|Location||16800 Shoemaker Avenue,
Cerritos, California, USA 90703
|Colors||Brown █, White █, and Gold █|
|Website||Whitney High Website|
Gretchen A. Whitney High School, often simply abbreviated as Whitney High School (WHS), is a public school serving grades 7-12. It is in the ABC Unified School District. It has an enrollment of 1,065 and its current principal is Ms. Patricia Hager.
Whitney High School was founded on September 25, 1976 (under the name Gretchen A. Whitney Learning Center) as a community academic learning center. Whitney HS is the brainchild of former ABC superintendent Charles Hutchison, who originally envisioned Whitney to be a vocational school. Unfortunately, Whitney had a shaky beginning and was forced to pursue a new direction as an academic prep school. As a tribute to Hutchison, the current cafeteria is named the Hutch.
In 1997, half of Whitney’s parking lot was purchased by a housing contractor to build a gated community adjacent to Whitney. In exchange, Whitney received funds to construct the long-awaited gymnasium.
Whitney High received some media attention after a lockdown following the discovery of stolen bank notes from a just-robbed nearby bank in the parking lot. On December 1, 2003, at around 4:15pm, several bank robbers entered the campus after hiding out in a nearby home. In an attempt to evade the police, they began to move toward the students, hoping to hide amongst the crowd. Several staff members blocked the entrance to Whitney and former teacher Chris Williams, as well as the SIAs (Student Intervention Assistants) successfully tackled two of the suspects.
Whitney High School admits its students based on their performance on the state exams and a special writing test administered in the sixth grade. This high school is open to any applicants entering seventh to twelfth grade in the ABC Unified School District. This allows Whitney High School to admit HI students willing to strive for excellence from other middle schools and high schools.
On September 25, 1991, President George H. W. Bush recognized Whitney as one of the best high schools in the United States, presenting its principal, Dr. Pauline B. Ferris, with the Department of Education's National Recognition Award as a Blue Ribbon School. Whitney is 1 of only 19 secondary schools to win this award twice, winning it twice in four years. Whitney is also 1 of the 3 Blue Ribbon Lighthouse Schools Charter Members.
President George W. Bush's brother Neil, co-founder of an educational software company, has visited the campus several times, as he put it, "because of the respect the staff has for students. I’ve never seen anything like it. Every school should be this way." Mr. Bush has received some criticism for a comment about calculus he made during a 2002 visit to the campus, in which he stated that students shouldn't be "forced to study something a kid thinks is terribly useless and obscure." The comment was widely repeated as though Bush had said simply that "calculus was useless".
In 2005, the Associated Press rated Whitney High the best high school in California, based on its Academic Performance Index (API) score. Whitney's SAT scores are nearly one hundred points higher than the second place public school in California. Furthermore, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) rated Whitney's Advanced Placement Physics and Calculus BC programs as the best in the world based on the number of students enrolled in the classes compared to the number that pass the Advanced Placement (AP) test.
Whitney High has been featured in a special report done by Fox News in 2005. The report on mentoring featured Whitney's "Big Buddy/Little Buddy" system. Furthermore, CBS News's "Weekend Journal" also reported on Whitney, focusing on the public high school's incredible academic achievements.
More recently, Whitney High School has been featured in Newsweek’s "America’s Best High School" edition, dated May 8, 2006. Whitney was not included in the top 100 high schools because "so many of [Whitney's] students score well above average on the SAT and ACT". However, Newsweek did include Whitney in "The Public Elites" section, and labeled Whitney as "a comprehensive school for high performers". Newsweek again recognized Whitney in the May 23, 2007 "America’s Best High School" edition. Similar to the 2006 edition, Whitney was included as 1 of the 19 "The Public Elite" high schools and was labeled as an "award-winning school with special emphasis on college admissions".
The passing rate for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) for Whitney students is 100%. Also, 22% of the senior class are honored as National Merit Semi-Finalists. Whitney received a six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in 2004.
In 2008, Whitney High School was recognized as a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
Business Week declared Whitney as having the "Best Overall Academic Performance" in 2009 for California. 
