Mira Costa High School

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Mira Costa High School
1401 Artesia Boulevard
Manhattan Beach, CA, USA 90266
Coordinates 33°52′25″N 118°23′23″W / 33.87368°N 118.38976°W / 33.87368; -118.38976Coordinates: 33°52′25″N 118°23′23″W / 33.87368°N 118.38976°W / 33.87368; -118.38976
Type Public high school
Motto Home of the mustangs
Established 1950
School district Manhattan Beach Unified School District
Principal Benjamin Dale [1]
Faculty 98.6 FTEs[2]
Grades 912
Enrollment 2,517 (as of 2014-15)[2]
Student to teacher ratio 25.5:1[2]
Color(s)           Green and Gold
Nickname Mustangs
Rival Redondo Union High School
Publication La Vista (Newspaper)
Reflections (student created work)
Mustang Morning News (student-run newscast)
Yearbook Hoofprints
Information 310–318–7337

Mira Costa High School (MCHS, "Costa") is a four-year public high school located in Manhattan Beach, California that first began operating in 1950. It is the only high school in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District. The school's athletic teams are known as the Mustangs and the school colors are green and gold. Mira Costa is located on the corner of Peck Avenue and Artesia Boulevard.

School information[edit]

As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 2,517 students and 98.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 25.5:1. There were 63 students (2.5% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 22 (0.9% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[2]

Ethnic composition:[3]

  • American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.3%
  • Asian:10.4 %
  • Pacific Islander: 0.4%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 14.9%
  • African American: 5.7%
  • White: 58.8%
  • Multiple Races: 9.7%

Attendance zone[edit]

Mira Costa is the only high school in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District. All residents of Manhattan Beach are eligible to attend. Residents of Hermosa Beach may choose to attend Redondo Union High School of the Redondo Beach Unified School District or MCHS. As of Fall 2006, Redondo Beach residents living in the 90278 zip code were allowed to attend Mira Costa. Occasionally, MBUSD policy did not allow Redondo Beach residents living in the 90278 ZIP code to attend MCHS.[4]

Extracurricular activities and programs[edit]

Choir program[edit]

The Mira Costa Choir Program consists of four curricular choirs, (Vocal Ensemble, Men's Choir, Advanced Women's Chorale, and Concert Choir) which meet during the school day year-round, and two small ensembles (Coterie, Mira Costa Muscle) which meet after school.

The 2008 Golden State Competition was hosted at Mira Costa High School. Vocal Ensemble took 2nd place in the small group division. In 2009, Vocal Ensemble was selected to be a part of the Best of High School A Capella (BOHSA) 2009 CD compilation with Eric Whitacre's "Sleep". They were the only school from California out of 13 nationally recognized choirs.

In 2009, all four choirs took Superior ratings at SCVA choir festivals, and Vocal Ensemble performed as a showcase choir at Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

In the summer of 2010 Vocal Ensemble was the first high school choir to sing in the International Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece. They performed as part of the opera chorus in Carmen. They also were the closing choir in the Sunset Concert at St. Nicholas Cathedral on Sunday 18 July 2010.

Mira Costa Bands[edit]

This coming spring, the Mira Costa Bands are travelling to Carnegie Hall in New York as part of a series outlining the best band programs in the country.

Under the direction of Mr. Joel Carlson, the GRAMMY® award-winning music program for the bands at Mira Costa High School (MCHS) in Manhattan Beach, CA is rooted in a tradition of and a commitment to comprehensive music education through performance. The core of the MCHS Music Program for wind players and percussionists consists of four performance ensembles which meet during the school day: Concert Band, Jazz 1, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble. Additionally, students have further performance opportunities with the Marching Ensembles, After-School Jazz Bands, Indoor Percussion and Percussion Studio and Orchestral Winds. Recent MCHS Music and Band Program awards include:

GRAMMY® Foundation Signature Schools 2014 Gold Award

As One of the Top Three Public High School Music Programs in the Nation

Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association’s 2013 Marching Band Championships

Bronze Medalist, 4A Division

California Music Educators Association (CMEA) All State Band and Orchestra Festival

Unanimous Superior, Wind Ensemble

2014 Riverside Community College Jazz Festival

First Place, Advanced Division

The MCHS Bands program is supported by the Band Boosters. All Wind and Percussion students that participate in performing groups at MCHS are enrolled in the Bands program, under the direction of Joel Carlson.

