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Van Nuys High School (VNHS) is a public high school in the
Van Nuys Van Nuys is a neighborhood in the central San Fernando Valley The San Fernando Valley, known locally as "the Valley", is an urbanized valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typ ...
district of Los Angeles, belonging to the
Los Angeles Unified School District Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is a State school, public school district in Los Angeles, California, United States. It is the largest (in terms of number of students) public school system in California and the List of the largest ...
: District 2. The school is home to a Residential Program and three Magnet Programs—Math/Science, Performing Arts, and Medical. Several neighborhoods, including much of Van Nuys, portions of
Sherman Oaks Sherman Oaks is a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley The San Fernando Valley, known locally as "the Valley", is an urbanized valley in Los Angeles County, California. Located just north of the Los Angeles Basin, it contains a large port ...
, Magnolia Woods, and Victory Park, are zoned to this school.


History

Van Nuys High School opened in 1914, four years after
Van Nuys Van Nuys is a neighborhood in the central San Fernando Valley The San Fernando Valley, known locally as "the Valley", is an urbanized valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typ ...
was established. For years the only high schools in the
San Fernando Valley The San Fernando Valley, known locally as "the Valley", is an urbanized valley in Los Angeles County, California. Located just north of the Los Angeles Basin, it contains a large portion of the City of Los Angeles, as well as unincorporated ar ...

San Fernando Valley
were Van Nuys, Owensmouth (now Canoga Park), San Fernando, and North Hollywood. The main buildings and auditorium were built in 1933, incorporating remnants of the 1915 building which had been destroyed in the Long Beach earthquake. The football and track stadium, originally built at the same time as the current high school, is named for
Bob Waterfield Robert Stanton Waterfield (July 26, 1920 – March 25, 1983) was an American football player and coach and motion picture actor and producer. He played quarterback for the UCLA Bruins football, UCLA Bruins and Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland/Los Ang ...
, and the baseball field for
Don Drysdale Donald Scott Drysdale (July 23, 1936 – July 3, 1993) was an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding ...
, the two most famous athletes to have played for VNHS. It was in the
Los Angeles City High School District Los Angeles City High School District (known in its last year as West County Union High School District) was a school district A school district is a special-purpose district that operates local public Primary school, primary and Secondary school ...
until 1961, when it merged into LAUSD. For the 1998–1999 Scholastic Assessment Test (
SAT The SAT ( ) is a standardized test A standardized test is a test Test(s), testing, or TEST may refer to: * Test (assessment), an educational assessment intended to measure the respondents' knowledge or other abilities Arts and entertainme ...

SAT
), Van Nuys high had a 537 average on the verbal portion and a 568 on the mathematics portion, giving it the highest SAT scores in the LAUSD that year. The
Los Angeles Unified School District Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is a State school, public school district in Los Angeles, California, United States. It is the largest (in terms of number of students) public school system in California and the List of the largest ...
ordered Van Nuys High School to convert to year-round scheduling in 2001, due to such reasons as overcrowding. Even though this relieved the overcrowding at the school, the magnet programs separated tracks, along with the residential students. The Performing Arts Magnet and the Medical Magnet were available only on the A-Track Schedule, while the Math and Science Magnet was available only on the C-Track Schedule. B-Trackers could not take the same classes as C-Trackers, while C-Trackers could take only certain A-Track classes. Teachers that had both A-Track and C-Track students were frustrated because the curriculum had to be synchronized with both tracks. Van Nuys High School returned to the traditional school calendar in 2005. The switch was caused by a decline in the school population and by a new district policy to eliminate year-round schools whenever possible. The opening of
Panorama High School Panorama Senior High School is a public high school located on Van Nuys Boulevard in the Panorama City district of Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles, California, United States. Designed by architect DLR Group WWCOT, Panorama High School opened ...

Panorama High School
in October 2006, relieved overcrowding at Van Nuys High School. Van Nuys High School had the highest AP passing rate in the LAUSD for two consecutive years. Van Nuys High School was indeed established in 1915, although the first graduating ceremony was held in 1914 for a small group of students who had previously attended different schools, legitimately making the class of 2014 The Centennials. The issue was discussed between high authority figures of the school, and they decided that even though the first graduating ceremony that took place for students who did attend Van Nuys High School was in the year 1915, the first graduating ceremony to take place in the school took place back in 1914.


