El Toro High School

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El Toro High School
25255 Toledo Way
Lake Forest, California, 92630
United States
Type Public
Established 1973
School district Saddleback Valley Unified School District
Principal Terri Gusiff
Assistant principals Dr. CK Green (Guidance), Jonathan Van Tassell (Facilities and Athletics), Kara Haselton-Root (Attendance & Discipline), Kathryn Scheidler (Activities)
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,925[1]
 • Grade 9 768
 • Grade 10 770
 • Grade 11 676
 • Grade 12 711
Color(s)           Blue & Gold
Team name Chargers
Information (949) 586-6333
Male Students 1,524
Female Students 1,401

El Toro High School is a public high school in Lake Forest, California, and is one of five high schools in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD). The school has served the area since 1973. The current principal of the school is Terri Gusiff, who succeeded Dr. Allan Mucerino at the start of the '12-'13 school year.


El Toro's 2010 API score grew to 830,[2] from previous years 800.[3] The school began participating in the International Baccalaureate Program in 2004, the program was scheduled to end in 2011 due to district and state budget cuts,[4] however it is slated to continue into 2012 school year.[5] Over 400 computers are available for student use, including 83 computers in the library and four classroom sets of laptops.

Recent graduates have been admitted to San Diego State University, New York University, University of Southern California (USC), University of California, Irvine, University of California, San Diego, University of San Diego, Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College, University of California, Santa Barbara, Arizona State University, University of California, Santa Cruz, Colgate, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, Caltech, MIT, University of California, Berkeley, UCLA, Notre Dame, Carleton College, Georgetown, Northwestern, Riverside City College, Vassar, Duke, Tufts, California Lutheran University, Westmont College, Loyola Marymount University, Vanguard University of Southern California, Point Loma Nazarene University, The Ohio State University, Trinity University (TX) and the United States Air Force Academy.[6]


El Toro's mascot is a bull and teams identify themselves as the Chargers. School colors are blue and gold and teams compete in the CIF Southern Section.

The School's name is Spanish for "The Bull".

Accomplishments include:

  • 1981 Boys Varsity Cross Country CIF Championship Third Place
  • 1981 Boys Varsity Cross Country Seaview League Champions First place
  • 1981 Mt. SAC College Invitational "Sweepstakes Race" Varsity First place
  • 1982 Boys Cross Country CIF Championship Fourth Place
  • 1982 Football CIF CHAMPIONS
  • 1983 Boys Cross Country CIF Champions
  • 1986 Football CIF CHAMPIONS
  • 1987 Football CIF CHAMPIONS
  • 1989 Boys Water Polo CIF Champions
  • 1990 Boys Soccer CIF Champions
  • 1990 Boys Water Polo CIF Champions
  • 1991 Boys Water Polo CIF Champions
  • 1994 Football CIF Semi-Finalist
  • 1995 Football CIF CHAMPIONS
  • 1996 Football CIF Semi-Finalist
  • 1998 Girls' Basketball CIF Semi-Finalist
  • 1999 Boys' Water Polo CIF Finalists
  • 1999 Girls' Basketball CIF Finalist
  • 2000 Water Polo CIF Semi-Finalists
  • 2001 Water Polo CIF Semi-Finalists
  • 2001 Boys’ Cross Country Orange County Champions
  • 2000 Girls’ Basketball CIF Semi-Finalist
  • 2000 Girls’ Water Polo CIF Semi-Finalist
  • 2001 Girls’ Volleyball CIF Finalist
  • 2005 Boys' Basketball CIF Finalist
  • 2005 Boys' Water Polo Quarter-Finalist
  • 2005 Songleaders 3rd place Nationals
  • 2006 Boys Cross Country 2nd place Nike Team Nationals
  • 2006 Boys' Lacrosse State Champions
  • 2006 Girls' Volleyball League Champs
  • 2006 Boys' Water Polo CIF Champions
  • 2006 Boys' Water Polo Masters' Finalist
  • 2006 Varsity Cheer National Champions
  • 2006 Songleaders 2nd place Nationals
  • 2007 Songleaders 2nd place Nationals
  • 2007 JV Cheer US Spiritleaders Champions
  • 2007 Boys' Lacrosse CIF Finalist
  • 2007 Boys' Swimming League Champions
  • 2007 Boys' Football CIF Quarter-Finalist
  • 2007 Boys' Water Polo CIF Semi-Finalist
  • 2007 Boys' Water Polo Masters' Finalist
  • 2008 Boys' Baseball CIF Champions
  • 2008 Boys' Swimming League Champions
  • 2008 Boys' Water Polo CIF Finalist
  • 2008 Boys' Water Polo Masters' Champion
  • 2008 Boys' Cross Country League Champions
  • 2009 Boys' Swimming League Champions
  • 2009 Girls' Swimming League Champions
  • 2009 Boys' Soccer CIF Champions
  • 2009 Boys' Track and Field League Co-Champions (Shared with Trabuco Hills High School)
  • 2009 Boys' Lacrosse League Finalist
  • 2009 Girls' Lacrosse League Co-Champions (Shared with Foothill High School)
  • 2009 Girls' Lacrosse CIF Semi-Finalist
  • 2009 Girls Volleyball League Champions/ CIF Quarterfinalist
  • 2009 Songleaders 3rd place Nationals
  • 2009 Boys' Cross Country CIF Finalists
  • 2009 Boys' Water Polo CIF Champions
  • 2010 Boys' Track and Field Champions
  • 2010 Boys' Water Polo CIF Finalist
  • 2011 Boys' Track and Field State Champions Third Place
  • 2011 Football CIF runner-up
  • 2011 Boys Water Polo CIF Finalist
  • 2015 Girls Water Polo CIF Champions First Place

