Santa Margarita Catholic High School

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Santa Margarita Catholic High School
SM 20 years logo.jpg
22062 Antonio Parkway
Orange County, California
Rancho Santa Margarita, California 92688
United States
Coordinates 33°38′34″N 117°34′56″W / 33.64278°N 117.58222°W / 33.64278; -117.58222Coordinates: 33°38′34″N 117°34′56″W / 33.64278°N 117.58222°W / 33.64278; -117.58222
Type Private, Coeducational
Motto Caritas Christi
(Love of Christ)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Patron saint(s) St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Established 1987
Founder Bishop William R. Johnson
School district Diocese of Orange
Oversight Diocese of Orange
Superintendent Gregory Dhuyvetter
School code 052563
CEEB code 052563
President Andy Sulick[1]
Principal Ray Dunne
Chaplain Fr. Randy Sampinto [2]
Staff 239 [3]
Faculty 120 [2]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,700[4] (2015-2016)
Average class size 395, average class size of 28
Student to teacher ratio 16:1
Campus Suburban
Campus size 42 acres (170,000 m2)
Color(s)          Blue & Gold
Fight song Notre Dame Victory March
Athletics conference CIF-SS:PAC5:Trinity League
Mascot Eagle
Team name Eagles
Accreditation Western Association of Schools and Colleges[5]
USNWR ranking Ranked number 1 Catholic School in the county by [6]
National ranking No. 51 for private high schools in the nation by the Washington Post [7]
Average SAT scores 560 (Critical Reading)
578 (Math)
566 (Writing)
Average ACT scores 26.4 (English)
24.9 (Math)
25.9 (Reading)
24.9 (Science Reasoning)
25.6 (Composite)
Newspaper The Sophia Perricone [8]
Yearbook The Talon
Tuition Yearly Registration is $550 and Yearly Technology Fee $685 plus, $14,975 Registered Catholic, $16,650 Non Catholic (2016-2016) [9]

Santa Margarita Catholic High School (abbreviated as SMCHS) is a coeducational college preparatory Roman Catholic high school located in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, United States. SMCHS is owned and operated by the Diocese of Orange,[10] and was opened in 1987 under the direction of the Bishop of Orange. Although it follows the Catholic tradition, admission is open to students of all faiths. As of the spring 2016, 1,752 students were enrolled in grades 9 through 12.

SMCHS opened in the fall of 1987, the first Catholic high school to serve South Orange County. Its 42-acre (170,000 m2) campus is adjacent to the San Francisco Solano parish church. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Santa Margarita is one of three International Baccalaureate World Schools in California,[4] in addition to offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams. SMCHS also offers a comprehensive Auxiliary Studies Program (ASP) to help students who learn differently.[11] The Class of 2015 earned $30 million in scholarship offers.[12]


Groundbreaking for the school was held on April 18, 1986. It opened with 216 students on September 2, 1987. The three-story "G" building was completed in 1990.[4]

The Eagle Athletic Center opened in May 2010.[13] The center is the first LEED-certified building in the Diocese of Orange and in Rancho Santa Margarita. In August 2011 the school opened its new $10.3 million 2-story, LEED-certified academic building, that houses a permanent 3,700 square foot television studio, new counseling offices and ASP classrooms, and a second story completely devoted to World Language classrooms. A "Talon Theatre" is planned that would replace the "Eagle Dome" that is currently used for talent productions.


Admission to Santa Margarita Catholic High School is based on academic transcripts, activities, and the High School Placement Test. The results of the exam are used to help place students in the most appropriate classes for their freshman year.[14][15] The admissions process includes: the application process, review of academic transcripts, review of standardized testing results, recommendation letters from the students' Math teacher, English Teacher, and Principal/School Counselor, and participation in activities. Prospective Students are encouraged to shadow a current SMCHS student. Incoming freshman students spend the day at Santa Margarita with a current SMCHS freshman with similar interests.


Santa Margarita Catholic High School offers awards in the form of financial assistance and scholarships – these are awards that do not have to be repaid. Santa Margarita awards financial assistance and privately funded scholarships to students based on need, academic excellence, leadership, service, talent and other criteria. Financial assistance, combined with SMCHS scholarships can provide up to 50% of the cost of tuition at SMCHS.


A variety of courses is offered to students, which gives each student the opportunity to take courses fit to his/her individual strengths.[16] SMCHS offers numerous Honors courses, Advanced Placement courses, an International Baccalaureate program, an Interdisciplinary Triad Program, and an Auxiliary Studies Program for students with mild learning differences. Along with this curriculum, SMCHS also offers a Model United Nations (MUN) [17] program as part of the Honors History department and an Arts and Dance program that encompasses various branches of the performing arts and art classes.[18]

The spiritual aspect of Santa Margarita is developed within students through religious education classes, school wide masses, and various retreats throughout the year. The retreat experience culminates with Kairos, a retreat specifically for seniors. Each student also works to fulfill Christian Service projects each year which are undertaken in the students' religion classes.[19]

SMCHS's graduation requirements prepares students to be involved citizens of the world. Students must successfully complete a minimum of 270 credits of course work to graduate from SMCHS. Included within credits completed satisfactorily are the following course requirements:[20]

Students are expected to meet all Christian Service obligations before graduation. SMCHS provides students with the opportunity to be involved with different Campus Ministry activities. There are grade level retreats and campus retreats, Kairos, Peer Ministry, and several school wide masses throughout the year.[21]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

SMCHS has several extra-curricular activities on campus.[22] These activities include ASB/Student Council, Color Guard, Drama Productions, Mock Trial, and Pep Squad.

