LA CRESCENTA — Former Crescenta Valley High School Principal Mike Livingston arrived a few minutes late for a campus tour Friday.
"That's a tardy," said Linda Evans, Livingston's successor, and herself a former principal.
He was late, but he was prepared.
"I have a pass," he said to laughter.
Teachers, staff, administrators and Crescenta Valley High School students celebrated the school's 50th anniversary Thursday and Friday with reunions, tours, presentations and a homecoming bonfire.
What began with one class of sophomores in 1960 is now one of the best high schools in the nation, according to multiple measures and professional rankings. The school grounds date back to 1932, when the campus was a middle school.
"We want to honor the people… who made Crescenta Valley [High] what is today," said Principal Michele Doll, who took the school's top job this year. "We want to thank them for what they did."
Bill Thomas, principal from 1960 to 1981, said the biggest change has been the size and scale of the campus. Teenagers, he said, are the same.
"It's the size — new facilities are well planned and all very functional," he said. "They're good kids, and it worked out well."
Student leaders showed community members and invited guests around the new grounds, highlighting new facilities and accolades the school has achieved in the last 50 years.
Between 1999 and 2002, the campus landscape was dramatically modernized and upgraded through Measure K funds, Doll said. The $186-million bond touched all Glendale Unified campuses after voters approved it in 1997, district officials said.
For seniors David Kim, Hannah Park and Joe Anderson, the last two weeks were spent cramming school history. The Doors, once played at the high school in 1968, Joe said.
"It's interesting to see how [the school] has evolved over the years," he said. "I'm excited to share my experience and compare, contrast and see how our experience is similar to theirs."
Hundreds of residents, students, alums and staff gathered for a bonfire Thursday night, where school leaders reviewed the campus's history and changing landscape, students said.
"I was surprised how young Crescenta Valley High is," Hannah said.
In a presentation to school alumni and retired staff, Doll highlighted the schools strong academic achievement, student clubs, and new facilities.
The school surpassed the mark of high performing schools on state accountability exams, and continues growing its Academic Performance Index score, which influences property values.
More than the academics, Doll highlighted the more than 100 student clubs on campus.
"We know if students have positive relationships…they are going to do better academically and socially," she said. "Every single student who comes to our school has a place, can find a nice, to be successful."