Rio Americano High School
|Rio Americano High School|
4540 American River Drive
|Type||Public high school|
|School district||San Juan Unified School District|
|Principal||Brian T. Ginter|
|Faculty||66.01 (on FTE basis)|
|Student to teacher ratio||24.28|
|Color(s)||Green and Gold|
|Athletics conference||Capital Athletic League |
CIF Sac-Joaquin Section
|Communities served||Arden Park, Arden Oaks, Sierra Oaks, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, Gold River, La Sierra|
|Website||Rio Americano High School Online|
Rio Americano High School, colloquially known as Rio, is a public high school in Sacramento, California, serving students in grades 9 through 12 as part of the San Juan Unified School District. Rio Americano students come from the surrounding areas of Arden Park, Arden Oaks, Sierra Oaks, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, Gold River, and to a much lesser extent, the La Sierra community. In recent years, more students have been transferring from other districts and areas, partly due to the shift of Sacramento High School to a charter school. Rio's two rival schools are Jesuit High School and El Camino Fundamental High School because of its close proximity to the Arden Park area.
As of the 2012-13 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,603 students and 66.01 classroom teachers (on a FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 24.28. Brian T. Ginter is the principal. Greg Snyder and Robert Kerr are the vice principals.
- 1 Awards and recognition
- 2 History
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Curriculum
- 5 Extracurricular activities
- 6 Athletics
- 6.1 Rio Americano Fight Song
- 7 Civitas
- 8 Notable alumni
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Awards and recognition
During the 1994-96 and 2006-07 school years, Rio Americano High School was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education, the highest award an American school can receive.
Rio Americano produces a handful of National Merit commended students and a few National Merit semifinalists each year. Rio students also perform well on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, with over 400 AP exam scores of 3 or better and over 100 AP exam scores of 5 (the highest score possible) in 2009.
Rio Americano High School was established in 1963, built to offset a huge baby boomer population increase. As demand increased and Rio's academic and extracurricular programs proved strong, the school has remained a permanent fixture in the community. In 1983, the San Juan Unified School District was forced to close a high school due to budget constraints. Rio Americano and La Sierra were considered for closure. The school board closed La Sierra, whose plant remains in use for district activities, offices, and storage.
Rio has had only six principals since 1963. Joseph Brewer was the school's first principal. He was succeeded by Lloyd Snelson, who was followed by Alice Kubo. Ron Uzelac served as principal from 1985 to 2000. Rob Hollingsworth served from 2000 to 2009. Brian Ginter began in 2009.
|Demographics||White||Asian||African American||Hispanic||American Indian||Filipino||Pacific Islander|
Rio Americano offers 16 AP courses in addition to various Honors classes. Although there is no official class, students have been known to take the AP Statistics, AP Music Theory, AP Physics C, AP World History, and AP European History exams.
The following are elective courses available at Rio Americano
The Rio Americano band program is nationally recognized, having 3 levels of concert band, 4 levels of jazz ensemble, and the one-of-a-kind Small Ensemble class. In these classes, all students regardless of initial skill level are given a comprehensive education in music theory, ear training, composition, music history, and practical performance skills.
A big event that Rio Band organizes every year is the Playathon. This is a 17-hour-long fundraiser going from 7 am until midnight that is entirely student-organized. Playathon planning starts at the beginning of each school year and usually occurs on the first or second Friday of November. Each year Playathon usually raises between 25 and 30 thousand dollars for the Band Program. This event is essential to keeping Rio Band functioning at the high level that it consistently does, and provides funds for instrument purchase and repair, sheet music, guest artist fees, and scholarships for exceptionally talented and motivated students to be able to travel the nation and the world performing with their peers, regardless of their financial situation.
