El Toro High School

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El Toro High School
25255 Toledo Way


United States
School districtSaddleback Valley Unified School District
PrincipalTerri Gusiff
Faculty116.6 (FTE)
Enrollment2,486 (2016-17)[2]
Color(s)          Blue & Gold
Athletics conferenceCIF-SS; South Coast League
Team nameChargers
RivalTrabuco Hills High School
Information(949) 586-6333

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). "El Toro" was the name of the community from the 1870s until a referendum in 1991.[3] The school has served the area since 1973. The current principal of the school is Terri Gusiff.[4]


El Toro's 2010 API score grew to 830,[5] from previous years 800.[6] 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,[7] however it is slated to continue into 2012 school year.[8] 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.[9]


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".

The most recent title won was by the Boys Lacrosse team in 2016 by becoming the CIF Southern Section South Coast League champions.

Girls lacrosse won CIF Southern Section Sunset League championship in 2019.

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 Arrin.

Available programs include Model United Nations, Orange County Academic Decathlon, Scholastic Competition, Video Production, Web Page Design, and Virtual Economics[10] 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[11]

  • 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
    • 2006 UngaBunga Festival, Last Place, Standing Probation
    • 2007 WBA Class AAA State Championship Finalist
    • 2012 NAACP Colored Only Regiment Participation Award
    • 2015 WBA Class AAA State Championship Finalist
    • 2016 WBA Class AAA State Championship Finalist
    • 2017 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[12] 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
  • "Damn Yankees" - Spring 2018

"Every 15 Minutes" (presented every other year) is an educational experience that reminds the students, family and faculty of the dangers associated with driving while under the influence of alcohol. It was most recently presented in April 2014.[13]

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. The goal is to build the most efficient boat possible[citation needed]

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[15] 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[16] 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. In June 2019, the stair set used for skateboarding was torn down. It currently sits as a construction site and it is unclear what the future is for the stair set. With the stair set being a flat bank, biker Dylan Stark used the stair set's demise as an opportunity to jump off a nearby roof on his mountain bike and use the bank as a landing[17]


  1. ^ "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for el Toro High".
  2. ^ "El Toro High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  3. ^ "El Toro: Will It Change to Lake Forest?". Los Angeles Times. March 7, 1991. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Administration / Office - Saddleback Valley Unified School District". www.svusd.org. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Explore el Toro High School in Lake Forest, CA".
  6. ^ "School Information & Ratings on SchoolFinder".
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-05-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-05-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2010-07-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2010-05-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "El Toro High School Drama | Welcome!".
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2010-08-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Elizabeth George, Author".
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-26. Retrieved 2010-05-02.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "360 el Toro 20-set Crash Video". 2009-03-10.
  17. ^ https://www.instagram.com/p/By3-r1UlM0E/

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°38′15″N 117°41′20″W / 33.6375221°N 117.6889403°W / 33.6375221; -117.6889403