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Van Nuys High School

Coordinates: 34°11′22″N 118°27′13″W / 34.189540°N 118.453586°W / 34.189540; -118.453586
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Van Nuys High School
6535 Cedros Avenue


United States
Coordinates34°11′22″N 118°27′13″W / 34.189540°N 118.453586°W / 34.189540; -118.453586
TypePublic comprehensive high school
Established1914; 110 years ago (1914)
School districtLos Angeles Unified School District
NCES District ID062271003424[1]
PrincipalLourdes De-Santiago
Teaching staff112.80 (FTE) (2022–23)[1]
Enrollment2,323 (2022–23)[1]
Student to teacher ratio20.59 (2022–23)[1]
Color(s)Crimson, gray
Team nameWolves

Van Nuys High School (VNHS) is a public high school in the Van Nuys district of Los Angeles, belonging to the Los Angeles Unified School District: District 2. The school is home to a Residential Program and three Magnet Programs—Math/Science, Performing Arts, and Medical.

Several neighborhoods, including much of Van Nuys, portions of Sherman Oaks, Magnolia Woods,[2] and Victory Park,[3] are zoned to this school.



Van Nuys High School opened in 1914, four years after Van Nuys was established.[4] For years the only high schools in the San Fernando Valley were Van Nuys, Owensmouth (now Canoga Park), San Fernando, and North Hollywood. The main buildings and auditorium were built in 1933, incorporating remnants of the 1915 building which had been destroyed in the Long Beach earthquake. The football and track stadium, originally built at the same time as the current high school, is named for Bob Waterfield, and the baseball field for Don Drysdale, the two most famous athletes to have played for VNHS.

It was in the Los Angeles City High School District until 1961, when it merged into LAUSD.[5]

For the 1998–1999 Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), Van Nuys high had a 537 average on the verbal portion and a 568 on the mathematics portion, giving it the highest SAT scores in the LAUSD that year.[6]

The Los Angeles Unified School District ordered Van Nuys High School to convert to year-round scheduling in 2001, due to such reasons as overcrowding. Even though this relieved the overcrowding at the school, the magnet programs separated tracks, along with the residential students. The Performing Arts Magnet and the Medical Magnet were available only on the A-Track Schedule, while the Math and Science Magnet was available only on the C-Track Schedule. B-Trackers could not take the same classes as C-Trackers, while C-Trackers could take only certain A-Track classes. Teachers that had both A-Track and C-Track students were frustrated because the curriculum had to be synchronized with both tracks.[citation needed]

Van Nuys High School returned to the traditional school calendar in 2005. The switch was caused by a decline in the school population and by a new district policy to eliminate year-round schools whenever possible.

The opening of Panorama High School in October 2006,[7] relieved overcrowding at Van Nuys High School.[8]

Van Nuys High School had the highest AP passing rate in the LAUSD for a second consecutive year in 2014.[9]

Van Nuys High School was indeed established in 1915, although the first graduating ceremony was held in 1914 for a small group of students who had previously attended different schools, legitimately making the class of 2014 The Centennials. The issue was discussed between high authority figures of the school, and they decided that even though the first graduating ceremony that took place for students who did attend Van Nuys High School was in the year 1915, the first graduating ceremony to take place in the school took place back in 1914.[citation needed]

Extracurricular activities


Van Nuys has a range of extracurricular teams. Its Science Olympiad team has consistently placed in the top 6 in regional competitions, from 2014 to 2019, even advancing to state competitions several times, such as in 2018. Its Science Bowl team won the national competition in 1995, and has placed highly in regional competitions in the years since.

Van Nuys has a newly created history bowl team as of 2019, and has placed in playoffs in its first year of competing.[citation needed]

Community Adult School


The Adult School is on the same campus as Van Nuys High School. It allows adults as well as high school students to take classes. Most Van Nuys High School students take courses in the Adult School for academic remediation. However, some take classes for Counselor-Identified High School Credit Deficiencies, while others take classes for personal necessities of flexible scheduling.

The Adult School is considered a work-at-your-own-pace program. A student can finish an entire course in just 2–3 weeks, but can take longer depending on the work effort of the student.



In baseball Van Nuys High qualified for postseason play. The following time the school's team qualified was in 1989, after a 9–7 victory over Birmingham High School at the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Recreation Center.[10]

Van Nuys High has a variety of sports including: basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, football, flag football, soccer, golf, wrestling, water polo, swimming and tennis. It has had longtime rivalries with John H. Francis Polytechnic High School and Hollywood High School.

The Van Nuys High wrestling team won the Los Angeles City Championship in 1976. In 2015, the Van Nuys Wolves be Chavez High School to win the inaugural LA CIF Division II Championships.

For the first time in school history, the Boys Volleyball team won the CIF- L.A. City Section Division 1 championship in 2021. The Wolves beat the Sylmar Spartans 3-1.[11]

Notable alumni




The campus was used as a location for the 1982 movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Ridgemont High's mascot in the movie was the same as Van Nuys High School—a wolf, which remains VNHS's mascot today.