The AM Jazz Ensemble has been recognized as one the United States' top 15 high school jazz bands at the Essentially Ellington Jazz competition in New York City in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013 and most recently in 2014. The ensemble has also won the Monterey Jazz Festival in the High School Big Band category an unprecedented 7 times, and most recently finished third in 2017. They have also won the Reno Jazz festival in their division and/or in the sweepstakes every year since 1993, except for 2006. Though the jazz ensembles tend to perform very well in most competitions, winning is never their goal. The highest honor awarded to this jazz ensemble in recent years has been being named in Downbeat Magazine as America's top public high school jazz ensemble. Downbeat Magazine has been the worlds most trusted and highest profile jazz magazine since it launched in the 1930s.
Every two years, eligible students in the top concert and jazz bands go on an international tour during the summer. In past years, Rio Band has toured Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, Italy, and most recently Japan again. They plan to visit Ireland in the summer of 2018.
The program is under the direction of Mr. Josh Murray and Mr. Maxwell Kiesner. From 1982 to 2007 Mr. Craig Faniani was director and shaped the music program at Rio Americano to what it is today. Mr. F. has accepted a new position at the district office (2007–2015/16) as the Coordinator for the Visual and Performing Arts for the San Juan Unified School District, and has since retired, although he regularly serves as a substitute teacher for various band classes in the program.
Due to the school's construction as a temporary high school, Rio Band has never had a quality performance venue on campus for instrumental music. In the spring of 2015, San Juan Unified School District approved the construction of a 350-seat theater and music complex as the school's Signature Project. The School Board allocated $10.7 million for this music complex, which is being paid for by Measure N bonds. The new complex experienced slight delays, but the new band rooms are operational as of the start of the 2017-2018 school year, with the theatre to open in the fall.
In 2005, the Academic Decathlon team placed 15th out of 17 school in the regional competition. With the arrival of new coaches and students in 2006, a team of eight juniors and one senior placed sixth out of 18. Coaches of other regional schools reportedly commented positively on Rio's improvement and success. In 2007, with six team members (the minimum number of students required to for a complete team), Rio placed fifth out of 23 competing teams with five gold medals, four silver, and four bronze. In 2010, the team placed 5th at the competition. In 2017, the team placed 20th out of 22 competing teams.
Rio Americano has a math team which participates in various math competitions and contests. One of the math competitions is Mathletes, in which teams of 5 students of various grade levels take 10-minute-long short-answer math tests to score points for their team by answering math problems correctly. Another math contest Rio's math team participates in is the AMC. The AMC consists of 25 multiple-choice math problems and is administered every February at school. Students who score well on the AMC move on to take the AIME.
Mock Trial is a year-round program that places students in a courtroom environment in which they act the parts of attorneys, witnesses, court clerks and bailiffs, in order to better their knowledge in the field of law. Each year the Team participates in competitions organized through the Constitutional Rights Foundations. Rio Americano's Mock Trial Team is known for its continuous record of success at both the County and State level Competitions. The Team has won 13 Sacramento County Championships: 1980, 1982, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. The coach of Rio's Mock Trial Team is local attorney James "Jay" R. Greiner. In 2017, the team placed 3rd in the Sacramento County competition.
Rio Americano's Moot Court team won the GDS Sacramento County competition in 2006 and 2007, placing in the semi-finals in 2009 and 2010. In 2017, the team placed 7th in the Sacramento County competition.
Speech And Debate
Rio's speech and debate class was canceled for the 2010-2011 school year. However, Speech and Debate still runs as a club.
In 2013, Rio Americano sent two members to the California State Tournament in Impromptu Speaking and Expository Speaking. The team also sent a member to the National Forensic League National Tournament in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. In 2013 and 2014, the team sent a member to compete in Dramatic Interpretation to the National Catholic Forensic League National Tournament. The team also barely missed qualifying to the National Forensic League National Tournament in Lincoln-Douglas a second year, placing as the first alternate.