U.S. News & World Report ranked Whitney High School as the #12 high school in the nation in the November 30, 2007 edition. Whitney was ranked #10 in the December 15, 2008 edition. Whitney was ranked the 3rd best high school in America for 2010 in the December 10, 2009 edition.
Whitney High is home to 47 clubs. Several of these clubs are representations of the numerous ethnic backgrounds and cultures present at Whitney. Some include Club Kaibigan(Filipino club), Latino Club, Chinese Club, Korean Club, Ebony Element, Kokoro Kara, Viet Club and Shanti Club. However these clubs do not require having their respective ethnic background to join.
Some educational clubs participate in various competitions in the United States or internationally (Spaceset and Robotics Club). Others are involved in discussions and activities of their subject (Physics Club, History and Geography Club, Math Club, MedEx Club)
Some clubs at Whitney are part of larger networks of clubs. Junior State of America (grades 9-12) is a politics-oriented organization that is part of the nationwide Junior State of America organization. Students attend conventions in which they participate in debates about national issues. Key Club (grades 9-12) and Builders Club (grades 7-8) are part of the larger Kiwanis Family. These clubs do community services to the local area with other Key Clubs. Red Cross Club (grades 7-12) is part of the Greater Long Beach Chapter. The club provides community services and disaster trainings such as CPR Trainings and Water Safety Classes to the school and the community.
The rest of the clubs consist of recreational activities (ex. Guitar Club, Racket Club, Chess Club, Club Flash, Mahjong Club, and Playing for A Cause). These clubs are open to anyone with interest in the subject.
The partial list of Whitney clubs can be found here (please note that several clubs are no longer active and others have not been added).
Whitney High athletics league status is CIF Division IV and the mascot is the Whitney Wildcat.
|Fall Sports||Winter Sports||Spring Sports|
|Girls Tennis||Girls Basketball||Boys Volleyball|
|Girls Volleyball||Boys Basketball||Girls Softball|
|Co-ed Water Polo||Boys Soccer||Boys Baseball|
|Co-ed Cross Country||Girls Soccer||Boys Tennis|
|Co-ed Track and Field|
Whitney does not have a football team. A running joke among Whitney students is that the nonexistent football team is "undefeated in the league."
"It's Finally Friday" (a.k.a. "IFF") is a televised show broadcasted over the school's television network every Friday. IFF premiered in September 2003 and aired until June 2005. The show was canceled for the 2005 – 2006 school year due to the difficulty of creating a new episode every week. However, IFF was renewed for the 2006 – 2007 school year due to support from both the teachers and students. The new season featured a new format: a bimonthly show featuring serialized comedy and dramatic short-films. In late 2008, it made 2 appearances, for Halloween and Christmas, in which filming the Halloween show involved multiple pranks throughout the school. Recently, however, IFF has been on a hiatus since February. This is due to the number of other obligations that the creators have to deal with.
In the years before the 05 – 06 cancellation, IFF was a short 10 minute show used to publicize school events. After the return of IFF, the show was extended to accommodate several two or three minute episodes of student-run shows. The school's Contemporary Media class tapes and edits the shows, employing students from drama class as actors/actresses.
The title is a reference to a weekly tradition of former computer science teacher Del Kelly, in which he danced to a song sang by his class every Friday, the lyrics of which are roughly as follows: "It's finally Friday / I'm free again / Got my motor running for a wild weekend!" The song typically ended with a guttural sound, as well as a neat elbow trick.
|American Indian or Alaska Native||
|Hispanic-American or Latino||
|White (Not Hispanic)||
|Multiple or No Response||
Whitney High is the subject of School of Dreams, a book written by the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Edward Humes and published in September 2003 . Humes spent the 2001-2002 school year at Whitney teaching a writing workshop, and used his case study of Whitney High to bring national attention to the pressures endured by the students of America's selective schools. It has been somewhat criticized by the students and staff members themselves that the book labels some stereotypes on the students, such as excessive coffee drinking.
Neither the hardback cover photo nor the paperback cover photo are pictures of Whitney.
Kul Wadhwa, Class of 1990 - Wikimedia Foundation's Head of Business Development