The Band Boosters also support the Colorguard/Winterguard program.

Year-Round Curricular Ensembles

Concert Band

Symphonic Band

Wind Ensemble

Jazz Band I

Colorguard/Winterguard, coached by Richard Hernandez, Caption Head and Designer, and Stefani Owen, Program Coordinator

Seasonal Curricular Ensemble

Marching Band

Jazz 2

Competitive Indoor Percussion & Percussion Studio, directed by Jeremy Miller, Instructor

Extracurricular Ensembles

Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Peter Park, Orchestra Director

Pit Orchestra for the Spring Musical, directed by Mark McCormick, Choral Accompanist and Pit Orchestra Director

Orchestra program[edit]

The Mira Costa Symphony Orchestra performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles in June 2009 and at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2006 and 2016. The Symphony Orchestra has performed at many adjudicated festivals sponsored by SCSBOA (Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association) and consistently receives a ‘superior’ rating, the highest rating awarded by SCSBOA. The Mira Costa Orchestra is also a member of the LA Philharmonic Fellowship Program, where members of the LA Philharmonic coach and mentor the students. The Symphony Orchestra has also competed in ASTA's national orchestra festival for the first time in 2012.

Drama/Tech Program[edit]

The Mira Costa Drama Department puts on two or more shows per year, a fall play in the fall and a musical in the spring. Costa also houses a successful Comedy Sportz team within the drama department, recruiting members at annual tryouts. The department is one of the best in the South Bay. The department is known for raising talented actors and talented technicians. Every year, the tech theatre class sends two teams to compete in the annual "Tech Olympics" competition and place in the top 3.

Cheer team[edit]

Cheerleading is one of the few all-year activities at Mira Costa.

Dance team[edit]

The Mira Costa Dance Team is a varsity team which has won many awards for its excellence and professionalism.

Mira Costa Key Club[edit]

The Mira Costa Key Club is a community service club that is the High School subsidiary of the Mira Costa Kiwanis.

La Vista[edit]

Mira Costa's student-run newspaper is the oldest student organization on campus and has been active since the school's creation in 1950. The La Vista staff produces 10 issues a year plus one "Cub" edition, wherein the staff for the next year makes the publication. It is known[citation needed] for its annual college issue, in which a large center spread is devoted to geographically mapping where each senior at Mira Costa will be attending school the following year, as well as for its annual photo contest.

A nationally recognized high school newspaper, La Vista has been a perennial winner of silver and gold awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association since 1980.[citation needed] In its most recent rating from CSPA (for the 2011-12 school year), La Vista received a score of 977/1000, Gold Medalist standing and All-Columbian Honors in every category. During the 2009-10 school year, the newspaper's staff ventured into web content for the first time, and today the more-than-80 members of La Vista are heavily involved with its website.

Mira Costa Leo Club[edit]

The Mira Costa Leo Club is a community service club in association with the International Lions Club.

Model United Nations[edit]

Mira Costa Model United Nations (MUN) is a debate team that takes part in mock debates of the United Nations. Mira Costa MUN hosts the Los Angeles Invitational Model United Nations (LAIMUN) Conference, a novice and advanced conference held in docket-style debate.[5] Upholding the west-coast style of debate, Mira Costa's MUN team has won Large School Delegation awards throughout the nation holding the No. 1 position in the United States as of 2012.[6]

Mira Costa Science Olympiad Club[edit]

The Mira Costa Science Olympiad Club is a competitive Science Olympiad team that first qualified for the California State Championships after the team medaled in six events in the LA Regional competition in spring of 2013. The team is advised by Jessica Bledsoe.[7]

Beach Cities Robotics[edit]

Costa students team up with Redondo Union High School students to create Beach Cities Robotics. The team participates in the organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) as Team 294. FIRST is an organization that fosters the advancement of science and technology by sponsoring programs for all grade levels and holding robotics competitions internationally. The premier event, FIRST FRC competition, gives teams six weeks to design, build, and test a robot to compete in a team-based game according to the rules of the specific competition. Students participating in the robotics club gain hands-on experience in engineering, physics, math, programming, public relations, teamwork, and many other skills.

Beach Cities Robotics has won numerous awards since starting in 1997, including 2 World Championship wins and one National Championship win. They scored 1st place at the FRC finals in 2001 against more than 50 other teams at the event from around the country. In 2008 they won first place at the inaugural FTC World Championship. Beach Cities Robotics won the FRC finals again in 2010 as its "alliance" captain, against over 300 teams attending the World Championship, and over 1800 teams worldwide.

