to be built on what was then the extreme north side of the city across Walnut Avenue from the Greentree residential tract which was completed in 1973. Dr. Dean Waldfogel was chosen to be the first principal of Irvine High School; Waldfogel selected his faculty of a dozen teachers from a large number of applicants. The fledgling organization accepted its first class of 300 freshmen in September 1975. Because the high school's buildings were still under construction and not ready for occupation, the new high school was housed in extra classrooms and portable buildings at Rancho San Joaquin Middle School, sharing facilities such as sports, music and the library with the younger students there. The new Irvine High School campus opened its doors in September 1976, taking in as sophomores the former class of "Rancho" ninth graders as well as a new class of freshmen. Each successive year added another class of freshmen and in September, 1978, the high school finally had all four classes of students. Construction continued on campus during this time, with the theater and the main gym becoming available in 1977, the football-track field in 1978 and the aquatic center in 1979. The first class graduated in June, 1979.

Early architectural model of Irvine High School as published in the 1976 yearbook, showing the hexagonal design scheme which extends throughout the plan.

The campus itself is notable for its architecture. It was designed by architect Ron D. Young in the Brutalist architecture style, and built largely of tilt up concrete slabs featuring distinctive cast geometric inlays. The shapes and angles of floor plans and design motifs were based on the hexagon. The initial layout of the Humanities building envisioned two or three teachers and their respective students sharing a single open plan hexagonal room, but this quickly proved too distracting. Portable office dividers were placed in a line to define classroom boundaries, but noise was still a problem. After two years of such conditions, walls were erected to close off the large, open hexagons.

Academic teams[edit]

Exterior of Irvine High School, with Student Center in the background

Irvine High has several distinguished academic teams. The Science Olympiad team placed second in Orange County and fourth in Southern California in the 2010–2011 Science Olympiad competitions.[8] The Quiz Bowl team, begun in the 2010–2011 school year, informally ranked in the top 15 schools in Southern California that season.[9] It tied for second in the regular division of the Triton Spring Quiz Bowl Competition.[10] In the 2011–12 season, the Irvine Team placed sixth place at the UCSD Triton Fall Tournament, qualifying them for the 2012 PACE NSC Quiz Bowl Tournament in St. Louis.[11] Irvine's newspaper, the El Vaquero, is regarded as the best high school newspaper publication in the nation, having won the first place prize in 2014.[citation needed]Irvine High School is also a founding high school in the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program, and is in charge of developing and working on microsatellite propulsion methods.

Notable alumni[edit]

Neighborhoods served[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Irvine High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed May 18, 2020.
  2. ^ "Irvine High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  3. ^ "Irvine: Blue ribbon schools", Orange County Register, September 28, 2006. Accessed December 18, 2007.
  4. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982–1983 through 1999–2002 (PDF) Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine, United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
  5. ^ CIBA cited as one of the best by Education Department Archived 2007-08-19 at the Wayback Machine, Journal Inquirer, November 16, 2006. "The Blue Ribbon award is given only to schools that reach the top 10 percent of their state's testing scores over several years or show significant gains in student achievement. It is considered the highest honor a school can achieve."
  6. ^ Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test; The Washington Post. September 29, 2005 "For their accomplishments, all three schools this month earned the status of Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor the U.S. Education Department can bestow upon a school."
  7. ^ Distinguished School Awards: Award Winners for Orange County Archived 2008-12-28 at the Wayback Machine, California State Board of Education. Accessed December 17, 2007.
  8. ^ "OC Register Science Olympiad Article". Archived from the original on 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  9. ^ "SoCalQuizBowl Rankings".
  10. ^ "Triton Spring Results".
  11. ^ "2011 Triton Fall Results".
  12. ^ Klein, Sarah A. "Conquering Heroine; Amanda Beard Welcomed Back After Olympic Trial Swim Wins", Los Angeles Times, March 15, 1996. Accessed January 15, 2008. "A sign hastily written on notebook paper and held behind Olympic Swim Team member Amanda Beard's back on Thursday said it all: Amanda Beard is Cool. Even though she's just a freshman at Irvine High School and is only 14, she's cool, calm and collected about her two first-place finishes in the Olympic trials. And she's super-cool in the minds of her classmates."
  13. ^ Bob Hamelin, The Baseball Cube. Accessed December 17, 2007.

External links[edit]