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John F. Kennedy High School (La Palma, California)

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School type
Public, High School


Michael Matsuda

+1 714-220-4101

White, Green, Gold

1964 (1964)

NCES District ID

CEEB code

American football

8281 Walker St, La Palma, CA 90623, USA

Anaheim Union High School District

Savanna High School, Anaheim Union High School Di, Cypress High School, Walker Junior High School, Loara High School


John F. Kennedy High School is a public, four-year high school and International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in the city of La Palma, California. Kennedy gets most of its students from the junior high school across the street, Walker Junior High School.



John F. Kennedy High School opened to 1,488 students in the 10th and 11th grades on September 14, 1964. For its first year of operation, there was no senior class. Kenneth MacPherson was Kennedy's first principal. Most buildings were ready except the dressing rooms, the gym, and playing fields. The school was to be named Centralia, in keeping with Board policy to name high schools after an elementary school district in the area; however, the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 prompted a group of patrons to have the school (then under construction) renamed in his honor. It was one of the first schools in the country to have been named after the assassinated president.

In the fall of 2011, the administration of Kennedy High School was criticized for its "Gold Card Program," in which students who performed well on the California Standardized Tests the previous year were given special recognition through special planners and ID cards, along with perks and bonuses at local businesses and throughout the school. Nearby Cypress High School had also implemented a similar program, but it did not receive as much media attention. Both schools have since removed or altered the program.

Currently, Kennedy serves around 2,400 students in the 9th through 12th grades. Recent construction has added a quad area, a second practice gym, renovated classrooms, a new library and counseling center, a modular "4th court," as well as an extensive music building which includes an auditorium, two band rooms, two choir rooms, practice rooms, and a new pool.


Kennedy's sports teams are known as the Fighting Irish (the senior circle looks like a three leaf clover from above). They are a member of the Empire League in CIF's Southern Section. The school's main rival is Cypress High School. The Fighting Irish football team won the CIF-SS Southern Division Championship in 2006, adding to the AAA championship they had won in 1971. This 2006 championship team was led by coach, Mitch Olson. In the 2007-08 year, after 21 years as the head coach of football, Olson left to coach in Georgia. In 2007, the Irish softball team was a CIF-SS Southern Section semifinalist, losing to Empire League rival Pacifica High School. Kennedy boys' soccer (introduced in 1972) won the CIF-SS championships in 1980, co-championed in 2003 and 2004, and won Empire League Champions in 2011, while the girls' team won league titles in 1984 and 1988.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is a prestigious and rigorous course of education that prepares students for study in the most elite colleges and universities world-wide. Kennedy High School has been authorized to offer the IB Diploma Programme since July 1999 and the programme is taught in English. Upon successful completion of all IB requirements and exams, students are awarded a second diploma (separate from their Kennedy diploma) that will grant one to two years of college credits. The University of California accepts IB Diploma holders as incoming sophomores.

Band and Colorguard

John F. Kennedy High School's band and colorguard is called the Shamrock Regiment. The band was formerly known as "The Guards." The band is a division 6A and is part of the SCSBOA.


The choir is known as the Kennedy Singers. The different groups are as follows: Harmonic Fusion, Treble Effects, Lyrical Tones, Vocal Motion, and Concert Choir.


John F. Kennedy High School (La Palma, California) Wikipedia

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