La Quinta High School (Westminster, California)

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La Quinta High School
10372 McFadden Ave.
Westminster, California
Coordinates 33°44′11″N 117°56′54″W / 33.7365°N 117.9483°W / 33.7365; -117.9483Coordinates: 33°44′11″N 117°56′54″W / 33.7365°N 117.9483°W / 33.7365; -117.9483
Type Public
Established 1963
Principal Denise L. Halstead
Grades 9-12
Color(s) Royal Blue, Gold
Mascot Aztec

La Quinta High School (or LQHS) a public high school located in Westminster, Orange County, California, is one of seven high-schools of the Garden Grove Unified School District—recipient of the 2004 Broad Prize for Excellence in Urban Education. It currently has the highest API score of all the high schools in Garden Grove Unified School District, and 10th in Orange County (a score of 865 in 2010), as well as a high rate of college matriculation.


La Quinta High School was founded in 1963, "the fifth" high school to be founded in the Garden Grove Unified School District. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, La Quinta gained notoriety for expressed racial tensions between those of Asian and Hispanic/Latino descent.[1][2] In 1994, La Quinta was known for a tuberculosis outbreak of 106 students and faculty who tested positive, and subsequent quick response and compliance with county public health officials.[3] And in summer of 2011, another student tested with TB. In 2009, La Quinta again made headlines for student demonstrations, unexpected for a school of its demographics, in support of a teacher allegedly abused by the high school's administration.[4]

Administration and Organization[edit]

The La Quinta mascot is an Aztec. La Quinta's current principal is Denise L. Halstead. The assistant principals are Ron Zajac, Beth Fisher and Loan Sriruksa.

The structure of the school is divided into three main buildings. The 200 building to the east specializes in world languages, social sciences, English, business, and special education. The 300 building to the west features classes in the science, mathematics and fine arts. The 400 building to the south houses weight rooms and classrooms for miscellaneous subjects, such as Art,French and computer graphics. The 500 buildings, which are seven portable rooms to the south of the 400 building, house social science classrooms. Students traverse the campus through the space between buildings, known as "the quad." The student store, located in the 200 building, is the center of the school's activities.

There are two primary parking lots, the junior parking lot located on Ward Street, and senior parking lot on McFadden Avenue. Both lots require permits for parking. The fields south and west of the main campus have courts for sports such as basketball, soccer, track and field, tennis, football, softball, and baseball.

Student body[edit]

There are about 2,150 students, grades 9th-12th, who reside in Westminster, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, and Santa Ana. La Quinta’s student demographic breakdown is as follows; 75.6% of the students are Asian, 18.0% Hispanic, 5.1% are Caucasian,.7% Filipino and .3% Pacific Islander representing approximately 26 different home languages. The class of 2006 sent approximately 90% of its graduates to higher education; 25% to four-year colleges and 65% to two-year colleges.[5]


La Quinta High School offers many Advanced Placement classes. AP classes, if mastered, will give students college credit in that course. Mastery is determined by a score on the AP tests given in May. A score of 3, 4, or 5 allows the student to gain college credit. La Quinta offers the following AP classes: English Literature, English Language and Composition, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Psychology, Physics B, Physics C, Biology, Chemistry, Spanish, European History, US History, Economics, Civics and Music Theory.

Music Department[edit]

La Quinta High School has had a strong marching band throughout the years. Called the La Quinta High School Marching Aztecs, their past shows include "The Machine" ft Mechanize (2014), "Playback" (2013), "One" (2012), "Heroes" (2011), "Ex Astris Scientia"(2010), "Fantasmic"(2009), "Pyramids of Egypt"(2008), "Pirates"(2007), "Cowboys"(2006), "La Nouba"(2005), "Pearl Harbor"(2004), "Jesus Christ, Superstar"(2003), "Circle of Life"(2002), "Cabaret"(2001), & "Salute to John Williams"(2000). The past music directors were Mr. James Baker and Mr. William Gustaskus. The current one is Mr. Richie Sebastian. The band currently competes in Class 5A in the SCJA (Southern California Judging Association) circuit, and has advanced to the California State Band Championships in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. They have earned second place (overall band) and high percussion in Division 4A at the CSBC (California State Band Championships) in 2013, making it their best season ever. They continued on to earn fourth place (overall) with both high percussion and high auxiliary for the first time in Division 5A in 2014.

Along with Marching and Symphonic Band, La Quinta High School offers other music classes such as Concert Choir and String Orchestra. The Vocal Ensemble and the Zero Period Advanced Orchestra have earned Superior ratings at festivals throughout Southern California. The current Vocal Ensemble and Concert Choir director is Mr. Steve Hensley.


La Quinta has two elective departments: Fine Arts and Business. Fine arts students win numerous awards each year for their projects. La Quinta has one of the largest Business departments in Orange County, California; it offers classes to obtain either an Accounting Certificate or Business Ownership Certificate as a supplement to college applications or resumes.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Knife Attack Is Blamed on Racial Tensions
  2. ^ "Youth Stabbed in High School Brawl." Los Angeles Times. October 22, 1991. Retrieved on December 16, 2010.
  3. ^ [2] 106 Screened at School Test Positive for TB
  4. ^ [3] 100 turn out to support La Quinta teacher
  5. ^
  6. ^ "La Quinta's Crosby Selects Long Beach". Los Angeles Times. April 20, 1998. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Family Ties Inspire Laird at La Quinta". Los Angeles Times. March 12, 2004. Retrieved December 27, 2014.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  8. ^ Terry, Mike (September 23, 1997). "The Class of '98 : Catcher Gerald Laird Has the Tools for Success". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  9. ^ Tennis, Mike (October 19, 2011). "World Series Alumni: Cardinals catcher comes from record-breaking past". Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ Sondheimer, Eric (April 2, 2002). "Two Ians Get the Job Done at La Quinta". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  11. ^ Crasnick, Jerry (August 18, 2011). "D-backs have a keeper in Ian Kennedy". Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  12. ^ DiGiovanna, Mike (January 22, 2014). "Ian Stewart signs minor league deal with Angels". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  13. ^ Rufner, Jason S. (August 27, 2014). "Christian Ramírez: Persevering And Performing". North American Soccer League. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]