Mustang Morning News[edit]

The Mustang Morning News is a live, nationally award-winning newscast produced by broadcast journalism students at Mira Costa. The shows are aired to the campus twice a week, and by podcast. The broadcast journalism program has become a campus fixture and launched film and television careers of its alumni. It consists of two class periods (one beginning, one advanced) of approximately 50 students. The newscast is run as a public forum for student expression, meaning that students make all content and editorial decisions as allowed by California free speech law (using the Tinker standard).

The staff are members of national journalism organizations such as the National Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association. They travel to and compete at national conventions sponsored by these groups, and have won multiple awards for their work, including the prestigious Broadcast Pacemaker from the National Scholastic Press Association.

Alumni of the program have attended film school at USC, NYU, Boston University, Loyola Marymount and others, and broadcast journalism schools including USC Annenberg School of Communication and Northwestern. Other students have worked at ABC and Miramax Films. Dan Goldstein, class of 2004, won MTV's Best Filmmaker on Campus 2008. Andrew Ceperley, class of 2004, directed and photographed short films for Paramount Pictures' Blu-ray release of the "Friday the 13th" film series in 2008 and 2009.[8]


Fall sports[edit]

  • Girls' Volleyball (4 time National Champions, 7 time State Champions, 16 time CIF Champions)
  • Cheerleading
  • Boys' Cross Country (2015 Bay League Champions)
  • Girls' Golf (2005 CIF SS Champions)
  • Girls' Cross Country (ranked second in state and 7th in country)
  • Girls' Tennis
  • Boys' Water Polo 2000 CIF SS DIV III Champions 2002 CIF SS DIV III Champions(2006 CIF SS Div. IV Champions, featured on episode 406 of "The OC" entitled "The Summer Bummer")
  • Color Guard
  • Football (1994, 2000, 2002, 2008 CIF Finalist, 1993, 1997, 2009 CIF Champions)

Winter sports[edit]

  • Wrestling
  • Cheerleading
  • Girls' Basketball
  • Boys' Basketball
  • Girls' Soccer
  • Boys' Soccer (CIF Semi-Finalist 1994, 1995)
  • Girls' Water Polo
  • Marching Band
  • Color Guard/Winterguard

Spring sports[edit]

  • Baseball (1982 and 2013 CIF finalist)
  • Girls' Track
  • Boys' Track
  • Softball
  • Cheerleading
  • Boys' Golf (2005–06 CIF Champions)
  • Mira Costa Boys Tennis Team (1974 and 1975 CIF Champion)
  • Boys' Volleyball (6-time CIF champions and recognized as one of the premiere programs in the nation)
  • Swimming
  • Badminton
  • Boys' Lacrosse (2006, 2009, 2010 Bay League Champion, 2010 Los Angeles County Champion)
  • Girls' Lacrosse (2013 Bay League Champion)
  • Competition Cheer
  • Surfing
  • Boys' Water Polo


Mira Costa was recognized as a Blue Ribbon school in 1996.[9][10] More recently, it was named a California Distinguished School by the Board of Education in 2011[11] and was ranked #341 nationally by Newsweek in 2015.[12][13]

In 2000, Marilyn Jachetti Whirry (January 12, 1935 – September 2, 2005) a 12th grade English teacher, was selected as the National Teacher of the Year.[14] Whirry had taught at Mira Costa in the 1958-59 academic year, and then from 1967 through 2000.

In September 2010, U.S. history teacher Bill Fauver was selected as one of Los Angeles County's 16 Teachers of the Year. Since he began teaching at Mira Costa in 1986, Fauver has served as vice principal, chair of the social studies department, and as advisor for many extracurricular activities. Fauver had been honored three times as the school's Teacher of the Year and was once named Manhattan Beach Unified School District Teacher of the Year.[15][16]

In February 2014, Media Arts teacher Michael Hernandez was named National Broadcast Adviser of the Year by the Journalism Education Association. This follows recognitions as a S'Park Media Mentor by Ithaca College and as a Jacobs Educator by Indiana University. Mr. Hernandez is also an Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Teacher. He speaks regularly at regional and national conferences like CUE and ISTE on topics such as scholastic journalism and technology in education. He founded the Media Arts program at Mira Costa in 1999, where he has served as department chair for the Visual and Performing Arts Department, and sponsor for the Cinema Club which hosts the annual South Bay Student Video Festival, a showcase for outstanding high school film and video projects. He is also the adviser for the nationally award-winning Mustang Morning News broadcast journalism program.

