John W. North High School

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John W. North High School
1550 3rd St.
Riverside, California 92507
Type Public
Established 1965
Superintendent David Hansen
Principal Benjamin Nakamura
Enrollment 2,281 (2014-15)[1]
Color(s)      Blue
Athletics conference CIF Southern Section
Inland Valley League
Mascot Husky

John W. North High School is a public high school in Riverside, California, part of the Riverside Unified School District, and the home of the Huskies. It is an International Baccalaureate school, and takes pride in its athletic teams that compete in CIF.


John Wesley North High School was established in 1965 and named after the founder of Riverside, John W. North. In 2010, the California Court of Appeals Fourth District, Division 2 visited the school in an educational experience and as an outreach to young people. The Court heard two appeals in the school's theater.


North has a diverse student body: 10.6% Caucasian, 71.1% Latino, 11.1% black, and 4.6% Asian.[2] Many second languages are also spoken here, including Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Tagalog, and Urdu. Average class size is 30+ students.

International Baccalaureate[edit]

In 1987, John W. North High School became the nineteenth California high school admitted into the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. North High is one of the few schools in California that awards the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and Certificate to students.

Advanced Placement[edit]

North is host to many Advanced Placement (AP) classes.


In the 2005 Academic Performance Index (API) Statewide Rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, North ranked 7. The same year, in the API Similar Schools Rank, North ranked 10. As of 2010, the school is rated 7 out of 10 overall.[3][4]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

North is home to many clubs and activities. This includes the "Advancement Via Individual Determination" (AVID) program which is designed to help motivate financially disadvantaged kids into college. North also has a number of academies: the Education and Human Services Academy, the Law and Protective Services Academy, and the Global Business Information and Technology Academy. It is also home to the Blue Star Regiment (BSR), North's marching band.

North's award-winning yearbook, the Aurora, received the National Yearbook Pacemaker Award in 2005, the highest honor given to a high school yearbook by NSPA. They won tenth place at the Spring 2008 JEA Conference in Anaheim. Also, North's newspaper, The North Star, has won numerous national awards for the quality of its competitive issues and website. The North Star won third place in the 2006 Spring JEA/NSPA conference and won tenth place in 2007.

The school's Mock Trial has won first place in Riverside County in 1986, 1989, and 2000. The North Mock Trial team won second place in the 2000 California State Mock Trial competition.


  • United Student League – Student Council
  • Animal Rights Club
  • Animators- Club that watches and shares interests of Anime
  • Anime Club – Students interested in Anime
  • Asian Student Union - Dedicated to teaching and exploring Asian culture.
  • Aurora – School yearbook
  • A.L.I.V.E. – A club of Christian fellowship
  • Be Strong Club
  • Best Buddies
  • Between the Lines – Book Club
  • Black Student Union – Dedicated to teaching and exploring African-American culture
  • Blue Star Regiment – School Marching Band
  • California Scholarship Federation
  • Chess Club
  • Chinese Honor Society
  • Couture Club – Fashion Club
  • European Thought and Culture – Dedicated to teaching and exploring Western European culture
  • Fellowship Christian Athletes
  • Friday Night Live
  • Geology Club
  • Harlequins – Drama Club
  • Heritage Plan
  • Interact
  • Key Club (sponsored by Kiwanis)
  • La Salsa Rica – Dance (Salsa) Club
  • Math Club
  • Multi-Cultural Council – Dedicated to teaching and exploring different cultures
  • MEChA – Dedicated to teaching and exploring Mexican culture
  • Middle Eastern Club
  • Mock Trial
  • Muslim Student Association
  • MyStrength CLub
  • The North Star Newspaper
  • Junior Optimist Octagon International (sponsored by Optimist International)
  • OPEN – Gay-Straight Alliance
  • Peer Helpers – Tutoring
  • Polynesian Club
  • Red Cross Club
  • Science Honor Society
  • Spanish Honor Society
  • Speech and Debate
  • Static – Hip Hop Dance Crew
  • Young Democrats

Blue Star Regiment – the marching band[edit]

The John W. North High School Blue Star Regiment (BSR is part of the school's Instrumental Music and Dance Program and consists of a modern corps-style competitive marching band with roughly 140 members. BSR was founded approximately 30 years ago under the direction of Gary Locke, a Riverside Community College (RCC) band director. In 1980, the students came up with the Blue Star Regiment name and began competing.

In 2002, the Blue Star Regiment won the first SCSBOA 5A Championships. In 2003, they retained their title with their second consecutive first-place victory. Since their inception, BSR has won numerous sweepstakes awards at fall competitions, including in SCSBOA, WBA, and BOA. They have also performed with the RCC Marching Tigers and marched in the Pasadena Rose Parade. The BSR Drill Team took 1st in the 2006 United Spirit Association National Championships in Florida. Under the direction of Adam Kehl, the Blue Star Regiment is regarded by many as the among the top marching bands in Southern California, with a reputation of excellence, discipline, hard-work, class, and California pride. In 2009, the BSR had the opportunity to perform in Jiang-men, China.

Since opening in 1965, the North High Instrumental Music program has had 11 directors and has trained many fine musicians. Initially, the program began with only a Concert and Pep Band program under Sam Terry's directorship. In 1968, George Brooks took over the band and founded the first marching band. In the 1970s, the Mitchell brothers, John and Alan, were successful in developing strong concert, jazz, and parade bands with tall flag and drill team units.

