In 1955, the Jefferson County Board of Education planned to build a new high school to relieve overcrowding at nearby Fern Creek High School. As a result, in September, 1957, Goldsmith Junior High School opened with approximately 900 seventh, eighth, and ninth graders. At the end of that school year, the students chose a new school name and Seneca High School was born – with colors of red and gold, a team name of Redskins and a mascot – ‘Lonesome Polecat’ from Al Capp’s Li’l Abner comic strip. In the following school year (1958-59), Seneca had an enrollment of 1455 students in grades 7-10.
Seneca’s current educational opportunities of Human Services, Education, International Studies and Arts & Sciences provide many avenues of exploration for the student body of more than 1,500. Always considered racially, economically and academically diverse, today Seneca includes students in all four schools of study, Urban Agri-Science students, non-English speaking students in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program, special needs students (including the Hearing Impaired/Oral program), and a Board-approved program for Advanced (gifted and talented) students.
- In the 1961-62 school year, Seneca has the largest Beta Club in the nation with over 200 members.
- In 1965, the Seneca football team won the AAA State Championship. Read about it in Phil Thompson’s article The Making of a Champion.
- By 1968, Seneca’s enrollment reached 3,400 students, including seventh and eighth graders.
- In the late 1960’s a second gymnasium was built, the Kenneth Farmer Athletic Building, to honor our first principal.
- The boy’s basketball team garnered back-to-back state championships in 1963 and 1964 led by former Washington Bullets head coach, Westley Unseld.
- After several years of accommodating large television classes, the main room of the courtyard building was named Stickler Theater, in honor of Seneca’s longtime drama teacher, C. Eugene Stickler.
- Over the years, graduates such as Diane Sawyer, Ellen Ewing, Jerry Abramson, and Westley Unseld have brought fame to the school and its varied programs.