Part 1 — The Age of the Vikings: On its centennial celebration, a look at La Jolla High School then and now
La Jolla High School, part of the San Diego Unified School District, opened in September 1922 and has remained an educational fixture in the community. This is the first part of a La Jolla Light series marking the school’s 100th anniversary.
In June 1921, the San Diego Board of Education adopted a resolution to add a new high school on 5.6 acres off Fay Avenue around Westbourne Street in La Jolla.
La Jolla Junior High School opened for 10th through 12th grades on Sept. 18, 1922. Its first yearbook, called “The Jewel,” was published in June 1923, showing 14 students in the first class of sophomores.
At the school’s first commencement ceremony on June 25, 1925, 11 students became the first graduates of what was by then called La Jolla Senior High School.
By comparison, 316 graduates were in the class of 2022.
Alumni from across several decades are preparing to gather at celebrations honoring their part in Viking annals.
The La Jolla High School Alumni Association plans an “Alumni Centennial Homecoming Football Game Celebration” at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex on the school campus at 800 Nautilus St.
Representatives of the association did not respond to requests for details, but the organization’s website states the event, for alumni 21 and older, will precede the Vikings’ homecoming game and will include tacos and drinks. Tickets are $100. To learn more, visit ljhsalumni.org/anniversary.
An “LJHS Centennial Reunion” is planned by Bob Vogt, a member of the class of 1967, for 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla.
The event is for Viking alumni from all decades and “any friend of La Jolla High School” 21 or older, Vogt said. The evening will feature a piano performance by an Emmy Award-winning LJHS alumnus whose name is being kept secret, plus celebrity guest appearances and a two-hour concert by ‘80s cover band Tainted Love. There also will be food, drinks — including a signature centennial margarita — LJHS centennial memorabilia and merchandise. Tickets are $195. For more information, visit theconrad.org/events/ljhs-reunion.
Vogt, founder of the BottleRock Napa Valley music, wine and food festival who has extensive entertainment event planning experience, said he wanted to plan the LJHS centennial celebration to reconnect with his fellow Viking alumni.
He wants to “have a chance to be part of the town again,” he said, calling The Conrad “this jewel right in the middle of a town that is so pretty.”
A portion of the proceeds will go toward founding and sustaining a Viking Hall of Fame on campus, which Vogt hopes will include former students accomplished in arts, sports, sciences and other fields.
“The school was great. [Everyone] was cool, pretty and wonderful and smart.”
— Bob Vogt, La Jolla High School class of 1967
Over the decades, LJHS slowly expanded its campus and student numbers. It now occupies more than 14 acres with enrollment of about 1,300 students. It began to include ninth grade in fall 1990.
The school also changed its colors from the original green and white to the current red and black when San Diego State University donated old football uniforms in the 1940s.
LJHS now offers Gifted and Talented Education, English as a Second Language and special-education programming and has been recognized as a California Distinguished School and an Achievement via Individual Determination School of Distinction.
“The school was great,” Vogt said. Everyone on campus, from teachers to students, “was cool, pretty and wonderful and smart,” he recalled.
“There’s a lot of interesting people that have come through this place in 100 years,” he added.
Calling all Viking alumni! The La Jolla Light would like to hear from La Jolla High School graduates from across the decades. To share your memories, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. ◆
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