Homestead High School (Cupertino, California)

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Homestead High School
Homestead Quad Cupertino.jpeg
21370 Homestead Road
Cupertino, California 95014
United States
Coordinates 37°20′10″N 122°2′55″W / 37.33611°N 122.04861°W / 37.33611; -122.04861Coordinates: 37°20′10″N 122°2′55″W / 37.33611°N 122.04861°W / 37.33611; -122.04861
Type Public 4-year comprehensive
Established 1962
Principal Greg Giglio[1]
Staff 174 (in 2015)[2]
Grades 9–12
Number of students 2,406 (2014-15)[3]
Campus Suburban
Athletics conference Santa Clara Valley Athletic League
CIF Central Coast Section
Team name Mustangs
Newspaper The Epitaph [4]
Yearbook Pegasus

Homestead High School is a four-year public high school serving western Sunnyvale, southern Los Altos, and northwestern Cupertino, in Santa Clara County, California. Established in 1962, the school serves 2,405 students in grades 9 to 12 as part of the Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD).[2][5] In 2003 and 2009, the California Department of Education recognized Homestead as a California Distinguished School, and in 2004, the Department of Education recognized Homestead as a Blue Ribbon School.[1][6]


The table below represents the increase in enrolling students between the years 2003 and 2015.

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
1,844 1,823 2,001 2,089 2,270 2,242 2,240 2,190 2,270 2,311 2,367 2,270 2,405

As of the 2015 school year, the racial composition was as follows:

16.5% qualified for free or reduced-price lunch.[7]


Homestead High School has played a large role in the development of Silicon Valley. During the late 1960s and 1970s, the school was a haven for students interested in electronics and the emerging computer age. The school’s electronics class is considered as seminal as Frederick Terman's program at Stanford University.[8] During this period, the electronics teacher, John McCollum, created a hands-on classroom in which students like Stephen Wozniak learned while designing, building, repairing, and understanding a range of equipment.[9] Today, would-be engineers, mathematicians, and entrepreneurs find support through the school's programs in robotics, mathematics, science, business courses, and its Future Business Leaders of America chapter.


Homestead High School's swimming pool.

Homestead High School is bordered by Homestead Road to the north and Interstate 280 to the south. Beginning in the summer of 2009, solar panels and shade structures were added over both parking lots and the fields were reorganized so that a new stadium could be constructed. The other half of campus, facing Homestead Road, consists of several school buildings. The majority of the buildings have an inner corridor with outdoor corridors connecting the buildings. Green-colored hoofmarks decorate Homestead High School's sidewalks and walkways, which are from the school's official mascot and color. The front walls of the school are decorated with murals of a similar theme, including a large mural of a mustang.[10]


Homestead High School's curriculum includes preparatory courses, vocational training, and general education. The school has a variety of special programs to meet the needs of exceptional students. Homestead offers 8 honors classes and 17 open-access Advanced Placement (AP) courses; in 2014, the 675 students participating in the AP program took 1,226 total tests, with 86% scoring 3 or higher on a 5-point scale. Several programs promote positive learning for all students, including AVID and inclusion classes to support the needs of English Language Learners and Special education students. The school also offers a peer tutorial program to serve the needs of students unable to pass the California High School Exit Exam and finish graduation requirements. The school introduced a block schedule in the 2003 school year that includes a 25-minute tutorial period four days a week.[1]

On the SAT, the 374 participating Homestead students in the class of 2015 scored 1800 on average. Homestead ranks in the top 20 high schools in Santa Clara County.[citation needed] Based on the average standardized test scores of its diverse student body, Homestead is ranked fourth of five in the Fremont Union High School District, below top-ranked Monta Vista High School, second-ranked Lynbrook High School, and third-ranked Cupertino High School, and above Fremont High School.

Homestead Library

The Homestead High School Library is located between the theater, B-building, and A-building, closest to Homestead Road. It contains a wide amount of resources, including: two computer labs, chrome books, movies, informational books, textbooks, reading books, two televisions, academic center, and conference rooms.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Homestead High School provides a broad co-curricular program. Students actively lead and participate in a wide variety of organizations, clubs and teams.[11]

Music Department and Marching Band[edit]

Homestead has an accomplished music program consisting of more than a dozen performing groups, including concert bands, a jazz ensemble, a marching band, choral groups, string and symphonic ensembles, and extracurricular performing arts groups such as Winter guard and Winter Percussion. The marching band has enjoyed a continuous run of championship awards, starting in 1993 with their field show rendition of The Phantom of the Opera. Since then, the Mighty Mustang Marching Band has performed such shows as The Who's Tommy, and Miss Saigon. In their first foray into statewide competition in 2005, the band tied for 6th place in the 5A division at the Western Band Association State Championships. In April 2010, Homestead's Marching Band was one of only 10 high schools nationwide selected to participate in the 2011 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.[12] On November 24, 2013, Homestead's Marching Band placed 4th overall at the 2013 WBA Combined Grand Championships with a score of 92.05, the highest score in Homestead history. In November 2015, the 204-member Mighty Mustang Marching Band was invited for the first time to participate in the annual Bands of America Grand Nationals Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. The band placed 19th out of 95 competing bands, advancing to semi-finals with their show "Satellite".

