Dana Hills High School

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Dana Hills High School
33333 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, California, 92629
United States
Type Public School
Established 1972
School district Capistrano Unified School District
Principal Dr. Jason Allemann[1]
Color(s)           Blue & Silver
Team name Dolphins

Dana Hills High School is a high school in Dana Point, California. It is one of the oldest high schools in South Orange County, having opened in 1973. The school's enrollment of 3,000 students is drawn from the nearby communities of Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, Capistrano Beach, and San Juan Capistrano.

Dana Hills now has over 155,839 square feet (14,477.9 m2) in permanent buildings, yet it still struggles with overcrowding. Two new science buildings have opened in 2007, and the math wing has been redone, featuring wider hallways and larger classrooms. These two improvements to Dana Hills have allowed for the removal of fourteen portables making the new portable count 38.

STAR Testing[edit]

Dana Hills' Academic Performance Index (API) for the year of 2007 was 824. This was a significant improvement over 2006's API of 816. The high test scores in recent years have provided the school[citation needed] with partial funding for new science buildings, a renovation of the math department, an artificial turf football field / all-weather track, and over 150 new computers and flat screen monitors used in CECA, Career and College Planning, AP Computer Science, and Digital Photo. Incentives are given to the students to do well on these standardized tests.

Recent scores[edit]


Year API Growth
2011 [3] 855 58
2010 [4] 848 8
2009 [5] 839 14
2008 [6] 825 0
2007 [7] 824 8
2006 [8] 816 5
2005 [9] 811 43
2004 [10] 768 18
2003 [11] 749 0

Advanced Placement[edit]

Dana Hills offers a wide array of Advanced Placement (AP) classes. These AP classes include Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Literature, Language and Composition, Music Theory, Art History, Psychology, Spanish IV, French IV, European History, United States History, Government / Economics and Computer Science A. All AP classes offer a “grade bump” making a 5.0 GPA possible in that class exclusively. Honors Pre-Calculus is the last Honors class at Dana to still offer a 5.0 GPA.


The Dana Hills newspaper, originally called the Dolphin Dispatch from 1973 to ??, now simply known as The Paper, is produced by a staff of 28 students. Ten newspapers are produced a year. Following Kris Evans's retirement at the end of the 2007–08 school year, Paige Prescott served as the newspaper's adviser for two years. Yearbook adviser Tim Sampson also became The Paper's adviser at the start of the 2010–2011 school year.


Dana Hills has its own junior medical program, the Health and Medical Occupations Academy. The academy is for those who wish to study or pursue a career in medicine, as it prepares students for higher education in the medical field. Participants are involved in field trips, hospital duties, and even view medical procedures as they are performed.


The South Orange County School of the Arts (SOCSA), housed at Dana Hills High School, is a visual and performing arts academy for students within the Capistrano Unified School District. Founded in 1996 by a group of parents, teachers and administrators, the academy was incorporated as the nonprofit SOCSA Foundation in October 2000. It provides students with intensive training in the arts through a diverse curriculum, offering comprehensive study in the visual arts, dance, musical theatre, acting, vocal and instrumental music and theater management. Students receive individual and group training from faculty who have broad artistic competencies and expertise, including guest lecturers, performers, and designers. By 2011 approximately 500 Dana Hills students were enrolled in the SOCSA academy.

SOCSA website

Marine Ecology Program[edit]

One of Dana Hills' most notable science courses is the Marine Ecology program, offered only to those in the 12th grade. The course offers a full year of Marine Science covering both the physical and biological sciences of the ocean and how they work together to form a working Ecosystem. Examples of some of the subjects taught during the class are: Plate tectonics, waves and tides, ocean currents, sand, algae, plankton, marine mammals, echinoderms, and fish. One of the most well known traditions of the class is the annual Baja field study. In this field study, students, parents, teachers, and past alumni of the class travel down to Baja, California for a week, usually in May. The purpose of this field study is to apply what the students have learned that year in the class and see it in its natural environment, outside of a conventional laboratory setting. The Baja field study is unique only to that of Dana Hills, and essentially offered nowhere else in the United States. Originally under the direction of Philip Grignon at San Clemente High school, the program moved to Dana Hills when the school was opened in 1973 under Jim Klein. When Klein left to Idaho in 1979, the class was taught by Mike Gaskins, who was succeeded by Marv Sherrill in 1991. In 2004 Sherril retired and handed the reins to Randy Hudson, who continues to teach the class today.

Cross country[edit]

The Dana Hills' boys' and girls' cross country teams almost always finish as league champions in the South Coast League, which is arguably one of the most competitive in Southern California. In 2006, the boys' team appeared in CIF-SS Finals for the 27th time under Coach Tim Butler. The boys' team later went on to the state meet where they placed 9th in D1. Continuing their success, the following week they participated in the first ever Nike Team National Open Race where they placed 3rd overall. Dana Hills has four State Championship plaque which they received in 1988, 2007-2009, four 2nd place finishes, and two 3rd place finishes. The program is also the most successful in the state of California with its 30+ year history. In 2007 and 2008, the boys team won CIF Div. 1 Championships. In 2008, the girls' team also won the CIF Div. 1 Championship. This has been the first time ever that any school in CIF Div. 1 won both boys and girls in the same division state championship for cross country.

Cross Country Championships[edit]


On September 26, 2007, Megan Myers, a freshman runner on the girls' team, collapsed and later died during her race in a dual meet against Capistrano Valley High School. The cause of her death is now known to be heart inflammation.

On October 13, 2007 Dana Hills Varsity Boys' team won its third Orange County Title. They also won its 2nd consecutive title in the always competitive South Coast League Finals on November 1, 2007. Led by outstanding Junior Tyler Valdes who came first with a time of 15:10 for three miles (5 km). This was Dana Hills' 8th title in the previous 10 years for the dolphins. On November 17, 2007 The Boys' varsity team won the CIF SS Final Championship race, after a 19-year gap from the last first place they earned in 1987–88. They scored 94 points over second place (Vista Murrieta 133) and ran the third fastest Mt. Sac team time in 77:01.

At last after 19 years, the boys' cross country team won its 2nd D1 State Championship in its 30+ years as a program under the guidance of coach Tim Butler and assistant coaches Craig Dunn and Andrew Corman. The boys' team, led by Tyler Valdes, was: Tyler Valdes Jr., Tyler Alvarez Sr., Zak Phillips Jr., Ryan Valdes Jr., Josh Chan Sr., Rusty Parker Sr., Josh Dean Jr., and Anthony Lacambra Jr. Their score was 65 to 2nd place Murrieta Valley's 135 and Vista Murrieta's 146. The 2008 team was led by Tyler Valdes, Sr. Ryan Valdes, Sr. Zak Phillips, Sr. Taylor Hogshead, Sr. Anthony LaCambra, Sr. Josh Dean, Sr. Jesus Molina, Jr. And Blake Ahrold, Jr which produced another consecutive state championship. In 2009 After returning 2 of 7 varsity members from 2008 state championship team. The blue and white striped monster won D1 state California state championship for the third year in a row. The team consisted of Sr.Blake Ahrold, Sr.Jesus Molina, Jr.Ricardo Campuzano, Jr.Connor Kaddatz, Sr.Sam Van De Velde, Jr.Trevor Lynn, Sr.Derrick Lloyd. This young inexperienced yet well-performing team also went to Nike Cross Nationals in Portland,Oregon where they finished another surprising finish of 6th place in the nation. This was the best finish of Dana Hills Xc history in the national standings.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°28′40″N 117°42′02″W / 33.47778°N 117.70056°W / 33.47778; -117.70056