Martin Luther King High School (Riverside, California)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Martin Luther King High School
9301 Wood Road
Riverside, CA 92508

United States
Type Comprehensive Public High School
Established 1999
Opened August 1999
School district Riverside Unified School District
Principal Michael West
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 3,257 (as of 2016-17)
Color(s)      Navy
Mascot Wolf
Rival Polytechnic High school
Newspaper The King Courier
Feeder schools Amelia Earhart Middle School, Frank Augustus Miller Middle School

Martin Luther King High School is a comprehensive public high school in Riverside, California. It is a two-time California Distinguished School and currently a part of the Big VIII League and ranks amongst the best schools in the area and the nation. Martin Luther King High School has served 15 years as host for "King High Remembers" a program created by Mr. John Corona of the Social Science Department to honor the veterans. In addition, the high school provides programs like Project Lead the Way (PLTW), Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), Game Design, Science Olympiad, Robotics, and a selection of Advanced Placement (AP) courses.


Martin Luther King High School, commonly referred to as "King High School," opened in 1999 and was the first high school to be built in Riverside, California since 1973. The first year enrollment was 858 students in grades 9 and 10. Martin Luther King High School added grade 11 in 2000 and grade 12 in 2001. Its first class graduated in 2002. Its first four-year class (students who attended Martin Luther King High School for all four years of their high school career) graduated in 2003.

There was considerable controversy when the school was named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with parents expressing their concern that their children would face discrimination from college admission officers.

"In 1998, members of the Riverside (California) Unified School Board voted unanimously to name a new high school after slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK). Naming the school, which opened in September 1999, captured national media attention and sparked vehement protests from many parents. Some parents feared that the school (expected to be two-thirds White) might be perceived as being a predominantly “Black” school, thus hurting their children’s chances of getting into good colleges. Ironically, they cited intolerance and racism in other regions of the United States as justification for not naming the school for King. As one critic was quoted as saying: “In some parts of the country, [King is] not looked upon as somebody famous”

Enrollment at King High School has dramatically increased in the past several years as the population of Riverside has grown: During the 2006-2007 school year, total student enrollment reached 3,028. In 2009 enrollment stood at 3,055. Ninety-nine percent of Martin Luther King High School students live either in the communities of Orangecrest or Woodcrest. Ray Plutko served as the first principal of the school. In 2004, Karen Stevensen took Plutko's place as principal. She was followed by Dan Brooks in 2006, who held the position until June 2011. Darel Hansen was principal from July 2011 to June 2015. Michael West became principal in August 2015.


In November 2002, Martin Luther King High School was one of twelve schools honored by the Siemens Foundation for having one of the most extensive, rigorous and promising Advanced Placement math, science, and computer science course offerings in the region.[1]

Martin Luther King High School was recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2005 and 2009.[2]

Martin Luther King High School also has an excellent music program. Their chamber singers, show choir, and treble choir have won numerous awards and traveled to various locations around the United States and to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. The school's award winning marching band and color guard, the Riverside Kingsmen, have performed at Disneyland several times and in the 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade.[3] The Riverside Kingsmen have also performed in London, England's New Year's Parade with the RCC Marching Tigers in 2011 and 2014 as well as in Madrid, Spain's Three Kings Parade in 2014.[4][5] In 2007 and 2011, they performed in the Fiesta Bowl National Parade and Field Show competition in Phoenix, Arizona.

Martin Luther King High School began its computer science program in the fall of 1999 when the school opened and specializes in Game Design and Web Design. Programming languages taught include Visual Basic, Visual C#, C++, Java, and JavaScript. Scripting languages include HTML and CSS. The students have performed well in various programming competitions including back-to-back 1st Place Awards in the International Women’s Hackathon at California State University San Marcos, and a 1st-3rd Sweep in the Riverside Community College Digital Media Competition.

Martin Luther King High School's Project Lead the Way engineering program, which began in 2000, has garnered accolades in recent years. In 2008, King HS was named a National Project Lead the Way Model School. In 2009, King HS was named a Riverside County Model School of Excellence for its engineering program.

In 2009, Martin Luther King High School's Academic Performance Index score rose to 817[citation needed]. In 2013, Martin Luther King High School attained an Academic Performance Index score of 825, scoring the highest in its school district.[2]


Martin Luther King High School has five choirs, all under the direction of Brian Holm. There is Mixed Choir which is the beginners level co-ed choir. Men's Choir an intermediate all male choir. Treble Choir is another intermediate choir, but for women. Show Choir is a co-ed advanced choir that combines singing and dancing. Finally, the Chamber Singers is a co-ed, advanced choir. All five choirs perform widely throughout southern California in competitions. The mixed choir and men's choir participate in Music in the Parks every year. Treble Choir participates in local festivals as well as yearly competitions such as Heritage Festivals. Show Choir and Chamber Singer often perform together. During the Christmas season, these choirs often perform in the community for local elementary and middle schools as well as senior citizen centers and the Retired Teachers Organization. They also perform separately. Show Choir has performed in Show Choir competitions in southern California, placing in the top three every time, as well as attending Heritage Festivals and achieving a gold status every time. The Chamber Singers attend festivals in Riverside, California and Fullerton, California annually. They have also performed in the Disneyland Candlelight Festival for eleven years, since the school opened. They attend Heritage Festivals and have achieved gold status each time. The King Choirs hold five concerts each year Fall, Winter, Cabaret, Spring, the end-of-the-year barbecue in the King School's outdoor amphitheater.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Siemens Foundation Announces Winners of the 2002 Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement" "Martin Luther King High School Wolves Territory", accessed December 18, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "King High School" Archived 2010-12-11 at the Wayback Machine., "Riverside Unified School District", accessed December 18, 2010.
  3. ^ "About the Riverside Kingsmen" "Riverside Kingsmen", accessed December 18, 2010.
  4. ^ Riverside Kingsmen - London Tour[permanent dead link] "Riverside Kingsmen", accessed December 18, 2010.
  5. ^ "RCC to host 'Bon Voyage Event at Riverside Poly High School" "Riverside Community College Marching Tigers", accessed December 18, 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°53′N 117°20′W / 33.883°N 117.333°W / 33.883; -117.333