Sunnyside Centennial


Sunnyside Unified School District 100th Anniversary Logo

The Sunnyside Unified School District is 100 years old — a milestone worthy of commemoration and celebration! This unprecedented year brought us many unknowns, but it allowed for a different type of creative exploration to honor the centennial. On April 29, we had the distinct honor of kicking off our District Centennial alongside Tucson City Mayor, Regina Romero. On this beautiful spring morning, we celebrated our 100-year history alongside friends and familia of the district. We experienced the sights and sounds of Mariachi Los Diablitos de Sunnyside, Los Diablitos Azules Folklórico de Sunnyside High School, and Mariachi del Desierto de Desert View High School and we launched into the next century with a tree planting ceremony at Sunnyside High School. These were the first of 100 native, drought-tolerant trees we have committed to planting throughout the district thank you to a partnership with Tucson Clean & Beautiful. Mayor Romero broke ground by helping us to plant these trees as this also aligned with the City of Tucson Million Trees by 2030 Initiative. Future generations of students will now have greener, more inviting spaces to make new memories. You can view highlights of the kickoff celebration in the video below.

The Office of Public Information has done extensive outreach to collect photos and yearbooks to display on this commemorative centennial webpage. We hope you enjoy the vault of memories we have collected for you that include yearbooks from both Sunnyside and Desert View High School, as well as a list of former Superintendents and Governing Board Members. If you have photos to share with us, please email them to susdnews@susd12.org and include a description of the photo so that we can share them on our social media.

Original One Room Adobe Building

June 6, 1921 marked the beginning of the Sunnyside Unified School District. SUSD has grown from the modest one-room adobe building to the present-day 21 school campuses. In 1956, SUSD became a unified district (K-12) for the first time with the construction of Sunnyside High School. Today, the Sunnyside Unified School District is the second-largest district in Southern Arizona serving more than 15,000 students and families. Located in a culturally and linguistically rich community and surrounded by two Native Nations—the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui Tribe—our learning community is flanked by an aerospace and innovation corridor, such that our district is positioned to lead our students into the 21st century through excellence in pedagogy, world-class career and technical education, and a legacy of athletic excellence and passion for the fine arts.

SUSD Timeline

1922 SUSD Building

The original one-room adobe school building built in 1922 was modern-looking with the roofline having a half moon-shaped arch at the center of the structure. The corners of the building stepped up in elevation from the roofline and there were two large windows with glass panes on the east side.

1924
Student holding lunch tray in cafeteria

SUSD begins the first hot lunch program in the state of Arizona

1927
children and parents standing around in park

Sunnyside School Neighborhood organizes community club.

1927
Chart with line going up for increase

School population begins with 17 ends with 50

1942
Superintendent
1944
picture of a building black and white outside

Valencia Elementary School on Valencia Rd.

1945
Superintendent
1948
Black and white photo of building with cars in front

Sunnyside Junior High School as an Elementary School 

1950
picture of a building black and white outside

Population of Tucson 45,454.

1954
Group of students standing in there band uniform looking at the camera picture is black and white

First Sunnyside Band is organized.

1954
Black and white photo of building with cars in front

Mission Manor Elementary School Opens. The original building had 6 rooms.

1955
Black and white photo of building with cars in front

Liberty Elementary School (Original Building) Opens

1956
Teacher standing with 2 students smiling

Base pay for new teachers $3,800.

1957
Superintendent
1957
Black and white photo of building with cars in front

Sunnyside High School Opens.

1959
Black and white photo of building

Los Ranchitos Elementary School Opens, they open their doors to the public in 1960.

1960
Downtown Tucson, Black and White photo of the Fox

Population of Tucson 212,892.

1962
picture of a building black and white outside

Sunnyside Jr. High School (as a Jr. High School)

1962
Black and white photo of building with cars in front

Elvira Elementary School Opens, Original building.

1963
picture of building nice blue sky trees on the side

Current picture of the District Administration Office. 

1963
pictue of books

Price of a Sunnyside School Year Book $5.00

1964
students singing on a classroom stage teacher playing piano

SUSD Enrollment 5,201

1964
Students typing on old typewriters and teacher looking at them

Base pay for new teachers $5,000.

1967
3 Girls in crowns and beautiful dresses for prom

279 Seniors Graduate from Sunnyside High School

1967
Superintendent
1968
Black and white photo of building with cars in front

Construction of Adult Education Center at Liberty

1969
Black and white photo of building with cars in front

Los Ninos Elementary School (Original Building)

1969
girl and boy black and white eating a hamburger with a smile

Cost of a hamburger at Sunnyside High School, 20 cents 

1969
students in lunch room picture black and white

2,850 lunches served daily for elementary schools and Jr. high

1970
Superintendent
1970
standing by bus

Sunnyside District's Transportation Department serves 25,000 students weekly

1970
Street with cars

Population of Tucson 262,933

1971
picture of a building black and white outside

Apollo Middle School opens in 1972.

1972
Students working in classroom

Student enrollment for the Sunnyside Unified School District reaches 10,000 students. 

Santa Clara Elementary School Building

Santa Clara Elementary School opened in 1972 with a total number of 711 students enrolled ranging from grades K-6th. A total number 24 teachers were hired to teach these young students. The first principal of Santa Clara was Mr. Eugene C. Barker. 

Drexel Elementary School Building

The original Drexel Elementary School opened in 1973 to serve students. With the rapid growth in the district, the school eventually would reopen to accommodate more students years later in 1986 with Robert Baldridge serving as principal. 

