This is a Press Telegram article in celebration of Poly’s 100th anniversary (1895-1995).

This article was archived by, and originally published August 6, 1995 and a sample can be found HERE.

The purpose of this page is to show my research on Long Beach Polytechnic History.

A Wikipedia article citing this article can be found HERE.

All respective copyrights belong to their owners.  No content has been modified.

This page was created on October 19th, 2008.



Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)


August 6, 1995
Section: MAIN NEWS
Edition: AM
Page: A8
Daniel de Vise


1895: Classes begin in fall at the Methodist Tabernacle Chapel, northeast of Third Street and Locust Avenue. Principal Walter S. Bailey and teacher Hattie Mason teach English, math, history, Latin, Greek and German to 28 students.

1897: On June 18, Ernest Shaul receives his diploma, the first graduate of Long Beach schools and the sole member of the class of 1897. Classes move to Chautauqua Hall at Fourth Street and Pine Avenue as work begins on a new Long Beach High School at Eighth Street and American Avenue (now Long Beach Blvd.)

1898: Long Beach High School dedicated May 20. It is a mission-style building with a red tile roof, four classrooms and an assembly hall.

1899: The Long Beach High School Athletic Association is formed. A semipro baseball team donates uniforms, and Poly changes its school colors to match from red and white to green and gold.

1902: Courtney A. Teel graduates, the first student to go through every grade in Long Beach schools.

1903: The first Long Beach High School yearbook, ''Caerulea,'' is published.

1904: Football and basketball come to Poly.

1907: David ''Daddy'' Burcham becomes principal, a job he'll hold until 1941. The girls' basketball team wins its first of three consecutive state championships.

1909: Debate begins on a site for a new ''polytechnic'' high school with a curriculum patterned after Los Angeles schools. The following year, a site will be chosen at 16th Street and Atlantic Avenue.

1911: Long Beach High School graduates its final class. Poly High School opens, with 31 teachers and 850 students.

1914: The California Interscholastic Federation forms, as does a girls' athletic league.

1917-18: School life and sports are interrupted by an influenza epidemic and World War I. Inspired by the rabbits that roam the athletic field, track team members decide to call themselves Jackrabbits. On Dec. 27, 1918, the old Long Beach High School burns down. It last served as an elementary school.

1924: David Burcham Field, the Poly athletic field, is dedicated on Jan. 18.

1927: Wilson High School opens in Eastern Long Beach and quickly becomes Poly's chief rival.

1933: A 6.3 earthquake destroys Poly High School. A dome at the entrance to the campus crashes to the ground, the science building burns and most other buildings are ruined. School reopens the following week in 47 tents on Burcham Field. Tent City will remain for three years.

1935: A new science building opens, and the Poly auditorium is remodeled. Architect Hugh Davies authors the motto, ''Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.'' A new administration building will open in 1936.

1937: 1,006 students graduate the first class over 1,000.

1941: ''Daddy'' Burcham retires as the United States enters World War II. Poly students grow Victory Gardens, join bond and scrap drives. Four thousand Poly students will fight in the war; 77 will die.

1945: Poly High celebrates its 50th anniversary. ''The Spirit of Poly,'' a bomber built by Douglas Aircraft Co. and financed with war bonds sold by students, flies over campus.

1952: The old wooden bleachers at Burcham Field burn down. The new Veterans Memorial Stadium becomes Poly's home field.

1957: ''Home of Scholars and Champions'' is penned by Principal Neil W. Philips as a second school motto.

1969: On May 27, about 100 white and African-American students fight on campus in response to a racist leaflet. Twenty-four students are injured.

1970: Poly celebrates its 75th anniversary.

1974: Poly North opens at Big Bear Lake as a weekend human relations camp.

1975: A Program of Additional Curricular Experiences (PACE) is formed, drawing gifted students from around the Long Beach district for college-preparatory classes.

1986: Poly High is one of six California schools that year to receive the Distinguished School Recognition Award, the California Department of Education's highest honor.

1988: Poly High has six National Merit Scholarship finalists, more than any other U.S. high school.

1993: Poly is the first (and still the only) area high school to split the principal's duties among three administrators.

1994: Huong Tran Nguyen, a Poly bilingual educator, is named teacher of the year by The Walt Disney Co.