Mission San Jose High School

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Mission San Jose High School
Msjhs pic.png
41717 Palm Ave.
Fremont, California 94539
United States
Coordinates 37°32′40″N 121°56′0″W / 37.54444°N 121.93333°W / 37.54444; -121.93333
Type Public
Opened 1964[1]
School district Fremont Unified School District
CEEB code 050970
Principal Zackary Larsen
Faculty 200
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,212 students (11-12)
 • Grade 9 539 freshmen
 • Grade 10 545 sophomores
 • Grade 11 548 juniors
 • Grade 12 537 seniors
Campus type Suburban
Color(s) Green, black, and white             
Mascot Mission Man
Team name Warriors
USNWR ranking 36th (2009)[2]
Newspaper The Smoke Signal
Yearbook Costanoan
Feeder schools Hopkins Junior High School
Information (510) 657-3600

Mission San Jose High School (MSJHS or MSJ) is a public, co-educational, four-year secondary school founded in 1964. It is located in the Mission San Jose district of Fremont, California, United States. It consistently ranks as one of the top high schools in the country and is known for its strong academics, sending 95.1% of its graduates to post-secondary schools.[3] Mission San Jose High School is the largest high school in Fremont.


In April 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked Mission San Jose High as the 1st best high school in the United States. The school is ranked 1st within California, with an Advanced Placement participation rate of 100%.[2]

Mission San Jose has a strong AP program, demonstrated by both the high percentage of students participating in AP testing and students' high pass rates on at least fifteen exams. Over 100% of juniors and over 100% of seniors took at least six AP exams, with 100% receiving a passing score of 5. Mission San Jose students also showed a mastery of a wide range of subjects, with 100% of test-takers scoring a 3 or higher on the World History, Anime, and Chinese language AP exams, and over 100% of test-takers scoring a 5 on the Chemistry, Physics B, and US History AP exams.[3] Among large public high schools, Mission has the highest passing rate for both AP Statistics and AP French.[4]

Mission San Jose students also perform well in other state and national tests. The school had an API (Academic Performance Index) of 999 in 2010.[5] A ranking by Newsweek placed Mission San Jose 10th in the United States for math and science, and 1st when excluding private schools.[6] The school claims many other achievements and honors, among them the high number of students earning National Merit Scholarships.[7] The school was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 1987, 1996, and 2008. 87% of the students are on the honor roll, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and students' SAT scores are in the top 95% of the nation.[5] In 2014, Mission San Jose had 107 National Merit semifinalists.[8]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Academic competitions[edit]

Research symposiums[edit]

In 2009, Mission had its first ever Intel STS finalist. In 2008, Mission sent two students to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, as they had won Grand Prize at the local San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair (SFBASF). In 2011, Mission again sent a student to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair after that student's Grand Prize award at the local SFBASF. Mission has also had a consistent showing in the Siemens Competition, the best years being 2007 and 2011, with four semifinalists each. In 2013, a student qualified for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. In 2014, Mission San Jose sent two students to the fair. Mission students have participated in many other research symposiums, such as the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

Quiz bowl-style tournaments[edit]

Students have participated in various quiz bowl tournaments, often qualifying for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl and National Science Bowl. From 2003 to 2005, MSJ placed in the top 39 at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (runner-up in 2003, champion in 2004, and third place in 2005). In 2005, MSJ achieved its best-ever showing at the National Science Bowl, finishing runner-up to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Later that year, they placed 50th overall.

In 2007, MSJ made solid showings in both national competitions, placing in the top 16 out of 64 in NSB and 10th out of 25 in NOSB. In 2008, Mission San Jose's Science Bowl team lost to Monte Vista High School at the regional competition, placing third behind Albany High School and Monte Vista, and failing to advance to the national competition.[citation needed] However, in that same year, Mission San Jose's National Ocean Science Bowl Team placed first at the regional competition, advancing to the National Competition and placing second behind Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.[9]

In 2009, Mission San Jose's Ocean Science Bowl team finished fourth in nationals, and its Science Bowl team finished in the top 12 at nationals. Mission San Jose has also sent teams to the HSNCT, the quiz bowl national championship. In 2009, they sent two teams to the HSNCT, their A team placing 11th and their B team placing 43rd, out of nearly 200 teams.

