Renton High School

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Renton High School
400 South Second Street
Renton, Washington, 98057
United States
Type Free public
Established 1911
School district Renton School District
Principal Giovanna San Martin
Faculty 45.7 full-time equivalent
Grades 9th through 12th
Enrollment 1256 (December 2011)
Campus type Urban
Color(s) Red and white
Mascot Indians

Renton High School is a public secondary school (grades 9–12) in downtown Renton, Washington, USA, about 10 miles southeast of downtown Seattle. Founded in 1911, it is the oldest high school in the Renton School District.


The original Renton High School was built in March 1911 on land originally owned by the Duwamish Indian Tribe,[1] at a cost of $65,000. The three-story brick building, featuring a bell tower that rang out every half hour, stood on the location of the east wing of the current building. The school stood on wooden pilings, which started to rot when Lake Washington was lowered owing to the building of the ship canal. The timbers cracked and the crowded building sank a few inches during the 1923 graduation ceremonies.[2] It was replaced by a larger school in March 1932. In 1941, the old building was torn down and a new addition built near the current building.[3] The school was remodeled in 1969.[4]

In April 1998, Renton voters approved a levy to renovate the high school. Funds were collected from private donors to expand the project to turn the school's auditorium into a performing arts center, at an estimated additional cost of $1.5 million. The City of Renton appropriated another $400,000 for the project. The naming rights were secured by IKEA for $500,000 and construction began in June 2002. The shared-use facility, known as the Renton Community IKEA Performing Arts Center, was completed in June 2003.[5]

When the school first opened, there were only 43 students: 17 freshmen, 19 sophomores, 3 juniors, and the 4 seniors who made up the first graduating class, in May 1911. By comparison, the largest graduating class, that of 1965, when Renton was still the only high school in the district, comprised 809 seniors.[2]

The nickname "Indians" was adopted in honor of Henry Moses, who from 1916 through 1920 was the school's sole Native American basketball player. Moses was the last chief of the Duwamish tribe, and a great grandnephew of Chief Sealth, for whom Seattle was named.[2] Though the name has become controversial in recent years, Moses' widow and the Duwamish Tribe have asked Renton to retain the name to honor Moses' memory.[1] In response to a 1993 resolution by the Washington State Board of Education asking all school districts to review their mascots and logos, the mascot was modified to depict a Pacific Northwest Indian.[6] The words to the school fight song have been modified to say "let's show 'em" in place of the former "let's scalp 'em".[7]

Student body[edit]

As of December 2011 there were 1,256 students enrolled.[8] The school boasts a diverse student body, with only 31.6% of the students (as of fall 2011) identified as Caucasian or White. Percentages for other groups: Black or African American 35.2%, Asian 30.3%, American Indian or Alaska Native .9%, Hispanic or Latino 15.7%, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander .5%, and multiracial .9%.[9]


Renton High School offers a full range of academic subjects. Programs for the 2007–2008 school year included mathematics, language arts, social studies, science, physical education, business, computers, art, drama, music, vocational/technology education, foreign language, and family and consumer sciences. Select Advanced placement courses are offered.[4]


Renton is a member of the King Division of the Seamount League and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). The Indians compete interscholastically in football, golf, volleyball, cross country, swimming, soccer, basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, baseball, softball, tennis, and track.[10][11][12]

Home football and soccer games, as well as track and field events, are held at Renton Memorial Stadium, located a few blocks to the north of the school. The stadium is shared with the district's other high schools.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Renton High School history, RHS web site (retrieved Oct 2, 2009)
  2. ^ a b c Slauson, Morda C., Renton From Coal to Jets, Renton Historical Society 2006. ISBN 0-9786954-0-2
  3. ^ School Houses of Renton, The Burgess Legacy Project (retrieved March 23, 2008)
  4. ^ a b Renton School District: 2007–08 Performance Report (retrieved October 2, 2009)
  5. ^ Renton Community Performing Arts Center, Association of Washington Cities ( (retrieved March 23, 2008)
  6. ^ Washington State Board of Education Resolution STAR (Students and Teachers Against Racism) (retrieved March 24, 2008)
  7. ^ Renton High School Student Handbook (2007–08) (retrieved March 30, 2008)
  8. ^ Renton School District Enrollment December 2011 retrieved April 18, 2012
  9. ^ School Enrollment Report as of November 28, 2011, Renton School District (retrieved April 18, 2012)
  10. ^ Renton High School Fall Athletics, RHS web site (retrieved October 2, 2009)
  11. ^ Renton High School Spring Athletics, RHS web site (retrieved October 2, 2009)
  12. ^ Renton High School Winter Athletics, RHS web site (retrieved October 2, 2009)
  13. ^ Family's bond runs deep, The Seattle Times (retrieved March 23, 2008)
  14. ^ a b The top 25 greatest running backs in state history, The Seattle Times (retrieved March 23, 2008)
  15. ^ TSN Top 50 CFL Players (retrieved March 23, 2008)
  16. ^ Football, Washington State Sports Hall of Fame (retrieved October 2, 2009)

External links[edit]

Renton High School
Renton High School (March 2008)
Renton High School (March 2008) 
View from east showing IKEA Performing Arts Center
View from east showing IKEA Performing Arts Center 

Coordinates: 47°28′58″N 122°12′42″W / 47.48278°N 122.21167°W / 47.48278; -122.21167