Eighty Years Ago

In an article from The Coast Dispatch dated August 6, 1936, Arthur Main, San Dieguito’s first principal, wrote: “The proposed new San Dieguito Union High School is more than a group of school buildings, it is the embodiment of a definite educational program.” Accompanying the article, a map of campus shows the first dream of a school that looks familiar to the legions of those whose lives have passed through our breezeways.


This campus has been the home to students for nearly eight decades, and as I look around my office, the same office principals have been sitting in since the Roosevelt administration, it’s with a feeling not unlike what I imagine sea captains experience as they step into the cabin of an august sailing ship, appreciating the rich history around them, even as they plot a course toward the future.

photo 3Over the next few months I’ll spend some time celebrating this deep history of our school. If the walls that architect Lilian Rice designed could talk, the stories they would tell.

It’s my hope to tell a few.

Working roughly chronologically, I’ll draw stories from the opening of San Dieguito in 1936 through the decades to today. I’ll interview graduates from every decade, share highlights from yearbooks, and delve into some of the hidden corners of our school’s story.

photo 2That said, I’m no historian; I’m a principal, accused of being more poetic than any good chronicler should be, and the more I looked at the history of San Dieguito, the more I realized that every year had enough stories for a book and every student’s life could fill a library. My small contributions to the celebration of our school are mere snapshots in the greater album of San Dieguito.

For those looking for a more formal history of our school, I’d point to our Foundation, whose alumni website has great links to historical articles and even a digital archive of student newspapers. I talked at length to Bonnie Wren in the Foundation office and through her have met some of the most amazing alumni in the universe.

I’m shooting for a post about our school’s rich history going up at the end of every week or so, but then again I’ve got a school to run, so if that pace isn’t kept please know it’s because this beautiful place (in its present incarnation) has my attention.

Arthur Main started writing about San Dieguito in 1936; I’m just keeping up that tradition.


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