January 23, 2024
Founded in 1906, there have been 25 Principals to date at Oceanside High School (OHS), formerly Oceanside Carlsbad High School (O-CHS ). During this time, there have been only two that have had long tenures. One stands out as a hero of longevity and deep commitment to OHS and that was Armand William Selinger. He exemplified our motto, “Once a Pirate, Always a Pirate!”
Mr. Selinger began as a Pirate as a student, graduating with the class of 1936. While a student, he was a standout in leadership and involvement. He served as the Sports Editor of the O-C Campus, the school newspaper, served on the Associated Student Body Council, designed and painted the sets for the Senior play, and was the Pirateer Yearbook Editor. He was gifted in the Arts, both singing and painting. He was a member of the Boys Glee Club and there is a Blade Tribute article naming him as the soloist at a local wedding ceremony.
After graduating from O-CHS he studied at San Diego State before serving in WWII. After the war he began his academic career with his first teaching position at Imperial Valley High School. In 1946 he returned to his alma matter to teach Art, serve as the Senior Class Advisor and Boy’s League Sponsor. This pattern of extra-curricular involvement beyond the classroom instruction continued through out his tenure serving as ASB and Pirateer Staff sponsor. In the 1949 yearbook, Mr. Selinger is pictured as the Dean of Boys and, “one of the O-C’s most tireless and loyal rooters… You see him at all the student dances. In fact, he’s the man who directs all student activities.” He was also the “B” team basketball coach!
In 1950 he became the school’s counselor, and that year in the Yearbook it was said, “Mr Selinger has taken time out many times to help a student despite the fact that he is always kept busy due to his many duties….He has given liberally of his time so that we could have more and better extracurricular activities.”
His involvement was not limited to student activities. He participated in faculty extracurricular activities as well on the Men’s Basketball team, defeating the Boy’s League Council that year in their annual basketball game.
There is a great picture in the 1950 Pirateer Yearbook of Mr. Selinger, along with Mr. Ned Girard, Mr. Bob Kitchin, and Mr. Aubrey Bates singing the Alma Mater in the Senior Hall in front of a Christmas Tree.
By 1950 Mr. Selinger had been made the Vice Principal and Dean of Students. The 1952 Yearbook says of him, “One of the most popular field bosses this year at O-C.”, “His cheerful personality and helpful attitude have long made him a favorite.”
In 1953 he was made the O-C Principal and served in that capacity for 14 years until 1967. If being a high school principal was not enough, he also was a community leader. He belonged to the Carlsbad-Oceanside Art League and the Laguna Art Association. He was Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, President of the Lion’s Club, and Vice President of the Boy’s Club Board of Directors!
In total Mr. Armand William Selinger spent over 25 years of his life at O-CHS! When he left OHS, he joined the administration at Cal Western. He served as an academic advisor to students aspiring to be teachers. Ironically, Miss Sue Elisor was one of those students. He recommended Sue to Don Holden who succeeded him as OHS Principal. Mr. Holden interviewed her and gave her a tour of the campus, and then hired her on the spot! Sue’s entire tenure was spent at OHS as a P.E. teacher, Rally Coach, and Counselor. Sue is still serving our alma mater as a valuable member of the Foundation and Alumni Association. What a special mentor Mr. Selinger proved to be in Sue’s life and the ongoing success of OHS!
Mr. Selinger died in 1975, just days short of his 57th birthday. In my mind, he is a Pirate hero!
Laurie Nelson Boone ‘68