The Homestead marching band is under the direction of John Burn and Eric Weingartner. Current instructional staff include Brad Fujizawa, Jeff Kohler, Dave Lewis, Jacqueline Meyler, Dave Papay, John Q. Shoemaker, Kelsey Thiel, Lane Armey, Dave Sankus, Alec Swink, Ercan Erhan, David Medina, Jase Peeples, Shawn Gongwer, Vienna Michaelsen and Ricky Contreras.[13]

The jazz, vocal, string and wind ensembles consistently rank Superior in competitions.[14] Many of the musical groups have traveled internationally, performing at world-class venues. The Wind Ensemble and Orchestra performed in Carnegie Hall at the 2007 New York Band and Orchestra Festival, winning Silver Awards for each group.[15] Participating in the 2009 Australian International Music Festival held in the Sydney Opera House[16] on a trip to New Zealand and Australia, the Wind Symphony received a Gold Award and the Jazz Ensemble took home a Silver Award.

In accordance with Homestead's long-standing reputation as a leader in internet technology at the high school level, the HHS Marching Band maintained the first website in the Fremont Union High School District, hand-coded by alumna Shanna Roberts in 1995. The site continued, albeit from a different domain, after her graduation by alumnus Trenton Hill, and is now maintained by the Homestead High School Music Boosters.

Winter Guard[edit]

The Winter Guard program is one of the most accomplished in the state. Six time California Color Guard Circuit (CCGC) champion in three different classification, the program is at its peak of excellence. The unit has won numerous Winter Guard International (WGI) regional competitions and in both 2009 and 2013 was a Scholastic A Class finalist at the WGI World Championships. The program currently fields a Varsity and Junior Varsity team, competing in the Scholatic Open and Scholastic A classifications, respectively, in the CCGC and WGI circuits. Staff currently includes Directors Shawn Gongwer and Ricky Contreras, Technician Cameron Cornejo, and Designer Jay Murphy.

Varsity Programs (2006-2018)[edit]

Year Class Show Title CCGC Placement WGI Placement
2006 A Class N/A 86.500, 1st 79.250, 41st
2007 A Class "Wonder Woman" 89.800, 1st 86.200, 31st
2008 A Class "Charlie's Angels" 87.100, 1st 86.400, 24th
2009 A Class "Vector Blue" 86.600, 1st 90.900, 6th
2010 Open Class "The Fallen" 87.200, 1st 85.200, 17th
2011 Open Class "Fun Laughs, Good Times" 74.800, 5th N/A
2012 Open Class "Pandemonium" 69.800, 4th N/A
2013 A Class "The House of El" 84.450, 2nd 90.775, 5th
2014 A Class "Children of the Atom" 84.070, 3rd N/A
2015 A Class "Bionic" 79.680, 5th 76.100, 73rd
2016 Open Class "White Rabbit: Through the Looking-Glass" 88.000, 1st N/A
2017 Open Class "Paint the Night" 63.769, 2nd 86.825, 13th
2018 Open Class "OZ II"

Junior Varsity Programs (2016-2018)[edit]

Year Class Show Title CCGC Placement
2016 A Class "Seeing Stars" 61.230, 9th
2017 A Class "The Shrine" N/A
2018 A Class "A Moment Like This"

Winter Percussion[edit]

Homestead's Winter Percussion (also known as Indoor percussion ensemble) has enjoyed a meteoric rise since 2006 through four different divisions, competing in the California Color Guard Circuit (CCGC), Winter Guard International (WGI), the Northern California Percussion Alliance (NCPA), and San Joaquin Valley Color Guard and Percussion Review (SJVCGPR) circuits. Homestead's percussion ensemble is the CCGC 2010 Scholastic World Division Champion, and placed 15th, 7th, 11th, and 12th in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively at WGI world championships in Dayton, Ohio.[17] The world class instructional staff are Dave Sankus, Lane Armey, David Medina, Alec Swink, Karl Gendler, Yolan Chang, Colin Whitcomb, Kyle Wong, JC Ceceres, Ryan Springler, Zak Stillwell, and Paul Lynch.