Extracurricular activities

Van Nuys has a range of extracurricular teams. Its
Science Olympiad Science Olympiad is an American team competition in which students compete in 23 events pertaining to various fields of science, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Over 7,800 middle school and high school team ...
team has consistently placed in the top 6 in regional competitions, from 2014 to 2019, even advancing to state competitions several times, such as in 2018. Its
Science Bowl The National Science Bowl (NSB) is a high school and middle school science knowledge competition, using a quiz bowl format, held in the United States. A buzzer, buzzer system similar to those seen on popular television game shows is used to signal ...
team won the national competition in 1995, and has placed highly in regional competitions in the years since. Van Nuys has a newly created history bowl team , and has placed in playoffs in its first year of competing.


Community Adult School

The Adult School is on the same campus as Van Nuys High School. It allows adults as well as high school students to take classes. Most Van Nuys High School students take courses in the Adult School for academic remediation. However, some take classes for Counselor-Identified High School Credit Deficiencies, while others take classes for personal necessities of flexible scheduling. The Adult School is considered a work-at-your-own-pace program. A student can finish an entire course in just 2–3 weeks, but can take longer depending on the work effort of the student.


Athletics

In baseball Van Nuys High qualified for postseason play. The following time the school's team qualified was in 1989, after a 9–7 victory over
Birmingham High School Birmingham Community Charter High School (formerly Birmingham High School) is an independent charter coeducation Mixed-sex education, also known as mixed-gender education, co-education, or coeducation (abbreviated to co-ed or coed), is a system ...
at the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Recreation Center. Van Nuys High has a variety of sports including: basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, football, soccer, golf, wrestling, water polo, swimming and tennis. It has had longtime rivalries with John H. Francis Polytechnic High School and
Hollywood High School Hollywood High School is a four-year public secondary school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, located at the intersection of North Highland Avenue and West Sunset Boulevard in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, California. Histor ...
. The Van Nuys High wrestling team won the Los Angeles City Championship in 1976. For the first time in school history, the Boys Volleyball team won the CIF- L.A. City Section Division 1 championship in 2021. The Wolves beat the Sylmar Spartans 3-1


Notable alumni

*
Paula Abdul Paula Julie Abdul (born ) is an American singer, dancer, choreographer, actress, and television personality. She began her career as a National Basketball Association Cheerleading, cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers at the age of 18 and la ...

Paula Abdul
(born 1962), entertainer * George O. Abell (1927–1983)
astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such as stars, planets, natural satellite, moons, comets and galaxy, g ...

astronomer
, professor at
UCLA The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organ ...
*
Diane Baker Diane Carol Baker (born February 25, 1938) is an American actress, producer and educator who has appeared in motion pictures and on television since 1959. Early life Baker was born in Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Hollywood Holl ...
(born 1938), actress *
Harry Browne Harry Edson Browne (June 17, 1933 – March 1, 2006) was an American writer, politician, and investment advisor. He was the Libertarian Party's Presidential nominee in the U.S. elections of 1996 1996 was designated as: * International Year ...
(attended Van Nuys 1946), best selling author and Libertarian presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000 *
Julie Brown Julie Ann Brown (born August 31, 1958) is an American actress, comedian, screen/television writer, singer-songwriter, and television director. Brown is known for her work in the 1980s, where she often played a quintessential valley girl charac ...

