Yuma Union High School

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Yuma High School
Yuma HS Logo.png
400 S. 6th Avenue
Yuma, Arizona 85364
Coordinates32°43′08″N 114°37′43″W / 32.718867°N 114.628644°W / 32.718867; -114.628644Coordinates: 32°43′08″N 114°37′43″W / 32.718867°N 114.628644°W / 32.718867; -114.628644
TypePublic high school
School districtYuma Union High School District
PrincipalRobert Chouinard
Enrollment1,200 (2017-18)[1]
Color(s)White and Navy Blue

Yuma High School (often referred to simply as Yuma High) is the oldest high school in Yuma, Arizona.


The school was established in 1909, when Arizona Territory taxpayers voted to organize a union district from several elementary districts. In September of that year, Yuma Union High School began with four teachers in three rooms near the corner of Main and Third Streets. At the end of the first year, twelve seniors graduated. Yuma High's distinctive mascot came when the original school building was destroyed by fire in 1910. The school then used the Yuma Territorial Prison, which had been closed, for the next three years. Classes were held in the cellblocks, and assemblies took place in the prison hospital.

In 1912, the city of Yuma notified the school that the prison was needed as a city jail. The school board carried through a bond election to build a new school, at 400 South 6th Avenue (where the current campus is today). In 1914, school began in the newly constructed "Main" building. That same year, the Yuma football team traveled to Phoenix Union High School to play the Coyotes. Yuma High won the game (and the consensus state championship), and the angry Phoenix Union fans dubbed the Yuma High players the Criminals. At first, this was a fighting word to the school community, but by 1917, it had stuck, and the name was officially adopted by the school board. Yuma Union thus became the only high school in the US to use the mascot; it is also the only high school in the United States whose mascot is copyrighted.[2] References are sprinkled throughout; the mascot wears a blue-and-white prison uniform, the gate to the school's sports fields includes bars from the old prison,[3] and the school's "Cell Block" shop sells themed apparel.

In 1958, the then-main gymnasium burned down.

More recent buildings on campus include the research building, union building, technology building, and the Snider Auditorium.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Curley Culp, played football at Yuma High in the early 1960s. He played in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs (1968-1974), Houston Oilers (1974-1980) & Detroit Lions (1980-1981). He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame[4]
  • Ron Jessie, Pro Bowl player in NFL, wide receiver for Los Angeles Rams and NCAA long jump champion.
  • William B. Black, Jr. (Bill Black, president of the Yuma High FFA chapter 1953) became Deputy Director of the National Security Agency 2000-2006.


  1. ^ "About Us - Yuma High School". Yuma Union High School District. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  2. ^ Crims mascot in Ripley’s ‘Yearbook of the Weird’, yuma, school, high - News - YumaSun
  3. ^ Sunshine, Vistas ... And Criminals - CBS News
  4. ^ Curley Culp voted into Pro Football Hall of Fame, Yuma Sun, February 2, 2013

External links[edit]