2013 football stadium construction[edit]

Since the 1990s, a conflict with staunch environmental activists,[7] who live within the vicinity of the school, over complaints of traffic and noise pollution forced El Toro's football team to use Trabuco Hills High School's football stadium as its own, sparking a bitter rivalry. On April 16, 2013, however, the California Board of Education finally OK'd[8] the construction of bleachers and lights at El Toro's home field despite opposition,[9] and on October 25, 2013, the first game[10][11][12] to be held at the newly built home stadium finally took place.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

El Toro students participate in over 100 clubs and organizations. Two-thirds of the student body are involved in athletics, visual and performing arts and/or campus activities.

El Toro is home to the award winning ETHS Drama Department. In 2008-2009 the department won first place at the Roleabout festival, first place at the Rancho Cucamonga one act festival, and first place at the Musical Theatre Competition of America. They also put on four main stage productions each year.

El Toro's newspaper, The BullETin was awarded a gold award from Columbia University for its 2006-2007 school year, Volume 19, Issue 1. The award was given for a photograph taken by Sarah Arrin of a male water polo player.

Available programs include Model United Nations, Orange County Academic Decathlon, Scholastic Competition, Video Production, Web Page Design, and Virtual Economics.[13] The Read 180 Program and the Newcomers Program were introduced in 2003. El Toro has highly recognized programs in the fine and performing arts including:

Instrumental Music and Pageantry Program[14]

  • The Royal Blue Regiment Marching Band and Color Guard
    • 2003 WBA Class AAA Marching Band/Color Guard State Champions
    • 2005 WBA Class AAAA State Championship Finalist
    • 2007 WBA Class AAA State Championship Finalist
  • Jazz Band
    • 2008 Coronado High School Jazz Festival, Novice division, 1st place
    • 2009 Trabuco Hills High School Jazz Festival, Novice division, 1st place
    • 2009 Coronado High School Jazz Festival, Intermediate division, 1st place
  • Symphonic Band
  • Wind Ensemble

Drama Department[15] Recent productions include:

  • "Barnum" - Spring 2007
  • Neil Simone's "Fools" - Fall 2007
  • "Little Shop of Horrors" - Spring 2008
  • "101 Dalmatians" - Spring 2008
  • "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" - Halloween show 2011
  • "Red Velvet Cake War" - Fall 2011 (West Coast premiere, first high school to perform this)
  • "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" - Spring 2012
  • "Pinocchio" - Spring 2012
  • "A Plague of Panic" 3 One Act Shows - "The Monkey's Paw", "The Cards of Fate" and "Crimson Days" an original play written by Kayla Green - Halloween shows 2012
  • "Fahrenheit 451" - Fall 2012
  • "Superman the Musical" - Spring 2013
  • "Squad Room" - Spring 2013
  • "A Christmas Carol" - Fall 2013
  • "The Little Mermaid Jr." - Spring 2014
  • "And Then There Were None"- Spring 2014
  • "The Hound of the Baskervilles" - Spring 2015

"Every 15 Minutes" (presented every other year) is an educational experience that reminds the students, family and faculty of the dangers associated with driving while under the influence of alcohol. It was most recently presented in April 2014.[16]

Every year, the El Toro Engineering Club participates in the Solar Cup race in Temecula, building a solar powered motorized boat, and racing it against other teams across the state.

El Toro High School has two award winning[citation needed] competition show choirs, Soundsation and Choralistics. In April 2009, both choirs competed twice earning 3 golds and one silver. Many alumni of the vocal music program have gone on to perform on stage, screen, and on Broadway productions.


  • California Distinguished School 1988, 1994, & 2001.
  • National Blue Ribbon Nominee 1994 & 2001.
  • California “Top 100” High Schools Selection.
  • 15 National Merit Finalists; 15 Semi-Finalists in the past 5 years.
  • 2005 Rancho Cucamonga One Act Festival First Place (for the one act WA)
  • 2008 Rancho Cucamonga One Act Festival First Place (for the one act The Cards of Fate)
  • 2011 Rancho Cucamonga One Act Festival Fourth Place (for the one act Action News Now With 10% More Action)

Notable alumni[edit]


During the California Wild Fires in 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a speech at El Toro High School.[18] It was also used as an evacuation center.

On one side of the school there is a set of 20 stairs known simply as El Toro 20.[19] There is also another one right next to it, but set nearest to the lockers at the ground level has been used more for skateboarding than the other 20 set. The set has been featured in numerous skateboarding videos. The stair set has gained enormous notoriety throughout the skateboarding world. Recently, due to the progression of skateboarding in the school, the two middle handrails of each stair set has been removed. However, skateboarders still skate the sets by performing tricks directly down, or by using the two side handrails on each set.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°38′15″N 117°41′20″W / 33.6375221°N 117.6889403°W / 33.6375221; -117.6889403