Science Bowl is an academic competition sponsored by the United States Department of Energy that tests students in various categories of Science including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Space Science, Earth Science, Energy, and Mathematics. At the 2007 Sacramento Regional Competition, Rio's Team A placed 2nd and Team B 3rd. The 2008 Regional Competition took place on March 1 at Rio Americano, in which Team A placed third and Team B fifth. Team C was unranked, as they were not permitted to move on to the double elimination stage. Rio's 2009 Team A took 2nd at the Sacramento Regional Competition, losing only to the eventual national champion team from Mira Loma. At the 2010 regional competition, Team A placed 2nd once again. Rio's Team A tied for 5th place in the 2011 regional competition. In 2012, Rio's Team B tied for 5th place at the regional competition which took place at Rio Americano.
Science Olympiad is a science competition with various events. In 2012, Rio placed 5th at the regional competition which took place at Sacramento State University, and tied for 6th place at the Northern California state competition. In 2013 and 2014, Rio placed 6th at the regional competition, barely missing the cutoff to attend the state competition. In 2017, Rio placed 18th out of 25 at the regional competition.
The Mirada is the school newspaper. You can visit The Mirada's website by clicking here  It is put together by students of all grade levels. Mostly juniors and seniors are editors, two seniors for editor-in-chief, and junior and seniors for News, Opinions, Features and Sports. The Mirada also has three graphic artists, and one main photographer. There are many staff writers of all grade levels. The paper even has a business manager. There are about 21 staff members overall, with one teacher supervising. The features are: Bachelor and Bachelorette, Prep of the Issue, Car of the Issue and sometimes food reviews. The paper has an issue every month and has won various awards. The raider icon on the front page to the side of the heading changes every month.
- Gold Medal Standing From Columbia University Journalism Review Program.
- Two individual awards from the International Quill and Scroll Competition.
The school's yearbook is called the Tesoro. Each year the Tesoro has a different theme; "Generat10n", "The Grass is Greener", "Something in Common", "What's the Difference", "Curious", "Continued Inside", and "Raided R" are the most recent themes. The yearbook also features clubs, sports, outside-of-school activities, senior favorites, quotes and pictures. As a celebration of graduation, parents of seniors can submit a page, dedicated to their son or daughter in the "Diapers to Diploma" section.
This annual Open House activity turns Rio's physics classrooms into a miniature version of San Francisco's Exploratorium. Rio's physics students construct exhibits using the Exploratorium' science snack recipes or recipes developed by Rio's physics teacher, Dean Baird. The students then explain these hands-on exhibits to hundreds of local elementary school students on Rio's Open House day. ExploratoRio reopens during Open House night for the benefit of parents and visitors. Rio physics students are involved in all aspects of ExploratoRio production, including setup, elementary class hosting, photography, exhibiting, publicity, and take-down. ExploratoRio has been an annual, one-day-only event since 1994.
The Rio Americano chess club competes in local and state chess tournaments. During the 2010-2011 school year, the team participated in the NorCal online chess league competition, with the Varsity team finishing in 8th place, and the JV team placing 2nd.< In 2011, the chess club placed 2nd in the Premier Division at the NorCal State High School competition. In 2012, the chess club placed 3rd place in the JV Division at the Norcal State High School competition.
Other active extracurriculars on campus include Speech and Debate, Interact Club, and Student Government.
Rio Americano's Robotics Team is lead by Matthew Cole. Rio Robotics (FRC Team number 4698) was the first high school team in the San Juan Unified School District to win first place in a regional competition (in the Central Valley Regional in Fresno, California, 2018). They later competed in Houston, TX in the FRC Championships.
Rio Americano Fight Song
Go Rio Raiders!
Battle the foe for Green and Gold!
Ready to meet all invaders
With our heads held high we will hear the victory cry
And when the battle is over
And on high you’ll hear our name
You will know the Rio Raiders
Have won another game!
1991 Future Pro Bowl lineman, Mike Flanagan, graduated from Rio Americano high school. Mike played for the Green Bay Packers from 1996 to 2005 and for the Houston Texans from 2006 to 2007. Chad Overhauser, also played for the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans.
