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Golden Valley High School is a high school located within the Merced Union High School District in the community of Merced, Californiamarker. The school first opened in August 1994, with its first class of seniors graduating on June 5, 1996. The current enrollment is over 2500 students in grades 9 through 12.


Golden Valley's Advanced Placement program has earned the praise of Newsweek Magazine and was named a "Top 1300" school in the United States, three years running. Golden Valley has also garnered a Silver Award from US News & World Report, making it one of the top 1,800 schools in the United States.


Golden Valley competes in the very competitive Central California League. The first Golden Valley Football program was started in 1994 by the legendary Mark Speckman with the Fly Offense. The Cougars Football team went on to take second in the Section Championship game in only its second year.


The cross-town Bears of Merced High School have been the Cougars' rivals since Golden Valley opened in 1994.

Merced High was previously the main campus for the city of Merced, and had a deep and long-standing animosity with the Atwater High School Falcons, both in sports and in academics. As the city of Merced grew, so did its student population, forcing the freshmen to be bussed to a different area of the city known as "East Campus" in order to adequately fit them all. This eventually drove the city to develop plans for a second city high school, Golden Valley High. Until the new school's opening, the main rival for the Merced Bears was the Atwater Falcons.

However, the opening of Golden Valley prompted a split in districting of Merced and nearly half of the first-year students at the new campus were from Merced High. Since then a great competition between "old school" and "new school" (quite literally) has sprung up and Atwater has fallen into a close second-rival for both city schools.

Split Lunch Schedule

During the 2007-08 school year, a spike in student violence during which over 100 fights were reported in the first two months of the school year alone, prompted school officials to divide lunch into two periods. Half of the student population is excused for lunch during one period, and the other half follows during a second lunch period. According to principal Craig Chavez, this was done to "change the ratio" of security guards to students.

See also


  1. Campus Information - School History
  2. Newsweek Magazine - America's Top Public High Schools
  3. US News and World Report - Best High Schools 2008
  4. Modesto Bee - To end school fights, Merced adding guards, security cameras

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