School History

History of: San Diego High School & The School of International Studies

San Diego High School

1882 - 2004


Mr Jahiel DavisMr Frank HyattMr F DavidsonMr Watson Nicholson

Mr Harry HollidayMr Nathan CoyMr Harvey ChandlerMr Duncan Mackinnon

Mr Edward HardyMr Arthur GouldMr Henry WiseMr Thomas Russell

Mr Glen PerkinsMr John AseltineMr Lawrence Carr JrMr William Matthie

Mr James GauntlettMr Albert CookMr Herb IbarraMr Robert Amparan

Mr Antonio AlfaroMrs Carol Whaley

Grey Castle

San Diego High - The Grey Castle - In Words and Pictures

The following images and information through 1982 are from "San Diego High, the first 100 years". Images from photographs taken by Tim Towler and Tony Long and Steve Kleinstuber. Information provided by Matt Maclean. (Through 2004)

Images and information 2004 -> provided by Tim Towler.

1882: The Russ School

Russ School

San Diego High School had it's beginnings with the Russ School, opening August 15, 1882 This eight-room, two story building was built with lumber donated by the Hon. Joseph Russ. In 1888, a gymnasium was built, but was soon after moved to University Heights to become a grammar school. In 1893, the Russ School became entirely a Senior High School, with a new building added in 1898. In 1905, it was decided to build a new High School. The Russ School was moved to make room for the new building. In 1911, the Russ School caught fire and burned to the ground.

1907: The Grey Castle

The Grey Castle

The 100 Building, known as the Grey Castle, opened April 13, 1907, and served the city for over 60 years. In 1912, the home economics, fine arts and technical buildings were started, as were plans for Balboa Stadium.

1914: Building Balboa Stadium

Building Balboa Stadium

Balboa Stadium was constructed during 1914, using Steam Shovel and mules as shown in this photo. The Stadium opened on May 31, 1915 during the Panama-California Exposition, with a capacity of 23,000, it was the largest municipal stadium in the nation at the time. In 1960, a second deck was added expanding the capacity to 40,000, making Balboa Stadium the largest High School Stadium in the nation. During it's existence, Balboa Stadium has been the home field of the Chargers, and a site of the Beatles concert in San Diego.

1926: San Diego High School

San Diego High School

In 1922 and 1923 the boy's and girl's gymnasium was erected. The Russ Auditorium was erected in 1926, seating 2500, it became the center for civic activities in San Diego. In 1928, the Main Gymnasium was built, seating 750.

1937: The Grey Castle

1937 The Grey Castle

Ivy covering the walls of the Old Grey Castle gave it the famous look that lingers in the memory of San Diego natives.

1939: The Russ Auditorium

Russ Auditorium 1939

The Russ Auditorium, seen here from Park Boulevard, was used for school assemblies, as well as being a center for civic activities until it was razed in 1973.

1976: The New San Diego High School

New San Diego High School

In the late 1960's, legislation was passed that all school buildings constructed prior to 1933 had to be demolished due to new earthquake standards. San Diego High School buildings had to be replaced by June 30, 1975. The demolition of the cafeteria and Russ Auditorium began in late 1973, with construction of the four main buildings beginning in September 1974. When the four main buildings were completed, the remaining old buildings were demolished, and the final phase of construction was started in February 1977. The 700 building constructed in 1938, the 600 building constructed in 1940, and the 500 building constructed in 1950 remained, and are still in use on the campus. Balboa stadium, being constructed prior to 1933 was also demolished, and was rebuilt in 1978 with 3,500 seats.


1982: SDHS Centennial

SDHS Centennial

100 years after the opening of the Russ School, San Diego High School is still educating students, and a center of the community.

1995: The New 800 Building

800 Building 1995

With over 1700 students in grades 10 - 12 throughout the mid 90's, San Diego High is still growing. Construction on the new 800 building began in September 1994, and was completed for the opening of school in September 1995. The new 800 building is linked to the 500 building via a second story walk way, making the rooms in the upper 500 and 600 buildings wheelchair accessible. A new entrance to the school has been constructed from Russ Boulevard leading to the plaza near the fountain. Room 554 was renovated over the summer of 1995 to give San Diego High School a new chemistry room, with plenty of lab space.

2002: New Construction Begins

To make room for a full 9th grade, and an anticipated 3,000 students, construction of two new buildings began in early 2002. One new building will contain 31 classrooms and the other 8 modern science labs.

2003: 900 and 1000 Buildings Open

900 Building 2004

The 900 building has 31 general classrooms and is the main location of classes for the new 9th grade class at SDHS.

1000 Building 2004

The 1000 building has 8 science labs, all are configured mainly for Biology and Chemistry, but also have sufficient counter space for Physics.

