• Histories and Historical Photos of San Juan High School

    San Juan High School is more than 100 years old and has a very rich history. Please feel free to view all of the documents below to get a perspective. 

    The Creation of San Juan High School and the Roots of the San Juan Unified School District

    By Dick Cowan, President of the San Juan Alumni Association
    The area now known as the San Juan Unified School District was a far different place in 1913 than today.  The major livelihood for families was agriculture—and most farms were family owned and family operated.  The family’s members, including school age children, made up the major labor contribution to the success of the farm. But in another way, the area had a trait that continues today—a commitment to quality education for the area’s children.  The Sylvan Elementary School District had been formed in 1863, only 14 years after the gold rush. And even that district had replaced informally run schools set up even earlier. The (note the spelling used then) Roberts, Fairoaks, Orange Vale, and San Juan (later named Carmichael) Elementary School Districts were formed  a few years later. But a dilemma faced the area’s elders. 
    What about high school for their children?  If the patriarch of a family was 60 years old in 1913, he had seen in his lifetime the coming of the railroad, the telegraph, telephone, automobile and airplane. It would be readily apparent that the family’s children in this new technological 20th Century would need more education than the elementary level.  But Sacramento High School was a 2-1/2 hour buggy ride each way, too far for daily commute. So if a family wanted high school for its children, it faced the dilemma of boarding them in Sacramento with other families and losing their valuable before and after school work on the farm. 
    The need for a local high school was compelling. So on February 28 1913 the Folsom Telegraph newspaper reported “ Petitions are being circulated in Fairoaks Orange Vale and Sylvan Districts asking the supervisors to call an election for voting on the proposition of a union high school….” The petition drive was successful, and an election scheduled for June 28, 1913. 
    On July 11, 1913 the Telegraph reported “At the election recently held in the Fairoaks, Orange Vale, Roberts, Sylvan, and San Juan school districts on the matter of forming a union high school district, the vote was unanimous in favor of the proposition, not a negative vote being cast.” With this 165 to 0 vote the area and education offering of elementary and high school education that became the San Juan Unified School District became official. 
    On July 28, 1913 the County Superintendent of Schools called for a Board member from each of the five elementary districts to a meeting. They were F.H. Sargent, Fairoaks, J. L. Patterson, Orange Vale, G.E Fetters, San Juan, J. F. Close, Roberts, and Adolph Van Maren, Sylvan. The five elected J. L. Patterson as president. The Telegraph later reported “Routine business was transacted and adjournment was taken to August 2d at Fairoaks when application for principal were considered and a selection was made. Thirty applications for that place, which pays $1500 a year, were received and E. C. Overholzer was chosen for the coming year. “
    The October 3, 1913 Folsom Telegraph reported “The new San Juan Union High school opened at Fairoaks Monday September 22nd, with most encouraging prospects.” The Fairoaks Elementary school had offered the second floor of its school for the first high school classes. Thirty-six of the first year’s forty-five students were freshmen. In addition to Mr. Overholtzer teaching English, mathematics and agronomy, Miss Schroeder taught commercial subjects and German while Miss Muir taught history and Spanish. The library held 350 volumes, Plans were reported for a boys baseball team and a girls basketball team. Sadly no piano was yet available for a music program.
    But, think of that accomplishment, from June 28th to September 22nd to form a District, hire the staff, find a temporary location and start classes. Could we do that today? What a fine legacy our founders gave us with their commitment to quality education and a drive to work together to provide it. 
    In June of 1914 the first San Juan diploma was awarded to Miss Gertrude Jeraud of Fairoaks, later Mrs. A.G. Broadley.
    Below are historical photos and scanned documents that contain some history of San Juan High School. There is more out there and we need your help to keep collecting it! In the below documents, there are some differences - more credence should probably be given to earlier versions. Some of the writings borrow from others so there may be duplicate information.
    School History:
    Other Historical Documents:
    If you know of other historical documents, please contact the webmaster or History Committee.
Last Modified on October 31, 2014