Riverside Polytechnic High School

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Riverside Polytechnic High School
5450 Victoria Avenue
Riverside, California
United States
Type Public
Established 1887
Status Open
School district Riverside Unified School District
Superintendent Dr. Richard L. Miller[1]
Dean Sean Browning[2]
Principal Dr. Michael Roe[2]
Faculty 103[3]
Grades 9–12[4]
Enrollment 2,891[4] (2009–10)
Classrooms 99[3]
Campus size 40 acres (16 ha)[3]
Color(s) Orange and Green          
Athletics conference CIF Southern Section
Inland Valley League
Mascot Bear[5]
(No mascot prior to 1940)
Nickname Poly; Riverside Poly
Rival Ramona[6]
CAHSEE average 61.4 English-Language Arts
59.1 Mathematics[3]
Average SAT scores 501 Verbal
521 Math
507 Writing[3]
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 2009[4]
Graduation rate 94.1%[3]

Riverside Polytechnic High School is a four-year public high school in Riverside, California, United States, and part of the Riverside Unified School District. The current facility, located on Victoria Avenue, was opened in September 1965; the traditions of the school go back to 1887, then known as the Riverside High School, making Riverside Polytechnic the oldest high school in the city.


Girls High School in Riverside, California, ca. 1915

Riverside Polytechnic High School traces its heritage from 1887,[4] when the newly formed city of Riverside needed higher education for the community. The first joint elementary and high school's first graduating class in 1890 comprised seven students—four girls and three boys. Eugenie Fuller was its principal. When classes grew too large in 1902, a new co-educational high school building was constructed on Ninth Street between Lemon and Lime Streets, and the original 14th Street building became the Grant School, serving grades 3–8.[7]

In 1910, Riverside High School's enrollment was approximately 500 students, and new facilities were required. In 1911, the genders were separated, creating a Girls High School at the Ninth Street building, and the Polytechnic High School for boys at a newly constructed campus on Terracina Avenue.[7] Fuller continued as principal of the Girls High School, and Mr. J.E. McKown was appointed principal of the Riverside Polytechnic High School.

In 1916, the Polytechnic High School began offering postgraduate classes. The Riverside Junior College District was formed in 1920, and the Riverside Junior College moved out of the high school to an adjacent property.[7]

World War I brought changes to both high school campuses. The earlier enrollment explosion waned as young men joined the armed forces. In 1924, the school board created a junior high school level and consolidated the senior high schools into one co-educational school.[7] A new Applied Arts Building provided Home Economics and "other facilities for the girls."[citation needed] The old Girls High School now served as a Girls Junior High School, while the Boys Junior High School was located at the old Grant School. 1924–25 saw the Junior College and the Senior High School with growing enrollments, and so provided separate administrations for each. There were 202 seniors in 1924.[citation needed]

During World War II, many Poly girls worked with a federal government–sponsored group called the High School Victory Corps.[8] The girls helped make bandages and other needed items, or worked in essential industries after school. All who took part in these activities were volunteers. In 1944, the Victory Corps was discontinued at Poly.[9][10]

In the 1940s, there was a tradition that each incoming class at the school would be given an unflattering nickname that would remain with the class until their graduation. For example, the class of 1951 was dubbed the "Geeks" and the class of 1953 was the "Orts".[11][not in citation given]

In 1956, double sessions at Poly were needed until a second high school, Ramona High, could be built. As high school enrollment continued to grow, it was evident that a third high school would be needed in Riverside. In 1960, a new high school, Rubidoux, shared the Poly campus until its campus could be completed in 1961. In 1965, Poly separated from the junior college campus and a site on the corner of Central and Victoria Avenues was built, along with a high school on Third Street and Chicago Avenue, named North High. Both high schools opened their doors in September 1965, with the Victoria site keeping the traditional name of Riverside Polytechnic High School. Since that time, Poly High School classes have taken place on the present site.

Riverside Polytechnic High School is home to one of the original, still active Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) units, established in 1917 and was originally called the Poly High Cadet Corps. It is the oldest JROTC program west of the Mississippi River, and second oldest in the United States. In 1970 it was among the first JROTC units to offer a girls program [12]

There were 51 young men making up the Class of 1916, known as the "Stags of 1916". There were 18 faculty members. This class was the first to complete the four-year course offered in the new building.[13]

Mascot, Yearbook and School Colors[edit]

Riverside Polytechnic High is a supporter of their mascot, a koala known as Kris Koala. In 1940, the koala appeared on the cover of the yearbook. From then on, the yearbook was called The Koala. Over the years, the "Koala" portion of Poly High's koala-bear mascot faded to the point that, today, the mascot is referred to as "The Poly Bears". Poly High colors have always been orange and green.