Co-curricular activities: Choir, Dance Team, Debate and Argument, Band (Eagle Regiment), Eagle Television (ETV Public Address Morning Announcements), Journalism (The Eagle Eye Newspaper), Model United Nations, Mock Trial, Orchestra, and Yearbook.[23]


SMCHS has a variety of Clubs and Service Organizations.[24] Some of which include:

  • American Cancer Society
  • Chinese Club
  • Classics Society Club
  • Computer Club
  • Conservation 4 Good
  • Culture Exchange Club
  • Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Club
  • Defeat Diabetes
  • Eagles for CHOC
  • Environment Protection
  • Film Club[25]
  • International Relations
  • Junior State of America
  • Mandala Creative Writing Club
  • Microfinance Team
  • Pink Ribbon Club
  • Chess Club
  • PIxEL Club
  • Project Caritas
  • Red Cross Club
  • Surf Rider Club
  • Swim for Life[26]
  • Table Tennis Club
  • Third World First[27]
  • Video Games Club
  • Young Americans for Liberty


Santa Margarita Catholic High School's athletic teams, known as the Eagles, compete in the Trinity League. SMCHS also offers club sports including ice hockey,[28] roller hockey and equestrian. Since 1991, the Eagles have captured 187 league titles, 56 CIF titles, four Southern California Regional titles and 8 State Champion titles. In addition to those team successes, SMCHS has produced over 51 individual CIF Champions and over 38 CIF Players of the Year.[29] On December 10, 2011 Santa Margarita captured its third CIF title in football.[30] On December 16, 2011 they played in the Division 1 state championship game, winning 42-37.

SMCHS has produced many distinguished athletes such as NBA All-Star Klay Thompson, Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, Olympic gold medalist and winner of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Amy Rodriguez, Outland Trophy recipient Kris Farris, and recipient of the Walter Payton Award and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran.[11]

SMCHS participates in 14 sports: football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, water polo, cross country, golf, tennis, wrestling, baseball, softball,[31] lacrosse, track and field, and swimming.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Santa Margarita Welcomes Alumnus as President". Santa Margarita Catholic High School. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Ritchie, Erika L. (September 8, 2012). "Quarter-century of achievement". The Orange County Register. p. Local 3. 
  5. ^ WASC-ACS. "WASC-Accrediting Commission for Schools". Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  6. ^ "Explore Santa Margarita Catholic High School". Niche. 
  7. ^ "U.S. high school rankings by state — Most challenging schools". Washington Post. 
  8. ^ ""The Eagle Eye Advisor- Student Newspaper"". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange Catholic Schools Archived 2010-08-30 at the Wayback Machine..
  11. ^ a b SMCHS History.
  12. ^, "Seniors get $19.3 million in scholarship offers"
  13. ^ "Bishop blesses $8.7 million athletic facility".
  14. ^ Placement Exam Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine..
  15. ^ Admissions Process and Application.
  16. ^ "Santa Margarita Catholic offers academic diversity".
  17. ^, "Students return from Paris with awards"
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-07-27. , Academic Programs
  19. ^ "Religious Education and Formation"[permanent dead link].
  20. ^ Graduation Requirements Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine..
  21. ^ Campus Ministry Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine..
  22. ^ Extra-Curricular Activities Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine..
  23. ^ Co-Curricular Activities Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine..
  24. ^ Clubs and Service Organizations.
  25. ^, "SMCHS Film Club Website"
  26. ^ "Two SMCHS students raise water safety awareness".
  27. ^ "Third World First Website".
  28. ^ "Three OC high schools join Anaheim Ducks' hockey league".
  29. ^ Athletics.
  30. ^, "New football coach at SMCHS"
  31. ^ "Eagles claim first championship in wild finish".
  32. ^ "O.C. extras on 'Glee' try for full-time roles". The Orange County Register. April 26, 2010. Retrieved September 13, 2012. 
  33. ^ Erika Figge bio.
  34. ^ Brian Finneran bio.
  35. ^ Jim Seimas, "Teen Hossler earns way into our hearts at U.S. Open", Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 18, 2012.
  36. ^ Carson Palmer bio.
  37. ^ Mark Restelli bio Archived 2009-07-08 at the Wayback Machine..
  38. ^ Amy Rodriguez bio.
  39. ^ "VIDEO: O.C. rookie Trayce Thompson hits first career home run against Angels". 11 August 2015. 

External links[edit]