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Our History

Centennial High School 

     Centennial High School is a comprehensive Title I high school founded in 1954. It is one of three comprehensive high schools in the Compton Unified School District. The attendance boundaries extend to Alameda Avenue to the east, Imperial Highway to the north, Rosecrans Avenue to the south, and Avalon Boulevard to the west. Today, the school serves over 920 students on a traditional 180-day calendar. Currently (2017-2018 school year), 81% of students are receiving a free or reduced lunch. 

     Enrollment has trended downward for several years. Declining enrollment can be attributed to many factors such as opportunities to attend charter schools, families moving out of Compton, and families selecting other school districts for their children to attend. The trend of declined enrollment is apparent throughout Compton Unified School District. However, Centennial has seen a slight increase in enrollment within the past two years. We attribute the increase to several factors but mainly due to credit recovery efforts, both online and through Chavez Continuation High School that allowed students to make-up credit and return to the comprehensive high school.

 

The Community of Compton

     The city of Compton is one of the oldest cities in the Los Angeles area. In 1888, Compton was the eighth city in Los Angeles to incorporate. The city has undergone significant geographic and demographic changes in its 126-year history. The city sits upon land ceded to the United States after the Mexican-American war in 1848. In 1867, Griffith Dickison Compton led a group of thirty white pioneers to the area. By the time of incorporation, the city had grown to 500 residents, most of whom earned their living by small-scale farming. In the 1920's and 1930's, Compton experienced significant growth. The Compton airport opened, Compton Junior College (the current site of Compton High School) was founded and a new City Hall was built. A section of Compton Boulevard, the major thoroughfare of the city was home to a thriving business district. In 1930, the U.S. Census report noted one black resident. 

     In the late 1940's, African Americans began moving into the area, and were met with significant resistance from White residents. The number of African Americans increased during the 1950's and 1960's after the Supreme Court declared all racially exclusive housing covenants unconstitutional. During this period, the majority of White resident moved to other areas. By the 1970's, Compton was a predominately African American. Today, Hispanics account for approximately 65%-70% of the Compton community. This newest population shift is reflected in the student demographics of the Compton Unified School District and Centennial High School.