Torrey Pines High School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Torrey Pines High School
TP Falcon.svg
Established 1974
Type Public secondary
Principal David Jaffe
Teaching staff 135
Students 2,715 [1]
Grades 9–12
Location 3710 Del Mar Heights Rd,
San Diego, California, USA
District SDUHSD
Campus Suburban
Colors Cardinal and Gold
Mascot Freddy The Falcon
Rival La Costa Canyon High School and Canyon Crest Academy
Yearbook Freeflight
Newspaper The Falconer

Torrey Pines High School is a high school in the North County Coastal area of San Diego, California. The school is named after the Torrey Pine tree that grows in the area. Torrey Pines High School is a member of the San Dieguito Union High School District and serves the communities of Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Carmel Valley in San Diego county.[2]

Before the school opened, students in the district attended San Dieguito High School—now known as San Dieguito Academy. Now students who come from middle schools such as Carmel Valley Middle School, Earl Warren Middle School, and Rancho Santa Fe have four public high schools to choose from: Torrey Pines High School, San Dieguito Academy, Canyon Crest Academy, and La Costa Canyon High School.


The school is a three-time National Blue Ribbon School and California Distinguished School. In 2005, Torrey Pines was ranked as one of the 100 Best High Schools in the nation by Newsweek magazine.[3] In 2012, Torrey Pines appeared as 110th and in 2011, as 90th.[4][5] Torrey Pines offers thirty Advanced Placement courses and had a 2006–2007 API score of 852, the highest of any high school in San Diego county that year.[6][7]

In December 2006, Torrey Pines received the Claes Nobel School of Distinction Award from the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS)[8]

In 2007, Torrey Pines had numerous students who were designated AP scholars by the College Board. Torrey Pines is well known for AP advanced students.[9] Students at TPHS take 6 classes per year: fewer classes, more instructional minutes per class than the Academy format of other San Dieguito High School District schools. Torrey Pines has block scheduling; students have a total of six classes, alternating three per day for 120 minutes each.

Torrey Pines has also consistently done well at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, placing many students in 1st or 2nd place. In addition, in 2011, a senior at Torrey Pines High School placed 8th in the Intel Science Talent Search.


Prior to 1936, students in all of coastal North County went to high school in Oceanside, California.

In 1936, the San Dieguito Union High School District was created and San Dieguito High School in Encinitas opened to serve students living in Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Olivenhain, Cardiff, Encinitas and Leucadia. It remained the only high school in the district until Torrey Pines High School opened in 1974.

Based on the large amount of growth in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as projected growth in the area, it was determined that a second high school was needed. At the time, San Dieguito High School and Earl Warren Jr. High School were forced to do double sessions to deal with the shortage of schooling space. Earl Warren at the time also had the ninth grade freshman class attending its school.

In the early 1970s after two defeats, a bond issue placed on the ballot finally passed. A location was chosen at what seemed out-of-the-way at the time; however the location was based on the projected growth of what was then known as “North City West” [10] – commonly known today as Carmel Valley

Torrey Pines High School was built and opened in the fall of 1974. The opening relieved the over-crowding at San Dieguito High School, as well as at Earl Warren Jr. High School. When initially opened, access was from the original alignment of two-lanes only Black Mountain Rd. Later when Del Mar Height Rd was extended east, the access road was modified.

It was considered very modern at the time, being built with an open courtyard, classrooms with no windows, and many of the classrooms had no doors. Another design feature was wide hallways with large carpeted podium-like benches one could sit on. The library (the Media Center) was considered state-of-the-art at the time. It also had its own Black Box Theater.

For all its fanfare, there were some noticeable discrepancies: There was an immediate shortage of classrooms – portable classrooms had to be brought in; there was a shortage of lockers, students had to double or triple up; there was no food service building – instead a bank of vending machines provided the only source of lunch items. Finally, there was no football stadium; games were played at San Dieguito High School.

