Yuma High School, located in Arizona, has a long and colorful history. The School opened three years before Arizona became a state. In 1909, the Arizona Territory taxpayers voted to organize a union district and in September of that year, Yuma High School began with four teachers in three rooms. At the end of the first year, twelve seniors graduated. The next year, 1910, saw the school move to the newly abandoned Yuma Territorial Prison. For the next three years, the prison was to be the home of Yuma High School. Teachers conducted classes in the cellblock area and the school held assemblies in what had been the prison hospital.
City officials notified the school in 1912 that they needed the Prison as a city jail. The school board proposed and successfully carried through a bond election to build a new school. Thus, in 1913, school began in the newly constructed facility on Main Street. That same year, the Yuma football team traveled to Phoenix to play the “Coyotes”. Yuma High won. The angry “Coyotes” dubbed the Yuma High players the “Criminals”. At first “Criminals” was a fighting word. Before long, students and teachers wore the name with pride, and in 1917, the school board officially adopted the nickname. Yuma High School has been proudly called the home of the “Criminals” ever since.
Today Yuma High School and the Criminals join the expanding SkoolLive Nationwide Network. We are excited about our partnership with Yuma High School and memorializing this day on Yuma’s historical timeline.