Julie Brown
(born 1958), actress/comedian/producer/singer/writer *
Chuck Cecil Charles Douglas "Chuck" Cecil (born November 8, 1964) is an American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven play ...
(born 1922), disc jockey * Vint Cerf (born 1943), computer scientist, one of the "fathers of the Internet" * Stephen M. Cohen (born 1948), controversial internet entrepreneur * José Cortez (born 1975), NFL football player * Steve Crocker (born 1944), computer scientist, inventor of the Request for Comments, RFC series * Kim Darby (born 1948), actress who appeared in True Grit (1969 film), ''True Grit'' * Dorothy DeBorba (1925-2010), actress who appeared in Our Gang * Larry Dixon (dragster driver), Larry Dixon (born 1966), NHRA drag car champion * Tony Dow (born 1945), actor *
Don Drysdale Donald Scott Drysdale (July 23, 1936 – July 3, 1993) was an American professional baseball Baseball is a bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting (baseball), batting and fielding ...
(1936-1993), National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher * Erika Eleniak (born 1969), actress * David Gerrold (born 1944), writer * Joseph Gordon-Levitt (born 1981), actor * Jack Hirsch (born c. 1941), basketball player * Al Hoisington (born 1933), NFL football player * Dennis Holt (born 1942), linguist and poet * Steve Kanaly (born 1946), actor * Stacy Keach (born 1941), actor * David Klein (businessman), David Klein, creator of Jelly Belly jelly beans, subject of the 2010 film ''Candyman'' * Bruce Kovner (born 1945), financier, former hedge fund manager * Scott Mason (radio personality), Scott Mason (1959-2015), Los Angeles disc jockey * Bob McChesney (American football, born 1926), Bob McChesney (1926-2002), NFL football player * Norm Miller (baseball), Norm Miller (born 1946), Major League baseball player * Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962), actress * Jon Postel (1943-1998), computer scientist, known as "the god of the internet" * Don Prudhomme (born 1941), drag racer * Al Qöyawayma (born 1938), Hopi sculptor and co-founder of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society * Robert Redford (born 1936), actor * Ted Robbins (born 1955), NPR journalist * Ricardo Rodriguez (wrestler), Ricardo Rodriguez (born 1986), professional wrestler and ring announcer * Jane Russell (1921-2011), actress * John K. Singlaub (born 1921), Major General, US Army * David J. Skorton (born 1949), Secretary (CEO) of Smithsonian Institution; previously President of Cornell University *
Bob Waterfield Robert Stanton Waterfield (July 26, 1920 – March 25, 1983) was an American football player and coach and motion picture actor and producer. He played quarterback for the UCLA Bruins football, UCLA Bruins and Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland/Los Ang ...
(1920-1983), Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and punter * Alice Waters (born 1944), creator of "California cuisine" * Natalie Wood (1938-1981), actress * Shawn Steel (born 1946), Republican National Committee Member for California since 2008, Founder of Shawn Steel Law Firm located in Seal Beach


Filming

The campus was used as a location for the 1982 movie ''Fast Times at Ridgemont High''. Ridgemont High's mascot in the movie was the same as Van Nuys High School—a wolf, which remains VNHS's mascot today. The horror films ''Christine (1983 film), Christine'' and ''Sleepwalkers (film), Sleepwalkers'', both written by Stephen King, were filmed at Van Nuys High School. Some perhaps less well known movies filmed at Van Nuys High include ''My Science Project'', Kid 'n Play's ''Class Act'' and ''My Stepmother Is an Alien'' (featuring Kim Basinger) were also filmed at VNHS, as were scenes in the Disney film ''Starstruck (2010 film), Starstruck''. In addition, the pilot episode of ''The Wonder Years'' and several episodes of ''Highway to Heaven'' were filmed there, as was The Ramones' punk-rock movie classic ''Rock 'n' Roll High School''. The music video of Vitamin C (artist), Vitamin C's Graduation (Friends Forever), Graduation song was filmed at Van Nuys High School. An episode of ''Apple's Way'' 1974–1975 Vince Van Patten was filmed on the football field. An episode of ''Scrubs (TV series), Scrubs'' was filmed on the track field. An episode of ''7th Heaven (TV series), 7th Heaven'' was filmed there as well, as was an episode of ''Twin Peaks''. The 2009 film ''Love at First Hiccup'' was also filmed at the front of the school and in the school's quad. A 2009 music video "About a Girl" by The Academy Is... was also filmed in Van Nuys High School. Also, several episodes of the 2010 series ''Parenthood (2010 TV series), Parenthood'' were shot in the school's library and quad area. VNHS was used as the location for many of the scenes in the '80s TV series ''The White Shadow (TV series), The White Shadow''. The 2014 music video for the song "Unlimited" made by the clothing company Old Navy was filmed at Van Nuys High School. From 2015 to 2017, the sitcom television series ''Those Who Can't'' filmed at Van Nuys High School, using the campus as the location of Smoot High School, a fictional school in Denver, Colorado. ''Young Sheldon'' is filmed at Van Nuys High School. The 2018 adaptation of the film ''Valley Girl (1983 film), Valley Girl'' was filmed at Van Nuys High School.


References


External links

* {{authority control Educational institutions established in 1914 High schools in Los Angeles County, California Los Angeles Unified School District schools Magnet schools in California High schools in the San Fernando Valley Public high schools in California 1914 establishments in California