Carnegie celebrates its 20th anniversary


From 178 to 925 students, CVHS has grown exponentially since its beginning in 2003. With a new building, a growing staff and evolving curriculum, Carnegie has earned its place as one of the top 50 public schools in the country. Carnegie will celebrate its 20th anniversary on March 30th of this year. 

I was one of the first ones that always knew from the very beginning. You know that that the school had a lot of potential,” said CVHS Vice-Principal Juan Garner.

Garner has been at Carnegie since the beginning. He was a part of the Jones Vanguard Program in 1998, before it transformed into what we know now as CVHS in 2003. He mentions that he hoped to gain new insightful ideas and conversations from being an educator, and he believed he could only gain that from being on a college campus, until he started working as a history teacher at Carnegie. 

“The diversity of new perspectives on education that I thought I could only find on the college campus drew me to Carnegie and made me stay” said Garner.

A turning point that put Carnegie on the map was the shift in academic curriculum that has increasingly improved over the years. In the first five years at Carnegie, AP curriculum courses were not available, or very sparsely taught. Vanguard programs included the basic core curriculum up until the 2008-2009 school year. Garner and other Carnegie instructors introduced AP classes, such as AP Human Geography, which is now a required course all freshmen have to take. In the following couple years in 2012-2013 AP Seminar/AP Research and TPSP (Texas Performance Standards Project) were introduced as a required sophomore to junior year class standard. 

“I think we were on the forefront of AP’s. The significance of AP curriculum has changed over time, and because of the importance of AP’s we got to become an independent school” says Garner.

Alongside its growing curriculum and diverse student population, Carnegie has also been able to grow its trophy case as well. According to US News, Carnegie has been ranked among the top 50 schools in the nation, top 5 in the state, and has earned the number 1 seat in the city of Houston. With two UIL theatre championships, “Name that Book” trophies, and several state champion Robotics awards, Carnegie does not shy away from a challenge. This winning attitude is not lost on its students as many individuals are achieving incredible feats. From having premieres at South by Southwest to receiving competitive scholarships, the students at Carnegie live up to the name the school has built for itself. 

Carnegie has also improved in building quality as much as curriculum, population, and diversity. The original CVHS building was an old elementary school in Sunnyside. The original building, although barely passing health inspection codes, drove many core Carnegie values and places for the new campus and population. The colors of the old elementary school were red, white, and blue, so those carried over. The original building was also shaped as a square with a courtyard in the middle, hence our iconic courtyard at the new building as well. The new CVHS building was finalized in 2012 and is now reaching its own 11th anniversary this year. 

“So you know the old building, it was a former elementary school- Carnegie elementary, that’s where we got the name from, you know, Carnegie Elementary” said Garner.

As Carnegie has grown in population, it has also grown in diversity. Classrooms are filled with students from all walks of life and the demographics are constantly changing and is currently a majority- minority establishment. This blend of cultures has provided the foundation for a plethora of clubs on campus, Islamic Student Forum, Asian American Association, and Black Student Union, to name a few. The multicultural student body has also allowed for unique courses such as World Religions or African- American Studies. These courses and clubs are able to introduce students to new ideas and perspectives. 

The past 20 years, Carnegie Vanguard High School has achieved numerous successes, grew in both students and classes, and moved campuses entirely. However, despite these changes, the spirit of Carnegie has remained alive and well. The desire to learn and  eagerness to change the wild can still be found in every classroom and in each individual who inhabits it. 

“As a teacher my job is helping them [students] grow and seeing the world and making them aware of the world and hoping that they would add to the world and take the next step” said Garner.