Santa Cruz County History - Libraries & Schools



Our Schools
by Prof. G. A. Bond

[ Santa Cruz High School was built in 1895 and stood at Walnut Avenue and California Street. On October 1, 1913, the High School burned to the ground. A bond issue to build a new school was put before the voters on March 17, 1914 and passed. The following article appeared in the November 1915 issue of "Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce Activities. " In it, Professor Bond, the principal of Santa Cruz High School, describes how the funds were used. The photograph of Prof. Bond is taken from the first edition of the High School's yearbook, the 1914 "Trident. " According to the faculty listing in the High School's 1912 "Circular of Instruction, " Prof. Bond had a B.A. degree from the University of California. RAP--ed.]

Photo of G.A. Bond
G.A. Bond
Principal of Santa Cruz High School

To the intelligent home-seeker there is nothing more important than the character of the schools. In the recent investigation conducted by the Russell Sage Foundation, California schools ranked very close to the top in a comparative estimate of all the schools of the United States. The homeseeker to California therefore cannot go far wrong in trusting to find in any of the up-to-date cities of the state, school facilities equal to the best in the world. The people of California have been lavish in their expenditures for education. The school system is superb, the wonder of the easterner and the pride of the West.

Among such a school environment, Santa Cruz has recently stepped into the very front rank. Pride and interest in their schools and their product have ever been typical of her citizens.When two years ago, fire destroyed the high school which had been built up to a high state of efficiency and was such a source of satisfaction to the city, a great wave of enthusiasm spread over the citizens and a bond issue of $250,000 was passed by a vote of nearly 5 to 1. This money has since been spent in the construction of the finest medium-sized high school in the state, a large grammar school of which the same may be said, and two smaller grammar schools which are beautiful and complete.

In addition to these buildings, extensive grounds were purchased for almost every school in the city.

The new high school consists of two re-inforced concrete buildings of the very latest and most approved type. The main building contains 27 class rooms, a beautiful auditorium seating 830 people, a large commercial department, the most up-to-date science laboratories, a complete department for teaching household economy and an unusually fine agricultural department with laboratories inside and four acres of land for experimental and field work. The Manual Arts building contains four rooms, one for woodworking, equipped with the most modern machinery which has been so constructed and placed as to be practically accident-proof and having a complete exhaust system for removing shavings and sawdust, all operated by electricity; an arts and crafts room, a mechanical drawing room and a forge and machine shop, as yet unequipped.

In the construction of these buildings, Santa Cruz has had the services of a man who is without question the best school architect in California, W. H. Weeks of San Francisco, together with the constant advice and the most unremitting watchfulness a corps of experienced teachers.

All sanitary precautions have been made, the heating and ventilating plant is the best that is known today. The windows are so arranged that every room is practically an open-air school in pleasant weather. There is a cafeteria lunch in the building where cheap and sanitary lunches are served to the pupils.

An active student body organization gives large opportunities for service to the school and the community in many fields, operating among other things, a large book-exchange, a weekly paper, debating, dramatic and athletic clubs which have brought great honor to the school. In 1914-15 the school won the district championship in the State series of Interscholastic debates. In track athletics, it holds a record of 10 victories over all schools in its league during the last 11 years. There are over 10 acres of ground, of which proper proportions are devoted to playgrounds, athletic fields, ornamental purposes and agriculture. But the best and most important of all, the corps of teachers is rated as one of the best in California by all who are in a position to judge. Only teachers of experience are engaged and long tenure and good salaries are the rule when a good teacher has been found. This has resulted in a superior type of students turned out of the institution, who have made flattering records at the University, Normal School and elsewhere.

The new grammar school is a 16-room re-inforced concrete building, standing on a beautiful site containing four acres of level land. This school was designed by the same architect and embodies all the same modern features as the high school, with a complete cooking and sewing department and a manual training shop which serve as centers for the grammar school pupils of the east side. The situatation is most ideal, being on the corner where a fine residence street and an electric car line intersect with a beautiful front to the west toward one of the most spectacular views of hills and mountains to be found in California.

In the extreme northern and western parts of the city are the two beautiful new buildings, the Grant and Garfield Park schools, of five and two rooms respectively. Space forbids a detailed description of these, but suffice it to say that they are of the same high character as those already described, and that they bring the whole system up to a standard of efficiency which is one of the greatest attractions of our beautiful city.


Reprinted with the permission of the Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce. Photograph from the 1914 Trident in the Libraries' collection.

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