Long Beach Polytechnic High School

Inspired by Elvin Mabborang’s post on Carbillo High School, I decided to write about my high school, Long Beach Polytechnic High School.

I’m not a very good writer (engineer here!), so please bear with me.

Long Beach Polytechnic High School

Long Beach Polytechnic High School is not your typical high school. It was founded in 1895 as “Long Beach High School,” and is one of the oldest high schools in Southern California. As such, it has been through many events, some relating even to what we’ve read in our books. One major event was the earthquake of 1933, which struck in the heart of Long Beach. That earthquake destroyed parts of the Polytechnic High School campus, including the front entrance which collapsed. In the recent years, Long Beach Polytechnic High School has grown into a very diverse high school, and is considered one of the best high schools for sports, and music. Of course, academically, Poly is well-off too. Poly has one of the best pass-rates for the AP tests. It is the flagship school for Long Beach Unified School District.

Long Beach Polytechnic High School 1933

Some prominent events and information:

In the 1920s, Long Beach Polytechnic High School was considered the largest high school (based on student population) west of the Mississippi River. In 1933, a major earthquake struck Long Beach. That earthquake destroyed much of the Polytechnic campus, including the front entrance and science buildings. In 1953, the library was built. In 1976, the PACE (Program of Additional Curricular Experiences) academy was started, and in 1982, CIC (Center for International Commerce) academy was started. There are numerous graduates of Long Beach Polytechnic High School who went on to become famous, such as Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. (AKA “Snoop Dog”), and various sports athletes who went on to become professional players. Long Beach Polytechnic High School is particularly known for its sports and music program.

Enough history, let’s get down to the juicy bits.

Following the civil rights movement, race riots occurred throughout Polytechnic High School, and at one point the riots threatened to shut down the entire school. The climax of these riots happened during May 27, 1969 when a student published a racist leaflet. About 100 people, white and black, got into fights and the day ended with 24 people injured. In 1971, they dropped titles (king/queen) for that year’s homecoming, again, due to racial tensions.

Polytechnic High School is located in a very poverty-stricken area, and has a high crime rate. This was most likely the case back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I can’t really confirm, since there isn’t much to document, especially about a high school…

From my years at Polytechnic High School, I heard of many things including the reasons for starting the PACE and CIC programs. Both programs offered college-prep courses (honors & AP), and opportunities for field trips.

One reason why I heard they started the PACE and CIC programs was because they wanted to diversify (integrate) the campus. It makes complete sense. At the time of racial tensions, I think it was mainly (poor?) whites and a few blacks who went to poly. The PACE and CIC programs allowed Long Beach Polytechnic High School to attract students from other (including more affluent) neighborhoods, and improve the quality of education for all students.

It worked. From my time at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, the whole campus was very diverse. There are over 5,000 students! The quality of education you received was great, the sports program was great, and the music program was great. Everyone had a sense of pride. Not only does the school offer almost every AP course, it also offers a ton of language courses to choose from, including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, and even German. At one point, it even offered Latin!

Again, this is poorly written, but I hope you’ve gained some knowledge from this!

Some links:

http://lbpoly58.com/id6.html

http://www.lbusd.k12.ca.us/POLY/PACE/PACE%20Profile.htm

2 Comments

  1. Christopher Fernandes

    This is some interesting information about a school that a lot of my friends here at CSULB attended. I found the part about the race riots very interesting. Sometimes it’s crazy when you really sit and realize how the things of the present were in the past.

  2. Diane

    Your article is interesting. However, I would like to interject a few things. I graduated from Poly in 1964. Yes, Poly was located in an older part of Long Beach. However, you stated that the student population consisted poor whites and a few Blacks.

    Do you realize that a very large percentage of the Poly students came from such upscale neighborhoods as Los Cerritos, Bixby Knolls, Cal Heights and very nice sections of Wrigley? There were wonderful people, from the Westside, who were not impoverished. In fact, the student population was very diverse with quite a few Japanese and other nationalities. We all got along!

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