Craycroft Elementary School Building

Craycroft Elementary School opened in 1973 to serve students on the East side of the school district. Due to growing numbers, the school was remolded and reopened in 1987 with Dr. Mary Bergman as principal. 

1974
Students working with a teacher

Sunnyside District becomes the first school district in Arizona and the 4th in the nation to place all grades, K-12, on the 45-15 year-round education schedule.

1975
Students gathered together in front of a bus.

Sunnyside Unified School District transports an average of 2,825 students per day in 22 school buses. 

1975
Students eating lunch together

On an average day, 4,400 lunches are served to students across the schools in the District.

1976
Sunnyside Unified School District Building

In October 1974, the courts agreed to a settlement between Tucson Airport Authority-City of Tucson vs.

1976
Sunnyside Junior High School Building

Sunnyside Junior High School moved from the building on Valencia and Nogales Highway to Del Moral Boulevard. The reason for the move was to decrease airplane distractions of incoming and outgoing airplanes from the airport.

1976
Valencia School Building

Valencia School moved from its original location on Valencia Road to South Campbell Avenue to serve special needs students, ranging from 5 to 22. 

1978
Superintendent
Esperanza Elementary School Building

To relieve overcrowding in the District, Esperanza Elementary School opened its doors to include first through sixth graders who had been attending Los Ranchitos School in double sessions.

1981
Superintendent
Chaparral Junior High School Building

Chaparral Junior High School opened as the second junior high in the District, serving grades 7th and 8th. The school housed 850 students for the school year. 

Gallego Elementary School building

Modeled after the building blueprints of Esperanza Elementary School, Gallego Elementary School was built with 24 regular classrooms to house 650 students and included smaller special-use rooms for kindergarten, adaptive education, music, and art. Mrs.

Desert View High School Building

As the population of the Sunnyside Unified School District continued to grow, Desert View High School was built to house students in grades ninth through twelfth.

1987
Drexel Elementary School Building

To accommodate the growing number of students, Drexel Elementary School was remolded and updated with bond money from 1981. 

1987
Craycroft Elementary School Building

To accommodate the growing number of students, Craycroft Elementary School was remolded and updated with bond money from 1981. 

Sierra Middle School Building

To add variety to the school names in the Sunnyside District, Sunnyside Middle School was renamed Sierra Middle School for the 1987-1988 school year.

Los Amigos Elementary School Building

Los Amigos Elementary School was built on a ten-acre site on Drexel between Campbell and Tucson Boulevard. The site was purchased with bond funds from  November 3, 1981, Bond Election and the new school was constructed with those funds.

Liberty Elementary School Building

To celebrate the opening of the new school, a dedication ceremony was held on October 25th, 1991. Students and staff celebrated the new opening with an outdoor picnic of hamburgers, hotdogs, and a special cake made by the District Food Services in honor of the occasion.

1992
Superintendent
Kids holding Ocotillo Elementary banner

Valencia School undergoes a name change and becomes Ocotillo School. The school was remodeled to accommodate the growing population and relieve enrollment numbers of Los Amigos and Drexel Elementary School.

1994
Superintendent
Mission Manor Elementary School Building

Mission Manor Elementary School reopened in 1986 with a brand new school building, remolded with override bond funds, to serve students in grades K-5th. 

1997
Challenger Middle School Building

To help ease enrollment numbers in the District's middle schools, Challenger Middle School was built in 1997 to serve students from Elvira, Santa Clara, and Summit View. The school housed grades sixth through eighth, and the first principal to serve at Challenger was Jud Jones. 

1998
Summit View Elementary School Building

To serve the families in the Summit View neighborhood, Summit View Elementary School was built and served students in grades K-5th. The first principal of Summit View Elementary School was Jose Covarrubia. 

2000
Superintendent
2003
Star High School Building

In 2003, the need for an alternative learning environment for high school students led to the creation of S.T.A.R., and serving as the first director/principal was Pamela Cornell. Years later in 2018, S.T.A.R. officially was renamed Star Academic High School and took on the mascot of Lions. 

2005
Lauffer School Building

Billy Lane Lauffer (October 20, 1945 – September 21, 1966) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietam War. Lauffer Middle School was named after Pfc Lauffer to honor the sacrifice he made for

2007
Superintendent
2007
Gallego Primary School Building

Gallego is the K-3 sister school to Gallego Intermediate as both make up the District’s K-8 Fine Arts Magnet. Gallego Primary is also the only school in the district that is uniquely a K-3 school. 

Rivera Elementary School Building

Rivera Elementary School was renamed after originally being named Gallego Elementary School. Once the Gallego School was moved to a new location, the SUSD Governing Board approved the name Rivera Elementary School.

2014
Interim Superintendent
2015
Superintendent
2015
Gallego Intermediate Building

Gallego Basic expanded into a K-8 program and the school site was named after the Gallego family who donated land to Sunnyside and was honored by naming a school after the family.

Sunnyside Yearbooks

1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1986
1987
1987
1988
1988
1989
1989
1990
1990
1991
1991
1992
1992
1993
1993
1994
1994
1995
1995
1996
1997
1997
1998
1998
1999
1999
2000
2000
2001
2001
2002
2002
2003
2003
2004
2004
2005
2005
2006
2006
2007
2008
2009
2009
2010
2010
2011
2011
2012
2012
2013
2013
2014
2014
2015
2015
2016
2016
2017
2017
2018
2019

Desert View Yearbooks

1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017