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Campus History

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And So It Began...

Jordan had its beginnings in 1933, the year of the Long Beach Earthquake and in the time of the Great Depression. It was not evident at that time that Jordan was to grow into the fine school that it is today. For the first three years of its existence, Jordan classrooms were in the North Long Beach Y.M.C.A. and in the Houghton Park clubhouse; the athletic field was a vacant lot across from the "Y." In Jordan 's first sophomore class were 145 boys and girls who were to become this school's first graduating class.

In 1934 some temporary buildings were added to meet the growing enrollments of another sophomore class, and in 1935 the first permanent buildings (the present 200 and 350 buildings) were completed on what was to be the permanent Jordan campus. You know these buildings today as Business Education-Homemaking and Foreign Language-Math, but in the first years the 200 building was for science and art and the 350 building was the administration building. In fact, the principal's office was located where our bookroom and bank­ er's office is today. The first student store, called the "Cat's Cave," was located at the end of the 350 building: food and supplies were passed through the open window.

In 1935 the first student body officers were elected. The top office, then called "Mayor," went to a fellow named Onas Lawson. During the first years, Jordanites were known as "Pioneers" in keeping with the North Long Beach area which was considered something of a frontier for the rest of the city.

But one day the football team had a visitor and the Jordanites had a new nickname. As the story is handed down from the distant past, a small coal-black kitten attached itself to one of our first grid teams, and the two parties formed a mutual admiration society. Now, the word "cat" suggests any member of the feline family, but the coal-black color of this kitten suggested one larger member of the cat family-the most spirited, fightingest animal, pound-for-pound, in the animal kingdom: the Black Panther. From that day on, all Jordan teams were known as Panthers.

1936 was an eventful year. First, Chapter 280 of the Cali­ fornia Scholarship Society was chartered at Jordan . Next, the first yearbook, then known as La Pantera (The Panther) was published. And finally, the senior class became the first graduating class in Jordan history.

By this time, the school was quite firmly established. Campus clubs had been organized, and traditions were grow­ ing. One of the first was "Backwards Week," first known as "Justice for Men's Week." And we had a newspaper, even with the somefhat strange name of "The Flimsey."

The following years saw increased development of student productions. Operettas and plays became an important part of campus life. In 1938 the first David Starr Jordanawards were given for outstanding leadership in extra­ curricular activities.

Our football teams won their first league championship in 1939. Our enrollment had now grown to 550 students. As the years passed our campus continued to grow. The first section of the Industrial Arts building was completed in 1940. This building is now the 400 building and still houses most of the classes relating to the Industrial Arts. There were now four permanent buildings.

The most outstanding event of 1943 was the state-wide convention of the World Friendship Clubs which was held on our campus. A Jordan student, Dorothy King, was elected president of the federation of clubs.

During World War II the students of Jordan purchased enough War Bonds to have a B-17 bomber named for our school. This bomber carried Jordan High School 's name into the war against the Axis enemy. A picture of this airplane may be seen in the library.

Shortly after the war the construction of many new build­ ings were started on our campus. By 1952 the following classrooms and other facilities had been completed: the David Starr Jordan Memorial Stadium, the gymnasium, the auditorium, the science (900) building, and the music (700) building. Two more were added in 1955; the art (800) build­ ing and the cafeteria (250) building. In 1957 the present administration (100) building and the (300) classroom building were completed. In 1961 the auto shop (990) and the (850) classroom were added to our campus. In 1964 the (950) classroom building was completed bringing the total number of permanent buildings to sixteen.

In 1956 Jordan students working through the American Field Service organization began a program designed to promote international friendship and understandings. Our first exchange student was a young man from Denmark . Since then we have had students from France , Germany , Italy , Norway , Spain , Uruguay , Argentina , Sweden , Japan Chile, Brazil , and the Philippines living in our homes and attending our school.

Now that Jordan is well established -the first one-third of a century is behind it-the changes may not be as con­spicuous, but they are still taking place as students, faculty, and community search for new excellence.

In such a spirit, wrestling was added to the athletic picture in 1966 to give the Panthers an 11th sport in their well balanced program.

Student government, recognizing the tremendous efforts some Jordanites were making in service to their school, es­ tablished in 1967 the Golden J Award, the highest honor that can be given for accomplishments in the activities field.

And in 1967 also, a combined effort of students, adminis­ tration and community leaders resulted in initial planning for a Jordan Hall of Fame - a campus-located institution which will pay tribute to Jordan alumni for their accomplishments after leaving the Jordan scene.

Throughout the years our students have built the reputation of being friendly, sincere young people. For this reason Jordan has come to be known as "The Friendly School." Our graduates have achieved outstanding success in many varied professions and occupations, most of the credit for these achievements belonging to the sincere, dedicated teachers at Jordan High School . Every young person who makes a sincere effort to Improve mentally, physically, and emotionally can be assured of encouragement and unlimited assistance from the faculty at Jordan . Your success, or failure in life as well as in school, rests squarely upon your shoulders. Your performance therefore will reflect your de­ sire to fulfill the responsibilities of approaching maturity.

Jordan High School has a proud history, years filled with many outstanding student achievements and many memor­able events, years to which you will now contribute, and years which you now share.

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