John F. Kennedy High School (La Palma, California)
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|John F. Kennedy High School|
8281 Walker Street
|School type||Public, High School|
|School district||Anaheim Union HS District|
|NCES District ID||0602630|
|NCES School ID||060263000177|
|Campus type||Large Suburb|
|Color(s)||Kelly Green & Gold |
|Athletics conference||Empire League CIF Southern Section|
|Rival||Cypress High School|
|Accreditation||Western Association of Schools and Colleges|
|Feeder schools||Walker Junior High|
John F. Kennedy High School is a public, four-year high school and International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in the city of La Palma, California. Kennedy gets most of its students from the junior high school across the street, Walker Junior High School.
John F. Kennedy High School opened to 1,488 students in the 10th and 11th grades on September 14, 1964. For its first year of operation, there was no senior class. Kenneth MacPherson was Kennedy's first principal. Most buildings were ready except the dressing rooms, the gym, and playing fields. The school was to be named Centralia, in keeping with Board policy to name high schools after an elementary school district in the area; however, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 prompted a group of patrons to have the school (then under construction) renamed in his honor. It was one of the first schools in the country to have been named after the assassinated president.
In the fall of 2011, the administration of Kennedy High School was criticized for its "Gold Card Program," in which students who performed well on the California Standardized Tests the previous year were given special recognition through special planners and ID cards, along with perks and bonuses at local businesses and throughout the school. Nearby Cypress High School had also implemented a similar program, but it did not receive as much media attention. Both schools have since removed or altered the program.
Currently, Kennedy serves around 2,400 students in the 9th through 12th grades. Recent construction has added a quad area, a second practice gym, renovated classrooms, a new library and counseling center, a modular "4th court," as well as an extensive music building which includes an auditorium, two band rooms, two choir rooms, practice rooms, and a new pool.
Kennedy's sports teams are known as the Fighting Irish (the senior circle looks like a three leaf clover from above). They are a member of the Empire League in CIF's Southern Section. The school's main rival is Cypress High School. The Fighting Irish football team won the CIF-SS Southern Division Championship in 2006, adding to the AAA championship they had won in 1971.:76,82 This 2006 championship team was led by coach, Mitch Olson.:82 In the 2007-08 year, after 21 years as the head coach of football, Olson left to coach in Georgia. In 2007, the Irish softball team was a CIF-SS Southern Section finalist, losing to Empire League rival Pacifica High School. Kennedy boys' soccer (introduced in 1972) won the CIF-SS championships in 1980,:112 co-championed in 2003 and 2004,:114 and won Empire League Champions in 2011, while the girls' team won league titles in 1984 and 1988.
In 2017, the boys volleyball team captured their first CIF-SS Div IV championship in program history. It marked the first time in CIF Southern Section history a wild card team successfully captured the CIF title. The team was then invited to participate in the CIF State tournament as a Division III participant, where the Fighting Irish advanced to the Southern California regional final before losing to Sage Creek High School, finishing Runners-Up in CIF State on May 27, 2017.
Complete list of Kennedy team CIF SS Championships
- 1971 - Football - Div. 3A CIF Champion 
- 1980 - Boys Soccer - Div. 3A CIF Champion 
- 1984 - Girls Softball - Div. 4A CIF Champion 
- 1988 - Girls Softball - Div. 3A CIF Champion 
- 1988 - Boys Basketball - Div. 3A CIF Champion 
- 1989 - Boys Baseball - Div. 3A CIF Champion 
- 2003 - Boys Soccer - Div. 3 CIF Champion 
- 2004 - Boys Soccer - Div. 3 CIF Champion 
- 2006 - Football - CIF Southern Division Champion 
- 2017 - Boys Volleyball - Div. 4 CIF Champion 
- 2019 - Boys Baseball - Div. 4 CIF Champion 
Complete list of Kennedy team CIF SS and State Championship Runners-Up
- 1968 - Boys Wrestling - CIF Runners-up 
- 1979 - Boys Soccer - Div. 3A CIF Runners-up 
- 1979 - Girls Volleyball - Div. 3A CIF Runners-up 
- 1983 - Badminton (Co-ed) - Div. 3A CIF Runners-up 
- 1984 - Badminton (Co-ed) - Div. 3A CIF Runners-up 
- 1992 - Boys Basketball - Div. 2A CIF Runners-up 
- 2002 - Girls Softball - Div. 2 CIF Runners-up 
- 2007 - Girls Softball - Div. 2 CIF Runners-up 
- 2011 - Boys Swimming/Diving - Div. 3 CIF Runners-Up 
- 2017 - Boys Volleyball (Calif. State Tournament) - State Div. 3 CIF State Runners-Up 
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a prestigious and rigorous course of education that prepares students for study in the most elite colleges and universities worldwide. Kennedy High School has been authorized to offer the IB Diploma Programme since July 1999 and the programme is taught in English. Upon successful completion of all IB requirements and exams, students are awarded a second diploma (separate from their Kennedy diploma) that will grant one to two years of college credits. The University of California accepts IB Diploma holders as incoming sophomores.
Band and Colorguard
John F. Kennedy High School's band and colorguard is called the Shamrock Regiment. The band was formerly known as "The Guards." The band is a division 6A and is part of the SCSBOA.
The choir is known as the Kennedy Singers. The different groups are as follows: Harmonic Fusion, Treble Effects, Lyrical Tones, Vocal Motion, and Concert Choir.
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- Brandon Baker, actor in films such as "Johnny Tsunami", "Johnny Kapahala:Back on Board"
- Alan Bannister, Former Major League Baseball player
- Ami Bera, Congressman, CA District #7
- Casey Ellison, former child actor who appeared in TV sitcom "Punky Brewster"
- Casey Fien, Major League Baseball pitcher in the Seattle Mariners' Organization
- Greg Hansell, former major league baseball player
- Debra Jensen, former Coppertone model, Miss January, 1978 Playboy magazine
- Rhema McKnight, wide receiver for the University of Notre Dame, New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers
- Eddie Pleasant, outside line backer for the University of Oregon, strong safety for the Houston Texans
- John Stamos, actor
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