Fillmore Unified High School
Fillmore High Schools
Clockwise from upper left, 1910 first high school at 2nd and Saratoga, 1911 high school at 2nd and Central, 1925 high school on Central Avenue, c 1965 current high school administration building.
So what was the earliest history of Fillmore High School? The first high school opened in 1909 in a house built by Hattie (Mrs. George N.) King on the southwest corner of 2nd and Saratoga. Before that, any student wanting “higher” education had to go to high school in Santa Paula. The building on Saratoga was only used for one year. Haines Hardison, Fillmore’s third mayor, purchased the building and converted it into a dwelling.
In 1910 a new high school was built on 2nd and Central Avenue. The first graduating class was made up of Mary Cummings, Albert Wiklund, Sarah King and Mabel Arthur. The early Copa de Oros not only reported on the doings of the students, but also reported on alumni. According to the 1923 Copa de Oro, Mabel Arthur (now Cummings, she had married Mary’s older brother) was living in Long Beach as was Albert Wiklund. Sarah King (of the Piru King Family) had graduated from USC and was a missionary in Rhodesia, Africa. Mary Cummings (Jones) had sadly succumbed in the influenza pandemic as had one of the following year’s graduates, Vinnie Hinckley.
First Graduating Class, Left to right: Mary Cummings, Albert Wiklund, Sarah King, Mabel Arthur
Speaking of the Copa de Oro, the first “annual” was printed in 1913 and called “El Picadillo,” meaning “Hash”. A contest was staged by the student body to find a new name for the annual. The prize would be three free annuals. Many names were submitted, but the winning name was “Copa de Oro” submitted by a freshman, Edith Moore. Edith was known as Edith Moore Jarrett when she taught Spanish at the High School, wrote a Spanish text which was used country wide for many years and founded the Fillmore Historical Museum.
Looking at the alumni from the following years, a surprising number were attending USC or other colleges and universities including Santa Barbara and Pomona. Fillmore may have been a young, small town, but its young people had high aspirations even then.
1915 Tennis Team
Even though the Fillmore High School had only been in existence a few years, it lost no time in excelling in sports, winning the County baseball championships in 1913-1914 and 1914-1915.
By 1924 the school at the corner of 2nd and Central was too small so a new high school was built along side the first. The new building even included an auditorium.
It was during the 1925 school year that the school nickname “Flashes” was selected. According to John Keefe, class of 1925, in a letter to the editor of the Fillmore Herald, July 14, 1988, “Barbara Barnes was on the Student Council as well as the editor of the yearbook. That was the only year the yearbook was not called the ‘Copa de Oro.’ Barbara was the one who submitted the name ‘Flash’, and the yearbook was also called ‘The Flash’.”
If you had attended Fillmore Union High School in 1931 you would have many activities to choose from. Besides the Glee Club, Orchestra, French Club, Spanish Club and sports teams, there was the Trigon Club for math enthusiasts. The Interscholastic Debating team placed second to Moorpark in the county tournament. The school did better in the Ventura County Typing Contest bringing home three trophies: the first-year cup, the second-year cup and the cup for accuracy. Dorothy Bartels, a first-year student brought home the accuracy cup with and average of 58 words per minute with only five mistakes.
January 21, 1937, Junior High School Burns
In the early hours of January 21, 1937 fire broke out in the Junior High School Building. Although the cause is not known for certain it was believed to have been of electrical origin. For the next two years, the high school and junior high students both used the High School building.
In 1938 students moved into the new Science and Arts buildings which still are in use today.
Aerial View of High School Grounds, c 1939
In the mid-1950s both the “new” high school building and auditorium failed to meet earthquake safety standards under the Field Act and were torn down. In its place the current High School Administration building was constructed.
Over the years, additional buildings have been added with the Career Technical Education facilities under construction at this time. The buildings may change but Fillmore High School continues to prepare students for the future.