McKinley Senior High School, named for William McKinley, 25th president of the United States, was founded in 1902 with 415 students at Seventh Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW, where the school remained until 1928 when it was renamed McKinley Manual Training School for Boys and moved to its current site at Second and T streets NE. In the early 1950s, McKinley reached a peak student enrollment of 2000..
Now known as McKinley Technical High School, the school is coeducational and has an enrollment of 950. McKinley operates a special public safety curriculum in cooperation with the District police and fire departments and the University of the District of Columbia.
In addition, McKinley offers a special curriculum in communications. Ethel Lewis, coordinator of the communications program, says the communications curriculum is a "public/private partnership." At McKinley, businesses offer students internships and other participation in television production, journalism, advertising art, advertising, photography, public relations, graphics, writing and speaking skills. Local businesses also offer scholarships, field trips and supply guest lecturers.
McKinley senior Christine Carroll, who plans a career in broadcast journalism says, "After entering the communications program at McKinley, I had an opportunity to the work at WHUR radio station and Channel 24 D.C. cable access. The program allowed me to learn communication skills that I can use for college."
Among some of McKinley's more distinguished alumni are fashion designer Jeffrey Banks, former D.C. Council member Arrington Dixon, District of Columbia Auditor Otis H. Troupe, D.C. Commission for Women Executive Director Carol Hill Lowell and WRC-TV Editorial Director Angela Owens.
Owens said, "My experience at McKinley was very positive. During those years everyone was high on the possibilities for black students. Kids all over the city wanted to be at McKinley for the pre-engineering, pre-med and math programs. Teachers demanded achievement from us and everyone was expected to do well. We felt we had no other choice."
McKinley Principal James Greene said "We give our young people an education they can be proud of. Students of McKinley gain so much here that they can use their skills to take them to college, enter the work force and become productive citizens not only in Washington, but anywhere in the world."