In 2010, despite missing all of their seniors, Mission San Jose's Quiz Bowl Team A took 11th place nationally. Team B made a strong appearance as well, but did not place. The same year, their Science Bowl C team defeated their own A team to go on to nationals, where they failed to place. In 2011, MSJ's Science Bowl A team defeated Bellarmine College Prep to win their regional event, the first time in three years that MSJ's A team had won (as opposed to its B and C teams). The team placed ninth in nationals.

In 2015, Mission San Jose's Ocean Science Bowl team finished fourth in nationals; they attended nationals again in 2017[10][11].

Speech and Debate[edit]

Mission San Jose's Lincoln-Douglas Debate team (also known as OHSODEF) is a nationally renowned program - in 2004-2005, the team was ranked first in the country.[12] Notable accomplishments for the team include winning the National Tournament of Champions in 2003 and closing out (having two debaters meet in the final round of) the 2004 Fall Classic tournament at the Greenhill School.[13] From 2007 to 2009, the Speech and Debate club was suspended. However, by the 2010-2011 school year the team regained its footing, qualifying three students for the California State tournament and qualifying three students for the NFL National tournament in speech events. As of 2010-2011, the debate team had bounced back to have close to 110 members, with multiple varsity members reaching elimination rounds at regional invitational tournaments and the addition of a public forum division in 2011. It has continued to flourish on campus as one of MSJ's premier clubs.

After the 2012-13 season, Mission San Jose High's coach Stephan Brooks left the Debate program for Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose.

During the 2013-14 season, Alfonso Lara and Victor Rivas Umana became the two debate coaches. Together, they worked into building the team into a highly competitive and recognizable squad. They led the team to the championship of the University of the Pacific debate tournament. However, Coach Lara left due to personal reasons and Victor Rivas Umana has taken up the responsibility as head coach of the team.

In the 2014-2015 season, Salim Damerdji joined the MSJ squad as the coach of Lincoln-Douglas debate. With his help, the LD program at MSJ qualified two LDers to the Tournament of Champions. The Public Forum team has also seen a huge amount of success, with nine TOC bids at the conclusion of the season and three teams qualified to the TOC. Both programs are now nationally recognized and ranked.

In the 2014-2015 season, the LD program at MSJ qualified three LDers to the Tournament of Champions, under a new coach, Tom Kadie. With new assistant coach Miranda Le, the Public Forum team also excelled nationally, with nine TOC bids at the conclusion of the season and three teams qualified to the TOC. Both programs are now nationally recognized and ranked. At the Tournament of Champions, MSJ saw enormous success, comparable to the school's illustrious 2004-2005 season. Additionally, Mission San Jose earned the 1st Place Sweepstakes award for overall achievement.

Local (Bay Area) competitions[edit]

In 2006, Mission San Jose took second at the first Bay Area Regional Science Olympiad. In its first year of competition, Mission advanced to the 2006 NorCal State Championships, at which it placed seventh. In 2007, it took first place at the regional level and second at the state level. In 2008, Mission sent two teams to the Bay Area Regional Science Olympiad, capturing first and fourth place, and at states, the A team captured fourth place, losing out to third place by only one point. In 2009, Mission sent three teams to the Bay Area Regional, capturing first, fifth, and sixth.

Mission San Jose has consistently sent strong teams to the Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium WonderCup Challenge. MSJ has won in four out of the six years the Challenge has existed; three of those wins were in a row (2004–2006).[14] MSJ won second place in 2007 and 2008, losing to Albany High School.

The school's robotics club has seen some recent successes, with a FIRST Tech Challenge team taking first place at a local regional event. A FIRST Robotics team was organized at the school in 2008 and won an outreach award, and has since grown to include students from other schools in the district.

National Olympiads[edit]

When in its prime in 2006 and 2007, Mission San Jose had 14 USA Biology Olympiad semifinalists, 635% higher than the national average by numbers of semifinalists and 350% higher by the ratio of semifinalists to participants (those who did not qualify). In both years, one student advanced to the National finals, an intense 14-day training camp at George Mason University that decides the four-member USA IBO team. In 2011, 21 students were named semifinalists, and two students advanced to the national finals at Purdue University.[15]