2004: Small Schools are Launched

Small Schools are Launched

In June 2004, San Diego High School closed for one day, and reopened the next day as the San Diego High Educational Complex. The Complex is comprised of six autonomous small schools, each with it's own administration, staff and approximately 500 students. CIMA, with a communication focus, is in the 900 building. LEADS, with a leadership focus, is in the upper 100 building. The School of Business, with a business focus, is in the lower 100 building. The School of the Arts, with an art focus, is in the 400 and 700 buildings. The School of Science and Technology, with a science & technology focus, is in the 500 and 600 buildings. The School of International Studies, which has an international focus and houses the International Baccalaureate program, is in the 800 building and upper bungalows.

School Banners 2004

The School of International Studies

2004 - Present


23 24 25

Mrs. Karen Wroblewski Dr. Kirk Ankeney Dr. Carmen Garcia

San Diego High School International Studies

The School of International Studies opened in September 2004 with approximately 500 students and Karen Wroblewski as principal.

2005: The Sierpinski Pyramid Tradition Begins

Sierpinski Pyramid 2005

With 1024 inpidual pyramids made of paper, the School of International Studies began a tradition of constructing a 3 dimensional fractal called a Sierpinski Pyramid. The finished pyramid rose approximately 16 feet in the air. Our goal is to undergo the project every four years, so that every student at IS has a chance to participate once in their High School career.

2005 Build Team

The 2005 Build Team.

2009: Karen Wroblewski Retires

Karen Wroblewski Retires

Karen Wroblewski, the first principal of IS (The School of International Studies), retires in June 2009.

Stadium Renovation 2009

The Complex Stadium is refurbished with Prop. S funds, installing a new track and artificial turf on the field.

Kirk Ankeney 2009

The School of International Studies begins the 2009/2010 school year with our second principal, Dr. Kirk Ankeney.

The bungalows on campus were moved to make space for a bus turn around near the IS garden.

2009 Sierpinski Pyramid

2009 Sierpinski Pyramid, the second built by the students of IS.

2009 Build Team

The 2009 Sierpinski Pyramid Build Team.

2010: Construction Begins on the 1100 Building

A portion of the parking lot on the east side of Balboa Stadium, which has been leased to City College for several years has been reclaimed for staff and student parking.

1100 Building Construction 2009

1100 Building Construction 2009

Construction begins on the 1100 building which will replace the bungalows on campus.

2011: 1100 Building Opens

1100 Building 2010 South

1100 Building 2010 North

In September 2011, the new 1100 building opened for classes. The Bungalows have all been removed from campus and classes are in the new building. The School of International Studies has 8 of the 16 rooms in the new building. Our Mathematics and Social Science departments have the bottom floor of the 1100 building.

2012: The Last Bungalow is Removed

ASB Bungalow Torn Down

ASB Building torn down

The last of the bungalows, the ASB room was demolished on 3/3/2012.

Dr. Garcia


IS begins the 2012/2013 school year with our 3rd principal, Dr. Carmen Garcia.

Blue Ribbon

The School of International Studies is recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School with a presentation in Washington D.C.

2013: The Sierpinski Pyramid tradition continues

2013 Sierpinski Pyramid

The third in our series of Sierpinski Pyramids.

2013 Build Team

2013 Sierpinski Pyramid Build Team.

2014: WASC Visit - IS receives a 6 year certification 2015: Administrative reorganization at the San Diego High Educational Complex

With the start of the 2015 - 2016 school year, The School of the Arts has closed. The principal of IS, Dr. Carmen Garcia has been made the Complex Principal, overseeing the three small schools. The School of International Studies, The School of Science and Technology, and The School of Business and Leadership each have a Vice Principal who oversees that school. The School of International Studies welcomes Mrs. Daniza Montero as our Vice Principal.

Daniza Montero

Mrs. Daniza Montero, Vice Principal International Studies

2018: Dr. Garcia appointed superintendent of the San Marcos Unified School District

With the start of the 2018 - 2019 school year under way, some changes in administration are occurring. Dr. Garcia was appointed the superintendent of the San Marcos Unified School District on Tuesday 10/16/18. Her last day as the Complex Principal will be friday 10/19/18. Mrs. Daniza Montero, the current Vice Principal of the School of International Studies will be serving as the Interim Principal until the position is filled.

2019: Francisca Del Carmen-Aguilar was selected as the San Diego High Complex Principal

on January 7, 2019, our new principal Francisca Del Carmen-Aguilar reported to San Diego High School. Franny is returning after graduating from San Diego High School and working here as a teacher a few years ago. Were looking forward to the progress we'll make under our new leadership.

Daniza Montero

Mrs. Francisca Del Carmen-Agular, Principal San Diego High Complex

Updated 1/312019

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