The horror films Christine and Sleepwalkers, both written by Stephen King, were filmed at Van Nuys High School.

Some perhaps less well known movies filmed at Van Nuys High include My Science Project, Kid 'n Play's Class Act and My Stepmother Is an Alien (featuring Kim Basinger) were also filmed at VNHS, as were scenes in the Disney film Starstruck.

In addition, the pilot episode of The Wonder Years and several episodes of Highway to Heaven were filmed there, as was The Ramones' punk-rock movie classic Rock 'n' Roll High School.

The music video of Vitamin C's Graduation song was filmed at Van Nuys High School. An episode of Apple's Way 1974–1975 Vince Van Patten was filmed on the football field. An episode of Scrubs was filmed on the track field. An episode of 7th Heaven was filmed there as well, as was an episode of Twin Peaks. The 2009 film Love at First Hiccup was also filmed at the front of the school and in the school's quad.

A 2009 music video "About a Girl" by The Academy Is... was also filmed in Van Nuys High School. Also, several episodes of the 2010 series Parenthood were shot in the school's library and quad area.

VNHS was used as the location for many of the scenes in the '80s TV series The White Shadow.

The 2014 music video for the song "Unlimited" made by the clothing company Old Navy was filmed at Van Nuys High School.

From 2015 to 2017, the sitcom television series Those Who Can't filmed at Van Nuys High School, using the campus as the location of Smoot High School, a fictional school in Denver, Colorado.[22][23]

Young Sheldon is filmed at Van Nuys High School.

The 2018 adaptation of the film Valley Girl was filmed at Van Nuys High School.

In 2022, The HBO limited series Winning Time introduced dancer Paula Abdul on the football field of Van Nuys High School.


  1. ^ a b c d "Search for Public Schools - Van Nuys Senior High (062271003424)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
  2. ^ "A hideaway in Sherman Oaks". Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ Delson, Jennifer (June 19, 2005). "Valley's bustle bypasses Victory Park". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ LAUSD School Profile
  5. ^ "Los Angeles City School District". Los Angeles Unified School District. Archived from the original on February 7, 1998. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  6. ^ Sauerwein, Kristina. "SAT Scores Find Valley School at Top : Exam: Van Nuys High posts highest average in LAUSD. Two other area schools also surpass national and state averages in math and verbal portions." Los Angeles Times. September 1, 1999. Retrieved on March 23, 2014.
  7. ^ http://www.laschools.org/project-status/one-project?project_number=55A67308 [dead link]
  8. ^ "News Corner". www.laschools.org. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  9. ^ Himes, Thomas (August 12, 2014). "LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff praises Van Nuys High School for advanced-placement success". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved June 29, 2024.
  10. ^ "High School Baseball : Van Nuys Makes It a Day for Firsts." Los Angeles Times. March 24, 1989. Retrieved on March 23, 2014.
  11. ^ "D1 CHAMPS | Boys Volleyball wins 6th city title".
  12. ^ Weart, Spencer (December 8, 2014). "Oral Histories, George Abell". AIP, American Institute of Physics. American Institute of Physics. Archived from the original on April 22, 2016. Retrieved April 8, 2017.
  13. ^ For radio host, big bands' allure endures, by Charles Fleming in Los Angeles Times, accessed 2013-12-19
  14. ^ a b c Hafner, Katie; Lyon, Matthew (1996). Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684812010. Steve Crocker and Vint Cerf had been best friends since attending Van Nuys High School in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley.... While Cerf and Crocker were academic stars, Postel, who was twenty-five, had had a more checkered academic career. He had grown up in nearby Glendale and Sherman Oaks, and he too had attended Van Nuys High School, where his grades were mediocre.
  15. ^ "Larry Dixon Still Hometown Favorite as Season Begins," NHRA Motorsport.com, Jan. 31, 2000.
  16. ^ "Don Drysdale Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
  17. ^ Cerf, Vint (1998). "I REMEMBER IANA". RFC 2468 - I REMEMBER IANA. Network Working Group. doi:10.17487/RFC2468. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  18. ^ "Racing Heroes – Don Prudhomme". Hemmings Daily, September 3, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  19. ^ Reidel, Mija. "Oral history interview with Al Qöyawayma, 2010 Mar. 30–31". Archives of American Art Oral History Program, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  20. ^ Berkshire, Kim Q. (October 27, 1990). "Johnny Sanders Dead at 68". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 7, 2022.
  21. ^ "Sports Stars in Limelight," Van Nuys News, May 23, 1946, pg. 14.
  22. ^ Staff, Interrobang (October 22, 2015). "We Checked Out the Preview of TruTV's New Original Comedy Series "Those Who Can't"". The Interrobang. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  23. ^ "Brief: Those Who Can't". The Mirror. Retrieved December 7, 2020.