Woodrow Wilson High School (Los Angeles)

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Woodrow Wilson High School
4500 Multnomah Street,
El Sereno, Los Angeles,
California 90032
United States
Type Public
Motto "Once a Mule, Always a Mule" And potatoes
Established 1937 (first campus),
1970 (second campus)
School district Los Angeles Unified School District
Principal Luis Lopez
Staff 45
Faculty 135
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1500
Color(s)              Navy blue, Vegas gold and white
Athletics Baseball, football, boys' and girls' soccer, softball, track & field, cross country, boys' and girls' basketball, cheer, drill team, boys' and girls' tennis, boys' and girls' volleyball
Athletics conference Northern League
CIF Los Angeles City Section
Mascot Mighty Mule (Seymour)
Rivals Abraham Lincoln High School, Benjamin Franklin High School
Information Architect: Paul Williams

Woodrow Wilson High School is a Los Angeles Unified School District high school in the Eastside region of Los Angeles, California, United States.[1][2] It is located in the community of El Sereno, atop the Ascot Hills at 4500 Multnomah Street.[3]

The school serves the El Sereno and University Hills communities, and areas of City Terrace and Ramona Gardens.[citation needed]

Wilson High, with an enrollment of approximately 1,200 students, is one of six high schools under the direct supervision of LAUSD Local District 5. The school colors are navy blue, Vegas gold and white. The school's mascot is the "Mighty Mule", a mule also nicknamed "Seymour".


The original Wilson High School campus opened in 1938 on Eastern Avenue, in what is now the El Sereno Middle School campus. Classes were separated into winter and summer classes and took place in tents and old bungalows. The first gym was begun just before World War II and was completed in 1942. The first class to graduate was in the winter of 1940 with a class of 40 students.[4]

In 1970, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School moved to its new campus on Multnomah Avenue. The school buildings were designed by the renowned African American architect Paul Williams. Wilson High was the first LAUSD School to implement multi-floored buildings equipped with elevators and escalators to accommodate students with disabilities.[4]

In the 21st century Wilson High School has had problems with overcrowding. As with most inner-city public schools, the large influx of the student population has been a cause of concern for administrators and parents alike. With a set capacity prescribed almost 40 years ago when Wilson was built, this past decade has been a struggle for students as their educational experience is in overcrowded classrooms and understaffed faculty.[citation needed]

In 2012 Woodrow Wilson High School celebrated its 75th anniversary.[1]

Chicano Movement begins on campus[edit]

In late 1967 East Los Angeles had a school system entrenched in racism. It led to the local beginning of the Chicano Movement. The Mexican American community had the highest high school dropout rate and lowest college attendance among any ethnic group. The poor facilities and constant underestimation of student capabilities by teachers created an atmosphere hostile to learning. The oppressive conditions coupled with the inability to make changes compelled students, activists, and teachers to meet and discuss the situation. They decided that making their plight public was the best way to pressure the school board into compliance with their demands for education reform.

Lincoln High School teacher Sal Castro, along with student leaders from the five public schools in East Los Angeles (Roosevelt, Wilson, Lincoln, Garfield, and Belmont High Schools), including Wilson student Paula Crisostomo; college students including Moctesuma Esparza; and groups including the United Mexican American Students (UMAS) and the Brown Berets developed 36 demands to bring to the Los Angeles Board of Education.

These goals included bilingual and bicultural education, Latino teachers and administrators, smaller class sizes, better facilities, and the revision of textbooks to include Mexican American history.

Walkouts - blowouts[edit]

None of the 36 goals and demands were met, so the students threatened walkouts, which they called "Blowouts." [5][6] Los Angeles public schools are paid based on the number of students in class each day. By walking out of homeroom before attendance was taken, the students could target the schools financially.[5]

An ad hoc committee, UMAS, and college students established Blowout Committees at Theodore Roosevelt High School, Lincoln High School, and Garfield High School, plus a central coordinating committee.[5] Their committee meetings were almost always infiltrated by plainclothes policemen.[6]

Wilson High principal Donald Skinner canceled a student production of Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, citing it as too risqué for a Mexican American audience. The incident was enough to prematurely trigger the walkouts. Although Wilson was not one of the original three schools intending to walk out, 300 students there walked out on March 1, 1968. The administration had senior students blockade the main exit, but the students found the auditorium door. They pushed the school entry gates back and forth, as students inside demonstrated by throwing fruit, books and more over the gate. Policemen and photographers showed up on the scene as the students were told to return to class. Some refused, forming sit-ins and rallies. As a symbol of the walkouts, students wore the image of a foot on their clothes. They said they would not return to class until their demands were met.[6]

The walkouts or blowouts, which began with the 1 March 1968 walkout at Wilson, are credited as seminal events of the Chicano Movement:[5][6]

"The blowouts resulted in the gradual beginning of various reforms, including bilingual education, Chicano studies, more emphasis on academic subjects, more encouragement of Mexican American students going to college, and more Mexican- American teachers and administrators," said García. "Many problems continued – and still do – but what had changed was the consciousness of Chicanos both among students and in the community concerning the need to fight for educational justice. There is no question about the significance of the blowouts in the history of the Chicano movement and in Chicano history." (Garcia, Mario T. "Blowout: Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice." [5]

1970s football City Championships[edit]

During the 1970s, Wilson's football coach was the legendary Vic Cuccia. He led the Mighty Mules to a 39-game winning streak, taking the team to win the City’s Section 3-A championship in 1975, 1976, and 1977.

