Our School

A Message from Our Principal

Dear Future Vikings,

The staff is excited to welcome you to Downey High School. We encourage you to take full advantage of our innovative programs and the great opportunities at DHS. Engineering, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Automotive Technology, Computer Science, Bio-Medical, and Culinary Arts, are just some of the new integrated career technical education (CTE) course offerings that our students can explore in state of the art facilities. Downey Vikings have access to programs that will make them highly knowledgeable and competitive in the 21st Century.

All Vikings will be prepared for college and career success, and will discover many ways to connect to our school and community. With our numerous sports teams, clubs and activities, all students will be able to find an activity that truly interests them, and provides them with a well-rounded and meaningful adventure at Downey High.

I encourage you to be adventurous — seek out what motivates and inspires you! Try new classes, join clubs, and participate in sports and/or activities. At Downey High School, we want you to find meaning and value in your school. The counselors and staff will help you discover your passions and guide you through your high school career. The more you put into your experience at Downey High School, the more you will get out of it.

Downey Vikings embrace the challenges of the 21st Century by offering you curriculum that includes cutting edge technology and a connection to the traditions of our past. I am honored to be your principal and I look forward to working with you as we continue to make Downey High School the best high school in Downey.

Welcome to Downey High School — Go Vikes!

Vike Vibe,

Tom Houts
Principal, Downey High School

jessica saucedo
Downey high graduates

Our Vision

All students graduate with a 21st century education that ensures they are college and career ready, globally competitive, and citizens of strong character.

Our Mission

The Downey High School community is committed to developing empathetic citizens of strong character in a safe, positive, and inclusive environment where behavioral, social, and academic success are equally important.

Schoolwide Learner Outcomes

Downey Schoolwide Learner Outcomes. Vocational development: Students will graduate college and carer ready. Involved citizens: Students will work together to improve the quality of life in our school and community. Knowledge: Students wll become critical thinkers and lifelongleaders. Emotional Well Being: Students will learn how to maintain strong emotional, physical, and mental health.
Virtuous: Become a citizen of strong moral character. Leave everyone and everything better than you found it. Inclusive: Everyone is welcome, everyone is equal. Kindness goes a long way. Brave: Do what is right, not what is popular. See something? Say something? Empathetic: Find yourself in others. Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ear of another, and feeling with the heart of another.

Our History

At the turn of the century, Downey was a small agricultural community. There were enough boys and girls of high school age that a group of citizens got together and organized what was then called Los Nietos Valley Union High School. On August 16, 1901, Los Nietos Valley High School became the eleventh high school in the Los Angeles County School System.

In 1903, the first building at Second and Church Streets, where Walker Hall now stands, was formed. The original cornerstone of this building is now preserved in front of the Viking Tower.

Before the building was ready for use, classes were held for 45 students in the auditorium of a grammar school. The faculty consisted of one principal, A.E. Farlington and one teacher, Miss Gertrude Smith. The first graduating class of 1904 had four students who received their diplomas. The course of study for the first few years was a college prerequisite curriculum, but in 1911, a commercial course was offered for students which enabled them to work immediately after graduation.

The name of the school was changed to Downey Union High School in 1919. The following year, the school got its first bus, since the only previous transportation had been supplied through Mrs. Van Matre, who used her car to bring students who lived within a mile of the school. In 1926-1927, the original building was condemned as a fire hazard and torn down. A gymnasium was built on the site. In turn, the gymnasium was demolished in 1957/1958, and Walker Hall constructed in its place. It was named in honor of William H Walker, a retired teacher and former superintendent. The first building for junior high school students was built in 1929-1930, which is the present “R” building. The senior and junior high schools were combined on a single campus in 1951-1952.

Because agricultural lands were given away to residential sub-divisions, more schools were needed. The first separate junior high school was South Junior High School, dedicated on May 1, 1952, teaching about half the students in grades seven, eight, and nine. The remaining half of the students stayed in what was then called Central Junior High School.

In 1953, these student moved away to become North Junior High School (Griffiths Middle School). In 1954, the third junior high school, East Junior High School was formed. In 1957, a second senior high school, Earl Warren High School, and a fourth junior high school, West Junior High School opened their doors. A fifth junior high school, Woodruff Junior High School, opened in September, 1959. On July 1, 1961, the Downey Union High School District was merged with the four elementary districts to form the Downey Union School District.