There are many things that make the town of Los Gatos so appealing. For families with school-aged children, choosing a community with outstanding educational opportunities is high on the list. Although all of schools in the town’s borders are excellent, Los Gatos High School offers an impressive academic opportunities and a stellar athletic program but it also holds numerous accolades for it’s ranking within California as well as the United States.
Part of the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District, Los Gatos High School was founded in 1908 and was originally called Los Gatos Union High School. A plaque bearing the school’s original name remains on the main building as a reminder. The school is home to a sizable number of Silicon Valley executives’ teenagers as many of these people choose to reside in town in part because of its exemplary public schools.
Los Gatos High School’s grand neoclassical main building was dedicated in 1925. Designed by 20th century Bay Area architect, William Henry (W.H.) Weeks, the building that currently houses the school’s administration and English classrooms exemplifies Weeks’ love of Greek Revival. A prominent architect in California, Weeks designed hundreds of banks, schools and libraries in over 161 cities throughout the state. The Los Gatos High School campus underwent significant expansion from 1925 to 1970 but all major growth ceased until 2001 with the passing of a $79million bond measure. Since then, the campus has once again been a hub of activity as new buildings are constructed and older ones updated.
The school is also known for its expansive front lawn and redwood trees leading up to the main building. The front façade has been featured in the television sitcom Saved by the Bell, and the school was used as a filming location for a TV movie as well as another late 1980s TV series called Starman. The made to TV film, Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story, was based on the life of former Los Gatos High School head football coach who was stricken with ALS.
Los Gatos High School has always ranked high within the state as well as the nation for its academia, culture and athletics. In 1970, it ranked among the top 30 high schools in California and it has been recognized twice as a National School of Excellence. It just recently was named the 9th most beautiful high school campus and currently ranks 93rd in the state and 543rd in the country (out of approximately 1340 public high schools nationwide). These ranking have earned the school a Silver Medal, placing it in the top 10% of schools in the nation. According to the website k12.niche.com, the school ranks 32nd among all public California high schools, getting high marks for Academics, faculty, resources, and extracurricular activities.
Accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC), Los Gatos High offers its 1,800 students over 50 academic, athletic, performing arts and community service clubs and organizations. There are a wide berth of Advanced Placement courses encompassing history, English, language, science and mathematics. Over 60% of the student body takes advantage of AP courses and achieve an 87% pass rate. Over 95% of LGHS graduates go onto college, with many attending Tier One and Ivy League Universities including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT and Loyola Marymount.
Many notable people are Los Gatos High School alumni. Actresses Olivia de Havilland and her sister, Joan Fontaine, screenwriter Scott Frank, known for the films Get Shorty and Minority Report, Olympians Lynne Burke, Christine Von Saltza and Fred Markham and numerous pro athletes Including MLB player Logan Schafer, NFL linebacker, Jared Allen and linebacker Kiko Alonso. Former LGHS students, Mark Bingham and Todd Beamer, both passengers aboard Flight 93 on 9/11, were among those who stormed the cockpit, preventing the hijackers from crashing the plane into either the White House or the Capitol Building. Beamer was the one who uttered the now infamous sentence known round the world, “Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”