Economics Challenge[edit]

Every spring, Homestead High School participates in the David Ricardo division of the National Economics Challenge for students not taking AP economics courses, consistently sending teams to the state level. In 2015, Homestead High School placed first nationally[18] in the David Ricardo division of the National Economics Challenge. Televised coverage on CNBC

The Epitaph[edit]

Homestead's award-winning student newspaper, The Epitaph, won eight Gold Crowns from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). During that same period, it received eight Pacemaker Awards from the National Scholastic Press Association. As late as 1994, those were the most national awards ever given to a high school paper.[citation needed]

The paper also received one of its highest honors, The Press Freedom Award from the Student Press Law Center, in 1988 for its successful defense of a story about a junior boy who was HIV positive, one of the first such stories in any high school newspaper. The story had been initially censored by the principal but was allowed to run when the newspaper invoked California Education Code 48907, a California law that protects students' rights to free expression. The story was reported nationally in the wake of a Supreme Court's decision in Hazelwood School District et al. v. Kuhlmeier et al., 484 U.S. 260 (1988) This case gave school officials greater latitude in determining the content of a school's official student publications. The California law made the ruling moot in the state.

During that same period, the paper also won numerous local and state awards. The San Jose Mercury News named the paper the best in its annual contest for Silicon Valley student newspapers ten of the twelve years the paper ran the contest. It was also awarded the top prize from the San Francisco Press Club several times during that period, as well as the top prize from the now-defunct Palo Alto Times.[citation needed]

The paper's unusual name was selected by the school's first students in 1962. In keeping with the school's western theme and Mustang mascot, they named the paper after the first newspaper west of the Rockies, the Epitaph of Tombstone, Arizona, which had been popularized in a television series of the time about Wyatt Earp, "Tombstone Territory."

Some of the newspaper's former staffers have gone on to work in journalism professionally. Among them, Alex Williams ('83) and Michael D. Shear ('86) write for The New York Times, while Angela Chen ('09) writes for The Wall Street Journal. Erica Werner ('89) is a White House correspondent for the Associated Press.

The paper's adviser from 1976 to 1994, Nick Ferentinos, was the 1994 Dow Jones News Fund's National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year.

With a gift from alumnus Steve Wozniak (class of '68), co-founder of Apple, The Epitaph adopted desktop publishing in 1986, among the first high school newspapers to use the technology to produce a student publication.

In 2013, the Epitaph limited print distribution for financial reasons. The Epitaph is available at its website:

Homestead Tri-M Music Honor Society/Forte![edit]

Homestead Tri-M, a chapter of the NAfME Tri-M Music Honor Society National program and the only music club on campus, aims to allow Homestead musicians to share their passion for music with the rest of the community. Tri-M provides a variety of opportunities for its members, including chamber music, performing at local retirement homes, volunteering at elementary school music programs, helping out the Homestead Music Boosters at events, teaching music to special education students, and more.

FIRST Robotics Team[edit]

Homestead has a robotics team that competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition. The team, which is FRC team number 670, was created by students in 2001. Alumnus Steve Wozniak has served as a key supporter of the team over the years. The team has a website detailing its history, mission, news, and ongoing activities.[19]

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)[edit]

Homestead High School is home to a chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), an organization dedicated to preparing students for success in business and careers. The chapter has enjoyed great success, having won an unofficial sweepstakes tally at California FBLA's Bay Section level 19 consecutive years (1998–2016), and the official Sweepstakes Award at the California FBLA State Leadership Conference for the past 18 consecutive years, (1999–2016). Homestead FBLA has also been the top chapter competitively in the entire nation for 16 of the past 17 years and for the last 10 years consecutively. The chapter has a paid membership of over 240 students for the 2014–15 school year, making it one of the largest chapters in the Western Region. In addition to business competitions, members attend guest speaker presentations, participate in public speaking projects, organize community service events, work with business professionals, and network with students and adults from across the nation, allowing members to develop the skills necessary to enter the business world.

The Hugs Project[edit]

The Hugs Project was founded late 2014, by passionate students who wanted to bring more awareness about veterans and active duty personnel to the HHS community. The national organization based in Oklahoma strives to aid the needs of numerous military communities all around the U.S., especially in the Bay Area. Their mission is to raise awareness of the difficulties that many of our soldiers have to face in the Middle East while serving and once they come back home. This is the only branch of the organization in California, providing aid based on community services.

Interact Club[edit]

Currently the largest student-run organization on campus, Interact is a club dedicated to develop leadership and character skills as well as allowing members to find their passions. Consisting of over 200 active members, Interact's mission is to provide its members with opportunities to perform service, build character, and develop leadership. The Homestead Interact club is part of District 5170, which is the largest Interact district in the world. Homestead Interact stays in close relations with the district to provide students with volunteer and leadership opportunities that range from learning how to help and interact with local communities to making an impact internationally through causes that are chosen by the district. The interact club at Homestead is also closely connected with the interact clubs in the Fremont Union High School District and they work closely together to create ways to fundraise for the international projects through car washes, talent shows, dances, and more.

