In 1846, Mrs. Jackson Taylor opened the first school in her home at Waterloo Road and East 13th Streets. Early residents recalled seeing parents escort their children to school because Native Americans living in the area were sighted in the woods near the Taylor home. Today, a light red marker commemorates the site of the Taylor home.
In 1863, the old Central School was constructed to serve grades K-12 which occupied an entire city block. In the 1890s, the name was changed to Lincoln School.
In 1900, Cedar Falls High School was constructed as the first separate high school in Cedar Falls. The building was located where the Cedar Falls Recreation Center currently resides. An addition was added in 1914, and this building was used until 1953.
The current building, located at 1015 Division Street, was opened in 1954. The school has been remodeled, including a new English wing that completed construction in 2005. The school recently added a plaza in front of the building in remembrance of the September 11 attacks.
CFHS consists of 3 buildings: the main building, the annex which houses metal technology, electronics and auto mechanics classes, and an alternative program on Cedar Heights Drive.Athletics
Track & football stadium
Gymnasium featuring two basketball courts
ICN Videoconference classroom
Multi-resource computer lab (54 Dell computers)
HP lab in the Library
Video editing lab in the Video Broadcasting room
The mathematics department offers study from pre-algebra to advanced Calculus.
The natural science department has three main tracks—Biology, Chemistry, and Physics—along which students can take entry-level courses and then more advanced AP.
In 2002, CFHS won the regional Science Bowl and advanced to nationals. Students went on to win $1,000 for their school's science department by being one of the top 18 teams going into double-elimination competition in the DOE National Science Bowl.
Former coach, Robert Nelson, retired in May 2004 from teaching in the science department of Cedar Falls High School after 36 years. He received the Gold Star Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1996 from the R.J. McElroy Trust and KWWL-TV, and in 1980 was honored for Excellence in the Teaching of Chemistry by the Iowa Academy of Science.
The social science department features a very successful AP Psychology program, and the school consistently ranks top in the nation for average AP test scores. Charles Blair-Broeker, an AP instructor who has been teaching psychology at CFHS since 1978, tries to help involve the students in research and is very active in the general psychology community. He co-wrote the school's currently used textbook (available at http://bcs.worthpublishers.com/thinkingaboutpsych/ psychology).
A total of 40 semesters of credit is necessary to fulfill the requirement for high school graduation. A minimum of 29 academic credits must be earned in the senior high school, grades 10, 11, and 12. Students in grade 9 are required to earn a minimum of six (6) core area credits before being promoted to the 10th grade. Core area credits are defined as English, Speech, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science. A credit is defined as the successful completion of one semester of an academic subject.
All students are required to enroll in and pass physical education each semester they are enrolled, except those disqualified by physical disabilities properly certified to by a physician and forwarded to the nurse prior to the beginning of each semester. Students in grades 11-12 will be excused from this requirement if they are enrolled in 7 other classes. Any student granted this exception who drops a course after the beginning of a semester would be required to enroll in physical education during that semester. This exemption is not allowed for students enrolled in independent study courses. Physical education in grades 9-12 will be a graded course earning .25 credits each semester. Grades earned are NOT calculated into a students grade point average. Student in grade 10 will be required to enroll in one semester of physical education and one semester of physical education/health. Credits for music courses (band, orchestra, chorus) are awarded as .5 credits per semester in grades 10-12.
Student Senate is a group that makes decisions for the school and perform service projects.
Cedar Falls High School has a proud tradition of excellence in instrumental, vocal, and orchestral music. The entire department was recognized during the 2004-05 school as one of the top 100 music programs in the United States according to the Grammy Signature Schools Foundation.
The choral music department is led by Mr. Elliot Kranz. There are three choirs offered for students during the school day: a select concert choir, a Women's choir, known as Treble Clef Choir, and Men's choir, known as Bass Clef Choir. A Vocal Jazz group is offered to students by audition. The choirs perform three concerts during the school year as well as participate in various festivals and contests throughout the year. Students are also encouraged to participate in all-state, solo/ensemble, and a variety of community functions throughout the year.
The instrumental music department is led by Mr. Gerald Ramsey and Mr. Kyle Engelhardt. Marching band, two concert bands, two jazz bands, and pep band are offered to students throughout the year. Band students regularly earn top honors in all large ensemble categories at festivals, and also participate in all of the state-sanctioned festivals. In the 10-11 school year, Cedar Falls had 17 students, not counting one alternate, selected for All-State band.
The orchestral music department is led by Mr. Scott Hall. String orchestra is offered throughout the year, and full orchestra (winds and percussion) is offered from mid-October through May. In addition, a chamber orchestra is formed for different concerts as needed. All of the orchestra groups have earned top marks at the IHSMA music festivals, and maintain a strong level of participation in all-state and solo/ensemble festival opportunities.
The athletic teams are known as the Tigers. CFHS is a member of the Mississippi Valley Conference. Major rivals include the Waterloo West Wahawks and the Waterloo East Trojans. A budding rivalry on the gridiron is also enjoyed by fans of Cedar Falls and Iowa City High School.
The Tigers are considered to be an average representation of American high school football. Cedar Falls competes at the Class 4A (largest) level in the state of Iowa.
Cedar Falls men's and women's swimming have dominated the state of Iowa. The Tigers hold numerous state championships. Under the direction of Coach Dick Marcussen, the women continue to be a power. Since the formation of the MVC in 1992, Cedar Falls has been the conference champion each year. The men are under new leadership after Marcussen resigned from his post as coach of the men. Both the men and women won state championships in the 2005 season. The team is now coached by Dana Pieffer, who led the team to their third state championship in 2006. Coach Marcussen returned for the 2007-2008 men's season, replacing Dana Pfeiffer.
A string of championships in the 90s gave CFHS three wrestling titles, following titles won in 1968 and 1976. Cedar Falls bowling, women's basketball, men's cross country, among others have all won state championships since the late 1990s.
The Cedar Falls Tiger Football team has had a decade of success, including several finals appearances, and one state championship class 4A in 1986. Led by coach Pat Mitchell, the Tigers have made playoff appearances in nine of the last ten years. Brad Remmert, a CF alum and former Iowa Hawkeye, has been named as the future successor to Mitchell. The Tigers are one of two teams in the state of Iowa that plays home games indoors. Contrary to other Tiger athletic squads, the football team has no black on the uniforms.
On Thursday, February 17, 2011, Cassy Harkelman became the first female wrestler to win an Iowa state tournament match in the history of Iowa high school wrestling. She earned a 20-13 pre-tournament record at 112 pounds before receiving an opening-round default at the state tournament. Cassy was joined by another female wrestler in 2011 as the only female wrestlers to qualify for the state tournament since its inception by the Iowa High School Athletic Association in 1926.Travis Fulton — Mixed Martial Arts fighter and professional boxer
Gil Gutknecht — Former U.S. congressman from Minnesota
Roger Jepsen — Former U.S. Senator
Matt Wagner, former MLB player, (Seattle Mariners)
Michael Mosley — Actor