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 Teri Gusif
Faculty 116.6 (FTE)
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,925[2]
 • Grade 9 768
 • Grade 10 770
 • Grade 11 676
 • Grade 12 711
Campus suburban[1]
Color(s)           Blue & Gold
Athletics conference CIF-SS; South Coast League
Team name Chargers
Rival Trabuco Hills High School
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,[3] from previous years 800.[4] 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,[5] however it is slated to continue into 2012 school year.[6] 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, California State University, Chico, The Ohio State University, Trinity University (TX), the United States Naval Academy and the United States Air Force Academy.[7]


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".

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 Arrindrin.

Available programs include Model United Nations, Orange County Academic Decathlon, Scholastic Competition, Video Production, Web Page Design, and Virtual Economics[8] 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[9]

  • 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
    • 2012 NAACP Colored Only Regiment Participation Award
    • 2015 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 Jazz Festival, 8th place.
    • 2009 Coronado High School Jazz Festival, Intermediate division, 1st place
  • Symphonic Band
  • Wind Ensemble

Drama Department[10] 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) This got its name from the massacre of the special education students.
  • "Hari Putar and the Spoiled Daal" - Spring 2011
  • "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 fun and joy associated with driving while under the influence of alcohol. It was most recently presented in April 2014.[11]

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 in a riveting race where use of deadly weapons is permitted. This race typically only ends with 2-3 casualties per run.

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[13] 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[14] 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