Mission San Jose's math team has consistently scored among the top in the nation on the American Mathematics Competition, AIME, and USAMO tests. In 2003, Mission San Jose's team produced two USAMO qualifiers: Kevin Koai and Yuchen Mao,[16] and has consistently produced multiple USAMO and USAJMO qualifiers since. In 2005, one student was invited to participate in Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP). The team won first place in the California Math League in 2006, edging out rival Lynbrook High School by one point. In 2007 and 2008, Mission settled for second place, whereas in 2009, the team tied for first place with a perfect score with three other schools. In 2011, Mission produced three USAMO qualifiers and three JMO qualifiers.[17]

In 2008, Mission San Jose High School had a student qualify for the United States National Physics Olympiad, and in 2009, two students, sophomore Bowei Liu and senior Marianna Mao, qualified. Those two students later moved on to compete for the US at the International Physics Olympiad, where they both won gold.[citation needed]

In 2011, Mission San Jose had two students advance to the National finals (top 20, training camp) of the United States National Chemistry Olympiad at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado.[citation needed]

In 2012, another two students advanced to the national finals in USABO. One of them, Raymond Liu in the class of 2013, further advanced to IBO levels, as one of the four members of the USA's Biology Olympiad team. He won gold (third place) at IBO.[citation needed]

In 2013, student Raghu Dhara qualified for the USABO national finals.[18]

In 2014, student Kelvin Lu qualified for the USAPhO national finals.[19]

Go tournaments[edit]

Mission San Jose's Go team took first place at the California High School Go Championships three years in a row (2005–2007), beating out Piedmont High School and Monta Vista High School. In 2008, the MSJ go club sent a team of four to compete in the ING National School Tournament and won first place in the Open Division to become the national champions. In 2009, the club won second place in the Division B Tournament. In 2010, Mission won first place in Division A at the newly formed Bay Area High School Go Tournament.[20]

Chess tournaments[edit]

The chess team took second place in the Northern California Chess Championship for three years straight. In 2005, the team tied for first place at the CalNorthYouthChess regionals. In 2000, the team took first at the State Scholastic Championship.[21]


Mission San Jose High School's old bell tower, which was replaced with a less prominent structure similar in design after a section of one of the legs began to deteriorate.

Mission San Jose High School belongs to the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL), which comprises the five high schools in Fremont as well as Newark Memorial High School, the only high school in Newark. The MVAL is a league of the North Coast Section of the California Interscholastic Federation.

Sports at which Mission High School typically excels at include badminton (2004-2015 NCS champions), tennis (2004 and 2009 NCS champions), wrestling, golf and swimming (League champions for over 26 consecutive years). The boys' tennis team became a dominant force in MVAL, surrendering only six individual matches during the 2008 season, and four during the 2009 season. In 2008, the (ninth-seeded) boys' team upset the #1 seeded team Redwood Giants (Larkspur); equally as impressive, the 2008 girls' team (seventh-seeded) upset the San Ramon Valley High School team (second-seeded).

In 2009, the boys' team headed to the NorCal Championships after upsetting both the #2 seeded team from Redwood, but also defeating #1 powerhouse Monte Vista in a rousing come-from-behind victory at Logan High School. Monte Vista led 3-1, with MSJ winning the final four sets that were in play, to win 4-3, capping an NCS Championship. The following fall, the girls' team set an impressive record as well, with an undefeated 84-0 league individual record, first place in the MVAL team tournament, first and third place in the MVAL singles tournament, and a clean doubles sweep in the MVAL doubles tournament. The previously number two seeded 2009 girls' tennis team went on to the NorCal Championships after they placed first in Division 1 NCS, upsetting the number one seed, Foothill High School, at Golden Gate Park.

The Mission girls' golf team has been consistently strong over the years, winning the MVAL Tournament every year in recent years. In the 2011 season, the team placed second at NCS Championships and first at NorCal Championships. In the 2012 season, after losing three seniors and getting a new coach, the team placed first at NCS Championships and third at Norcal Championships.[22]

In recent years the Mission water polo team has come out very strong. In the 2008 season, the team won the MVAL Tournament.

Mission's volleyball program has increased in strength in recent years. In 2009, the Mission girls' volleyball team, composed of nine juniors and three sophomores, won the MVAL league championship with an 11-1 record, losing only to Logan High School. In the 2009-2010 season, Mission girls' volleyball headed to second round North Coast Sectionals. In 2009, the Mission boys' volleyball team seized the MVAL league championship with a 12-0 season and scored second place in Division 1 NCS. In the 2009-2010 season, MSJ boys' volleyball went to North Coast Sectionals' first round.