Cuccia's own son, Ron Cuccia, was the team's quarterback for those three years, during which time he set a city and state record for passing, accounted for 145 touchdowns, and set a national record for total offense with 11,451 yards. The Mighty Mules went on to win the City championship title in 1978.

During his 22 years as the football coach (1956-1977), Cuccia compiled a 151-42-6 record. He was also a teacher, serving all his 44 teaching years at Wilson High School. Coach Vic Cuccia, who grew up in El Sereno, was honored for his dedication and work on September 1999. Wilson High School's football stadium was renamed in his honor (the football field had already been dedicated in honor of Paul Barthel, a former Wilson teacher). Cuccia died on January, 2008, at the age of 80. [7]

Performance and demographics statistics[edit]

The school's graduation rate for 2004-2005 was 61.7%. [8] The school's California API score was 562 for 2006, and of its student population, 77% were in a free or reduced lunch program and 30% were designated as English Learners. 8% of the students participated in a GATE program. The student body was 93% Hispanic, 4.8% Asian, 1.5% black, 0.5% white and 0.2% Native American. The API score of the 2009 - 2010 school year was 615 and jumped up to 637 the following year. [9]

International Baccalaureate programs[edit]

Woodrow Wilson High School is an International Baccalaureate school, with magnet school programs.[10]

The programs include:

  • Environmental Science Academy program[11]
  • Academy of Fine Arts program[12]
  • Law Magnet program[13]
  • Mule Business Academy program[14]
  • Police Academy program[15]
  • Transportation Careers Academy program[16]

Academic Performance Index[edit]

Academic Performance Index (API) for high schools in the LAUSD District 5 and local small public charter high schools in the East Los Angeles region:

School 2007 [17] 2008 [18] 2009 [19] 2010 [20] 2011 [21] 2012 [22]
Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School 807 818 815 820 832 842
Marc and Eva Stern Math and Science School 718 792 788 788 809 785
Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High School 662 726 709 710 744 744
James A. Garfield High School 553 597 593 632 705 706
Abraham Lincoln High School 594 609 588 616 643 684
Woodrow Wilson High School 582 585 600 615 636 648
Theodore Roosevelt High School 557 551 576 608
Thomas Jefferson High School 457 516 514 546 546 589
Santee Education Complex 502 521 552 565 612

The Hitching Post[edit]

The Hitching Post is a bi-monthly publication by Wilson's Journalism class.[23]

A Wilson High school newspaper began around 1941. However, its name has changed several times, resulting in some confusion about the number of volumes printed so far.

Advanced Placement program[edit]

Students are accepted into the Advanced Placement Program and individual advanced placement classes based on faculty and counselor recommendations. A student may be admitted into an AP class by request or if the AP instructor has approved the request. These are the current courses offered by Wilson:[citation needed]

  • AP Biology
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP English Language
  • AP English Literature
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP French
  • AP Government
  • AP Microeconomics
  • AP Physics (no longer offered)
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Spanish Language
  • AP Spanish Literature
  • AP Statistics
  • AP U.S. History



  • Junior varsity girls' tennis
  • Varsity girls' tennis
  • Junior varsity girls' volleyball
  • Varsity girls' volleyball
  • Cross country team
  • Football


  • Junior varsity girls' soccer
  • Varsity girls' soccer
  • Junior varsity boys' soccer
  • Varsity boys' soccer
  • Junior varsity girls' basketball
  • Varsity girls' basketball
  • Junior varsity boys' basketball
  • Varsity boys' basketball


  • Junior varsity softball
  • Varsity softball
  • Junior varsity baseball
  • Varsity baseball
  • Junior varsity boys' tennis
  • Varsity boys' tennis
  • Junior varsity boys' volleyball
  • Varsity boys' volleyball
  • Junior varsity track & field
  • Varsity track & field


Notable alumni include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b IBWilsonmules.com: International Baccalaureate Woodrow Wilson High School website
  2. ^ Landsberg, Mitchell. "County gives Los Angeles International Charter High School a second chance." Los Angeles Times. January 10, 2010. Retrieved on September 8, 2011.
  3. ^ "Students Get History Lesson in Mural Project" Valencia, Monica." [1]." Los Angeles Times. January 15, 2007. Retrieved on August 28, 2012.
  4. ^ a b IB Wilson High School | About Us
  5. ^ a b c d e UCSB.edu: 'Blowout: The 40th Anniversary Conference on the 1968 East Los Angeles Chicano Student Walkouts'; UCSB Chicano Studies Institute, on 20 February 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d Swarthmore.edu: "1968 East LA blowouts, East Los Angeles students walkout for educational reform."
  7. ^ http://elsereno90032orgblog.blogspot.com/
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ [3][4]
  10. ^ IB Wilson High School: International Baccalaureate Magnet / SLC programs
  11. ^ IB Wilson High School | Environmental Science Academy
  12. ^ IB Wilson High School | Academy of Fine Arts
  13. ^ IB Wilson High School | Law Magnet Program
  14. ^ IB Wilson High School | Mule Business Academy
  15. ^ IB Wilson High School | Police Academy
  16. ^ IB Wilson High School | Transportation Careers Academy Program
  17. ^ 2006-07 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 25, 2009
  18. ^ 2007-08 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 25, 2009
  19. ^ 2008-09 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 8, 2012
  20. ^ 2009-10 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 8, 2012
  21. ^ 2010-11 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR) Retrieved on September 8, 2012
  22. ^ (APR) Retrieved on April 13, 2013
  23. ^ IB Wilson High School | The Hitching Post
  24. ^ a b IB Wilson High School: The Hitching Post, December 2015 issue

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°04′11″N 118°11′11″W / 34.069835°N 118.186298°W / 34.069835; -118.186298