1990 season: The varsity football team went undefeated during the regular season winning the Capital Valley Conference. They went on to beat Christian Brothers in the playoffs eventually losing to Nevada Union (which it previously defeated) in the City Championship. The team produced several Division I college players Stuart Wright (Army), Chris Lee (Weber State & Sacramento State), Eric Roof (Weber State), Mike Flanagan (UCLA) and Chad Overhauser (UCLA). The year was highlighted by a victory over Roseville team, which was led by future NFL All-Pro Tedy Bruschi. This team is widely considered to be the best in school history. Head coach Mike Smith was named Area coach of the year after the 1990 season.
1997-1998 season: The varsity football team won SVC league and lost to West HS in the playoffs. 1998-1999 season: The varsity football team were second seed in league and lost to Rio Linda in the playoffs.
In the 2002-2003 season the Raiders were 4-6. In the 2003-2004 the Raiders finished 5-5. In the 2007-2008 Football Season the Raiders went 5-5. The team produced four Division 1 College football players.
So far in the 2008-2009 season, the Varsity football Raiders finished 8-3, 4-1 in the CAL league and undefeated at home. They competed in the playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
Rio Americano's cheerleading squad consists of three teams: freshmen, junior varsity, and varsity. The cheerleaders perform at school rallies and attend every football game, all home girls' and boys' basketball games.
The Song Team is an affiliate of Rio's cheerleading program. The Song Team performs at all rallies and limited football and basketball games.
The Varsity Boys tied Jesuit High School in an exhibition match on Oct. 17th 2007, 0-0, and have consistently made it to the playoffs. They shared the Capital Athletic League title with Bella Vista in 2008-2009 finishing the regular season with a record of 12-3-6.
In 2009 the Varsity Boys, coached by Alan Posner, went undefeated in the Capital Athletic League and played in the Division III Championship Game, where they lost to its rival El Camino High School. The 2009 team featured many players who went on to play in college including: Austin Kinn (University of Pennsylvania), Tyler Kinn (UPenn), Grant Silvester (University of Virginia, where he won an NCAA National Championship), and Harris Levin (Pomona College).
A school sport since 1995, Girls' Water Polo has won 8 straight Division 2 Sac-Joaquin Section titles. Rafael Ruano has coached the girls' water polo team since 1997. Dozens of players have gone on to play in college, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, USC, Santa Clara, Brown, Pomona, Claremont, Redlands, CSU Monterey Bay, American River College and Cuesta College
The Rio Americano Varsity boys have been section champions in 1996, 2003, 2010, and 2011. In 2011, the team beat El Camino, 9-2, in the Sac Joaquin Section Division II Championship. The Rio Americano Boys' Water Polo program has produced several college players including Division I players Brian Kinsel and Matt Hillard, both of whom played for UC Berkeley.
The Rio Americano cross-country teams are coached by Gordon Hubble.
Starting the season with a Jack Scott Tournament win in 2002, the Rio Varsity Boys' basketball team won the Division II Section title at ARCO Arena and continued on to the state semi-finals held at UC Davis, finishing third in the state. The boys' basketball team won the 2006 and 2007 Jack Scott Tournament, a tournament hosted by Rio. During the 2007-2008 season, the Raiders won their second Jack Scott Tournament in a row. This was the first time they had won the jack Scott tourney three years in a row.( Kyle Odister, Pierce Burton and Mardell Johnson were the Leaders of this team)
The wrestling team is coached by Kelly Lanthier. She has coached there for three years. Greg Elie, a four-time Michigan State wrestling champion, is currently her assistant coach. His first year under Kelly Lanthier was their best year in history, bringing eight kids to the Master's Tournament. This feat has yet to be matched by any one in the history of the school.
The team is coached by Brady Yount (2007-current) and assistant coach Mark Shepherd.
2007 season for Boys' Varsity Golf was 6 wins - 4 losses
The Varsity Girls' Soccer has been a consistently strong team. They were national ranked in 1999 and 2000. They were second-place finishers in Division II Section in 2001, losing 4-1 to Saint Francis. They won the section title in 2007, defeating Bella Vista 6-0 in the championship game. Under the coaching of Jennifer Smiley, they remained undefeated throughout their 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 season and won the Division III Section title.
