Tustin’s Campus: From Primitive to Prodigious


Tustin_High_School,_circa_1925 (1)


By: Seth Williams

Since establishment in 1921, Tustin High has made dramatic transitions architecturally, technologically, and culturally. Approaching its one-hundred year anniversary in 2021 being the  oldest school in the district, Tustin High has made accomplishments beyond anything expected in its early years. We have excelled in sports, academics, extracurricular programs, and made extensive alterations to the campus since its original foundation.

Tustin High began as a single-building school and progressed into the one we can observe today in 2015 with multiple constructs and plans to add even more, but the original building was purposed for students to learn the basic educational subjects: English, Science, Mathematics, and History. The building, therefore, was geared towards these subjects resulting in fewer classrooms in a single school building. However, as the expectations of California colleges has risen, World Languages and other electives have been integrated for a more complete college resume.

The plot of buildings we see today are one story because of the unpredictability of California earthquakes, which would not be safe if a classroom were to be on a second-story. However, the science building here at Tustin High incorporates better foundations and structure to ensure the safety of students on the second floor. Using iron beams and concrete, Tillers are secure in the two- story building without worry of collapsing during an earthquake. The current campus consists of twenty-two single-story buildings, the science building, and seventeen portable classrooms. Over time, as we progressed as an academic hub, the buildings also evolved to become more efficient vessels of change in the Tustin Unified School District.

And the orange grove that once bordered the school, from which our Tiller mascot was derived, was cut down soon after the single-story transition. In it’s place was erected Northrup Field, the Sports Pavilion, and the Gymnasium. These three constructs reflect how our school has excelled in multiple fields of subjective activity. And while we lost the fruit trees that gave our mascot all its power, we can still glean from this what it means to be a Tiller. From dramatic change to small occurrences, our school has completely renewed itself into a faculty that Tillers should be genuinely proud of.

And just as the landscape of Tustin has changed, so has the staff. Teachers have both come and gone, and made impressionable progress in advancing our school to a pivotal point in American History. New forms of curriculum rose, and so did the expectations of California colleges. This change prompted multiple revisions to the syllabi. And despite the struggles that come with adaptation, Tustin has thrived through the decades, coming out on top as an academic mogul in Southern California.  And as the years pass by, the Tillers will continue to adapt to new forms of curriculum and new prospects as to career opportunities. So as we continue to approach our 100th anniversary, keep in mind the change Tustin has endured to get to where it is now, and how many lives have been touched by the experiences held by those alumni.

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