HERSTORY: Donna Hubbard’s legacy at Van Nuys High School" />

HERSTORY: Donna Hubbard’s legacy at Van Nuys High School

This Women’s History Month, Donna Hubbard stands out as the mature, wise and compassionate former principal of the school. Joining as a Spanish teacher in 1920, she worked her way up to become the school’s first female principal and led students through the Great Depression and the beginning of World War II.
Donna Hubbard was Van Nuys High Schools first female principal. She joined the faculty as a Spanish teacher in 1920 and worked her way up to becoming girls vice prinicipal in 1924, before becoming principal of the entire school in 1935.
Donna Hubbard was Van Nuys High School’s first female principal. She joined the faculty as a Spanish teacher in 1920 and worked her way up to becoming girls’ vice prinicipal in 1924, before becoming principal of the entire school in 1935.
The front of the school in 1936, as Donna Hubbard would have seen it.

With its familiar maroon double doors and neoclassical facade, the Donna Hubbard Auditorium is the performing arts center of Van Nuys High School. 

Home to student performances, assemblies and meetings, the building owes its official name to the first female principal of the school, Ms. Donna Hubbard. The auditorium stands as a testament to the extraordinary woman who shaped the foundation of our academic community. 

Ms. Hubbard began her career as a Spanish teacher in 1920 and later served as the girls’ vice principal from 1921 to 1934. She took over as principal of the entire school in 1935, the genesis of her seven year journey as the head of Van Nuys High School. 

Exhibiting wisdom and hope for the future, Ms. Hubbard empowered students to be the best versions of themselves as the Depression deepened and World War II approached. She emphasized quality of education, as well as molding learners into leaders bound for success. 

A mature, competent woman, Ms. Hubbard shared her insight on universal life experiences and upheld American values of democracy. During her final year as principal in 1941–the year the U.S. entered the War–Ms. Hubbard validated the importance of educated youth in leading the country forward. 

“The students of Van Nuys High School are learning the meaning of democracy through an actual experience of living and working together,” she expressed in the yearbook. “They are becoming aware of the fact that there is a vital difference between license and liberty; that without responsibility there can be no lasting privilege or freedom and that the welfare of all must be of concern to individuals. It is a matter of conviction that the best defense, the most adequate protection that America can have is a body of intelligent and loyal youth who are irrevocably dedicated to the great goal of democracy–a more abundant life for all.”

Ms. Hubbard’s guidance as principal stemmed from her deep understanding of leadership. Asserting the great need for competent leadership, she believed in the power of leaders to achieve the seemingly impossible and encouraged students to be sincere when leading others. 

“Leaders–strong leaders–leaders with courage and vision–this is the great need of today’s world,” Ms. Hubbard affirmed. “Intelligence, imagination, honesty, initiative, sincerity, unselfishness, sympathy, understanding, patience, loyalty, fairness and justice–these are a few of the qualities which a dynamic leader must possess. There are few achievements that are not possible, provided strong and able leaders are available to show the way; to arouse in men’s hearts the dynamic response which leads to victory. In every real leader lies the divine spark which kindles the imagination, stirs to action, inspires courage and surmounts obstacles. What seems to be impossible of achievement becomes a reality when the master leader finds a way.”

In addition to her understanding of leadership, Ms. Donna Hubbard recognized the importance of living life to the fullest. To Ms. Hubbard, the world was a land of beauty and opportunity.

“We become so interested in things only as we comprehend and know them and so it behooves each and every one of us, if we would be happy and if we would live richly and abundantly, to strive to get an understanding of the forces which are ever operative in our universe, of the beauty which is everywhere in Nature’s world and of the myriads of things to see, to hear and to do in the limitless realm of possibilities which are ours for the seeking,” she shared.

With her heart for students and incredible life insights, Ms. Hubbard made a lasting impact on Van Nuys High School. Although her principalship ended decades ago, Ms. Hubbard’s vision lives on in the heart of our school, as every student is raised for success and personal growth. 

The front of the school in 1936, as Donna Hubbard would have seen it. (THE MIRROR | DAIMLER KOCH; CRIMSON AND GRAY YEARBOOK)
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About the Contributor
Abigail Kim
Abigail Kim, Staff
The most magical thing to do in this world is to escape it. This is the power of reading, and it is a force I readily succumb to. A delectable story fills me with the greatest joy, and inventing extravagant tales offers a luscious meal to my hungry brain. My greatest wish as a beginning journalist is to communicate the wonderful quirks of the world through my perspective and to share the divine opinions of every viewpoint. In the eccentric witch’s brew of my mind, I weave characters, conflict, and emotions in fictional writing and dancing, or, as I like to call it, storytelling with the body. On a separate note, if I’m not hunched over my computer, you may find me chomping away on dark chocolate or shrieking at the top of my lungs at a KPOP concert. 
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