Swimming & Diving
The head coach of Rio Americano Swimming is Chris Nissen, who led the Varsity Girls to a Section title in the 2008 season, and the Varsity Boys to a second-place finish. Seniors Kevin Ferguson and Tomi Petty were the Capitol Athletic Swimmers of the Year, leading the team to victory at the Cal Champs meet. At the 2008 San Jauqin Sections meet the Raider's finished 2nd overall to Jesuit High. The Raiders's finished first in two races, the 200 and 400 yard free relay.
In 2010 both varsity teams took first in Championships as did the boys' junior varsity team. The girls' junior varsity team tied for second.
The Boys' Tennis Team has been division champions for the past six years. In 2008, Rio's tennis team lost in the section semifinals to Granite Bay High School. In 2014, Rio Americano won the D2 San Joaquin Section title under Coaches Todd Freund and Dave Pitts. The team repeated their success in 2015, winning the section title again and getting as far as Norcal Quarterfinals.
The Boys' volleyball team is currently coached by Gary Garrot and Ms.Sumnitra. In 2015, they defeated Ponderosa High School to become CIF SJS division II champs. They ended up losing to Campolindo 3-0 in the Norcal finals that same year.
Track & Field
The track & field teams are coached by Gordon Hubble and assistant coaches Tay Moore and Darin Carter. In 1990 Rio Americano's 4x100 relay team led California with a time of 41.80 set at the Sacramento Meet of Champions. The Rio Americano varsity boys' team won the 2007 SJS Division II Section title with a total of 46 points, beating Oak Ridge High School by 3 points. At the 2007 SJS Section Masters meet, the track team qualified four athletes to the CIF State Meet.
Rio, although lacking an officially sanctioned rugby team, does have a team that plays under the name "Rio Rugby." The Team is coached by Jason Crothers, and took fourth place in the Sacramento Valley High School Rugby Conference. This is the seventh year of the Rio Rugby Club. Players do not come exclusively from Rio, some come from nearby El Camino High School.
Rio Americano offers Academia Civitas, a four-year program of political studies. The program offers one semester each of Political Studies and State & Local Government in Freshmen year. Sophomores take one semester of Public Speaking and one semester of International relations. Juniors take a year of Philosophy. Seniors have no civitas class, but instead do a senior project, which can consist of forums and other community events. The Civitas program provides students with advanced and specialized learning in the social sciences and an enriched sense of citizenship.
- Barbi Benton (1968) - Former Playboy Playmate and girlfriend of Hugh Hefner
- John Bowker (2001) - outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates
- Tyler Coppin (1974) - Australian actor and playwright.
- Channing Dungey (1986) - American television executive and producer, First African-American to serve as president of ABC Entertainment Group. 
- Merrin Dungey (1989) - actress
- Patty Fendick (1983) - professional tennis player
- Mike Flanagan (1991) - former center for the Houston Texans and the Green Bay Packers
- John Ferris (1967) - member of the 1968 Summer Olympics United States Swimming Team.
- Ted Gaines - California State Senator, former State Assemblyman
- Alex Heartman (2008)- Actor most notably as the Red Ranger in Power Rangers Samurai
- Jason Kamras (1991) - National Teacher of the Year, 2005
- Jonathan Karsh (1990) - independent film and television producer
- Goodwin Liu (1987) - Supreme Court of California Associate Justice and former UC Berkeley Law Professor
- Trevor Matich (1979) - 12-year NFL lineman.
- Debbie Meyer (1970) - three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
- Amobi Okugo (2009) - Major League Soccer player
- Doug Ose (1973) - Former Congressman who represented California's 3rd congressional district from 1998 to 2004.
- Chad Overhauser (1993) - American football player
- Johnny Rabb (1990) - Professional Touring Drummer. Also plays in a duo named BioDiesel.
