Mira Costa High School

Mira Costa High School
Mira Costa High School
Home of the mustangs
1401 Artesia Boulevard
Manhattan Beach, CA, USA 90266 Satellite Image

Type Public high school
Established 1950
School district Manhattan Beach Unified School District
Principal Benjamin Dale [1]
Faculty 98.0 (on FTE basis)[2]
Grades 912
Enrollment 2,323 (as of 2005–06)[2]
Student to teacher ratio 23.7[2]
Color(s)           Green and Gold
Nickname Mustangs
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, United States 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 Street and Artesia Boulevard. Residents of Hermosa Beach may choose to attend Redondo Union High School of the Redondo Beach Unified School District or Mira Costa. As of Fall 2006, Redondo Beach residents living in the 90278 zip code were allowed to attend Mira Costa. Previously, MBUSD policy didn't allow Redondo Beach residents living in the 90278 ZIP code to attend MCHS.[3]

As of the 2005–06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 2,323 students and 98.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 23.7.[2]

Mira Costa was ranked 214th on MSNBC's Best 1000 High Schools in the United States.[citation needed]


School Information

Ethnic composition (as of 2009):[4]

  • American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.1%
  • Asian: 7.6%
  • Pacific Islander: 0.3%
  • Filipino: 0.5%
  • Hispanic/Latino: 7.0%
  • African American: 3.2%
  • White: 62.1%
  • Other/Declined to State: 19.1%

Programs and People

Beach Cities Robotics

Costa students team up with Redondo Union High School students to create Beach Cities Robotics. The team participates in the organization FIRST [3] (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.

Choir program

Under the direction of Michael Hayden, the award-winning Choirs of Mira Costa High School perform at a variety of venues and participate in many activities during the school year, including our PRISM concert, Winter Concert, Spring Concert, Choral Music Festivals, & the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair.

The Mira Costa Choir Program consists of four curricular choirs, (Vocal Ensemble, Multi-cultural 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 choir program experienced significant growth under the direction of Sandra Schnieders. She directed three choirs: Concert Choir, Chorale, and the Vocal Ensemble. On April 9, 2006, the choir performed Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall. Sandra Schnieders left in 2007. After her departure Michael Hayden became the director of choirs. He added a 4th choir to the curriculum, Multi-Cultural Choir.

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.

In March 2012, Vocal Ensemble is scheduled to perform at the American Choral Directors Association's Western Division Conference in Reno, Nevada just days before singing as the featured choir in a festival at Carnegie Hall.

Band program

The band program is directed by Mr. Carlson. The marching band is known as the 'Marching Mustangs' and they perform their field show at home football games and in various competitions against other field marching bands. The marching band promotes student leadership and gives students the opportunity to earn ranks such as Section Leader and Drum Major. The Mustang band teaches unity, respect, musicality, and responsibility. During the second semester, most members of the marching band participate in either Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band or Wind Ensemble. These award winning ensembles frequently travel to festivals in the SCSBOA circuit and have upheld their tradition of unanimous superior rankings.

Orchestra program

The Mira Costa Orchestra Program was directed by Mr. Chris Schwabe until his retirement in 2009. It is now directed by Mr. Peter Park.

The Mira Costa Orchestras consist of just over one hundred and thirty 9th – 12th graders who participate in the Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, and Chamber Ensemble.

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. 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

Color Guard

The color guard works in conjunction with the Mira Costa Marching Band. The color guard adds a visual flair to the marching band by spinning and tossing flags, rifles, and sabers. The guard currently performs with 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) flags, and an experienced portion of the guard also performs with mock rifles and sabers. After marching season, winterguard season starts. They travel around Southern California to compete, and have gone to WGASC championships every year.

Architecture and Engineering Club

A former club for students interested in the fields of architecture and engineering. Currently in the works to be restored as an official club on campus.

Drama Program

The Mira Costa Drama Program is a well-respected program in the south bay. In the fall of 2007, the Drama Department put on the musical Assassins. This last spring the Mira Costa Drama Department put on Beauty and the Beast The Musical and was largely successful. The show was directed by Nicole Thompson, choreographed by Anna Rubin Schutte, and produced by Carol Mathews. The show opened on April 18 and was the most successful show in the department's history. The 2009 fall production, The Elephant Man was directed by David Lamoureux and opened November 14. Crazy For You, a Tony-award winning tap show with a compilation of music by Gershwin, will be the spring musical of 2009. The MCHS Drama Department also attends theater festivals to compete against other schools with scenes and other "teams." The department is headed by Ms. Carol Mathews.

Cheer Team

The Spirit Program is run by head coach Jay Watson and assistant coach Maria Crawford. The team consists of both JV and Varsity Cheerleading Squads and, new for 2010–2011, Songleading Squad. The Spirit Program promotes school spirit by attending the JV and Varsity games for the Football, Girls' and boys' volleyball, Girls' and Boys' basketball, and other Sports on campus. The cheerleaders practice daily after school and during 6th period. Cheerleading is one of the few all-year activities at Mira Costa.

Dance Team

The Mira Costa Dance Team is a varsity team. They perform at football games, basketball games, competitions and pep rallies. The dance team is currently made up of 15 girls. The dance team practices in the Mira Costa cafeteria during sixth period and has won many awards for its excellence and professionalism, including a first place for their pom routine at a regional competition this year.