Mathematics Competitions[edit]

Members of the mathematics team have regularly qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). Over the past five years, the team has placed among the top 10 schools in the Mu Alpha Theta National Log 1 Contest Mathematics Contest, taking fifth place nationally in 2009-10, third place in 2008-09, ninth place in 2007-08, and fourth place in 2006 and 2007. From 2003 through 2006, Homestead's math team placed among the top 10 teams nationally in the Ciphering Time Trials, a contest sponsored by National Assessment & Testing. During this period, Homestead's team also placed among the top 20 teams in several other contests sponsored by National Assessment & Testing, including the Team Scramble, the Four-by-Four, and the Collaborative Problem Solving Contests.[20] In 2002, the Mathematical Association of America's American Mathematics Competition (AMC) awarded the Edyth May Sliffe Award for Excellence in Teaching to Homestead teacher and team faculty advisor Steve Headley.[21]


Homestead's yearbook, Pegasus, has been its most award-winning publication of recent years, capturing two National Pacemaker Awards from the National Scholastic Press Association in 2002 and 2005.[citation needed] The Pacemaker is awarded to the 20 best yearbooks in the country, often out of more than a thousand contenders. The yearbook was also an NSPA Pacemaker Finalist in 2000 and 2001. In 2006, the CSPA awarded the Pegasus a Silver Crown. The yearbook has also won myriad other awards, ranging from CSPA Gold Circles (awarded for individual stories, concepts, designs, and photography) to various Best in Show awards.

Science Bowl[edit]

Homestead has a team competing in the Science Bowl, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Over the years, Homestead students have won awards at the National Chemistry Olympiad and the National Science Bowl. Teacher Gareth Wong initially organized and advised the team, and in 2002 the American Chemical Society recognized his work with a High School Teacher Award for the Western Region.[22] The team is currently advised by chemistry teacher Chris Nafrada. On February 10, 2007, Homestead's team won the regional competition at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, eventually repeating their regional victory on February 2, 2008.[23] At the 2007 National Science Bowl Competition in Washington D.C., Homestead's team placed twelfth out of more than sixty high-school teams, winning a $1,000 prize for the school's science department.[24] In 2009, Homestead made it to the National competition for the third time in a row. At the National Science Bowl Competition, they placed in the top eight out of sixty-seven other high schools.

Theater Department[edit]

Homestead has a theater department that presents multiple plays per year – a two- to three-act fall play, a collection of one-acts directed by students, and a musical produced with Fremont and Monte Vista high schools. Homestead also sends a contingent to the annual California Thespian Festival. In the spring of 2006, Homestead students Ittai Geiger and Jeff Glass took first and second place, as well as "Best At Fest" at the International Thespian Society Festival, where more than 2,000 students competed.[25]


Homestead has teams in the following sports:

Track and field[edit]

Homestead High School produced power house distance programs in the late 1960s. It set the national postal 2-mile postal record on November 9, 1968. Five runners averaged 9:26 for two-mile (32 meters longer than the now standard 3200m). In total, eleven Homestead runners broke ten minutes that day. The runners contributing to the national record of 47:11.2 were Jack Christianson (9:17.0), Mike Ferguson (9:17.2), Tom Brassell (9:26.0), Steve Flynn (9:35.4), and John Hanes (9:35.6).[26]

Notable alumni[edit]

Homestead High has a direct connection to the development of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.). Co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak both graduated from Homestead, as did the early Apple employee who introduced them, Bill Fernandez. Another graduate was Chrisann Brennan, who was Jobs' first girlfriend (also an early employee of Apple) and the mother of his first child, Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

Additional notable alumni of Homestead High School include:


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  7. ^ [1]"School Profile". February 2015. 
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  14. ^ "BW 2009, The Bandworld Legion of Honor". Bandworld Magazine. April 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  15. ^ "New York Band and Orchestra Festival - Program Details". 2007-04-21. Archived from the original on 2008-03-24. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  16. ^ "2009 Australian International Music Festival". World Projects Festivals and Tours. 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2010-04-01. [dead link]
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  19. ^ "Homestead Robotics Team". Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  20. ^ "". Retrieved 2007-01-14. 
  21. ^ "AMC Sliffe Alumni List - California". Archived from the original on 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  22. ^ Jce Staff (September 2002). "ACS Announces High School Teacher Awards". Journal of Chemical Education. 79 (9): 1067. doi:10.1021/ed079p1067. Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
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  25. ^ "Noteworthies". Los Altos Town Crier. 2006-03-29. Archived from the original on 2007-01-15. Retrieved 2007-01-16. 
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  27. ^ "Meet Dan Gordon". Archived from the original on 2009-01-06. 
  28. ^ "Linda Jezek records at". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. 
  29. ^ "Homestead High School". 

External links[edit]

Extracurricular (2015)[edit]