Dr. Richard W. Cordano
RICHARD W. CORDANO
ARCADIA HIGH SCHOOL
I had the pleasure of being
your Principal for several years and was witness to many changes
at AHS. I know that you will enjoy looking through all that
this website has to offer, recalling memorable events, pep
rallies, music concerts, sports activities, old friends and
meeting new friends.
I came to Arcadia from John Muir High in Pasadena, where I
had been Assistant Principal. I’ve always considered myself
to be quite lucky to have had the opportunity to have worked
with and known so many wonderful students, staff and families
through the years.
After I retired
as Principal, I went to work with the California
State Lottery as a Sales Supervisor for 13 years. I still
have frequent contact with most of the AHS teachers as we
hold an annual reunion of all the staff. Arcadia High will
always hold special memories for me, as I know it does for
all of you.
OF ARCADIA HIGH SCHOOL
As many of you know, Arcadia
was once a part of the Spanish, and later Mexican, empire
and a part of a 21 square mile area called Rancho Santa Anita.
In 1845, a Scottish settler, Hugo Reid, purchased Rancho Santa
Anita from Governor Pio Pico. Through the years, five owners
occupied Rancho Santa Anita until 1875 when Elias “Lucky”
Baldwin bought the land. The future of the city of Arcadia
was interwoven with the fortunes of Baldwin, who increased
his land holdings to some 50,000 acres in the San Gabriel
Valley. The Arcadia School District came into existence simultaneously
with the incorporation of Arcadia as a city in 1903.
In the very early 1950’s, all
high school students of Arcadia, Monrovia and Duarte attended
the same high school, Monrovia Arcadia Duarte High School,
more commonly called MAD High. In 1951, with a burgeoning
population, Arcadia residents were asked to approve a bond
measure that called for the construction on a new high school
in Arcadia. After passage, construction began and Arcadia
High welcomed its first freshman and sophomore classes in
the fall of 1952. However, many students were “housed” at
First Avenue, the oldest school in Arcadia, having been built
in 1903. Gradually, new buildings went up and by the 1954/55-school
year, all high school students in Arcadia were attending Arcadia
One of the first decisions to
be made was the naming of a school mascot. In a citywide contest,
the landslide winner was Apaches. With the selection of that
name came the fighting spirit, the singleness of purpose and
the tenets, which have grown with the school from the very
Senior Square and Class Signatures
were started in 1958. The “Big A”, that sits atop the school
gym and announces school victories, was erected in 1965. The
tory gate, a symbol of entrance to the campus was dedicated
Students through the years have
changed, but are still, and always will be, the cornerstone
of Arcadia High. With the 1960’s, the country was still in
a state of shock following the assassination of President
Kennedy, we saw the first changes surface; poetry readings
in the cafeteria, a desire to do away with the dress code
and longer hair on the boys. In addition, students first wanted
to do away with the closed campus policy.
In the mid-1970’s the
dress code and closed campus policies were both dropped. Much
of the change we witnessed was brought about by the U.S. Supreme
Court decision stating, “A student doesn’t shed his rights
at the school house door.” At this time, the student population
of Arcadia High peaked at about 3,300 students. Students also,
for the first time, received representation on the School
Board. They had a right to elect a representative to attend
School Board meetings and represent students. The Student
Council had practically full control over the student body
By the time the mid-1980’s arrived,
enrollment had dropped substantially to about 2,200 students,
due to an aging population in Arcadia. Due to changing population
demographics since then, enrollment has dramatically increased
in the 1990’s.
The most notable changes that
I’ve witnessed is that many things that they do things now
in High School, that used to be done in college and Junior
High students are now doing what used to be High School level
work. They are more mature and more knowledgeable of the contemporary
world than they used to be. By 1975, calculators and computers
had begun to invade the classroom and that trend has not stopped.
Due to this and the widespread use of media, the methods of
presenting information to students had totally changed.
Arcadia High has enjoyed more
than its share of awards and recognition through the years.
The Apache Marching Band has won more than 30 major championships
and has been honored to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade
four times. AHS athletics are among the best in Southern California
in all sports for boys and girls on all levels. Most importantly,
Arcadia High ranks, scholastically, in the 99th
percentile of all California High Schools.
Tens of thousands have graduated from Arcadia High School
throughout the past 50 years and have made it the great institution
it is today.
THOUGHTS ON EDUCATION TODAY
Teaching children is a very
rewarding career. A person gets back emotionally twice what
they give. It is a long-term commitment that becomes even
more fulfilling the longer one stays in the profession. It
is truly “a never a dull moment” type of career with great
highs and very few lows.
The best way to get the most
out of education is to apply oneself to everything that is
presented to them. Parents play a pivotal role in providing
an educational environment for their children; a place to
study, interest in school, support of the educational program
of the district. Children should endeavor to gain additional
educational experiences through extra activities, band, athletics,
clubs and volunteerism in the community.