Carmel High School (Carmel, California)

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Carmel High School
Padres Logo.png
Carmel, CA, California 93921
United States
School typecomprehensive high school
School districtCarmel Unified School District
OversightWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Schools
SuperintendentBarb Dill-Varga
PrincipalRick Lopez
Enrollment856 (2014–2015)
AreaMonterey County
Color(s)Grey & red
Team namePadres
NewspaperThe Sandpiper

Carmel High School is a school of 856 students and 50-plus faculty members, situated directly off of Highway 1 within the city of Carmel, California. Carmel High is known for its view of the Santa Lucia Mountains with a peek of Point Lobos and the Pacific Ocean. It is in one of the most affluent school districts in California, due to a state law which allows the school to opt out of ADA (average daily attendance) funding, choosing instead to receive revenue from local property taxes, which in Carmel's case, are quite high. As a result, Carmel High School salary schedules for teachers, counselors, and administrators are amongst some of the highest in the state of California. Carmel Unified Schools District is the second largest geographical district in the state of California enrolling students as far as 40 miles south of Carmel and 20 miles east. Cities represented by Carmel High School students include Carmel, Big Sur, Pebble Beach, and Carmel Valley. Built in 1940, the school has recently made significant capital improvements including a new performing arts theater, math wing, science wing, and library with plans to renovate the current administration building. Both the theater and science wing utilized "green" construction practices, such as energy efficient lights and appliances.


Carmel High School operates on a two-semester, modified-block system with 50-minute class periods three days per week and 90-minute periods two days per week. Students at Carmel High have access to a rigorous curriculum including over 19 Advanced Placement courses including:[1]

AP Biology
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus BC
AP Chemistry
AP Computer Science A
AP Computer Science Principles
AP English Language & Composition
AP English Literature & Composition
AP Environmental Science
AP French
AP Government & Politics (U.S.)
AP Human Geography
AP Psychology
AP Spanish
AP Statistics
AP Studio Art 2D and 3D
AP United States History
AP World History
AP Mens Studies
Carmel High utilizes an "open-access" policy, allowing students to enroll in advanced curriculum with no obstacle apart from earning a C or higher in articulating subjects the prior year. As a result, Carmel High School has strong participation in the AP Program with over 423 students (50% of total students) completing a total of 928 AP Exams in 2017 with an overall pass rate of 75% [2]. College-going culture is particularly strong at Carmel High School. Each year, between 75 and 80 percent of graduating seniors complete the 4-Year college eligibility requirements (A through G coursework). Approximately 63-70% of seniors matriculate to a 4-year college while 27-33% attend community college -- of these 27-33% of students who matriculate to community college, over 95% intend to transfer to a 4-year college and earn a bachelor's degree.

As of 2018, the average ACT score for CHS students was a 27.1 and US News & World Reports ranked Carmel High as #330 in the country [3].

Carmel High School has a multiple valedictorian policy. In order to be a valedictorian, students are required to have taken a minimum of 13 Honors or Advanced Placement courses (earning nothing below an A-). The graduation ceremony includes 2 student speeches. Valedictorians have the option to audition for the role of "speaking valedictorian" while auditions for the other speaking role are open to the rest of the graduating class [4].

Despite its relatively modest size, Carmel High is fortunate to offer a wide array of electives with strong student participation in visual and performing arts courses including: Video Production, Graphic Design, Art, Photography, Drama, Concert Choir, Orchestra, Concert Band, and Digital Music [5].


Newsweek ranked Carmel High School #191 in their America's Best High School public school rankings (2013). US News & World Reports ranked Carmel High #199 in their national ranking of best high schools (2017) and #21 in the state of California [6]. The Washington Post ranked Carmel High School #288 in the nation (2017).


Carmel High shares a cross town rivalry with Pacific Grove High School, wherein every year the two teams compete in "The Shoe Game", so named after a shoe that was bronzed and made into a trophy by Carmel High students in an attempt to start the rivalry. In 2014, Pacific Grove ended Carmel's six-game winning streak in the series; as of 2017 Carmel leads the all-time series 35–33–2. The school's mascot is the Padre, which pays homage to the peninsula's history with the Spanish missionaries, specifically Father Junipero Serra, with the Carmel Mission located just over a mile from the campus. There is a weight room, dance room, gym and locker rooms, and pool. The school is known for its water polo, football, baseball, golf, volleyball, swimming/diving, cross country/track and field teams.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Since 2007, the school has a team that participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition – Team 2035 – aptly named "The Robo-Rockin' Bots". It During its first year (2007), Carmel was a finalist at the U.C. Davis Regional Competition. The team was awarded the Motorola Quality Award in 2008, was a finalist at the U.C. Davis Regional Competition in 2010, won the Xerox Creativity Award in 2012, the Rockwell Automation Innovation in Control Award in 2013, Inspiration in Engineering award at the Silicon Valley Regional in 2014, and the Chairman's Award at the Silicon Valley regional in 2016, Finalists at San Francisco Regional in 2017. It has also built a state-of-the-art robotics lab equipped with CAD software and CNC machines to support the robotics class. It is one of the most advanced workshops on the peninsula and the team has helped mentor seven teams on the peninsula. Monterey High and Seaside High started teams in 2012 and in 2014 Pacific Grove High and York School joined, 2016 added Stevenson and 2017 Santa Catalina and Salinas High got a start with the help of 2035.

The 2005-2006 school year saw the start of the school's mock trial team. The team won the Mock Trial State Championship in 2017,[7] and went on to the National High School Mock Trial Tournament in Hartford Connecticut, finishing in 11 place out of 46 teams with a 3-1 record. The team began competing in the Empire Mock Trial Program in 2014. It was invited to compete in the Empire New York World Championship and finished in first place.[8]

Carmel High School also competes in Mathletics, Model UN, and Ethics Bowl.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "36th Annual California Mock Trial Finals" (PDF). Constitutional Rights Foundation.
  8. ^ "2016 EMPIRE NEW YORK". EMPIRE MOCK TRIAL. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Chris Cope UFC Bio".
  10. ^ Larson, Amy (March 17, 2016). "Rep. Sam Farr endorses Jimmy Panetta for Congress". KSBW-TV. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  11. ^ "The Carmel Pine Cone's first story of the week". Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  12. ^ Dubets leaves legacy behind –

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°33′19″N 121°54′35″W / 36.55528°N 121.90972°W / 36.55528; -121.90972 (Carmel High School)