LearnBoost welcomes John W. North High
John W. North High School is a distinguished International Baccalaureate high school in Riverside, California, part of the Riverside Unified School District, and the home of the Huskies and the 1995 Division 4 CIF Football Champions. In 2006 and 2007 the North football team won back-to-back CIF Division II Football championships. North is also known for having an elite Track & Field team boasting over 20 Division Titles and a great Mens Basketball team further making the school a proud and successful competitor in sports
John Wesley North High School was established in 1965 and named after the founder of Riverside, John W. North. North has a sister school in Japan. In 2007, the California Court of Appeals Fourth District, Division 2 visited the school in an educational experience and as an outreach to young people. The Court heard two appeals in the school's theater.
North has a diverse student body: 2% Caucasian, 74% Latino, 16% black,10.9% Asian, 5% Filipino, and less than 2% all other ethnicities. There are many other second languages such as: Spanish, Arabic, French, German, Korean, Mandarin, Punjabi, Russian, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese. Average class size is 29 students. Students hail from a wide variety of countries.
It is one of the few schools in California that awards the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and Certificate to students. However, less than 10% of students are awarded the IB Diploma. In 1987, John W. North High School became only the nineteenth California high school admitted into the IB program.
North is host to many Advanced Placement (AP) classes. It ranks in the top tenth percentile of students, out of all other California high schools, that pass AP/IB examinations.
In the 2005 Academic Performance Index (API) Statewide Rank, on a scale of 1 to 10, North ranked 7. The same year, in the API Similar Schools Rank, North ranked 10.
North is home to many clubs and activities. This includes the "Advancement Via Individual Determination" (AVID) program which is designed to help motivate financially disadvantaged kids into college. North has academies: the Education and Human Services Academy, the Law and Protective Services Academy, and the Global Business Information and Technology Academy. The Blue Star Regiment (BSR) is North's marching band.
North's award-winning yearbook, the Aurora, received the National Yearbook Pacemaker Award in 2005, the highest honor given to a high school yearbook by NSPA. They won tenth place at the Spring 2008 JEA Conference in Anaheim. Also, North's newspaper, The North Star, has won numerous national awards for the quality of its competitive issues and website. Recently, The North Star won third place in the 2006 Spring JEA/NSPA conference and won tenth place in 2007.
The John W. North High School Blue Star Regiment (BSR NorthBSR.com) is the school's Instrumental Music and Dance Program . The Blue Star Regiment is a modern corps-style competitive marching band that consist of about 140 members. They are currently celebrating nearly 30 years of excellence.
In 2002, The Blue Star Regiment won the first SCSBOA 5A Championships. In 2003, They retained their title as they took 1st in their second consecutive victory. The BSR has won numerous sweepstakes awards at fall competitions. They compete in SCSBOA, WBA, and BOA competitions. In addition, They have performed with the RCC Marching Tigers and have marched in the Pasadena Rose Parade. The BSR Drill Team took 1st in the 2006 United Spirit Association National Championships in Florida.
Under the direction of Adam Kehl, The Blue Star Regiment is regarded by many as the among the top marching bands in Southern California. Commonly referred to as "The Pride of Riverside", The Blue Star Regiment holds a reputation of excellence, discipline, hard-work, class, and pride in the state of California.
In the spring of 2009, The Blue Star Regiment will again present their talent and prestige in Jiangmen, China.
The Instrumental Music program has had eleven directors in its history. John W. North has had a strong band program throughout its history, and has always been among the very best in the Riverside area since it opened in the fall of 1965. The program opened as only a Concert and Pep Band program under Sam Terry's directorship. When George Brooks took over the band in 1968, he started the marching band, which was, in its first year, one of the best in the Inland Empire. In the 70's, the Mitchell brothers, John and Alan, were successful in developing strong concert, jazz, and parade bands with tall flag and drill team uni In the fall of 1979, the marching band went through a significant change. Gary Locke became the new band director and his approach was a combination of the new drum and bugle corps style and the traditional show style that changed the look of the band at North. The name chosen to unify the group was the Blue Star Regiment. In the first season of field competition the Blue Star Regiment was the talk of Southern California. In the coming years, the BSR rose rapidly to become one of the most entertaining units in Southern California. Mr. and Mrs. Locke left to become the directors at R.C.C. where they are currently teaching.