In the 1980s, the school was expanded: the building containing the Media Center was expanded towards Del Mar Heights Rd, creating rooms 41 – 62; a new parking/bus/student drop-off area was added; a football stadium built; the original portable classrooms were converted to a weight room and other sport-related uses; and the original black box theater is now used as a lecture hall (with a second black box theater, a converted machine shop, being added in the Arts building). In 2003, Building E and G were built. Furthermore, stairs were added leading up to the main building at this time. During the summer of 2008, more stairs were constructed which lead from the parking lot nearest Del Mar Heights Road to the English building in response to students running down the hill instead of using the stairs.[11][12]


Torrey Pines High School has a primarily Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic student body.[13] The student body is largely reflective of the surrounding area, which is characterized mainly by a high level of affluence; most adults in the area are married and close to 50% of household incomes are over $100,000, although 5% of the students qualify for the free lunch program.[14] Most adults in the area are educated, and a strong majority have either a Bachelor's or a Professional/Graduate degree.[15]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Academic teams[edit]

Torrey Pines High School's academic teams include Speech and Debate, Academic Team, and Science Olympiad. Approximately 100 students participate in Speech and Debate, 90 in Science Olympiad, and 35 in Academic Team. As of 2010, the TPHS Academic Team had 10 Freshmen Team members, 17 JV Team members, and 10 Varsity Team members. The teachers currently involved with the academic team are Barbara Swovelin, an English teacher on campus, who has been teaching for over 27 years, and Brinn Belyea, a chemistry and physics teacher.[16]


Torrey Pines is a long-standing athletic powerhouse of the Palomar league. Notable programs include Football, Wrestling, Basketball, Men's and Women's Volleyball, Softball, Cross Country, Cheerleading, Tennis, Track & Field, Soccer, Golf, Gymnastics, Baseball, Lacrosse, Swimming and Water Polo. On October 11, 2007, Torrey Pines football was featured in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.[17] Fall sports are: Cross country, Girls golf, Boys water polo, Field hockey, Football, Girls Tennis, and Girls Volleyball. Winter sports are: Basketball, Soccer, Girls Water polo, and Wrestling. Spring sports are: Baseball, Softball, Boys Golf, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Swimming, Boys Tennis, Track and Field, and Boys Volleyball.


As of February 28, 2006, Torrey Pines High School has 116 Associated Student Body sponsored clubs.[16]

A few of these clubs have websites, available at

The school offers a club day in which students are shown the meaning and aspects of each club. Students are allowed to choose as many or as little clubs as they desire. Clubs range from community service and art to theatre and religion. Students are allowed to start their own clubs as well.

Mock Trial[edit]

Torrey Pines High School has had a Mock Trial team for the past six years. The team competes in the annual San Diego County Mock Trial Competition, hosted by the San Diego County Bar Association. Each year, a fictional case is created by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.[18] Schools all over California compete in their respective counties to hopefully advance to the State Final competition hosted by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. In the 2013 competition season, Torrey Pines High School placed first in the San Diego County competition.[19] The team requires all interested participants to try out for a role on the team.


Torrey Pines has a large and growing music program, including two orchestras, a wind ensemble, symphonic band, and a jazz band. These groups win numerous awards each year at competitions throughout California. Bands receive a Superior rating on average at each competition that they compete in. In 2012, Symphonic Band received an excellent while Wind Ensemble received a Superior at both competitions. The TPHS Advanced Orchestra has been rated #1 in Southern California since 2008. Amy Willcox, Music Director has been at the school since 2004.

Speech and Debate[edit]

The evolving Speech and Debate team has over 100 members in various events, though most students choose to participate in debate. In 2005, Public Forum debaters competed in the final round of the nationally-ranked Tournament of Champions.[20] In 2012, the team qualified students to the TOC, the state championships, and NFL Nationals.[21] More recently,the rising Torrey Pines Lincoln-Douglas Debate team has been making its mark at both local and invitational tournaments.


The Falconer[edit]

The Falconer is the school newspaper. It placed first in the 1984 JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Diego and again in March 1999 at the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Phoenix. It placed first once again at the 2009 JEA/NSPA Convention and received a Pacemaker Award at the 2010 convention in Kansas City, Missouri.[22][23] It also placed first at the spring 2012 JEA/NSPA Convention in Seattle, Washington.[24] A new issue is put out at the end of each month. All articles are written, photos are taken and graphics are made by the staff of the Falconer. Mia Boardman Smith is the current adviser to the staff. The Falconer receives no school funding, and instead relies on money from advertisers the staff members find.