- Christoforos Schuff (1997) - priest and musician, best known for humanitarian work and social activism
- Jane Sibbett (1980) - actress best known for playing Carol Willick on Friends
- David Sirlin - video game designer, fighting games player, and writer
- Adrian Tomine - Cartoonist
- Drake U'u (2008)- Professional basketball player
- W. Craig Vanderwagen, MD (1967) Former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, US Department of Health and Human Services
- Sasha Victorine (1996) - midfielder for Chivas USA of Major League Soccer
- James Leighman Williams (2003) - Olympic Silver Medalist - Fencing
- "Rio Americano High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
- Rio Americano High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved August 2014.
- Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
- Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 2003 to 2006 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
- CIBA cited as one of the best by Education Department Archived 2007-08-19 at the Wayback Machine., Journal Inquirer, November 16, 2006. "The Blue Ribbon award is given only to schools that reach the top 10 percent of their state's testing scores over several years or show significant gains in student achievement. It is considered the highest honor a school can achieve." "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 19, 2007. Retrieved 2006-11-16.
- Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test; The Washington Post. September 29, 2005 "For their accomplishments, all three schools this month earned the status of Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor the U.S. Education Department can bestow upon a school."
- America's Top Public High Schools | Newsweek Best High Schools | Newsweek.com Archived May 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- http://www.sanjuan.edu/files/filesystem/Rio%20-%20AP%20Regional%20Results.pdf[permanent dead link]
- http://www.sanjuan.edu/files/filesystem/2009-2010%20Course%20Description%20Catalog.pdf[permanent dead link]
- "NorCal High School chess League".
- Barbi Benton Fansite - Pictures, Biography, Photos and Wallpapers
- John Bowker: Biography and Career Highlights | pirates.com: Players
- https://web.archive.org/web/20090918205104/http://www.sacbee.com/crowder/story/1584759.html. Archived from the original on September 18, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Missing or empty
- 1986 Rio Americano High School (Sacramento, California) Yearbook
- The Sacramento Bee - She was a Rio Americano cheerleader in the 1980s. On Tuesday, she canceled 'Roseanne' - May 29, 2018
- Merrin Dungey - IMDb
- "Center Mike Flanagan When he isn't injured, he's among the best at his trade", Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2005. Accessed October 21, 2007. "Sidelined with a knee injury and going stir crazy in his Green Bay living quarters, the Packers' Pro Bowl center and Rio Americano High School product let the cable guy in one dreary day to do some repairs."
- "Election 2018: Ted Gaines seeks tax board seat - Capitol Weekly". Capitol Weekly. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
- Jonathan Karsh - Biography
- "His name is linked with 49ers' deal for Rice", Sacramento Bee, December 12, 2004. Accessed November 1, 2007. "Trevor Matich is an inspiration to any child who wants to compete in sports but is often told he or she isn't good enough.... Yet he persevered, became a highly recruited high school player at Rio Americano and went on to BYU..."
- "AHEAD OF HER TIME DEBBIE MEYER DIDN'T CASH IN ON OLYMPIC SUCCESS, BUT SHE'S A HALL OF FAMER", The Sacramento Bee, September 20. 1987. Accessed November 29, 2007. "The swimmer was Debbie Meyer, then a 16-year-old Rio Americano High School student."
- Doug Ose - Votes Database Archived 2007-10-21 at the Wayback Machine., The Washington Post. Retrieved October 30, 2007.
- Rio Americano High school—Jazz Schools
- Clémence Bragard and Léa Dauplé (7 April 2016). "Padre X: le rap, la croix et la banniere" [Padre X: the rap, the cross and the banner] (in French). Terminus Europe. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- KPK (21 January 2017). "Roses for modige meninger" [Lauded for courageous stances] (in Norwegian). Dagen. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
- Rio Americano High School - Sacramento, CA Notable Alumni
- Rio Americano HS class of 1980
- Major League Soccer Archived 2009-04-02 at the Wayback Machine.