Lawndale High is a fictional location featured regularly in MTV's animated series Daria. The high school, located in the suburban town of Lawndale, was the learning/teaching place for most of the show's primary characters and the setting of many stories.
Little information was ever given in the series about the history of or educational programs of the school, but it is certain that the subjects English, History, Art, Science, Physical Education, and Economics were taught there in some form, as well as a special self-esteem class for sufferers of a lack thereof.
Under Principal Li, the school's security is absurdly over the top, complete with bomb-sniffer dogs, bulletproof skylights over the swimming pool, and regular urine tests. As shown on LHS letterhead featured in The Daria Database, the school motto is "High Security for High Performance".
A Parent-Teacher Association is known to exist, as per "See Jane Run". Unfortunately, that same episode revealed the PTA were aware of grade-fixing for sports team members (and even of blackmail threats made to keep Jane Lane competing).
There is an annual Dian Fossey Award for graduating students who had high academic achievement.
Lawndale High's History
Now-extinct webpages once found on MTV's Daria site offered information on the high school's origins and internal workings. One was the main page to the Lawndale High School Web Page (c. 2001), which revealed the following tongue-in-cheek info.
- Lawndale High School is a public co-educational high school set amongst the rolling hills and flatter surfaces of Carter County. Lawndale is an attractive suburban community conveniently located within driving distance of two airports, four malls, and 27 mini-malls. Lawndale is also home to the soon-to-be-landmarked Big Strawberry.
- LHS was formerly located in that big white building downtown which now houses the place you go to get out of parking tickets. In 1953, the school moved to its present location (formerly the site of Elgin Felt and Dye) after follow-up testing concluded that the presence of leached mercury in the soil had been greatly exaggerated. (Please see the school nurse for an informative cartoon brochure on the subject, especially if you've gotten any of those sores.)
- LHS has a diverse student body of 1400, with an ethnic balance reflecting Lawndale's proud tradition of multiculturalism (we'd rather not give hard numbers). Many of our students go on to higher education, and of the ones who don't, the vast majority manage to stay out of prison. Our accomplished athletes, extracurricular activities, and high academic standards assure Lawndale High School's reputation as "The Swarthmore of Regional School District 8."
- * To join the Save the Strawberry campaign, see Mr. O'Neill. He says someone at the National Register of Historic Places finally returned one of his phone calls.
The school first had a website in 1994, made by student Todd K. Feichmann. "It consisted of his resume and a 3000-word essay on mutant battle psychology as encountered in the first six levels of DOOM". After he graduated, the website was passed on to members of the Computer Club, and in 1999 Jodie Landon and Michael Mackenzie took over and redrafted the site.
Around 2001, Angela Li created (and announced on the website) the Track-Tastic system, "which comprehensively cross-references confidential student information, local law-enforcement files, and multiple consumer-spending databases, all while continuously monitoring e-Bay for stun-gun auctions".
For some reason (likely to create dramatic tension), Lawndale High was subject to an extraordinary number of calamities while Daria was there, and even before. Perhaps it was built over an ancient Indian burial ground and was thus cursed.
- Angela Li (Principal)
- Anthony DeMartino (History teacher; head of the teacher's union)
- Timothy O'Neill (English, Language Arts, and "Dramatic Horizons" teacher; self-esteem workshop teacher)
- Janet Barch (Science teacher)
- Claire Defoe (Art teacher)
- Diane Bennett (Economics teacher; drafts the school budget)
- Margaret Manson (School psychologist)
- Ms. Morris*** (Girls Gym teacher)
- Coach Gibson*** (Football coach)
We see five extra teachers in "Lucky Strike": a tall black man in a blue suit, a pudgy black man with glasses, a brunette woman in a yellow blouse, a bald man with a large brown beard, and a skinny, seemingly middle-aged woman with short, spiky blonde hair. We're not told their names or the classes they teach.
For a school the size of Lawndale, this is an oddly low number of teachers and they seem to teach every class in their chosen subjects (and far too many in O'Neill's case). In real life, this is because the writers wanted to use the same characters throughout the show; in-universe, we can almost certainly blame Li's budgeting.
Other School Personnel
The Daria Diaries and "Quinn the Brain" mention a school janitor or custodian (named Pavlov, or something like that), and several janitors are shown in "The Misery Chick." Security guards are also mentioned in The Daria Diaries. The school nurse, Nurse Chambers, is mentioned in "Ill".
The following list only includes students of Lawndale High that were seen or referenced in any significant way during the show. It is assumed that hundreds of other students attended and still attend the school, but only a limited number of students are widely known. (See the Backgrounders website for an extensive list of students at LHS.)
In general terms, we're told by characters that:
a) The students are predominantly middle-class
b) The students are predominantly a bit thick and very conformist
c) The students are almost entirely caucasian (though this is contradicted by the unspeaking background characters, who have quite a few ethnic minorities)
- Daria Morgendorffer
- Jane Lane
- Kevin Thompson
- Brittany Taylor
- Charles "Upchuck" Ruttheimer III
- Jodie Landon
- Mack Mackenzie
- Quinn Morgendorffer
- Sandi Griffin
- Tiffany Blum-Deckler
- Stacy Rowe
- Jamie White
- Ted DeWitt-Clinton
- Todd K. Feichmann**
- Tommy Sherman**
- Trent Lane**
- Penny Lane**
* Were never given surnames on the series.
