From a humble beginning, the Masbate High School first opened in August 1917 with a first year class, with no building of its own, so that the students were housed in a classroom in what is now the Jose Zurbito Sr. Elementary School. Only first year classes were in operation for two years until a second year class was organized in 1919-20, followed by a third year class in 1922-23. Mr. Luis Barlet was the first school principal and through his foresight he ensured the reservation of a school site of 36 hectares, covering the sprawling area presently occupied by the Jose Zurbito Sr. Elementary School, Masbate Athletic Grounds, the Provincial Hospital, and extending up to Medina Street, but all that remains of this area is only 7.6 hectares.

          Due to the absence of a complete secondary course, many Masbatenos decided to study at the Sorsogon High School. Masbate was then a sub-province of Sorsogon. The first graduating class during the school year 1924-25 consisted of twenty-six members, with Jose Rubia as the valedictorian and Juan Arce as the salutatorian, the principal was Mr. Alfonso Villaflor. In the more than seven decades of its existence, the school has passed under the stewardship of nineteen principals with only two ladies in the group. Mr. Jesus Moya, who had been teaching in the school for more than ten years, became the first Masbateno to become principal in 1946. During the administration of Mr. Jesus Menez in 1947, RANCH, the school paper was founded. The school is proud of its numerous alumni who have brought honor, distinguishing themselves in various fields both in public and private sectors. Foremost among them is Congressmen Emilio R. Espinosa, Jr., a 1940 alumnus who was once a Batasan Pambansa Member, Cabinet Member, Governor and served as Secretary of Labor under President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Honorable Leonardo Quisumbing former Secretary of Labor and Employment, an alumnus of class 1955 and presently Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.