|George Washington High School|
600 32nd Avenue
|Motto||Of all victories first and greatest is for a man to conquer himself - Plato|
|Established||August 4, 1936|
|School district||San Francisco Unified School District|
|Color(s)||Scarlet and Gray|
George Washington High School is a public high school in Richmond District, San Francisco, California. In 2011, Washington High was ranked by Newsweek's Jay Mathews Challenge Index as the 497th best high school in the United States.
George Washington High School opened on August 4, 1936 to serve as a secondary school for the people of San Francisco's Richmond District. The school was built on a budget of $8,000,000, on a site overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. The stadium, auditorium, and gymnasium were added in 1940. The school was formally dedicated on Armistice Day 1940.
The lobby is decorated with murals by Victor Arnautoff titled Life of Washington that were commissioned by the Works Progress Administration in 1936 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal projects for public buildings. A student of Diego Rivera, Arnautoff made the murals in the "buon fresco" style, depicting scenes from the life of George Washington. Intended to teach students about the realities of history, the murals include representations of Black slaves and white indentured servants on Washington's estate. Another mural criticizes the notion of Manifest Destiny and has been criticized for its allegorical depiction of a prostrate Native American. In June 2019, the school board voted to remove the murals
In season five, episode five (1976) of the TV series The Streets of San Francisco, Maureen McCormick plays a teenage hooker attending the school. Two scenes show the school and its view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
|White||Latino||Asian||African American||Filipino||Pacific Islander||American Indian||Two or More Races|
According to US News and World Report, 92% of Washington's student body is "of color," with 62% of the student body coming from an economically disadvantaged household, determined by student eligibility for California's Reduced-price meal program.
George Washington High School's campus is located kitty-corner to Presidio Middle School, also a public school.
In 2011, Newsweek ranked George Washington as the 497th best high school in America. The school prides itself on the academic excellence of its programs with emphasis on AP courses. The curriculum includes a variety of advanced Visual Performing Arts classes including: Dance Company, Ceramics, Vocal Music, Band and Orchestra and Computer Art. There is a state-of-the-art computer lab and a Computer Science pathway, plus courses in Robotics. Washington is one of only two San Francisco public high schools with a Marching Band [the other is Burton].
The school is a Newcomer Pathway school that serves recently arrived students from all over the world, primarily from those from China and Latin America. There is also an extensive program for special needs students who comprise about 10% of the student population.
The George Washington High athletic program is governed by Academic Athletic Association (AAA) and is sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)
George Washington High School supports 20 varsity and 7 junior varsity and frosh-soph programs. It is the only San Francisco public high school with Girls and Boys Lacrosse teams.
Sports offered include Dragon Boat, Cross Country, Tennis Girls, Football, Soccer Boys, Volleyball Boys, Golf Girls, Volleyball Girls, Wrestling, Swimming, Badminton, Baseball, Fencing, Softball, Basketball, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, Golf Boys, Tennis Boys, Soccer Girls, Track & Field, as well as Cheerleading.
2014-2015 Boys Varsity Golf Champions
2013-2014 Varsity Boys Baseball Runner-Up
2013-2014 JV Girls Basketball City Champions
2012-2013 Frosh-Soph Boys Basketball Champions
2012-2013 Varsity Softball Runner-up
2012-2013 Varsity Boys Baseball Runner-up
2011-2012 Varsity Boys Baseball Trans Bay Champions
2011-2012 Varsity Boys Baseball Champions
2011-2012 Varsity Softball Runner-up
2011-2012 All City Wrestling Champions
2011-2012 Varsity Boys Football Runner-up
2010-2011 Varsity Boys Baseball Champions
2010-2011 Varsity Boys Basketball Champions
2010-2011 Varsity Boys Football Champions
2010-2011 Varsity Girls Golf Runner-up
2009-2010 Varsity Softball Trans Bay Champions
2009-2010 Varsity Softball Champions
2009-2010 All City Badminton Champions
2009-2010 Varsity Girls Soccer Runner-up
2009-2010 All City Wrestling Champions
2009-2010 Varsity Girls Tennis Runner-up
2008-2009 Varsity Boys Golf Champions
2008-2009 JV Boys Basketball Champions
2008-2009 Varsity Boys Baseball Champions
2008-2009 Varsity Softball Runner-up
2008-2009 All City Badminton Runner-up
2008-2009 All City Wrestling Champions
2007-2008 JV Boys Baseball City Champions
2007-2008 Varsity Boys Swimming Champions
2007-2008 Varsity Softball Runner-up
2007-2008 All City Badminton Runner-up
2007-2008 Varsity Boys Golf Champions
2007-2008 JV Girls Basketball City Champions
2007-2008 All City Wrestling Champions
2006-2007 Varsity Boys Swimming Champions
2006-2007 JV Boys Baseball City Champions
2006-2007 All City Badminton Runner-up
2006-2007 Varsity Boys Tennis Runner-up
2006-2007 Varsity Boys Golf Runner-up
2006-2007 Track & Field Runner-up
2005-2007 Varsity Baseball Transbay champions
2005-2006 Varsity Baseball City Champions
2005-2006 Varsity Boys Volleyball Champions
2004-2005 Fencing City Champions
2003-2004 Varsity Football Champions
2001-2006 5 in a row Softball All City Champions
2001-2002 All City Badminton Champions
2000-2001 Varsity Football Champions
2000-2001 Varsity Baseball Champions
2000-2001 All City Badminton Champions
1999-2000 Varsity Football Champions
1999-2001 Varsity Girls Basketball Champions
The Washington Hymn is the official song of George Washington High School.
