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The Genesis of the First High School in Orange County
The first class to graduate from Santa Ana High School was in 1892 and consisted of three boys; Harry Hunt, Lee McDrill and Walter Stafford. The commencement exercises were held in Spurgeon's Hall, and all three graduates went to Stanford University, which had just opened. It is questionable if they could have entered the State University at Berkeley, since Santa Ana High School was not accredited until one year later, so the class of 1893 may be able to claim the distinction of being the first class to graduate from our high school. The high school graduating class of 1893 consisted of eleven students.
The first high school was located on the second floor of the building generally referred to as the Central School Building (205 W. Church Street, now Civic Center Drive), the grammar school using the first floor and the elementary division occupying an old school building immediately east on the same site. These were the only school buildings in town at the time.
The first principal of the high school was professor M. Manley who, the school records show, served from 1889 to 1892. The only subjects taught were English, history, Latin, and mathematics. In 1889, the high school was established as a four-year high school and in 1900 moved to the new high school building located on North Main Street, where the old Buffum's once stood. In 1913, the high school was moved to its present location on West Walnut Street, a site that Glenn Martin had once used to try out his first airplane, and considered "out in the country" by the opponents of the bonds voted for the new buildings for the high school.
Santa Ana High School had a number of good track athletes during the early days, and George Horne, a graduate of the class of 1907, broke the world's record in the high jump while attending Stanford University. The girls of the high school organized a basketball team around the turn of the century and were right at the top in competition with other high schools. Santa Ana High School has since gone on to have Olympic athletes as well as professional athletes. To date Santa Ana High School has captured over 108 league championships and 15 C.I.F. championships.
The first known high school yearbook, the Ariel, was published in 1904. For many years there were two issues published annually because there was a class graduating in February as well as in June of each year. These annuals are of great interest because they contain the pictures of many of successful merchants, politicians, and professional leaders in the community today.
Many changes have taken place in the high school subsequent to current days, and the enrollment has sky rocketed, but many of the inhabitants today, who were students during those days, look back with pleasure to happy days spent at Santa Ana High School. No matter the time or the circumstance, a Saint is a Saint and always proud and ready to keep the Saint spirit alive.
Date Built and/or Occupied
The school was founded in 1889. In 1912, the school board purchased the property on Walnut Street and plans began immediately for the new school. After the Long Beach Earthquake (1933) the original building was badly damaged and it was torn down. Santa Ana High School was rebuilt and rededicated in 1935.
The school mascot was originally an owl. This was back in the days that the school was named Santa Ana Polytechnic High School. The term Saint first appeared in The Generator on May 5, 1925. The first design of an actual mascot was done through a design contest in the mid 40's, thus Sammy Saint came to life. Over the last 60 years it has developed into our beloved Sammy and Sally Saint.