John Burroughs High School

This article is about the school in Burbank, California. For the high school in St. Louis, Missouri, see John Burroughs School. For the similarly named high school in Ridgecrest, CA, see Sherman E Burroughs High School.
John Burroughs High School
1920 W. Clark Avenue
Burbank, CA 91506
Type Public
Established 1948
School district Burbank Unified School District
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,800+
Color(s) Red and white
Athletics conference CIF Southern Section Pacific League
Mascot Native American
Information (818) 558-4777
Athletics website:

John Burroughs High School is a public high school located in Burbank, California, United States.


The school was built in the 1920s, but was not established as a high school until 1948.[1] The school was named after naturalist John Burroughs.


The school scored a 768 on the Academic Performance Index in 2007, and in 2010 reached a score of 819, meeting the school's 12th consecutive goal.[2] 90% of students passed the math portion of the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exams) on the first attempt, while 92% of students passed the English portion of the CAHSEE on first attempt.


John Burroughs has produced All-State and CIF athletes. Burroughs alumni have gone on to play at the Division 1 level, as well as compete professionally.

The distance program, headed by Coach John Peebles, has produced a CIF individual champion, a CIF team champion, four individual state finalists (track), a team state finalist (cross country), and his cross country squads have made appearances in the post-season each year since 2000. The 2006 cross country varsity men's squad won the Foothill League title. The 2014 cross country varsity men's squad won the Pacific League title and the CIF-SS championship... becoming the first team in school history to win a CIF championship. As of November 22, 2014, they are headed to the state championship race and are highly ranked.

The track and field team produced Olympic silver medalist Ron Morris (Rome, 1960).

The football team at Burroughs have won Foothill League titles in the 1970s, as well as a Pacific League Championship (Coached by Keith Knoop) in the 2006 season, their first competing in the Pacific League, as well as their first league championship in 25 years (the 1981 varsity team won the Foothill League). Burroughs gained top seed in CIF Central nDivision 5 although they went on to suffer a crucial defeat from the Moreno Valley High Vikings in the first round. In 2009, the football program had its most successful season to date as the Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Freshman teams all won league championships, combining for a 25-5 record (Freshman 9-0, Junior Varsity 9-1, and Varsity 7-4).

The basketball program, headed by coach Art Sullivan, made the semi-finals of the CIF tournament in the late 1990s, and again in 2006.

The varsity baseball team also enjoyed much success in the late 1990s, led by Coach Jose Valle, making the CIF quarter finals round.

In the mid-1990s, Coach Kodoma led the men's varsity soccer team to a few CIF southern section playoff appearances as well, and also produced several All-CIF athletes.

The softball program, led by head coach Doug Nicol, won three straight Pacific League championships (2010, 2011, 2012), and in 2012 was ranked #10 in the State of California by Cal-Hi Sports, as well as finishing the regular season ranked #2 in CIF Division 3. They won another league title in 2015 by beating cross-town rival Burbank and Caitlyn Brooks 1-0 in 8 innings. Former University of Virginia All-American third baseman Sara Larquier, a John Burroughs graduate, is an assistant coach for the Indians.

In 2016, the boys varsity water polo team became the CIF champions for the first time in the school's history, under head coach Jacob Cook.

Performing arts


The school has seven award-winning choirs including Chamber, the advanced mixed show choir, also known as Powerhouse when competing; Madrigals, the advanced women’s choir, also known as Sound Sensations when competing; Sound Waves, the intermediate mixed choir; Decibelles, the intermediate women’s choir; Men @ Work, the men’s choir; Vocal Ensemble, selected members from Chamber in an a cappella ensemble; Muses, selected members from Madrigals in an a cappella ensemble.[3]

Brendan Jennings directs four of the choirs. He took over the program in 2007 after Mrs. Mary Rago retired from being the vocal music director after almost 30 years (she began in 1978).[4] Jennings was a previous student of Rago, graduating in 2000.[4]

The school's advanced mixed show choir, Powerhouse, has won awards including the Grand Championship at Fame Orlando 2007, Grand Champions at Fame Chicago 2008,[4] Grand Champions at Fame New York 2009,[5] Grand Champions at Fame New York 2012, and Grand Champions of FAME Hollywood 2013. The two advanced show choirs of John Burroughs High School, "Powerhouse" and "Sound Sensations" also won Grand Championship at Fame Chicago 2013. They were also awarded Grand Champions of New England Show Choir Showdown in 2015. With the grand championship, Powerhouse also received caption awards for Best Choreography, Best Costumes, Best Diction, Best Female Sound, Best Tech Crew, and Best Male Soloist. Sound Sensations received the award for Best Vocals of the Women's Division.[5] The John Burroughs High School choirs have a record of being undefeated in various seasons. The Advanced Women Show Choir, Sound Sensations, has remained undefeated in 2010, 2013 and 2015; and the Intermediate Mixed Show Choir, Sound Waves, remained undefeated in 2012. In 2010 Powerhouse performed on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[4] Also in the fall of 2010, the Powerhouse Choir performed on Dancing With The Stars.[6] Powerhouse has performed twice on the NBC hit T.V. show The Voice. And, in February 2011, Powerhouse Choir performed for the Chinese New Year Night Parade at Hong Kong, representing the U.S.[7]


The Instrumental Music Association (IMA) was brought back to life from 1992-2000 under the direction of Tom Whaley. Paul Vesilind took over for seven years until his resignation in 2007. His job was taken by saxophonist Tana Barnett. Tana Barnett left the Burbank Unified School District in 2014 and was replaced by Taylor Arakelian. There are four bands: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble as well as a drumline at Burroughs. In 2006, the marching band played in a sound byte for Shrek the Third and was featured in the animated movie. In 2010, they recorded for the movie "Megamind". They were selected to play at the 2011 Sugar Bowl half-time show in New Orleans, Louisiana. Soon afterwards, they were invited to be featured on Ellen for her 2011 Super Bowl Special.

The JBHS marching band was featured in the 1994 movie "Little Giants," which included sound from the percussion line just prior to the big game.

The JBHS Marching band, under the direction of Robert Rose, was featured in a comedy skit for the 70's NBC television show "Laugh-In" which aired on Nov. 8, 1971.


John Burroughs High School is a member of the Burbank Unified School District (BUSD).

Notable alumni

Many actors and actresses have attended the school due to its proximity to major entertainment studios such as NBC Universal, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Studios, as well as voice recording and animation studios including Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

In the media


  1., 4 December 2009
  2. John Burroughs High School website, 2009, "", 4 December 2009
  3. "About the JBHS VMA Program". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "John Burroughs High School Powerhouse". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  5. 1 2 "Show Choir National Championship". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  6. "Powerhouse Performs on Dancing With the Stars". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  7. "Powerhouse to Perform in Hong Kong!". Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  8. Reynolds, Debbie (2013). Unsinkable: A Memoir. HarperCollins Publishers. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-06-221365-5.
  10. Burroughs High School Yearbook, 2009

External links

Coordinates: 34°10′12″N 118°19′40″W / 34.169944°N 118.327684°W / 34.169944; -118.327684

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