The first yearbook, The Stag was published in 1912. In 1918, the title was changed to Orange and Green when it became a joint publication for the boys' and girls' schools. In 1940, the title changed again when the mascot was added, to The Koala.[14]

Music department[edit]

Poly's Vocal Music division has presents 5 choirs at its 4 home concerts. The award-winning Chamber Singers competed in a San Francisco area adjudicated festival in May 2012 and earned a Superior score and was awarded the Best Overall Choir award. Additionally, 2 soloists earned Outstanding Soloist medallions. The Chamber Singers were chosen again to participate in the Disneyland Candlelight Procession and Ceremony in December 2011.

The school's marching band is named the Proud Heritage Band and Color Guard. The band and Color Guard achieved second place in the 2008 SCSBOA Championships Field Tournament. The Winter Drumline won the 2007 American Drum-line Association Southern California Championships, making them the first place high-school Drumline in Southern California.[citation needed]

Poly has the only high school orchestra in the Riverside Unified School District. They received a Superior Score in the 2008 SCSBOA Regional.

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumnus Class Field Notability
Hakim Akbar 1998 Sports American football linebacker drafted by the New England Patriots [15]
Jennifer Banko-Stewart 1997 Film Has performed in various Hollywood movies and television programs[16]
Bobby Bonds 1964 Sports Major League Baseball (MLB) player[17]
Larry Christiansen 1974 Sports Chess Grandmaster, US Chess Champion 1980, 1983, 2002[18]
Marcella Craft 1893 Music International operatic soprano[19]
John Gabbert 1927 Law Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeals
Walter A. Gordon 1914 (est) Government First All-American at UC Berkeley, first African American graduate of Boalt Hall, Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Federal District Judge [20]
Sharon Jordan 1978 Film and TV Amongst other roles, recurred on Disney's The Suite Life of Zack & Cody [21]
Ben H. Lewis 1921 (est) Government Mayor of Riverside from 1965 to 1978
Lorenz Larkin 2004 Sports wrestler; professional MMA fighter[22]
Jake Marisnick 2009 Sports MLB player[23]
Rex Mays 1931 (est) Sports Auto racer, 1940 and 1941 national champion, four-time pole winner at the Indianapolis 500, member Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, Riverside Sports Hall of Fame[24]
Reggie Miller 1983 Sports National Basketball Association player and commentator [25][26]
Cheryl Miller 1982 Sports NCAA women's basketball player, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, WNBA coach, and commentator[27]
Donnie Murphy 2001 Sports MLB player [28]
Greg Myers 1984 Sports MLB player[26]
Paul Oglesby Sports American football player[29]
Miné Okubo 1930 (est) Arts Artist and writer[30]
Jo-Jo Reyes Sports MLB pitcher [31]
Herman O. Ruhnau 1928 Architecture Postmodern architect[32]
William F. Sharpe 1951 Economics Winner of the 1990 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and helped develop the Capital asset pricing model, which is part of Modern portfolio theory. Also known for the Sharpe ratio.[33]
Ray Lyman Wilbur 1892 Government Medical doctor, Stanford University president, 31st United States Secretary of the Interior [34]
Cynthia Woodhead 1982 Sports 1978 world champion swimmer; 1984 Olympic silver metalist in 200m Freestyle[35]
Tyler Clary 2007 Sports Swimmer who won a silver medal at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships, three silvers at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics.[36]
Morgan Stuart 2007 Sports Washington Huskies – 2009 Women's College World Series Champions[37]
Lauren Potter 2010 TV and government Plays Becky Johnson, a cheerleader with Down syndrome, on the TV series Glee. In 2011, she was appointed by President Obama to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

Notable instructors[edit]

  • Edmund Jaeger – noted naturalist, his first zoology class in 1921 had 3 students[38]