During the tenure of Charles Craig, the BSR attempted a modern show that was a foreshadowing of the modern BSR. Mr. Craig took the BSR to its first Fiesta Bowl appearance while he was being recruited by another district, and left the same semester for the opportunity to build and choose the direction of a program. Dale Leaman stepped in during the interim and turned down the directorship at the end of the year, refusing to work with a program that he could not redirect.
Perry Hall, the BSR percussion advisor, was offered the job as the new director after a chaotic year. Mr. Hall quickly brought the BSR (the group most affected by the turnovers of the previous year) back to prominence by performing shows that were a "Back to Basics" idea featuring all the groups of the BSR in a well-executed and exciting show. Mr. Hall's tenure is generally regarded as the most consistently successful period in the program's history with the BSR winning many championships, the Concert Band receiving superior ratings and the Drill Team continuing its dominance in Southern California. After four successful years, Mr. Hall was recruited by another program.
Mike Hipp, the BSR brass instructor, became the next director, and held the position for three years. The BSRIMA, having adopted a new policy of support and non-interference in the creation of the shows, supported the marching program without reservation during this time. Mr. Hipp's tenure was time that saw an increase in numbers for the program, and the shows became increasingly more modern. The concert programs, however, suffered setbacks because of the lack of support. With later setbacks with the marching band, Mr. Hipp left for the opportunity to build and choose the direction of a new program
The next director was Pete Jackson. During his 12 years at North, the program became focused on creating a well-rounded performer, with a variety of performing groups from which a student may choose. The percussion now participates fully in all concert and marching activities with a well-rounded program. The drill team has again traveled to Japan, returning with a world title. The drill team, under the direction of Christine Schive, now includes all members instead of a select few. The Color Guard is experiencing its most success ever, winning a gold medal in 1994, and now with a larger membership.The Drill Team also won a Miss Drill Team USA title in 2001 in the small dance category; which won them a place in the Miss Drill Team International Competition held in Adelaide Australia. The Concert Program now has a Wind Symphony as well as a Concert Band, and the BSR's competitive field shows have earned a top 15 ranking in 1992 - 97.
In 2004, Adam Kehl was appointed the band director of the Blue Star Regiment. His 5 years with the Blue Star Regiment are often considered as the most innovative and ground-breaking. Under the direction of Adam Kehl, the Blue Star Regiment competed with cutting edge field shows in the Western Band Association. In 2009, the Blue Star Regiment embarked on a 12-day adventure in China. Under his direction, the subprograms of the BSR prospered exponentially. The Measure B Project and Synergy groups were formed, and the BSR's winter programs faced tremendous success. In 2 years, the winter guard progressed from WGASC Regional AA to Open Class.
The BSR is once again under the direction of Pete Jackson. Although the band is facing new changes transitioning from Adam Kehl back to Pete Jackson, the band is still striving relentlessly with PRIDE, honor and tradition.
John W. North has always held great pride in their athletics, but none of the sports teams have enjoyed as much success as the Track & Field team. North's track has become one of the most storied tracks in Southern California with more CIF and State Titles than any school in the Inland Empire. Yet in recent times the program has been in decline. Can the athletes and coaches of J-Dub bring back that fire and magic or is it headed in a steady course down?
