Tucson High is the oldest operating public high school in the state of Arizona. On April 10, 1906, the Arizona Board of Regents resolved that as of September 1, 1906, students from all Arizona cities, having a population of more than 5,000, must have completed the 9th grade before enrolling in the University of Arizona Preparatory Department. Then the voters of Tucson School District No. 1 approved the formation of a high school district on August 8, 1906.
The first day of class in the newly established Tucson High School was on September 10, 1906 with 45 students who began classes in the Plaza School at 13th Street and 4th Avenue. After a few weeks, the high school students were relocated to a two-room building located at 1010 E. 10th Street, the current location of Tucson Unified School District headquarters.
In 1908, they moved to the newly constructed Tucson High School building at 501 E. 6th Street, which is currently Roskruge Elementary and Bilingual Magnet Middle School, and remained at that location until they completed their high school years. By 1910, only ten students from that original class remained as students.
Construction on the current Tucson High School Main Building began in 1923 and was completed in 1924, in time for the fall classes. Tucson High's Main Building was designed by Henry Jaastad and cost $750,000. The grand building with its ornate details, such as Corinthian columns, stood as an architectural masterpiece then and remains the same today. A magnificent icon, the 14 towering columns of the Main Building welcomed classes ranging in size from 175 in 1924 to classes over 900 since 2007. In the fall of 1956 a second high school, Pueblo High School (3500 S. 12th Ave.) opened its doors in the southern part of Tucson and, in 1957, Catalina High School (3645 E. Pima) opened in the northeast part of the town to accommodate the increasing number of students in the fast-growing city of Tucson. Although Amphitheater High School had been operating at this time, it was a very small school that served just a few students living in what was then far northwest area of Tucson.
First-place photography awards in AGFA national competition and other national recognition programs; five gold keys in Scholastic Art competitions; winners in the District graphic design competitions and first place awards in SkillsUSA; band, orchestra, choral, and drama groups have rated "superior" in local and state competitions; Academic Decathlon honors and high placement in the Southern Arizona Mock Trial competition; District recognition for "Outstanding Young Scientist;" students in the Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)  program have placed high in state competition; several Regional Science Fair student awards; two National Merit Scholar Finalists. The 1987 film, Can't Buy Me Love, starring Patrick Dempsey and Amanda Peterson, was also shot on location at the school when it was known as Tucson High School.
The School's Yearbook Publication, The Tucsonian, is a nationally recognized and awarded publication often receiving First Class ratings from the National Scholastic Press Association, and a nomination for a Pacemaker Award, the highest national honor in the field of student journalism, for the 2010 volume of the book.
Noteworthy programs at THMS include performing and visual arts; technological education providing comprehensive curriculum to all students with the most current technology available in these areas; an integrated program in humanities, arts, math, science, computers, bilingual and block English/social studies classes; the unique location enables students to take advantage of programs at the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, and the Downtown Arts District; award-winning marching band and jazz ensembles; vocal music; orchestra; mariachi; guitar; musical theater; folklorico; piano lab; film acting; studio photography; commercial arts; steel drums; environmental biology; integrated technology; robotics; and desktop publishing; and advanced placement classes are available in ten academic areas.
Tucson High School's alumni foundation is the Badger Foundation. Founded in 1982, it began as a group raising funds for a Jazz Band trip. By 1984, it became a 501(c)(3) organization. As of 2008, the group aims to provide financial assistance to Tucson High people and to coordinate alumni activities.
The Badger Foundation Board of Directors is made up of twenty-one members who are alumni, teachers, and administrators.
Obtaining magnet status in 1982, Tucson High boasts four areas of specialized study: Visual and Performing Arts, Science, Mathematics and Technology.
Magnet programs in the Tucson Unified School District were established in compliance with a desegregation lawsuit. In order to escape the de facto racial segregation caused by neighborhoods feeding certain schools being predominantly of one minority, special funds were alloted to certain schools to develop special programs in areas such as the aforementioned, as well as ROTC, aviation and others. Students interested in studying these fields can opt to be bused to schools that are not their home schools, thus bringing a heterogeneous array of students to predominantly homogeneous schools. However, this has historically had questionable success.
Tucson High's Main Building was constructed in 1924 and was designed by famous architect Henry O. Jaastad. It cost $750,000. It has been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in Washington, D.C. Second Avenue once ran North and South in front of the Main Building on the West side, and 7th Street once ran East and West along the South side of the Main Building before the campus expanded and eliminated these through streets, an area now known as "The Mall". Located in the Main Building: Attendance Office, Registrar, Counseling Offices, College and Career Center, Activities and Athletics Offices, Administrative Offices, Auditorium, Library, Gallery, and Theatre.
Interior of the library, this area, which was once a courtyard, now serves as an atrium.
1965: music rooms become the east part (E-Wing) of the Main Building. The East wing is composed of music rooms and computer classrooms.
1958: Vocational Building (V-Building) is built in a modern architectural style, containing 48 classrooms and 13 shops. This building also contains the security offices, and the freshmen councilors. Not all of the building is in use; one wing is locked and serves as storage rather than a teaching area.
The Technological Sciences & Fine Arts Building (T-Building or Tech) was designed to mimic the facade of the historic Main Building with a more modern feel to it, and was completed in 1996, it is the largest building on the campus today. The Majority of the schools Visual and Performing Arts Classes are held in the western end of the Tech Building as well as the Tucsonian Yearbook and Cactus Chronicle Publication workrooms. The majority of the schools Math and Science classes are located in the Tech Building's eastern end. Constructed along with the Building was a 2 floor Bridge which connects the upper floors of the Tech Building to the Main Building.
1939: The Physical Education Annex, including a gymnasium, is built. In the gymnasium sports as well as school wide events are held.
A new gym and renovation of the old gym was completed in the spring of 2011 and the Hall of Champions was added in the fall of 2011 and dedicated in October 14, 2011.
1945: The Physical Education Building is remodeled and a cafeteria is built inside this building.
School Songs History
"We're a Bunch of Badgers" came from Wisconsin (this is school song #3)
"Tucson Badgers, Red & White" is school song #2 and was written by Paul Grimes, our send band directory after Prof. [Arthur J.] Sewell. Mr. Grimes was also a THS graduate from somewhere in the 1920s I believe.
School Song #1 is our Alma Mater, "All Hail to the Badgers". This was written in 1930 or so by Prof. Sewell and it is the trio of his march "Westward, Ho". There are other school songs from before 1930, but they were all replaced by the current ones. Sometime in the late 1990s, a band director stopped doing School song #3 and shortened School song #1. (When I started working with the band in 2004 I brought back the rest of School song #1 and eventually got School song #3 back in the rotation).
-- Lucy Huestis, "band nerd", class of 1974, THS music teacher from 1984 - 2011 and now band assistant emeritus.