  1. ^ "Superintendents Office". RUSD. Riverside Unified School District. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c http://www.rusdlink.org/Page/89.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Riverside Polytechnic High School (2009–10). School Accountability Report Card Reported for School Year 2008–09 (PDF) (PDF). Riverside Unified School District. Retrieved November 7, 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d "Poly High School". Riverside Unified School District. Riverside Unified School District. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  5. ^ Riverside Poly High School yearbook 1952
  6. ^ Diamond, Dick (1980). "Where Eagles Soar". Inland Empire Magazine. Retrieved May 16, 2012. If the SBHS-Pacific rivalry was hard fought, the rivalry between (Riverside) Poly and Ramona after 1957 was no less fierce. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Riverside Public Schools Records". Riverside Public Library. Riverside, California: City of Riverside. September 27, 2007. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Victory Corps. (Education)". Time. 40 (14): 64. October 5, 1942. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  9. ^ Yearbook. Riverside High School. 1944. p. 85. 
  10. ^ Yearbook. Riverside High School. 1945. 
  11. ^ Durian, Hal (June 12, 2010). "Riverside Recollections". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California: Enterprise Media. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  12. ^ Riverside Poly – JROTC History
  13. ^ "The Stag". Riverside Polytechnic High School. June 19, 1914. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  14. ^ The Koala (yearbook). Riverside High School. 1940. 
  15. ^ "Hakim Akbar – Official New England Patriots Biography". patriots.com. New England Patriots. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Jennifer Banko-Stewart". MovieTome. CBS Interactive. 2010. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Bobby Bonds". The Baseball Cube. Gary Cohen. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  18. ^ Immitt, Steve. "A History of the National High School Chess Championship". NYSTAR Chess. NYSTAR.COM Consulting. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Marcella (Sarah Marcia) Craft". Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery. Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  20. ^ Gordon, Walter (et al., Interviewees); Anne Hus Brower, Caryn Prince, Rosemary Levenson & Amelia R. Fry, Interviewers (1976–1979). "An Interview With Walter Gordon". Athlete, Officer in Law Enforcement and Administration, Governor of the Virgin Islands: oral history transcript / Walter Gordon. Berkeley, California: Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office. pp. 621 p. (Vols. 1–2). Retrieved 14 April 2010.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  21. ^ Jordan, Sharon (October 26, 2010). "Sharon Jordan". Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  22. ^ http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/
  23. ^ http://www.pe.com/articles/-733000--.html
  24. ^ Patton, Gregg (May 21, 2007). "Riverside Sport Hall of Fame Welcomes Class of 2007". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California: Enterprise Media. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Reggie Miller Summary". NBA Encyclopedia Playoff Edition. NBA Media Ventures. 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b Jacobsen, Marylin (April 23, 2009). "Riverside Sport Hall of Fame induction is May 18". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California: Enterprise Media. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Cheryl Miller". Hall of Famers. Springfield, Massachusetts: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Donnie Murphy". The Baseball Cube. Gary Cohen. Retrieved November 6, 2010. 
  29. ^ "PAUL OGLESBY". profootballarchives.com. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 
  30. ^ Nealon, Sean (July 14, 2009). "Materials left by late artist provide look into Japanese-American experience". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California: Enterprise Media. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  31. ^ "High School Athletes of the Year". The Press-Enterprise. Riverside, California: Enterprise Media. June 24, 2003. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  32. ^ "PE.com—Riverside County California News Podcasts". PodcastDirectory.com. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  33. ^ Durian, Hal (July 9, 2011). "Poly Highs Class of 1951 Left its Mark". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  34. ^ Wilson, John L. (1998). "Ray Lyman Wilbur (1875–1949)". Stanford University School of Medicine and the Predecessor Schools: an historical perspective. Stanford, California: Stanford University. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  35. ^ Drehs, Wayne (September 19, 2000). "Woodhead was devastated by boycott". ESPN.com. Bristol, Connecticut: ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  36. ^ "National Team Bios: Tyler Clary". U.S. Olympic Journey. USA Swimming. 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  37. ^ "Player Bio: Morgan Stuart". University of Washington Official Athletics Site. CBS Interactive. 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  38. ^ Ryckman, Raymond E.; Zackrison, James L. (1998). Son of the Living Desert – Edmund C. Jaeger, 1887–1983: Ecologist, Educator, Environmentalist, Biologist, and Philanthropist. Loma Linda, California: R.E. Ryckman. p. 328. ISBN 978-0-9663563-0-4. OCLC 39497413.  LCC QH31.J33 R97 1998 University of California, Riverside, Science Library

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°57′06″N 117°22′09″W / 33.95167°N 117.36917°W / 33.95167; -117.36917