** Were already ex-students of Lawndale High by the beginning of the series.
*** Were never given first names on the series.
Sports, Clubs and Extracurricular Activities (Canon)
In addition to academia, there are a number of other activities, including sports, in which the students of Lawndale High can engage. They are referenced to in the TV episodes and in the two Daria books (The Daria Diaries and The Daria Database). Extracurricular activities mentioned in canon are listed below with the sources of information on them.
Sports is considered of high importance, and corruption is rife: students in the important sports clubs and teams have their grades fixed so they can keep playing ("See Jane Run", "Murder, She Snored") and this is known to their parents and the PTA ("See Jane Run", "Mart of Darkness"). Angela Li explicitly puts the football team ahead of academics.
Sports [Note: Multiple sources indicate that most sports at Lawndale High have both boys and girls teams, and might further be subdivided into junior varsity (JV) and varsity teams.]
- Basketball ("Boxing Daria")
- Field hockey ("The Lawndale File," The Daria Diaries))
- Football team (many TV episodes, The Daria Diaries)
- Lacrosse ("Boxing Daria")
- Girls soccer ("The Story of D")
- Track ("See Jane Run")
- Volleyball (shown in opening scenes of each episode, but not stated to have competitive teams)
- Wrestling ("Through a Lens Darkly")
- Archery Club (The Daria Database, LHS Web Page (2001))
- Audio/Visual Squad (The Daria Diaries)
- Band (The Daria Database)
- Booster Club ("Boxing Daria")
- Cheerleading (many TV episodes, The Daria Diaries, LHS Web Page (2001))
- Chess Club ("The New Kid," "Boxing Daria," The Daria Diaries, LHS Web Page (2001))
- Clay Club (=arts and crafts?) (LHS Web Page (2001))
- Computer Club (Computer Club webpage (archived 6/18/2001))
- Debate Team (The Daria Diaries, The Daria Database, LHS Web Page (2001))
- Dominoes Club ("Boxing Daria")
- Drama Horizons / Drama Club (The Daria Database, LHS Web Page (2001))
- Fashion Club (many TV episodes, The Daria Diaries, LHS Web Page (2001))
- Fencing Club (The Daria Database, LHS Web Page (2001))
- Fraternal Brotherhood of Future Marketing and Promotion Executives ("Boxing Daria")
- French Club ("The New Kid," "Gifted")
- Glee Club (The Daria Database)
- Greek Club (The Daria Diaries)
- Hiking Club (The Daria Database, LHS Web Page (2001))
- Honor Society (LHS Web Page (2001))
- Latin Club (The Daria Diaries) (inactive?)
- Leadership Club ("Boxing Daria")
- Marbles team ("Boxing Daria")
- Matador Club (=???) (LHS Web Page (2001))
- Math Club (LHS Web Page (2001))
- Pep Squad ("Esteemsters")
- Pom-Pom Girls (The Daria Database)
- Science Club ("The New Kid", LHS Web Page (2001))
- Spanish Club (The Daria Database)
- Student Council ("Gifted")
- Take Back the Night Lawndale High School women's self-defense club ("The New Kid," LHS Web Page (2001))
- Tennis Club ("Gifted," The Daria Database)
- Time Capsule (The Daria Database)
- Yearbook ("The New Kid," "Gifted")
- Young Optimists (The Daria Database)
Sports not mentioned in canon, so far as can be told, include: baseball, cross-country, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, softball. Roller hockey was shown in "The Big House," but it was a specialty sport played only by faculty competing against local disk jockeys, as a school fund-raising event. Swimming is not mentioned, but Lawndale High has a pool ("This Year's Model").
- There is an actual school in Lawndale, California, U.S.A., called Lawndale High School. No deliberate or accidental resemblance to the cartoon-show school is evident.
- The security of Lawndale High is often bumped up for fanfics, far beyond what we saw in canon. This can either be serious or played for laughs - it reached a climax in Scarlett the Dark Fairy Meets the Crossed (from Hell is Crossed People Iron Chef), where the school is built structurally strong enough to withstand a one-half kiloton nuclear detonation. In a more serious take, "But in Her Heart a Cold December" by The Angst Guy reveals that Li's security build-up is due to a fear of North Korean agents finding her.
School Personnel in Fanfic
- Kyle Armalin - Sociology, LHS Marine Corps R.O.T.C. Adviser
- Ben Breeck - History teacher and self-insert
- Jasper Ewing - Mathematics teacher
- Alfred Phelps - Mathematics teacher
- Steve - security guard
About Lawndale High
PPMB Threads about Lawndale High
- Some thoughts on the size of Lawndale High
- Essay topics for the future
- I have another Lawndale High question
- Things Students Are No Longer Allowed To Do At Lawndale High (comedy)
- Things Students Still Are Not Allowed To Do At Lawndale High (comedy)
- Which TV high school?
- Alternative students at Lawndale High