History of Carmenita Middle School


A look into the past

A school named Carmenita has occupied the present site of Carmenita Middle School since 1897.  Prior to that, the site was part of Norwalk School District. When the area around Carmenita grew they actually split the Norwalk Grammar School, moving half o the building to the corner of 166th Street and Carmenita Road, and the Carmenita School district was born.  The first school had two rooms, with grades 1-5 in one room and grades 6-8 in the other. In 1915 a larger brick and stucco structure was built to replace the original wooden building. In 1933 a devastating earthquake centered in Long Beach caused such severe damage to Carmenita school that it was declared unsafe to use and had to be torn down.  Temporary buildings, garages, and even a bicycle shed served as classrooms until the present 200-Building facing Carmenita Road was completed in 1938.

The four 900-Buildings on the east end of the campus were constructed over a period of years beginning in the late 1950’s.  The office addition to the cafetorium was built in 1962 and served the Carmenita School District as the Superintendent’s office and boardroom until our present school district was formed in 1965.  Carmenita gave the “C” to our school district’s name when it joined with the Artesia School District and the Bloomfield School District, to become the “ABC” Unified School District.

As the community grew in the 1960’s, a decision was made to divide Carmenita School into an elementary school and a junior high school, moving one to a new site.  The old Carmenita School site would keep the Carmenita name and become a junior high with the younger aged students moving to a new site. The new elementary school would be named in honor of the man who was superintendent of the Carmenita School district from 1951-1965 and associate superintendent of ABC from 1965-1969, Mr. Cecil B. Stowers.  While awaiting the completion of their new building on Beach Street, Stowers Elementary School occupied the Carmenita campus most of the 1969-70 school year.

Carmenita Junior High School held classes at Ross Junior High School from September 1969 until March 6, 1970, when it moved to its present location.  A new library, math/science building, and general arts building made it possible for a complete junior high school to be developed.

In September 1997, exactly 100 years after the start of the original Carmenita School, another milestone was reached when the school year began under a new name, Carmenita Middle School.”  Three years later the school began receiving a long-anticipated facelift as “modernization” swept through the school district. The entire process at Carmenita took one year, with completion in October 2001.  Every classroom has assigned a new room number and many teachers were relocated to new classrooms. The library moved across the quad to the 200-Building and the music program found a new home in the former location of the library.

Yet even with over a century of changes, the name “Carmenita School” still remains on the front of the old 200-building facing Carmenita road as a reminder of the school’s long storied history.