Long Beach Polytechnic High School

Coordinates: 33°47′14″N 118°11′06″W / 33.78715°N 118.18505°W / 33.78715; -118.18505
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

33°47′14″N 118°11′06″W / 33.78715°N 118.18505°W / 33.78715; -118.18505

Long Beach Polytechnic High School
1600 Atlantic Avenue

Motto"Home of Scholars & Champions"
"Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve"
Established1895; 128 years ago (1895)
School districtLong Beach Unified School District
PrincipalBill Salas & Quentin Brown
Faculty160.96 (FTE)[1]
Enrollment4,002 (2020-21)[1]
Student to teacher ratio24.86[1]
Athletics conferenceMoore League
Team nameJackrabbits

Long Beach Polytechnic High School, founded in 1895 as Long Beach High School, is a four-year public high school located at 1600 Atlantic Avenue in Long Beach, California, United States. The school serves portions of Long Beach, including Bixby Knolls, and some parts of the cities of Signal Hill and Lakewood. Polytechnic (more commonly known as Poly) is the flagship high school of the Long Beach Unified School District. It is a large urban high school with about 4,000 students.

Polytechnic has long been distinguished in both academics and athletics. The PACE (Program of Accelerated Curricular Experiences, founded in 1975 by Dr. Nancy Gray,[2] a teacher and administrator for the Long Beach School system), and the CIC (Center of International Curriculum) magnet programs boast more total University of California admissions than any other high school in California. In 2005, Sports Illustrated magazine named Polytechnic the "Sports School of the Century," in recognition of the school's badminton, baseball, basketball, football, track, cross country, swimming, water polo, volleyball, wrestling, tennis, golf, and softball teams. Polytechnic has also received numerous prizes for its music program, including six Grammy Awards, two of them being "golden signature" Grammy Awards. Long Beach Poly has sent more players to the NFL than any other high school in the country, sending over 60 throughout the history of the school.[3] Long Beach Poly was also ranked number one in a list of the best high school athletic programs in the nation by Sports Illustrated.[4]


Ethnic composition as of 2020–21
Race and ethnicity[5] Total
Hispanic or Latino 51.1% 51.1
Asian 20.5% 20.5
African American 15.6% 15.6
Non-Hispanic White/Anglo 7.6% 7.6
Other 3.3% 3.3
Pacific Islander 1.8% 1.8
Native American 0.1% 0.1

Early years[edit]

Long Beach Polytechnic High School began offering classes in 1895 in order to help educate the growing population of Long Beach. The first classes were at the Methodist Tabernacle Chapel, and the first principal was Walter S. Bailey.[6] The first graduating class was in 1897 and only had one student. During this same year, classes were moved to Chautauqua Hall at Fourth Street and Pine Avenue as work began on the new Long Beach High School.[6] Long Beach High School was completed in 1898 and featured four classrooms and an assembly hall.

Long Beach High School, located at what is now the northwest corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Eighth Street, 1905[7]

The following year, the Long Beach High School Athletic Association was formed.

In 1903, the school yearbook, Caerulea, was first published.

Football and basketball programs began in 1904.

The first student government was established in 1906.[6]

David Burcham became school principal the following year, a position he would hold until 1941.

The girls' basketball program won three consecutive state championships, from 1907 to 1909.

In 1911, Long Beach Poly moved to the location at 16th Street and Atlantic, offering more space and amenities.[6]

JROTC began in 1917, and an influenza epidemic swept through the school population.

The following year, rabbits began invading the playing fields, inspiring the track team to call themselves the Jackrabbits; this eventually became the official school mascot.[6]

The athletic field was dedicated as "David Burcham Field" in 1924 to honor the long-serving principal.

During much of the 1920s, Poly was the largest high school west of the Mississippi River in terms of student population.[6]

A new Mediterranean Revival auditorium was designed by William Horace Austin in 1930,[8] and constructed in 1931. The Long Beach earthquake damaged the school in 1933.[9] Following the earthquake, bricks from the damage were sold in order to pay for a memorial flagpole which still stands. In 1935, a new science building was built and the auditorium was remodeled by architect Hugh Davies. The remodeling included PWA Moderne, Streamline Moderne, and Art Deco design.[8] A new administration building was completed the following year.

In 1937, Poly graduated over 1,000 students for the first time.[citation needed]

The 1976 edition of the school's Caerulea yearbook


The school celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1945.

Wooden bleachers that had lined the athletic fields burned down in 1952 and the new Veterans Memorial Stadium became the new home field for the Jackrabbits.

The library was completed in 1953.

In 1969, a racist leaflet was published, prompting approximately 100 Euro-American and African-American students to fight, leaving 24 students injured.[6]

Homecoming titles (King and Queen) were ended in 1971 due to racial tensions.

In 1975, the Program of Additional Curricular Experiences (PACE) began, one of the first high school programs to offer advanced college placement courses. Badminton began in 1977, and girls' track and gymnastics teams started the following year.[6]


The Center for International Commerce (CIC) began in 1982.

In 1984, Poly was recognized by USA Today as the top ranked school nationally in terms of Moore League, CIF, and state titles.[6] Poly received the Distinguished School Recognition Award in 1986, the California Department of Education's highest award.

Poly became a four-year school in 1989.

A new science building was completed in 1993.

The school celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 1995.

The Poly music program was recognized as a Grammy Signature School Gold in 2000, one of the top ten music programs in the country.[6] Poly received this honor in 2003 as well.

In 2005, Harvard recognized Poly as the most successful high school in the nation in terms of number of graduates.[6] Also in 2005, Sports Illustrated named the Poly as the #1 sports high school in the nation.[4][6]

In 2006, security was increased and school IDs were required to be worn at all times while on campus.

