LearnBoost welcomes John F. Kennedy High
John F. Kennedy High School is a public, four-year high school in the city of La Palma, California. It is one of eight comprehensive high schools in the Anaheim Union High School District. Kennedy gets most of its students from the junior high school across the street, Walker Junior High School.
John F. Kennedy High School opened to 1,488 students in the 10th and 11th grades on September 14, 1964. For its first year of operation, there was no senior class. Mr. Kenneth MacPherson was Kennedy's first principal. Most buildings were ready except the dressing rooms, the gym, and playing fields.
The school was to be named Centralia, in keeping with Board policy to name high schools after an elementary school district in the area; however, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 prompted a group of patrons to have the school (then under construction) renamed in his honor. Monico (Sonny) Mallari, a ninth grader at Walker Junior High School, presented the Board with a petition of 400 names, asking for the change. As a result, many traditions have developed due to the Irish heritage of the Kennedy family. The school has the distinction of being the first school in the United States named in honor of the fallen president.
Currently, Kennedy serves around 2,400 students in the 9th through 12th grades. Recent construction has added a quad area, a second practice gym, renovated classrooms, a new library and counseling center, a modular "4th court," as well as an extensive music building which includes an auditorium, two band rooms, two choir rooms, practice rooms, and a new pool.
Emerald Chain is a sacred Kennedy High tradition consisting of the top 10 male and 10 female students in the junior class based on cumulative grade point average. These 20 juniors have the honor of preceding the graduating seniors into the graduation ceremony dressed in white robes and wearing gold medallions. They then line the path for the seniors (forming an "academic honor guard") through which the graduates pass. The following year, when these students graduate as seniors, they again wear their Emerald Chain medallions in honor of their achievement. Emerald Chain was originally created by Cliff Ishii.(http://www.smartvoter.org/2002/11/05/ca/or/vote/ishii_w/bio.html)
Often when the alma mater is sung, students, staff, and alumni make a "V" for victory sign and or a "K" for Kennedy. They also stomp their feet during the word "fight" in the second verse as well as creating a drum roll during the last two lines. The marching band and some sports teams also sing the alma mater during the bus rides back to Kennedy.
Kennedy's sports teams are known as the Fighting Irish (the senior circle looks like a three leaf clover from above). They are a member of the Empire League in CIF's Southern Section. The school's main rival is Cypress High School - it is common to hear Cypress referred to during announcements as the "school down the street".
The Fighting Irish football team won the CIF-SS Southern Division Championship in 2006, adding to the AAA championship they had won in 1971. This 2006 championship team was lead by legendary coach, Mitch Olson. In the 07-08 year, after 21 years as the head coach of football, Olson decided to accept a new challenge by agreeing to coach in Georgia.
In 2007, the Irish softball team was a CIF-SS Southern Section finalist, losing to Empire League rival Pacifica High School. Kennedy boy's soccer (introduced in 1972) won CIF championships in 1980, 2003, and 2004, while the girls won titles in 1984 and 1988.
Other Fighting Irish sports include Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swim, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball, Water polo, Wrestling.
John F. Kennedy High School's band and colorguard is called the Shamrock Regiment. The band was formerly known as "The Guards." The band is a division 6A and is part of the SCSBOA. Since 1974, the marching band has traveled to Ireland and England every four years to perform in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin. The Colorguard took third place in the Regional AA Red division at the WGASC 2007 championships.
Kennedy High School has a strong Choir program headed by Sarah Berndt.The Head Choir Teacher Brian Hogan was transferred at the end of the 07-08 school year to Oxford Academy. They are known as the Kennedy Singers. Kennedy has the biggest choir program in the AUHSD some years having 300+ students enrolled in choir. The Kennedy singers are unlike any ordinary choir, they are what is known as a Show choir. Their schedule consists of four shows, the broadway show, the Christmas show, the spring show which changes every year, and the pop show. Show week, also known as choirs "hell week" consists of a tech rehearsal, dress rehearsal and 2-3 show nights.
Kennedy also has a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corp program, currently headed by COL Marc Breslow(R).
John F. Kennedy High school has many clubs and organizations available to the students on campus. They include Junior State of America (JSA), Future Business Leaders of America(FBLA), California Scholarship Federation, Key Club, National Honor Society, Friday Night Live, Leo Club, Model United Nations, Speech and Debate Team, Poetry Club, Science Club, International Club, CTR Club, Computer Club, Bridges, DAV-FI, Guitar Club, Anime Club, Dance Club, Visual Arts Club,Green Earth Club, and Christian Club.
(The third verse is only sung at graduation)
- Anaheim High
- Ball Junior High
- Brookhurst Junior High
- Magnolia High
- Loara High
- Lexington Junior High
- Katella High
- Hope Special Education Center
- Gilbert High (Continuation)
- Dale Junior High
- Cypress High
- Community Day/Alternative Education/Special Educat
- Western High
- Walker Junior High
- Sycamore Junior High
- South Junior High
- Savanna High
- Polaris Opportunity Day
- Polaris High (Alternative)
- Orangeview Junior High
- Oxford Academy