A high school in Van Nuys, California, the pawn shop capital of the world. Last time I checked, part of the the Los Angeles Unified School District - making it a public school (in the USA-sense of the word, not the British). Pretty big, around 2000 students when I was there (1991).

Notable alumni include Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford, Don Drysdale, Natalie Wood, Paula Abdul, and fhayashi. The reason so many famous people from the earlier part of the 1900's went to Van Nuys High School is that there were only two high schools in the Los Angeles area at the time...

Because it is so old, there are some peculiarities abou the school. First of all, there's a working pipe organ in the auditorium. This is because back when the auditorium was built, all auditoriums had pipe organs. The second part is its unique architectural plan - it has none. If you look at the buildings that make up the school campus, it is immediately obvious which parts are original, which parts were built in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's (the last being the mobile, pre-fab sections with the air conditioning and the horrible toxic smell outgassing from the carpetting - when I was there.

Because of its weird architecture, Van Nuys High School has been used in a number of movies and TV shows, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Highway to Heaven (starring Michael Landon), and I believe some TV movie with cats based on a Stephen King novel, along with others. Quite often I would get off the school bus to find that the name of the high school mounted on the front of the building had been changed for filming, and too-good-looking-to-be-real-high-school-cheerleaders walking about in uniforms that were not our school colors (silver and crimson).

The mascot was a wolf. We even had a school song, because back in the 1920's, all schools had school songs. Too bad anyone who knew the words and tune either have Alzheimer's Disease or died at the Battle of the Bulge.

Also notable for the number of 'magnet' programs based at the school. When I was there, there was the Math-Science Magnet, and the Performing Arts Magnet, and I've heard that they had added a Pre-Med Magnet program. It made for an interesting, eclectic mixture of immigrant hispanic students from the local area, asian kids being pushed too much to excel by their parents, and well-connected jewish kids maxxing out their chance to get into a good college by being in a magnet program (without having to pay high private school tuitions). All in all, very little racial tension (at least when I was there), but we had a 6'10" security guy at the school to stop fights before they got out of hand.

Also, being an older school, Van Nuys High School also had a proper auto-shop class. That was a nice break from AP Physics and AP Calculus.

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