It was hailed as the "Chinese Beverly Hills" in Asian magazines and advertisements. Local realtors touted Monterey Park overseas as a community that welcomed Asian families seeking to relocate as more and more Pacific Rim businesses found markets and points of entry in the bustling port of Los Angeles. To some old-time locals, it seemed that, almost overnight, Atlantic Blvd. and Garvey Ave. had gone from sleepy, suburban avenues where shoppers stopped on sidewalks to greet neighbors to busy thoroughfares bumper to bumper with traffic. Local businesses changed hands, and homeowners sold their properties to Asian families seeking a safe, thriving community in which to raise their children.
While, in 1977, Asian families accounted for 13.6 % of the school district population, by 1988 the percentage had skyrocketed to 64%. Both students and staff had to adapt to this sudden influx of large numbers of students from Pacific Rim countries. At the same time, having left their native countries for political or economic reasons, families from Latin America were also arriving at Keppel's doors. As a result, the student population grew beyond Keppel's ability to accommodate them in the severely limited number of regular classrooms available. For the second time in Keppel history, the district had to bring in bungalows. In addition to the nine structures located adjacent to the lunch court, ten new temporary classrooms were installed adjacent to the volleyball courts on the campus's upper field. These units, carpeted and air-conditioned, provided needed relief from the overcrowded conditions.
Participation in ASB-sponsored campus activities suffered as a result of the influx of foreign students unfamiliar with American high school customs. Membership in campus student clubs and in several league sports teams dropped dramatically during this time, although the tennis program remained strong and the soccer program flourished. Although there was student apathy, unlike the 1960's this apathy was born of unfamiliarity rather than non-conformity. But existing campus clubs and new ones oriented towards the new school population eased the integration of the student body, and by the end of the decade, administrators and teachers alike hoped that, as students moved through the elementary schools and became acculturated, Keppel would see a renewal of school spirit and a return to student participation.