The Crazy Story Behind the ’10 Things I Hate About You’ High School

This is besides the fact that Heath Ledger once roamed the halls.

Twenty years ago, one of the best films of our generation graced our screens and not only gave us stars like Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, but a ton of fomo when it comes to high school experiences—especially with our high schools themselves. 10 Things I Hate About You was mainly shot at Stadium High School in Tacoma, Washington, and the school resembles more of a magical Disney castle than an actual learning facility.

There's a reason why—the structure was originally built back in the 1800's, and the 10 Things school was actually first used as a luxury hotel by the North Pacific Railroad. It was abandoned in the late 1800s after the financial crash and was completely gutted by a fire not long after. After being abandoned for quite some time, the building was purchased by the school district in 1906 and opened as a high school in Tacoma—and the rest was history.

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Called Padua High School in the film, Stadium High was used in a ton of recognizable shots—including that quotable moment when Bianca Stratford told her BFF Chastity (played by Gabrielle Union) that while she liked her Skechers, she loved her Prada backpack. This exchange took place in the courtyard leading up to the enormous school, and will forever be an iconic piece of teen movie history. (In case you haven't seen it, the film involves two sisters--one popular, one not--whose father decides that the younger, popular daughter can only date when her reclusive older sister does. And so begins a Shakespeare-inspired scheme where one guy pays the school bad boy, aka Ledger, to convince the older sister to date him, so that the guy can date the popular one.)

To celebrate the film's 20th anniversary, Stadium High School screened 10 Things I Hate About You on the football field—right in the spot where Heath Ledger performed a mildly embarrassing (but completely charming) rendition of Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You." While he may not have successfully stolen Kat Stratford's heart during that scene (that took a little more convincing), he definitely stole ours.

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