Sunlake High School

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Sunlake High School
3023 Sunlake Blvd, Land O' Lakes, FL 34638
Type Public
Established 2007
Principal Steven Williams
Asst. Principal Heather Ochs, Shawn Hohenthaner, Deborah Lepley, Ryan Brady, Jackie Fishman (Adult Ed.) KidCop
Enrollment Approx 1640
Information (813) 346-1000

Sunlake High School is a public high school in Pasco County located right off of Sunlake Blvd and SR 54 in Land O' Lakes, Florida. It is adjacent to Charles S. Rushe Middle School, both of which opened in August 2007. Sunlake did not open with a senior class and it relieved overcrowding at Land O' Lakes High School and J.W. Mitchell High School. By the 2008-2009 school year, Sunlake finally had a complete High School as it now contains all four classes (9th-12th grades). The first principal was Angela Stone (2007–2010). Sunlake High School is one of the few high schools in the county that offer a Dual Enrollment English class in the school.[1] Sunlake High School also offers a complete set of AP classes in the Social Studies field, beginning with AP Human Geography in the 9th grade, AP World History in the 10th grade, AP US History in the 11th, and AP European History, AP Economics and AP Government in the 12th grades.

The school is organized into Learning Communities which are designed to enhance the curriculum and student performance by linking teaching and learning to broad career clusters. This “school within a school” concept establishes smaller groups of students and teachers providing more opportunities for better relationships among students, parents and teachers. The 4 learning communities are: Health & Human Services, Science & Technology, Business, and Fine Arts. [2] Students choose a major area of interest that can be changed any or all 4 years of High School. This plan has been put into effect in all Pasco County High Schools.


In their inaugural season, the Seahawks were unable to win a single football game. On the first game of their second season, however, the Seahawks defeated River Ridge High School by a score of 19-10 to claim their first ever football victory on the warm night of September 5, 2008. In 2010 pitcher Bruce Wong struck out 15 batters in 6 innings setting a single game strikeout record for Sunlake against Citrus, but the team lost because of a few crucial errors by Michael Mateyka and a lack of run support. In the 2011-2012 season Sunlake advanced to their very first state playoffs. Sunlake won two games in the playoffs but lost to Gainesville High. 2011-2012 season also saw Sunlake defeat longtime rival Land O' Lakes High School at home. At the end of the game Land O' Lakes High School Tight End Kent Taylor was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct. Sunlake has had a very strong cross country team throughout its history with the team consistently going to states and regionals. The 2011-2012 season saw Sunlake going to Districts and was captained by Tyler Gelinas and Kenney Fessel.


Year Band Director Field Show description
2007 Diaz Rock the House fun rock song arrangements: "Rebel Yell," "Mr. Roboto," "Turn, Turn, Turn"
2008 Pictures at an Exhibition arrangement of 1874 suite by Modest Mussorgsky: "Promenade and Baba Yaga," "Old Castle," "Ballet of Unhatched Chicks" (percussion feature), "Dispute d'enfants," "Great Gate of Kiev."
2009 O'Malley This New World
2010 Silence is Golden
2011 Bach Nouveau inspired by Bach, featuring a synthesizer "dressed" as a grand harpsichord on the field
2012 Nevermore inspired by Poe's "The Raven," featuring the girl Lenore (guard member)
2013 The Waiting Game
2014 One featuring original music as well as a rendition of "One" by Three Dog Night featuring a handful of soloists.

The Sunlake High School Marching Band began in the start of the school's inaugural year (2007-2008) under the direction of Mr. Raymond Diaz in 2007. The marching band featured a color guard line, directed by Ms. Victoria Camper, and a majorette line, directed by Mrs. Barbara Patrick. The field show "Rock the House" included the songs, "Rebel Yell," "Mr. Roboto," and "Turn, Turn, Turn." The show received Straight Excellent ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association Marching Music Performance Assessment (FBA MPA), an impressive feat for a small band from a new school consisting of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. The first drum major was Mr. Andrew Claypool, a sophomore, who remained drum major until he graduated. This was a year of adjustment and growth.