The program took off when Charles Leathers, a former hurdler himself, became the head coach in the early 1990s. In 1995 Joanna Hayes graduated john W. North with school records in the 100m and 300m Hurdles with times of 13.45 and 41.20. She came back from the CIF California State Meet with gold as well as running with the 4x 100m and 4x 400m teams with state winning teams of 47.18 and 3:46.16. She would later become the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal Winner in Athens in the 100m Hurdles and credits his coaching to the root of her success. "He challenges people to reach their potential. He will tell you what your potential is and pushes you to achieve it. He tells you the truth and will not mislead you or give you false hope," said Hayes. Another prolific runner under Leathers was Nicole Hoxie, who was a Sophomore during Hayes' last year. Nicole Hoxie would not only take the place of her compatriot but to also coming back from the State Meet of 1997 with the fastest women's time in the 100m hurdles with an incredible time of 13.35 as well as becoming a two-time champion. She also won gold with her 4x 400m team and ran a super fast 300m hurdles with a time of 42.66. Nicole Hoxie would find even more success while running in Texas for the Texas Longhorns by winning multiple titles and running more record fast times. The women's side of the program certainly looked dominant, especially with the arrival of Nicole Denby. She too was a hurdler and like Hayes and Hoxie, experienced wonderful success, running faster than the two previous teammates. With the school record of 13.20 in 2000 for the 100m hurdles she continued the tradition of winning. Her best time of 41.53 in the 300m put her barely behind Hayes. More wonders were produced such as Keiana Shannon, April Holliverse, Chaunte Howard, Ashlee Brown, Domenique Manning, Lorainne King, Tanika Ward, Gayle Hunter, Kiersten Kirkland, Frances Chase-Dunn, and Marjani Maldonado. Together these athletes have amassed 12 CIF Titles and 4 State Titles. They won back-to-back in 2006 and 2007.
Coach Leathers didn't stop there as in 2006 he won the State Title for the boys. In 2007 the 4x 400m team unfortunately took second in the state final to Long Beach Poly by dropping the baton on the last handoff. Despite defeat, spectators witnessed such stars as Reggie Wyatt, Ennis Jones, Nevin Gutierrez, and Tommy Curry. North has also ran the fastest 100m time in Riverside County with a time of 41.12. Guitierrez currently holds the 400m record at J-Dub with 46.79. In 2009 Dante Holland broke the school record in the 800m running a time of 1:53.42. He would make all the to State before he bowed out at prelims. The end of Dante's pursuit of attaining gold marked the end to Leather's command at the helm of the Huskies, an ironic ending to things as the team's prestige slowly faded through the years and Dante being the only participating member of the squad at state. Yet, he left a proud man, accomplishing more than any coach could possibly dream of. He coached both the boys and girls team into back-to-back CIF champs, placing North among only seven schools to do so. The impact on the track was impressive, but it was the off the track impact that truly is remarkable. Those who were coached under his guidance know what it is like to know true passion and determination. What he instilled in his athletes was not just great technique and speed, but the winning mentality and the confidence to believe. " I joined coach 10 years ago, said assistant coach Robert Attical, "The man is a genius. I doubted him only once in all that time. Shortly after joining him, he told me that one of our young runners would upset the defending champion in her event. I thought he was just being optimistic to encourage the athlete because the champion was exceptionally good. When our young runner stunned the defending champion I realized that the man had a vision beyond anything I could imagine," continued Attical. It was that genius that inspired all his athletes to become the best they could be. All his athletes went to college and became successful individuals, testifying to Leather's claim of the life lessons learnt in track would guide you through the longer and tougher track that is life.
Yet even with his departure hope springs eternal for North. Former runner Nicole Hoxie took the position of Head Coach and is leading a new and young group of athletes. She hopes to bring back that old magic she experienced that made J-Dub so special. "To wear the blue and gold is a honor," 400m runner William Contreras says. " To know so many great individuals wore this, just brings so much pride and joy to me. Every time I get onto our old dusty track to train, I know I can make it too amongst the hero's of yesterday. I've been given the great honor to run for both Coach Leathers and now Coach Hoxie. When track season comes around I will make everyone proud and make them know what is to run for John W. North." Coaches Roberts (jumps) , Washington (throws) , Green (sprints) , Alvarez (distance) , and Licursi (sprints) are as well excited for the upcoming season and eager to prove that North is ready to reclaim it's worth amongst its former glory.
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