Notable alumni[edit]

In television and film[edit]

Mira Costa High School was a common filming location for the popular television series The O.C.[23] and CSI: Miami.[citation needed] In 1981 portions of the film "Midnight Offerings" starring Melissa Sue Anderson were filmed on the campus. In 1979, many members of the football and cheerleading squads, attired in their green and gold uniforms, were included as extras in the film Rock 'n' Roll High School. The administration building of Mira Costa High School was used as the high school for the Disney TV show Hannah Montana starring Miley Cyrus. In 2006, a portion of the quad was used as a scene in The OC. In 2008, an episode of CSI: Miami was filmed on campus, using the pool and members of the varsity swim team as extras. In 2011, much of rapper Snoop Dogg's Mac & Devin Go to High School was filmed on campus, sparking a controversy over the characters' use of marijuana on school property. Although administration officials demanded that the footage not be used in the final movie, viewers of the film can spot many notable Mira Costa landmarks, such as the administration offices, science classrooms, and locker halls.[24] Mira Costa was also used for Double Trouble series.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Mira Costa High School - Teaching Staff Directory
  2. ^ a b c d School data for Mira Costa High, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ North Redondo Beach attendance agreement
  5. ^ http://laimunxx.wix.com/laimun-xx
  6. ^ http://bestdelegate.com/north-americas-best-high-school-model-un-teams-2011-2012-spring-rankings-top-25/
  7. ^ "Costa’s Science Olympiad team proves itself a force to be reckoned with – La Vista". www.lavistamchs.com. Retrieved 2016-12-13. 
  8. ^ http://fridaythe13thfilms.com/blog/lost-tales-from-camp-blood-director-andrew-ceperley-speaks/
  9. ^ "NATIONAL BLUE RIBBON SCHOOLS PROGRAM — Schools Recognized 1982 Through 2016" (PDF). United States Department of Education. 
  10. ^ "South Bay : BLUE RIBBONS". Los Angeles Times. February 9, 1996. 
  11. ^ "2011 Distinguished Middle and High Schools". California Department of Education. 
  12. ^ "Newsweek Ranks Mira Costa High Among Top in Nation". Manhattan Beach Patch. August 19, 2015. 
  13. ^ "America's Top High Schools 2015". Newsweek. August 19, 2015. 
  14. ^ "2000 National Teacher of the Year." CCSSO. 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  15. ^ Seaton, Carolyn. "Mira Costa High School Teacher Bill Fauver Honored as One of L.A. County’s “Sweet Sixteen” Teachers of the Year." Press Release, Manhattan Beach Unified School District. 21 Sept. 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  16. ^ Ruse, Andrea. "Mira Costa’s Bill Fauver is Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year." easyreadernews.com. 29 Sept. 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  17. ^ a b Spurrier, Jeff. "DESCENDENTS HANG OUT IN NEVER-NEVER LAND", Los Angeles Times, January 5, 1986. Accessed January 10, 2008.
  18. ^ Eric Fonoimoana - Profile, Beach Volleyball Database, accessed 8 January 2008
  19. ^ Peterson, Lauren. "Resemblance is striking; Stanford-bound 6-foot-5 hitter Klineman has a Walsh-like effect on top-ranked Mira Costa", Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2006. Accessed January 6. 2008. "'When you see somebody like [Alix Klineman], where she's built like [Kerri Walsh] and she kind of looks like Kerri, who happens to be one of the best volleyball players on the beach or indoors to ever play the game -- and Alix has two inches on her -- I think it's exciting,' said Holly McPeak, a 1987 Mira Costa graduate and AVP tour veteran."
  20. ^ http://www.teenvogue.com/entertainment/movies/2014-08/dylan-obrien-maze-runner/?slide=1
  21. ^ "Dylan O'Brien". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  22. ^ Smith, Michelle. "LB Okwo trying to spark Stanford", San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2006. Accessed January 10, 2008. "Okwo, a Redondo Beach native who attended Mira Costa High, would very much like to go home to Southern California and get a win against UCLA on Saturday night."
  23. ^ The O.C. Filming Locations
  24. ^ http://abc7.com/archive/8134381/

External links[edit]