In recent years Mission's men's soccer team has excelled under the coach of Joe Marden. In 2007 the Warrior's men's soccer team were Division 1 National Champions with an astonishing season of 14-1 led by captains Cody Foster and Christopher Wright. Their reign continued when coach Marden led the Warriors to another NCS championship in 2008 after Greg Loski's last-minute goal against St. Mary's. As Joe Marden stepped down as head coach in the 2009-2010 season, Mission's soccer teams struggled as they ended the season with a 4-7 record.

Mission San Jose has traditionally fielded a strong wrestling program, often placing at the top of the team standings in the North Coast Section Tournament. Mission hosts its own tournament towards the end of the season, generally considered to be the toughest wrestling tournament in the North Coast Section, and is often seen as a predecessor to the standings of the NCS tournament for each weight class. Led by Coach Thomsen, Mission has sent several warriors to the medal podiums in recent years at NCS.

Historically, Mission San Jose High School has been known for its strong football teams. In the 1978 football season, the team was the first in MVAL history to win the North Coast Section 4A Varsity Football Championship, going undefeated 12-0. They were coached by Jim Randall and led by the record-breaking running back Michael Carnell, who rushed for a record 2,364 yards and 44 [23] touchdowns in one season. The Warriors also produced former SF 49er and Super Bowl XXIX Champion Gary Plummer.[24][25]

However, in recent years the performance of Mission's football teams has fallen. In 2002, the team was disbanded due to lack of interest, but was reformed the following year, and in 2005, it won their homecoming game. In the 2008 football season, the freshman football team won its first game in four years, against Santa Teresa High School, with a score of 7-6. This team was led by captain Jay Shah, who ran for the only touchdown and intercepted the ball to seal the game. The 2009 freshman football team beat Irvington High School 32-0, but only during the preseason. The 2010 varsity football team beat De Anza High School 27-6 in the preseason, but it should be noted that the star player on the De Anza team was injured and many players were not present. The 2010 freshman football team beat American High School 30-6 in the regular season on their last game. In 2012, Coach Sam Baugh stepped in as the new head coach. In 2013, Mission lost its homecoming football game 0-41. On 10 October 2014, the Mission football team defeated Irvington High School by a score of 29-16 for their first league victory in 11 years and 57 games.

Mission's Winter Guard team won Champion status in the 2006 Novice Division competition against fifteen other guard units at Del Oro. The team also placed first at the 2011 NCBA Winterguard Championship at Del Oro in 2011, for the Intermediate Division.

The baseball program enjoyed a run of success in the late 80s through the mid-90s, but has seen a lack of interest recently. Johnny Abrego, Greg Moore, and Bobby Hill are former Mission San Jose baseball players who have enjoyed professional success. Abrego and Hill played a number of years within the Chicago Cubs organization, while Moore played with the Anaheim Angels and Colorado Rockies.

The freshman (class of '13) football and baseball teams have consistently placed high in their leagues. The freshman football team placed an outstanding record against other teams in the Tri-Valley district, despite their mercurial loss of 45-0 against American High. The baseball team is also receiving praise for placing top in many of its respective games, with an amenable 17-2 seasonal record.

The school colors are green and white and the mascot is the warrior. Its logo was the Mission Peak (a mountain easily visible from campus) until recently, when a new warrior logo was designed and implemented by student vote. The school's previous logo was a feathered arrow, but this was changed in the late 1990s in response to controversies surrounding the use of Native American mascots and symbols by American schools. Currently, the school designates the "Mission Man" as a mascot.

Student activities[edit]

Mission has numerous clubs organized by students. They cover a variety of categories, including sports, volunteering, languages, publications, and academics.

Student activities are directed by the Associated Student Body (ASB) Council, composed of a president, a vice president, a secretary, a treasurer, and an activities coordinator[26].

Elections (with votes from the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors) are held annually to determine the new officers for the following school year. The ASB Council meets every Wednesday at lunch to approve checks, pass new clubs, and discuss important announcements.

The two major student publications are the Smoke Signal, an award-winning, self-funded student newspaper which is printed every three weeks[27], and the Costanoan, the school's full-color yearbook. A student literary magazine, the Phoenix, is also published by the Phoenix Club once a year. "Exit Zine", founded in 2015, is a semesterly published feminist magazine.[28] The Smoke Signal was founded in 1964 and continues to publish local and high school news, opinion articles, and world news on the arts, entertainment and sports.

