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Theodore Roosevelt High School (Los Angeles)

Coordinates: 34°02′18″N 118°12′40″W / 34.03833°N 118.21111°W / 34.03833; -118.21111
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Theodore Roosevelt High School
456 South Matthews Street, Los Angeles, California, United States 90033
Coordinates34°02′18″N 118°12′40″W / 34.03833°N 118.21111°W / 34.03833; -118.21111
Motto"Don't flinch, don't foul, hit the line hard!"
School districtLos Angeles Unified School District
PrincipalBen Gertner
Staff65.34 (FTE)[1]
Enrollment1,278 (2018-19)[1]
Student to teacher ratio19.56[1]
Color(s)Cardinal & Gold   
Athletics conferenceEastern League
CIF Los Angeles City Section
NicknameRough Riders
RivalsGarfield High School[2]
WebsiteOfficial website

Theodore Roosevelt High School is an educational institution (grades 9–12) located in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles, California named for the 26th president of the United States.

Roosevelt is a public school in the Los Angeles Unified School District with an enrollment of 1,400 as of 2017. The enrollment peaked at 5,047 in 2007, making it one of the largest in the country, and second largest behind Belmont High School at the time. From the mid-1990s until the 2008–09 school year, the school followed a year-round calendar. In 2008, the school started to be managed by the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, which was established by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In 2010, the single institution was split up into seven small schools, each with its own principal, CEEB code (used by SAT, colleges, etc.), students and staff. The outcomes of this were debated by students and administrators.[3][4] Since 2013, Roosevelt has been merged into a single comprehensive high school. The Roosevelt campus also hosts the Math, Science and Technology Magnet Academy at Roosevelt High School and the STEM Academy of Boyle Heights, an LAUSD Pilot School that was formed in 2014.

Its school colors are red and gold, the mascot is Teddy the Bear, and their sport teams are known as the Rough Riders. The school's motto is "Don't flinch, don't foul, hit the line hard!", which is a Theodore Roosevelt quote.[5]

Most students come from Boyle Heights, with some traveling from South Central, East Los Angeles, and City Terrace.

Roosevelt participates in the annual "East L.A. Classic" against Garfield High School. It is the homecoming game for both schools and attracts over 20,000 people every year.

The school's $173 million comprehensive modernization project began in 2018.


Roosevelt was founded in 1922, but opened in 1923 in Boyle Heights to the east of the Los Angeles River.

Roosevelt High School became categorized as a “Mexican school” along with Lincoln High School, Garfield High School, and others near East L.A. This categorization derived in the twentieth century when an abundance of Mexican immigrants enrolled in public schools and school boards segregated the establishments. Nearly 83 percent of Roosevelt's students were of Mexican descent.[6]

As the population grew in the area, Roosevelt sought expansion.[when?] The R-Building (R for Roosevelt) was the main building and faced Fickett Street. The street was vacated and a new administration (A-Building for administration) was constructed. Many new buildings were created and added to campus. The R-building has an interesting history and distinct architecture. There was a fourth floor to the building which had to be closed due to damage from a fire. The basement was built with a shooting range for the Junior ROTC (JROTC), although only air rifles may be used now.

Roosevelt was one of the five schools to initiate the student walkouts in 1968, and contributed to the walkouts in 2006, in protest to the HR 4437 bill. The school has partnered with Planned Parenthood, which operates a clinic at the school providing birth control, pregnancy testing, screening for sexually transmitted diseases and counseling, in an effort to reduce the area's high incidence of teenage pregnancies.[7]

In 2009, the opening of the Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez Learning Centers helped to expand Roosevelt.[8]

East LA Walkouts[edit]

The East LA Walkouts or Blowouts were a result of long endured injustices involving students at East LA high schools. The curriculum of "Mexican schools" was designed to prepare its students to eventually join the working-class in place of their parents because graduation rates were so low. The Watts Riots of 1965 proved to students that resistance was necessary for social changes. Students were determined to change the curriculum and as the Chicano Movement was taking place, Sal Castro, a teacher at Lincoln High School, organized the East L.A. Walkouts.[6] Approximately 10,000 students from Roosevelt, Lincoln, Belmont, Garfield, and Wilson High Schools participated with support from teachers, parents, college students, and community members.[9]

With Castro's help, students from the high schools formed a central committee to plan actions. After the principal at Wilson High School cancelled the senior class play on March 1, 1968, enraged students participated in an impromptu walkout. This situation called for a central committee meeting to decide whether all schools would engage in a larger walkout. However, Garfield High students decided for themselves and staged a campus-wide walkout on March 5. Shortly after, walkouts ensued at Roosevelt and Lincoln. The last walkout took place on March 8 and ended at Hazard Park which is a short distance from Roosevelt High School.[10]

Japanese American internment camps[edit]

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps to prevent them from turning on the United States. They were given orders to drop all belongings and expect to be taken away from their communities until further notice.[11] Nearly a third of Roosevelt High School's students were withdrawn because they were Japanese.[12] They were required to attend schools within those camps. However, resources were scarce and classes were limited.[11]

In 1937, prior to their withdrawal from Roosevelt High School, the Japanese American Students Club created a Japanese Garden on campus. The garden was not maintained during World War II, which led to its deterioration. It was rebuilt in 1996 and dedicated to Japanese American students who were victims of displacement during the war.[12]


Demographics of student body
Ethic Breakdown 2021 2020[13] 2019
American Indian/Alaskan Native 0% 0.1% 0.1%
Hispanic and Latino American 99% 99% 98%
African American 0.3% 0.3% 0.4%
Asian American 0.5% 0.2% 0.3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0% 0% 0.1%
White 1% 1% 1%
Multiracial Americans 0% 0.1% 0.1%
Female 47% 46% 46%
Male 53% 54% 54%

In 2019, Roosevelt serves around 1,475 students in grades nine through twelve, with a student-teacher ratio of 19:1 and 79 full-time teachers.