The second year (2008-2009) marked the graduation year of the school's first senior class. It was a year of building traditions for the still-new marching band. The SLHS marching band graduated 7 seniors, consisting of 3 percussion, 1 color guard, 1 baton twirler, 1 brass, and 1 woodwind. The field show was entitled "Pictures at an Exhibition," an arrangement based from the piano suite of the same name Pictures at an Exhibition. The FBA performance of the show received straight Superior ratings.

Mrs. Tonya O'Malley took over as band director in 2009 and has since developed the SLHS band's modern style for which they are known. During the first year under her instruction, the band received Excellent and Superior ratings at the FBA MPA with their 2009-2010 show titled "This New World." They also attended the FMBC West Coast Invitational Competition with the same show. The “Just Jazz” Jazz Band was awarded Excellent and Superior ratings at the FBA MPA of their 09-10 year.

In the following school year of 2010-2011, the Sunlake High School Soaring Sound Marching Band was classified as an official 2-A band with their show "Silence is Golden." They participated in the East Lake Classic Invitational (placed 1st in class) and the Hurricane Pride Invitational Competition (3rd in class). The marching band also attended the 1st annual Sounds of the Swamp Gator Invitational and was recommended for silver and gold medals. They received a Superior at the 2010 FBA MPA and continued with attendance at FMBC State Semi-Finals with a placement of 15th out of 23 bands. The “Just Jazz” Jazz Band was honored with Superiors at FBA. The Soaring Sound Drumline also performed at the Tropicana Field in October 2010.

In the 2011-2012 school year, the marching band won 1st place in their class at the Tarpon Springs Outdoor Music Festival as well as at the Seminole Sound Spectacular Competition. They also won Best Woodwinds and Best Percussion at both, along with Best General Effect and Best Visual at Tarpon Springs. They qualified to perform at State Semi-Finals and place 6th out of 28 bands. The “Just Jazz” jazz band received straight Superiors at their FBA MPA performance, and the students who participated in Solo and Ensemble were awarded Excellents or Superiors. Select students participated in the All-County Concert Band in the 2011-2012 school year. The Concert Band received a Superior at their FBA MPA Performance in 2011. The Sunlake indoor percussion group, entering its first year, qualified for State Semi-finals and placed 3rd at Finals.

The Sunlake High School Soaring Sound Marching band competed at Seminole Sound Spectacular as well as the Tarpon Springs Outdoor Music Festivals as a 3A band in the 2012-2013 school year. They received a superior at Marching MPA, were placed 2nd place in their class with Best Percussion and Best Auxiliary at Seminole and placed 4th in their class with Best Percussion at Tarpon Springs. Their 2012 show is based on Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven and is titled Nevermore. Both the concert band and "Just Jazz" jazz band received Excellents at their 2012-2013 FBA performances. Several students were selected to participate in the 2012-2013 Pasco All-County Concert Band as well as USF's Festival of Winds.The Sunlake indoor percussion group qualified for State Semi-finals.

In their 2013-2014 school year, the Soaring Sound marching band—performing in Class 2A—won 1st place at several competitions (including a 2nd overall at the Citrus competition). They received a superior at marching band MPA and qualified to perform at State Semi-Finals, where they made the Top 5 and ultimately won 2nd place at Finals with their show titled "The Waiting Game." This is the first time any Pasco County school made finals, let alone placed 2nd at them. The "Just Jazz" jazz band earned a Superior at FBA. Many students were selected to participate in the Pasco All-County concert band, more than the previous years of participation; likewise, 5 students attended USF's Festival of Winds this year. Furthermore, there were no DNAs (Did Not Attend) for district Solo and Ensemble, and all that participated received a rating of Excellent or Superior, leaving Sunlake as the only school with no DNAs and the highest award average out of the district.

Sunlake High School Band has been featured in periodicals such as The Laker, The Tampa Tribune, and the St. Petersburg Times. They have also appeared on Fox News.


  1. ^ Sunlake High School
  2. ^ Sunlake High School

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Coordinates: 28°12′10″N 82°30′20″W / 28.202714°N 82.505543°W / 28.202714; -82.505543