The newspaper features News, Opinion, Entertainment, Feature, Sports, and Focus sections, specializing on different topics in their field from issue to issue. The back page of every issue is a satirical page written by staff members.

First Flight[edit]

First Flight is the school literary magazine. Its 2005–2006 edition placed first in the 2006 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Chicago, Illinois and the 2006–2007 edition won first place Best in Show at the 2007 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.[25][26] First Flight again won first place Best in Show at the 2010 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Mia Boardman Smith is the faculty adviser.


FreeFlight is the school yearbook. Mia Boardman Smith is the adviser. Freeflight 2006–2007 yearbook with the theme of IMPACT placed 4th at the JEA/NSPA National Convention in the Spring of 2008 in Anaheim, CA and Freeflight 2007–2008 yearbook with the theme of LAYERS placed 3rd at the JEA/NSPA National Convention in the Spring of 2009 in Phoenix, AZ.


The Torrey Pines black box theater program (TP Players), under the directorship of Marinee Payne, is widely recognized for achievements in the theatrical field. It received awards for best play in the region from the California Educational Theater Association for Metamorphosis in 2003 and Inherit the Wind in 2005.[27] TP Players performed at the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in the summers of 2006 and 2009.[28]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Torrey Pines High School School Profile 2008
  2. ^ SDUHSD Attendance Boundaries
  3. ^ Newsweek: The 100 Best High Schools in California in that year
  4. ^ America’s Best High Schools 2012
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Torrey Pines High School 2007 Growth Academic Performance Index (API) Report
  7. ^ Torrey Pines High School Test Scores
  8. ^ a b c "Monthly Update December 2006 – A publication of The National Society of High School Scholars". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ North San Diego County School News Briefs: TPHS students earn AP Scholar Awards, North County Times, November 6, 2007.
  10. ^ North City West Study Area Map.pdf
  11. ^ 50 year history
  12. ^ TPHS Expansion
  13. ^ Schoolfinder
  14. ^ Schooldigger
  15. ^ Zip Skinny 92130
  16. ^ a b ASB Sponsored Clubs (2005–2006)
  17. ^ Falcons Athletics
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "PAST WINNERS". 
  21. ^ "TPHS flexed its academic muscles in 2012". June 30, 2012. 
  22. ^ NSPA Best of Show Winners
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ "NSPA Best of Show Winners". National Scholastic Press Association. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  25. ^ NSPA Best of Show Winners, 2006 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention
  26. ^ NSPA Best of Show Winners, 2007 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention
  27. ^ Torrey Pines Players Online – Fringe 2006
  28. ^ Torrey Pines Players Online – Fringe 2006
  29. ^ John Allred Past Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards –
  30. ^ NBA Development League: Rod Benson Playerfile
  31. ^ Rachel Buehler biography, Official site of U.S. Soccer
  32. ^ Chris Dudley Statistics –
  33. ^ Epstein at
  34. ^ "Del Mar's Own Taro Gold". The Del Mar Times (Main Street Communications). November 2005. pp. 11–12. 
  35. ^ Yamaguchi, Miyuki (May 3, 2009). "A Golden Renaissance". Seikyo Press. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  36. ^ Tony Hawk bio
  37. ^ Frank, Jeff (March 9, 2009). "Neighbors: Singer-songwriter ready for the spotlight". Local News – Neighbors. North County Times. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  38. ^ Players page at
  39. ^ Stanford info
  40. ^ a b Prince dies in tsunami, was grad of Torrey Pines | The San Diego Union-Tribune
  41. ^ SDHOC
  42. ^ [3]
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ John Lynch Foundation
  46. ^ Scot Pollard at HoopsHype
  47. ^ TheMusicEdge
  48. ^ The Encyclopedia of Surfing
  49. ^ [4]
  50. ^ Ranch & Coast, August 2008, pg. 102.
  51. ^
  52. ^ AVP

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°57′28″N 117°13′30″W / 32.95778°N 117.22500°W / 32.95778; -117.22500

Preceded by
Booker T. Washington High School
National Academic Championship champion
Succeeded by
East Brunswick High School