All Rankings[edit]

US News 2021 Rankings

US News 2020 Rankings

US News 2019 Rankings

Academic Performance Index (API)[edit]

API for High Schools in the LAUSD District 5 and local small public charter high schools in the East Los Angeles region.

School 2007 [14] 2008 [15] 2009 [16] 2010 [17] 2011 [18] 2012 2013 [19]
Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School 807 818 815 820 832 842 847
Marc and Eva Stern Math and Science School 718 792 788 788 809 785 775
Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High School 662 726 709 710 744 744 738
James A. Garfield High School 553 597 593 632 705 710 714
Abraham Lincoln High School 594 609 588 616 643 761 738
Woodrow Wilson High School 582 585 600 615 636
Theodore Roosevelt High School 557 551 576 608 793 788
Thomas Jefferson High School 457 516 514 546 546
Santee Education Complex 502 521 552 565 612 636

The East LA Classic[edit]

The East L.A. Classic is the homecoming game for Roosevelt High School and Garfield High School, . The classic has taken place since a few years after the opening of the two schools, with the exception of the Depression and World War II. The classic brings out alumni from all parts of the world, usually fielding 20,000 people per game and has been held at the East Los Angeles College at the Weingart Stadium although it has been held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[20]


The artist Nelyollotl Toltecatl painted a 400 feet (120 m) mural,[21] known as the Anahuac Mural,[22] on two outside walls of Roosevelt depicting murder, rape, and enslavement of Native Americans by European colonizers. In 1996 Toltecatl, who was previously known under a Spanish name, began to work on a mural intended to depict Chicano history and assimilation. After about a year of work on the project, the tone of his mural changed after attending a lecture by Olin Tezcatlipoca.[21]

Prior to the demolition of the Sixth Street Viaduct, (also known as the Sixth Street Bridge) Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti recorded the R&B song "101SlowJam", backed by musicians from Roosevelt High School, and issued it via a video on his own YouTube channel. The public service announcement video advertised the closure of parts of the 101 Freeway to accommodate the demolition of the viaduct.[23][24]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Theodore Roosevelt Senior High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  2. ^ Mario Villegas , A 'Classic' for many reasons, ESPN Los Angeles, November 4, 2010
  3. ^ "Boyle Heights Beat – Reform at Roosevelt: Verdict is still out". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
  4. ^ "Boyle Heights Beat – Roosevelt High School directed to restructure current system". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
  5. ^ "File:Roosevelt - Address to the Boys Progressive League.ogg - Wikisource, the free online library". en.wikisource.org.
  6. ^ a b García, Mario T. (2011). Blowout!: Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice. Castro, Sal. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 9780807834480. OCLC 656158799.
  7. ^ Unusual partnership offers students birth control, Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2012
  8. ^ "2. Proposed Changes to Lincoln High School Area Schools, School Year 2009-2010." Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved on March 17, 2010.
  9. ^ Delgado Bernal, Dolores. "Grassroots Leadership Reconceptualized: Chicana Oral Histories and the 1968 East Los Angeles School Blowouts". Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. JSTOR 3347162.
  10. ^ Haney-López, Ian. (2003). Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674038264. OCLC 609058795.
  11. ^ a b Peggy Daniels Becker. (2014). Japanese-American Internment During World War II. Omnigraphics, Inc. OCLC 1027084995.
  12. ^ a b Los Angeles's Boyle Heights. Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.). Charleston SC: Arcadia Pub. 2005. ISBN 9781531616342. OCLC 62310489.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ a b c d "usnews". Retrieved 2019-08-11.
  14. ^ 2006-07 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 25, 2009
  15. ^ 2007-08 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 25, 2009
  16. ^ 2008-09 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 8, 2012
  17. ^ 2009-10 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 8, 2012
  18. ^ 2010-11 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 8, 2012
  19. ^ 2012-13 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR)[permanent dead link] Retrieved on February 27, 2017
  20. ^ "Los Angeles Sports Council - L.A. Facilities". www.lasports.org.
  21. ^ a b Sipchen, Bob. "Assimilation plays no part in this history lesson." Los Angeles Times. March 26, 2007. Retrieved on August 9, 2010.
  22. ^ "Welcome." Anahuac Mural. Retrieved on August 9, 2010.
  23. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 28, 2016). "[WATCH] 101 Freeway Closure: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Slow-Jams Reminder". Deadline. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  24. ^ #101SlowJam on YouTube


External links[edit]