In June of 2019 the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education voted to destroy 13 murals made in 1936 by Victor Arnautoff for the George Washington High School, a Works Progress Administration project funded through New Deal support for unemployed artists during the Great Depression. The works have come under criticism for the realistic depiction of the African-American slaves and white indentured servants that George Washington had on his Mount Vernon estate. Another mural, intended as a criticism of Manifest Destiny, depicts in an allegorical manner four pioneers who tread over and beside a dead Native American. In 1974 the school added three murals by artist Dewey Crumpler to assuage complaints and Crumpler argues that the students at that time issued an apology for failing to understand the meaning of the works and the devices used by Arnautoff to convey the realities of history. The proposed destruction has received national attention.
Preservation of the murals has garnered broad support. The College Art Association has supported the murals, and an open letter demanding the preservation of the murals was signed by 400 prominent scholars and artists, including Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, T.J. Clark, Jodi Dean, Carol Duncan, Nancy Fraser, Hal Foster, Michael Fried, David Harvey, Andrew Hemingway, Fredric Jameson, Joyce Kozloff, Lucy Lippard, Walter Benn Michaels, Adolph Reed Jr., Martha Rosler, Anne M. Wagner, Allan Wallach as well as Rocco Landesman, former Chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts. San Francisco Heritage, a non-profit devoted to preserving the city's artistic and architectural legacy, proposed the school be designated a historic landmark on the basis of this and other features. 
Alice Walker, whose daughter attended the school, suggested that explanations be added to provide context: "If you cover things up, the danger is that you will end up in the same place again, and you won't even recognize it." Robert W. Cherny, an authority on the work Arnautoff, argued at a 2018 SFUSD Board of Education meeting that Arnautoff was very consciously representing slavery and genocide in an effort to counter the storybook representations of Washington that students were taught in the 1930s.  The school's Alumni Association supports the murals, as do the majority of students. Among the other groups who defend the murals are the California College of the Arts, the San Francisco Art Institute, the United Public Workers for Action, the National New Deal Preservation Association, and the National Coalition Against Censorship.
This isn't San Francisco's only struggle between the sometimes divergent calls for historic preservation and contemporary standards. A status called "Early Days", by Frank Happersberger in the Civic Center Plaza, ran into similar trouble. A small number of concerned parents have focused on details from two panels and ignore the overall programme and its importance as radical work that criticizes the failings of the colonial era at the same time that it celebrates Washington's freeing of his slaves, the American Revolution as well as the lives and labour of ordinary people. Claims that students suffer PTSD due to the murals has received criticism as an instance of the coddling of students and whitewashing the difficult aspects of history.
San Francisco will spend up to $600,000 to paint over historical artwork at a public school depicting the life of George Washington, a mural once seen as educational and innovative but now criticized as racist and degrading for its depiction of black and Native American people.
If you run away from history, you'll never change history. You have to confront history. Art is a teaching tool. That's why every culture in the world uses it.
Arnautoff signaled the country's underlying crimes by taking a more critical view of Washington's life, portraying his ownership of slaves and his support of the genocidal Western expansion.
Heritage commissioned the City Landmark nomination for George Washington High School, co-authored by Donna Graves and Christopher VerPlanck, which comprehensively documents the school's public art and architecture, including Victor Arnautoff's "Life of Washington" (1936) mural.
George Washington High School has an extensive collection of public artworks commissioned under the aegis and direction of the Federal Art Project (FAP) of the Works Project Administration (WPA). Major works from the New Deal-era arts program include several fresco murals painted by prominent Bay Area artists, including Ralph Stackpole, Robert Boardman Howard, Victor Arnautoff, Lucien Labaudt, and Gordon Langdon.
In her sharpest comment, she said, "It's very ignorant and backward to think that you can erase history, erase reality by destroying art."