In 2018, Poly dedicated its library to honor former principal Bob Ellis.[10]

In 2019, the auditorium was renamed the Andrew Osman Performing Arts Center to honor the school's music program director of 36 years.[11]


The school motto states that Poly is the "Home of Scholars and Champions." The PACE and CIC magnet programs are highly desired destinations for students throughout the South Bay & Northern Orange County.

In 2008, 1,573 AP exams were administered at Poly with over 75% of testers receiving a passing score of 3 or higher.[12] The national pass rate in 2008 was slightly over 58%.[13]

Poly also has the highest academic performance index of any traditional high school in Long Beach with a 2009 score of 747. It consistently ranks a 9 out of 10 when compared to schools with similar demographics since 2007.

Pac Rim is a California magnet academy for students interested in business. Polytechnic High also includes the Beach, Justice, METS, and MEDS academies.[14]

Poly also hosts the PACE program (Program of Additional Curricular Experiences), a competitive college-preparatory magnet program. Entrance is predicated upon a combination of grade-point-average and standardized test scores.


Long Beach Polytechnic offers a wide variety of sports and activities due to its large size and diverse student population. Athletic teams compete in Division I within the California Interscholastic Federation and are known as the Jackrabbits. Throughout the school's history, the Jackrabbits have won many state championships and have produced several collegiate and professional athletes. In 2005, Sports Illustrated magazine named Polytechnic the "Sports School of the Century," in recognition of the school's badminton, baseball, basketball, football, track, cross country, swimming, water polo, tennis, golf, and softball teams.[4]


Long Beach Poly has maintained a successful football program and has produced more NFL players than any other high school in the nation, over 60 throughout school history.[3]

Early years[edit]

Poly played its first football game in 1908 and featured its first African-American player in 1934.[15]

After losing their opener, the Jackrabbits won their first game 10–0 vs. Occidental Prep.[15]

In 1917, head coach Eddie Kienholz left the team to fight in World War I.

The 1919 Poly team went 12–0 and won their first state championship over Berkeley High School by a score of 21–14. Following the state championship, Poly defeated Phoenix High School by a score of 102–0 in the Southwest Championship.[15] Poly won additional CIF titles in 1923 and 1927.

Orian Landreth became the head coach in 1929 and won the CIF title vs. Santa Barbara High School.

Poly repeated as CIF champions in 1930, and also won titles in 1934 and 1936.[15] From 1942 to 1956, the football program experienced down years, producing just four winning seasons.[15] The 1959 and 1960 teams led by quarterback Bud Hollowell went 22–0–1 and claimed two CIF titles.[16]

The 1959 team is best known for the "ICBM" backfield of Lonzo Irvin, Harvey Crow, Willie Brown and Willie Martin.[16]


From 1965 to 1979, the Jackrabbits experienced a second drought of success, making the playoffs five times in 15 seasons.[15] The 1973 team went winless and the 1979 team was forced to forfeit all of its wins due to ineligible players.[15] Poly won the CIF title in 1980 and were runners-up in 1981 and 1982. The Jackrabbits shared a title in 1985, sharing with Edison High School after a 14–14 tie.[15]

Poly experienced increased success in the 1990s and 2000s, winning CIF titles in 1997, 1999 and 2000. The 2001 team featured Marcedes Lewis, Hershel Dennis, Winston Justice, and Darnell Bing. Despite the talent, the team finished runner-up to De La Salle High School.[15] The Jackrabbits won the CIF title in 2004 behind DeSean Jackson and won additional titles in 2007, 2008 and 2012.[15]

Former New York Giant Antonio Pierce was hired as head coach before the 2014 season.

4th and Forever[edit]

A reality television on Current TV, titled 4th and Forever, focuses on the school's strong football program. It has been called the real-life version of Friday Night Lights, but has also been derided as inaccurate and "[relying] on repetitive reality-show conventions".[17][18]


2001: Campus arrest and suicide of student Andreas Wickstrom[edit]

On December 5, 2001, a school clerk informed a supervisor that he had found a bag of marijuana on campus, in the car of Andreas Wickstrom. The police were notified first, before Andreas's parents, John and Inge Wickstrom. Andreas was arrested and immediately taken to the youth detention facility on Pacific Avenue. Andreas was released in the custody of his mother, who "knew he was in pain" but did not suspect he would harm himself. Three hours after his arrest, Andreas shot himself at home with a shotgun belonging to his grandfather, a retired police officer. Inge recalled, "Andreas kept saying that they treated him like a criminal. There was no protection for him... At least if I had been called to go to the school, I could have reassured him that everything was going to be OK. The very people to whom I had entrusted his care that morning at Poly failed to protect him when he most needed it. If he had a headache or had injured himself, I would have been called immediately."[19]

2005: Graduation ceremony shooting[edit]

At 8:40pm on June 15, 2005, a fight began outside of Long Beach Veterans Memorial Stadium, followed by a shooting during the Long Beach Polytechnic High School graduation ceremony. "Authorities believe that someone was injured and driven from the scene because they discovered drops of blood. The victim, however, had not shown up at any area hospital, officials said. Two handguns were found at the scene, but it was unclear if either was the weapon involved. The graduation ceremony was just ending when the shooting occurred. The resulting police investigation caused long delays for people leaving the stadium."[20]

Filming location[edit]

Long Beach Poly has been the backdrop for many commercials, television shows, and films.

Notable alumni[edit]





Track and field[edit]

Other sports[edit]


Other alumni[edit]


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  2. ^ "About PACE". Poly PACE Parent Support Group.
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  4. ^ a b c "Best High School Athletic Programs" (English). Retrieved 2005-05-11.
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  21. ^ a b c d MLB Draft Factories, Maxpreps.com, Jun 03, 2008.
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External links[edit]