Fullerton Joint Union High School District Celebrates its 125th Anniversary in 2018
Fullerton Joint Union High School District was founded in 1893. The District serves families in the cities of Fullerton, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Buena Park, and small sections of Brea and Whittier.
There are currently approximately 13,500 students in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District and it is currently led by Superintendent Steve McLaughlin, and School Board Members Marilyn Buchi, Joanne Fawley, Chester Jeng, Lauren Klatzker, and Vicki Calhoun.
The District started with just one high school, Fullerton Union. The school's first classroom was a rented room on the second floor of the Fullerton Elementary School building and that was enough to house the eight students, which constituted the first year's enrollment. In 1908, Fullerton Union’s enrollment increased and to accommodate the growth, the school was moved to a new building on West Commonwealth Avenue.
Fullerton’s enrollment continued to grow and within two years a new building was built to ease the overcrowding. Due to school work disruption by the numerous Santa Fe trains that roared by each day and the need for more room, in 1911, the present site of Fullerton was purchased one block east of Harbor Boulevard known as Spadra back then.
Plummer Auditorium was built in 1930-32 and continues to serve as a landmark with its Mission Revival style of architecture and its original ironwork, which was made by students on the campus. It was named after teacher, principal, and superintendent of the time, Louis E. Plummer.
The next school to be built by the District was La Habra High School located in the city of La Habra on Highlander Ave with the athletic fields bordering Whittier Boulevard. La Habra opened in 1954 and graduated its first class in 1956. La Habra’s mascot is the Scottish Highlander and from 1954-1970 La Habra had a bagpipe band and Scottish dance team. The highlander influence is seen throughout the campus with many buildings and walkways named after Scottish landmarks.
LHHS is a California Distinguished School and National Blue Ribbon School. La Habra High School absorbed a majority of the students and staff members from nearby Lowell High School when it closed in June 1980.
The next school to be built by the District using the exact same design as La Habra was Buena Park High School which opened its doors with 508 students on September 11, 1956. Buena Park was the third school in the District. The school was made possible by a bond measure voted by citizens in the District to serve students in Buena Park, La Palma, and West Fullerton.
Under the leadership of its first principal from 1956 - 1974, Richard Spaulding, the enrollment increased to 2,200. The Buena Park student body recognized Richard Spaulding for his 18 years of service as principal by renaming the football stadium in his honor. Buena Park High School enjoys high status in academics, athletics and the performing arts.
The fourth school to be built in 1959, again using the same design as La Habra and Buena Park, was Sunny Hills High School located in Fullerton. The campus is situated on 42 acres in west Fullerton. Sunny Hills has been an International Baccalaureate School since 1987 and hosts one of the strongest IB programs in California. Sunny Hills High School has been recognized three times as a California Distinguished School and a National Blue Ribbon School.
Lowell High School was the fifth high school in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District from September 1961 until June 1980. Sadly for many, in 1980 Lowell HS was closed due to declining student enrollment. Lowell High School was located on Amber Valley Drive, Whittier. The site was purchased and now is occupied by Southern California University of Health Sciences.
Troy High School opened in 1964 and is acclaimed for its many programs, including Troy Tech and International Baccalaureate. The school was the sixth high school in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District. Currently, 2700 students attend Troy HS making it the largest of the District schools. Troy has the distinction of winning the most national titles (12 as of 2018) in the Science Olympiad. Troy is one of 59 schools in the country to be awarded a New American High Schools status by the United States Department of Education. Troy is also well known for the girls' basketball team which won the state CIF Division II Title in 2003, 2005, and 2006.
In 1966, Sonora High School opened on Palm Street in La Habra, in north Orange County. At its highest enrollment, Sonora served almost 2,000 students. The school has an International Baccalaureate program, honors, and Advanced Placement (AP) options. The Sonora campus is a one-of-a-kind design with the campus enclosed in one large indoor campus. In 2007, an additional building was added, making for the only additional set of rooms not under the same roof as the remaining campus. Sonora has been named a California Distinguished school four times and the sports programs have won many CIF championship titles.
La Vista High School founded in 1966, is the District's continuation high school. It has been named a Model School by the California Department of Education for the last twelve years. This is the highest honor a continuation high school can receive. La Vista specializes in students who are behind in credit. LVHS operates on a quarter system which allows students the opportunity to accelerate the pace in which they earn credit.
La Sierra High School founded in 1980 is an alternative education high school located on the same campus as La Vista High School. These two schools share a beautiful new campus built in 2008. La Sierra is the District's alternative high school. Alternative schools have more flexibility in their organization, which allows for more variety, innovation and individualization in students' educational programs. There are six different programs operating under the umbrella of La Sierra designed for students of all academic levels and abilities: 10th Grade Opportunity, Home Hospital, iSierra Online Academy, Adult Transition, Endeavor High School , and The Kate Waller Barrett Academy
The District has been proud to serve the students, parents, and members of the communities of Fullerton, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Buena Park, and small sections of Brea and Whittier for 125 years and is pleased to share this milestone Anniversary with the past and current staff members, the alumni and current students and parents, and all community members who share the pride of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District.
Happy 125th Anniversary to the Fullerton Joint Union High School District.