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Leigh High School is a secondary school located in San Jose, California. Opening in September 1962, it was the fifth school to be established within the Campbell Union High School District. The school has twice been awarded the California Distinguished School award, in 1999 and 2003. As of 2005[update], the enrollment at the school was 1729 students. The school colors are gold (yellow) and pine green. The school's mascot is the longhorn.
Leigh High School is an academically successful high school, with rankings placing it above average when compared to others in California. The average SAT scores of students were the highest in the district in 2000, and were above the state and national averages. The California Department of Education Academic Performance Index of Leigh High school gave it a ranking of 9 within its state, and a relative ranking of 8. Ninety percent of Leigh graduates go on to attend either university or community college after graduation.
Leigh's 1,700+ students annually score above the state and national averages on the STAR, CAHSEE, SAT, and Advanced Placement tests. Leigh also serves a large Special Education population through its Resource, Special Day Class, and Emotionally Disturbed programs. Maintaining an average class size of thirty students, Leigh provides a comprehensive curriculum that includes instructional programs designed for college-bound, Special Education, and vocational students.
Leigh offers Advanced Placement (AP) instruction in Chemistry, English, US History, European History, American Government, Studio Art, Spanish Language, French Language, Physics, Biology, Calculus, Statistics, and Music Theory. Leigh also offers seven honors classes: English 1–4, World History, Biology, and Chemistry.
The school's AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) has been in place for four years, so Leigh now has four AVID classes, one for each grade level.
The Central County Occupational Center (CCOC) offers interested students a variety of vocational training in areas such as multimedia, cosmetology, managerial accounting, electrical maintenance, and auto body repair.
All high school students in the county’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Deaf/HOH) program attend classes at Leigh, some of whom take sheltered classes with other deaf students, but many of whom are mainstreamed into classes with Leigh’s hearing population.
Leigh High School is noted in the Campbell Union High School District for its many musical programs. Leigh High School offers a concert band, a symphonic band, a wind ensemble which requires an audition, and a jazz ensemble which also requires an audition. During the winter, the music program offers both Winter Percussion and Winter Guard programs, the latter which has become a World Guard and has ranked in the finals at world competitions.
Leigh also offers choir as a year-long class for all grades.
As of the 2008–2009 school year, the music program's parent association has changed its original name, Instrumental Music Parent's Association, to Performing Arts Parent's Association (PAPA), due to the combination of Leigh High School's drama, choir and band programs. More information can be found at www.leighpapa.org.
Leigh High School's Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Music Theory Class, Jazz Band, and Marching Band are directed by Suzanne Holden since the beginning of the 2008–2009 school year.
Leigh High School marching band is one of the school's most popular and renowned activities, usually bringing in more than 100 students per season. It includes a drumline, a front ensemble, a colorguard, wind instruments, and brass instruments.
The marching band competes in the Western Band Association (WBA) competitions in the fall, along with the Northern California Band Association competitions. The Leigh High School marching band also performs their competition show at all home football games.
Pre-marching season preparation for the band includes a week away at camp and a week at school, the latter reaching up to 9 hours a day.
Marching band field shows usually consist of an intro, an opener, a ballad, and a closer. In addition to a band director and staff members, the Leigh Marching Band is led by student captains and section leaders.
Symphonic band is a performance based ensemble for students who have prior experience on their instrument and the ability to read music. The ensemble consists of wind instruments and percussion.
Wind ensemble an audition-only ensemble that performs frequently and includes travel to festivals nationwide.
Leigh high school has performed very well in the California Colorguard Circuit percussion competitions since the ensemble's formation in 2005. The ensemble was disbanded in 2008 mid-way through the season by the administration, but members continued to perform in conjunction with students from nearby Branham High School in 2009 with their winter percussion ensemble. As of the 2010 season, the Leigh Winter Percussion ensemble has been reformed and has started off their season quite well with a whole new suite of music, as well as instructional staff. Since its creation in 2005, the Leigh Winter Percussion ensemble has put on the following shows:
Students sing all levels of music literature in a choir. The principle singing group performs at concerts, festivals, or other events during the school year. Ms. Barbara West is the current Choir director at Leigh.
This advanced choir performs many times throughout the school year. Students have to audition for the choir.
Students at Leigh High School compete in a variety of interscholastic sports, usually at the highest level available to them. Many teams have won regional championships.
In only the second year of the school's existence the 1964 Varsity football team tied for the league championship. This was followed up by the 1966 Varsity football team that won the league title outright. In 1970 the Varsity football team again won the league title with a record of 11–1, its lone loss coming in the inaugural County Championship game against Los Altos Hills (30–23). The 2001–2002 Varsity Football team was runner-up in the Central Coast Section Championship. The 2004 Varsity Football team also shared the league championship with Oak Grove High School.
In the mid 1970s, Leigh High was noted for its Cross Country dynasty, under the coaching of Homer Latimer, and in 1974 the Longhorns won the national title. The school's proximity to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, where runners trained vigorously year round, was a significant contributor to the program's success.
Student government is a vital part of the extra-curricular life of Leigh. The students involved are elected by their peers and foster community amongst students and staff. A subgroup of this organization is Leigh’s Student Congress where diverse representatives are chosen from each sixth period class. These congress meetings promote discussion, planning, and publicity for campus activities.
There are more than thirty clubs on campus open to all students, with meeting times during lunch or after school, which makes it convenient for students to attend. Each club or organization must have a constitution and must be approved by the Associated Student Body (ASB).
Leigh is currently in the final stages of its building renovations, which were initiated by a ninety-five million dollar local school bond measure passed in 1999. All playing fields and a majority of the schools classrooms have been renovated. The administration offices, library, cafeteria, student quad, art classrooms, and former music classrooms are next in line for renovation. Because Leigh High School was built in 1962, building renovations will continue until the school is completely retrofitted for education in the twenty-first century.