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John Burroughs High School is a public high school located in Burbank, California, United States.

John Burroughs High School
1920 West Clark Avenue


United States
School districtBurbank Unified School District
Enrollment2,600 (2016-17)[1]
Athletics conferenceCIF Southern Section Pacific League
Information(818) 558-4777


The school was built in the 1920s, but was not established as a high school until 1948.[2] The school was named after naturalist John Burroughs.


The school scored a 768 on the Academic Performance Index in 2007, and in 2010 reached a score of 819, meeting the school's 12th consecutive goal.[3] 90% of students passed the math portion of the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exams) on the first attempt, while 92% of students passed the English portion of the CAHSEE on first attempt.


The track and field team produced Olympic silver medalist Ron Morris (Rome, 1960).

In 2016, the boys' varsity water polo team won the school's second CIF championship.[4]

Performing artsEdit


The school has seven award-winning choirs including Powerhouse, the advanced mixed show choir, also known as Chamber when competing; Madrigals, the advanced women’s choir, also known as Sound Sensations when competing; Sound Waves, the intermediate mixed choir; Decibelles, the intermediate women’s choir; Men @ Work, the men’s choir; Vocal Ensemble, selected members from Chamber in an a cappella ensemble; Muses, selected members from Madrigals in an a cappella ensemble.[5]

Brendan Jennings directs four of the choirs. He took over the program in 2007 after Mrs. Mary Rago retired from being the vocal music director after almost 30 years (she began in 1978).[6] Jennings was a previous student of Rago, graduating in 2000.[6]

The school's advanced mixed show choir, Powerhouse, has won awards including the Grand Championship at Fame Orlando 2007, Grand Champions at Fame Chicago 2008,[6] Grand Champions at Fame New York 2009,[7] Grand Champions at Fame New York 2012, and Grand Champions of FAME Hollywood 2013. The two advanced show choirs of John Burroughs High School, "Powerhouse" and "Sound Sensations" also won Grand Championship at Fame Chicago 2013. They were also awarded Grand Champions of New England Show Choir Showdown in 2015. With the grand championship, Powerhouse also received caption awards for Best Choreography, Best Costumes, Best Diction, Best Female Sound, Best Tech Crew, and Best Male Soloist. Sound Sensations received the award for Best Vocals of the Women's Division.[7] The John Burroughs High School choirs have a record of being undefeated in various seasons. The Advanced Women Show Choir, Sound Sensations, has remained undefeated in 2010, 2013 and 2015; and the Intermediate Mixed Show Choir, Sound Waves, remained undefeated in 2012. In 2010 Powerhouse performed on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[6] Also in the fall of 2010, the Powerhouse Choir performed on Dancing With The Stars.[8] Powerhouse has performed twice on the NBC hit T.V. show The Voice. And, in February 2011, Powerhouse Choir performed for the Chinese New Year Night Parade at Hong Kong, representing the U.S.[9]


The Instrumental Music Association (IMA) was brought back to life from 1992-2000 under the direction of Tom Whaley. Paul Vesilind took over for seven years until his resignation in 2007. His job was taken by saxophonist Tana Barnett. Tana Barnett left the Burbank Unified School District in 2014 and was replaced by Taylor Arakelian. There are four bands: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble as well as a drumline at Burroughs. In 2006, the marching band played in a sound byte for Shrek the Third and was featured in the animated movie. In 2010, they recorded for the movie "Megamind". They were selected to play at the 2011 Sugar Bowl half-time show in New Orleans, Louisiana. Soon afterwards, they were invited to be featured on Ellen for her 2011 Super Bowl Special.

The JBHS marching band was featured in the 1994 movie "Little Giants," which included sound from the percussion line just prior to the big game.

The JBHS Marching band, under the direction of Robert Rose, was featured in a comedy skit for the 70's NBC television show "Laugh-In" which aired on Nov. 8, 1971.


John Burroughs High School is a member of the Burbank Unified School District (BUSD).

Notable alumniEdit

Many actors and actresses have attended the school due to its proximity to major entertainment studios such as NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Studios, as well as voice recording and animation studios including Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

In the mediaEdit


  1. ^ "Burroughs High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  2. ^, 4 December 2009 Archived 9 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ John Burroughs High School website, 2009, ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved December 5, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)", 4 December 2009
  4. ^ Rich, Charles (November 19, 2016). "Burroughs boys' water polo reels in first CIF championship". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  5. ^ "About the JBHS VMA Program". Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d "John Burroughs High School Powerhouse". Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Show Choir National Championship". Archived from the original on April 10, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  8. ^ "Powerhouse Performs on Dancing With the Stars". Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  9. ^ "Powerhouse to Perform in Hong Kong!". Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Reynolds, Debbie (2013). Unsinkable: A Memoir. HarperCollins Publishers. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-06-221365-5.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Burroughs High School Yearbook, 2009

External linksEdit