In 1972, the CUSD School Board purchased the 80 acres of fig trees on the northeast corner of Millbrook and Teague in order to build the second high school in Clovis Unified. The plans included buildings with open space classrooms, and an Olympic swim complex. The doors opened in 1976 as an intermediate school serving grades 7, 8, and 9. Clovis West was dedicated on December 10, 1976 as the School of Olympic Spirit by its first principal, William F. Noli. In 1979, as Clovis West prepared to graduate its first senior class, the intermediate school was moved to the edge of campus. Kastner Intermediate was born, and Clovis West transitioned into a full-fledged high school.
In keeping with the Clovis tradition of competition, competition quickly became the name of the game. In 1977, Clovis West was named the Most Popular School by then KYNO Radio. This award, and the first year activities, launched the school’s reputation for championship teams and scholars. The School of Olympic Spirit became competitive in academics, athletics, and the fine arts. All awards or championships were earned through rigorous self-discipline and commitment to getting the job done, but always – win or lose – with class.
In June of 1980, Clovis West held their first graduation ceremony under Principal Roger Oraze. Additionally, Clovis West earned Best High School in the Clovis Unified School District and continued to earn this award in 1981, 1983, 1984, and 1985. In 2000, Clovis West earned the National Blue Ribbon Honors for the second time, and in 2003 was recognized as a California Distinguished School for the fourth time. Other notable achievements were the Fresno County Championship in Academic Decathlon and Mock Trial, and the first Academic State Championship in Mock Trial. Our Advanced Placement program has been one of the best in the state, offering up to 21 AP courses with a 77% pass rate last year. This achievement is well above California and Global results.
Athletics is an integral part of any high school campus. For Clovis West, a turning point was our first victory over Clovis High School in football, November 6, 1981, and our first of two state championships in wrestling in 1983. In addition, in 1984, Clovis West won its first Frank Gonder Athletic Supremacy Award. In 1983 and 1987, the school hosted the USA Long Course Summer Swim National Championships. The Olympic Swim Complex is known as state of the art and of the 21 events, 18 records were broken. From its first league to the present, Clovis West has become a dominant force in athletics. Clovis West also hosted Nationals in 1998 and 2001.
Currently, Clovis West is led by Principal Richard Sarkisian. The school has been consistently distinguished among the best schools in the state. Over the years, the students, staff, parents, and community have created a legacy rich in tradition and achievement. In 2014, our seniors were offered $8.1 million in scholarships, Clovis West won its 25th Frank Gonder Athletic Supremacy, and this May, we will host the Inaugural CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships. Clovis West is a high-performing school offering rigorous academics and many opportunities through co-curricular and athletic programs. Under the leadership of Mr. Sarkisian, Clovis West will continue to be a quality educational system focused on improving academics and individual achievement for all students while providing them the opportunity to reach their full potential in mind, body, and spirit. The Olympic Spirit, to be the best you can be, continues at Clovis West.
Clovis West High School: Standing Taller Than the Rest
Across America, public high schools provide their communities with a vision for its young people—a shared identity. For some communities, that vision has faltered or become faded over time. But in 1976, on a rural corner of Millbrook and Teague in North Fresno, Clovis West High School began a legacy of excellence that has defined its community, shaped its values, and educated its young people beyond the ordinary for over three decades.
Clovis West’s roots were first planted in the soil of innovation and new ideas. For one hundred years, the Clovis community had funneled its entire identity into the original Clovis High School; now a worthy rival was rising. The new Golden Eagle—a mascot chosen for its majestic imagery and cunning, predatory strength—shaped our identity. Even the progressive design of our buildings became a metaphor for the visionary goals of our leadership and staff. The founders fought hard for every victory, both athletic and academic, and over time, those early pioneers earned the respect of the larger community.
Today, Clovis West High School carries on its impressive reputation. In 1979, with a banner across Clovis Avenue, a hot-air balloon, and the song “We are Family” blowing across Lamonica Stadium, the original Clovis/Clovis West football rivalry was born. It would mark the beginning of many dramatic contests against worthy rivals across the state, whether on a mat, field, track, or court. The hundreds of athletes who train each year at our first-rate facilities impact the school community with their model of discipline. The school has watched its list of high-level alumni athletes serve as Olympians, professional sportsmen, and successful coaches. These young men and women, who are held to high standards of personal conduct and academic achievement, represent the enduring Clovis Unified model of body, mind, and spirit.
Yet no legacy is as prominent as Clovis West’s academic reputation. Few public schools demonstrate the kind of academic opportunities often found in private institutions—while still maintaining the egalitarian ideals of shared responsibility for all socio-economic groups. Clovis West is a colorful, beautifully diverse community, one that takes pride in its shared academic excellence. It was the first Clovis school to pioneer the rigorous Advanced Placement curriculum, which began in the 1980s as a means of accelerating young scholars toward university work. Today, exposed to a full range of advanced placement courses, co-curricular activities, competitive academic teams, and dedicated faculty, each student is encouraged to find a place to thrive. Even with over 2300 students each year, Clovis West still maintains its small learning communities through its Freshman Academy, advisory classes, fine arts “families,” and athletic teams.
While the leadership has evolved over time, our enduring model of excellence has not changed. Clovis West rests squarely on the foundations of the Clovis Unified School District, an institution known throughout the country for its unfaltering educational progress. Even so, for over three decades Clovis West has created an identity for itself, standing even taller than the rest. If a commonwealth is truly known by what it invests in its children, then the Clovis West community is rich indeed.