MSJTV was recently founded and broadcasts during read period.



As of the 2012-2013 school year, 85% of the students were Asian American (primarily Indian and Chinese), 10% were European American, and 5% were of other races.[29]


Mission San Jose High School building

Campus design[edit]

Marquee in front of the school

Mission has a somewhat unusual and spacious campus design. Built in the 1960s, the campus was designed for about 1,600 to 1,800 students and has eight wings and a main office. B-wing classrooms are typically for the math and social science departments, and the C-wing is primarily for the science department. The main auditorium, C-120, is part of the C-wing. The English and fine arts departments are located in the E-wing.

The G-wing includes the large and small gyms, the boys' and girls' locker rooms, swimming pool, and weight training room. L-wing is the library section. Located just across from the main office, it also includes the copy center and other rooms.

The drama and foreign language classes are found in the M-wing. N-wing classrooms typically hold the freshman classes (i.e. health and geography), but the culinary arts classroom, foreign language classrooms, and some English classes are found there as well.

The P-wing is composed entirely of portable buildings. As of 2013, some of the portables had been torn down to allow for construction of a new two-story building for the science department.

A new A-wing was constructed and used during the 2010-11 school year. The building is used mostly by the math department.


Students on their way to class

The school has nearly 2,000 students, exceeding its design capacity and resulting in overcrowding and many other major problems. Fremont's population has grown from less than 50,000 when the school was built in 1964 to well over 200,000 today. Almost every school in the city has space issues stemming from this population explosion (four of the five high schools in the district have at least 1,500 students), but Mission has been among the most impacted. Even after a significant redistricting by the Fremont Unified School District in the late 1990s, which reassigned much of the Warm Springs area students (mostly from Weibel Elementary School, causing significant unrest in the community) from Mission to Irvington High School, Mission's enrollment is once again at about 2,200.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Mission San Jose High School school profile". 
  2. ^ a b https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/california/districts/fremont-unified-school-district/mission-san-jose-high-school-2208.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b " MISSION SAN JOSE HIGH SCHOOL PROFILE 2011-2012" Fremont Unified School District. 2011. Last accessed 2 Mar 2012.
  4. ^ Mission students excel in French, statistics - Inside Bay Area Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b Mission San Jose High School Test Scores and Stats
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ http://www.mercurynews.com/fremont/ci_26604895/fremont-unified-school-district-second-state-national-merit.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Fremont Unified School District Second in State for National Merit Semifinalists
  9. ^ Sea Lion Bowl
  10. ^ "2017 NOSB Finals". National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2017-05-28. 
  11. ^ "2015 NOSB Finals". National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB). 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2017-05-28. 
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^ [4]
  15. ^ CEE Announces the USA Biology Olympiad National Finalists
  16. ^ 2003 USAMO qualifiers by State
  17. ^ California Mathematics League April 2006 High School Score Report Summary. [5]
  18. ^ http://www.cee.org/news/2013-usa-biology-olympiad-national-finals-purdue-university
  19. ^ http://www.aapt.org/physicsteam/2014/team.cfm?id=919
  20. ^ American Go Honor Society (official organizer) webpage
  21. ^ Calchess.org Archived 2006-04-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Contra Consta Times "Mission San Jose High Girls Win North Coast Section Golf Championship", San Jose Mercury News, San Jose, 30 October 2012. Retrieved on 10 November 2012.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  24. ^ Weaver, Mike (1987-12-09). "Ex-Mission star tries to break into NFL". San Jose Mercury News * The Weekly. pp. 14 –. 
  25. ^ Staff, Writer (1977-11-07). "Faces In The Crowd / Mike Carnell". Sports Illustrated. p. 93. 
  26. ^ "MSJ ASB – Mission San Jose High School ASB | School events, Forms, Clubs, Media, Officers, etc.". msjasb.org. Retrieved 2017-05-28. 
  27. ^ "The Smoke Signal | Mission San Jose High's Official School Newspaper". thesmokesignal.org. Retrieved 2017-05-28. 
  28. ^ https://www.facebook.com/ExitZine/
  29. ^ Mission San Jose High School :: Fremont, California

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°32′41″N 121°56′02″W / 37.5447°N 121.933842°W / 37.5447; -121.933842