In the fall of 1979, the marching band went through a significant change under the new leadership of band director Gary Locke. He changed the look of the North High marching band from a traditional show style to a more modern combination of the new drum and bugle corps style. It was at this point in its history that the Blue Star Regiment was born and rapidly became successful in both competition and in entertainment. Eventually, Mr. and Mrs. Locke left North High to become the directors at RCC, where they presently teach.

During the tenure of Charles Craig, the BSR attempted a modern show that was a foreshadowing of the modern BSR. Mr. Craig took the BSR to its first Fiesta Bowl appearance, but was soon recruited away by another district that same year. Dale Leaman stepped in during the interim and turned down the directorship at the end of the year, refusing to work with a program that he could not redirect. Perry Hall, the BSR percussion adviser, was offered the job as the new director after a chaotic year. Mr. Hall quickly brought the BSR back to prominence by focusing on going "Back to Basics" with solidly-build and well-executed shows that featured all of BSR's groups. Mr. Hall's tenure is generally regarded as the most consistently successful period in the program's history with the BSR winning many championships, the Concert Band receiving superior ratings and the Drill Team continuing its dominance in Southern California. After four successful years, Mr. Hall was recruited away by another program.

Mike Hipp, the BSR brass instructor, became the next director, and held the position for three years. The BSRIMA, having adopted a new policy of support and non-interference in the creation of the shows, supported the marching program without reservation during this time. Under Mr. Hipp's tenure, BSR developed new numbers and their shows became increasingly more modern. The concert programs, however, suffered setbacks because of the lack of support. After later suffering setbacks with the marching band, Mr. Hipp also left for another school.

The next director was Pete Jackson who spend 12 years at North focusing the music program on providing numerous opportunities for students to become well-rounded performers. For example, the percussionists now participate fully in all concert and marching activities. The Concert Program now has a Wind Symphony, as well as a Concert Band, and the BSR's competitive field shows have earned a top 15 rankings from 1992 through 1997.

In 2001 the Drill Team won a Miss Dance Drill Team USA title in the small dance category, garnering them an invitation to the Miss Drill Team International Competition held in Adelaide, Australia. The drill team has traveled to Japan for competition and returned with a world title. And, under the direction of Christine Schive, the drill team now includes all members, instead of a select few. The Color Guard has also been highly successful, winning a gold medal in 1994 and expanding its membership as well.

In 2004, Adam Kehl was appointed BSR band director, kicking off five innovative and ground-breaking years, with BSR presenting cutting-edge field shows in the Western Band Association and expansion of BSR's subprograms and creation of the Measure B Project and Synergy groups. In two years, the winter guard progressed from WGASC Regional AA to Open Class. And, as a highlight of the era, in 2009, the Blue Star Regiment embarked on a 12-day adventure in China.

In 2011, the BSR has come once again under the direction of Pete Jackson. Although facing new changes with the transitioning of leadership from Adam Kehl, the band's history of excellence gives every indication of continuing with its current crop of musicians and performers.


Track and field[edit]

John W. North has always held great pride in their athletics, particularly their highly successful Track and Field Team, which has won more CIF and State titles than any other school in the Inland Empire.

The program took off when Charles Leathers, a former hurdler himself, became the head coach in the early 1990s. In 1995 Joanna Hayes graduated from North with school records in the 100m and 300m Hurdles with times of 13.45 and 41.20. She came back from the CIF California State Meet with gold as well as running with the 4 × 100 m and 4 × 400 m teams with state winning teams of 47.18 and 3:46.16. She would later become the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal Winner in Athens in the 100m Hurdles and credits his coaching to the root of her success. Another prolific runner under Leathers was Nicole Hoxie. A sophomore during Hayes' last year, Hoxie would go on to finish the 1997 State Meet with the fastest women's time in the 100m hurdles, an incredible time of 13.35, and become a two-time champion. She also won gold with her 4 × 400 m team and a 300m hurdles time of 42.66. Hoxie went on to run successfully for the Texas Longhorns. The arrival of Nichole Denby also helped North's women's team. As a hurdler, Denby set more records: a school record of 13.20 seconds for 100m hurdles in 2000 and a best time of 41.53 in the 300m. Other women athletes at North included Keiana Shannon, April Holliverse, Chaunte Howard, Ashlee Brown, Domenique Manning, Lorainne King, Tanika Ward, Gayle Hunter, Kiersten Kirkland, Frances Chase-Dunn, and Marjani Maldonado. Together they had 12 CIF titles and 4 State titles, including back-to-back wins in 2006 and 2007.

In 2006 the men's team won the boys' State title. In 2007, the 4 × 400 m team took second in the State final. At 41.12 seconds, North High holds the fastest 100m time in Riverside County. Gutierrez currently holds the 400m North record with 46.79 seconds. And, in 2009, Dante Holland broke the 800m school record running it in 1:53.42 and making it to State.

Under his tenure, Leathers coached both the boys' and girls' teams to back-to-back CIF championships, placing North among only seven schools to do so. Since these heady successes, Coach Leather's command of the Huskies has come to an end and the team's prestige has slowly faded. Most recently, Dante was the only participating member of the North High squad going to State.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "John W. North High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times California Schools Guide
  3. ^ 2005 API Base School Report
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

33°58′55″N 117°20′45″W / 33.98194°N 117.34583°W / 33.98194; -117.34583Coordinates: 33°58′55″N 117°20′45″W / 33.98194°N 117.34583°W / 33.98194; -117.34583