Mira Costa Key Club

The Mira Costa Key Club is a community service club that is the High School subsidiary of the Mira Costa Kiwanis. The Key Club does many activities throughout the year, from beach clean ups, fundraiser event for various causes and feeding the homeless.The key club also helps run the kiddie corner of the Manhattan Beach Home Town Fair, each year. The Key Club advisor is Lisa Claypoole, teacher at Mira Costa as well as member of Hermosa Beach School Board.

La Vista

Mira Costa's newspaper has been an active organization on campus since the school's creation in 1950. Students in the journalism program are encouraged to take the Journalism 1–2 class to learn the basics of writing news, opinion, entertainment, features and sports stories, as well as how to use InDesign and Photoshop.

The newspaper is published 11 times during the year (every three weeks) and has 20 pages. It is distributed to the entire student body of Mira Costa as well as several hundred subscribers. La Vista pays for itself through a lab fee, advertisements and subscriptions.

The paper always contains a centerspread "theme" page, a staff editorial, a note from one or both editors-in-chief, a satirical "top ten" and a sports column.

The newspaper has consistently won silver and gold awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association since 1980. La Vista is well-known for breaking the story of Coach Thomas Wallace's sexual misconduct, which resulted in his serving prison time for sexually abusing two 15-year-old Mira Costa students.

La Vista has two editors-in-chief, Adam Robak and Leo Shaw; one managing editor, Trevor Thorpe and one copy editor Laura Vaughn; and one teacher advisor, Michael McAvin.

La Vista recently launched a website.

Mustang Morning News

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 podcast on the official website. Founded by adviser and Media Arts Teacher Michael Hernandez in 1999, 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 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier standard).

The staff are members of national journalism organizations such as the National Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association and Student Television Network. They travel to and compete at national conventions sponsored by these groups, and have won multiple awards for their work. Adviser Michael Hernandez has presented seminars and acted as a judge at these conventions, and is also an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Alumni of the program have achieved success at the collegiate level and beyond. Graduates 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, recently won MTV's Best Filmmaker on Campus 2008. Andrew Ceperley, class of 2004, directed and photographed a number of short films for Paramount Pictures' Blu-ray release of the "Friday the 13th" film series in 2008 and 2009.[5]

Distinguished Teachers

In 2000, Marilyn Jachetti Whirry, Ph.D., (January 12, 1935 – September 2, 2005) a 12th grade English teacher was selected as the National Teacher of the Year.[6] Dr. Whirry had taught at Mira Costa in the 1958-59 academic year, and then between 1967 through 2000.

In September 2010, U.S. history teacher Bill Fauver was honored as one of Los Angeles Country's Teachers of the Year, for the school year 2010-2011.[7] Since he began teaching at Mira Costa in 1986, Fauver has served as vice principal, yearbook adviser, chair of the history department. He organized the first annual Scholar Quiz competition, served served as academic decathlon coach, and coaches junior varsity golf.

Sports Ranked 11th in the Nation by ESPN

Fall sports

  • Girls' Volleyball (ranked #1 in the country by USA Today from 2004 to 2008)[citation needed]
  • Cheerleading
  • Girls and boys' track
  • Girls' Golf (2005 CIF SS Champions)
  • Girls' Cross Country(ranked second in state and 7th in country)
  • Boys' Cross Country (ranked #856 in the country by USA Today from 2005 to 2007)[citation needed]
  • 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)
  • Equestrian Team (new for 2007).

Winter sports

  • Wrestling
  • Cheerleading
  • Girls' and boys' Track
  • Girls' Basketball
  • Boys' Basketball
  • Girls' Soccer
  • Boys' Soccer
  • Girls' Water Polo
  • Marching band
  • Color Guard/ Winterguard
  • Equestrian Team (new for 2007)

Spring sports

  • Baseball
  • Girls' Track
  • Boys' Track
  • Softball
  • Cheerlading
  • 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
  • Equestrian Team (new for 2007)
  • Competition Cheer
  • Surfing
  • Boys Water polo
  • Interpretive Dancing
  • stick Twirling

Musical groups/artists

Notable alumni

In television & film

Mira Costa High School is a common filming location for the popular television series "The O.C."[14] and

CSI: Miami.[15] In 1981 portions of the film "Midnight Offerings"IMDb starring Melissa Sue Anderson were filmed on the campus. In 1979 many students, most notably members of the football team attired in their green and gold uniforms, were included as extras in the film Rock 'n' Roll High School. Recently, 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 using the pool and members of the varsity swim team were used as extras.


The newly built Administration Building.


  • Indoor gym
  • Swimming pool Outdoor
  • FieldTurf Football Field
  • All-weather track
  • 2 Weight training facilities
  • Volleyball Courts
  • 2 baseball fields
  • 2 soccer fields
  • 10 tennis courts


  • Video production facilities (Room 108)
    • Macintosh laboratory
    • Video editing stations
    • Broadcast studio
  • Darkroom (Room 101)
  • Ceramics (Room 107)
    • Ten throwing wheels
    • Electric, gas, and raku kilns
  • Fine arts facilities
  • Digital media
  • Band room (Room 2)
  • Choir room (room RG-16)
  • Orchestra room (Room 109)
  • Drama room (Room 1)
  • Auditorium

Vocational shops and other resources

  • Wood shop
  • Library
  • College and Career Center
  • Photography Laboratory
  • Language Lab (Room 49)
  • La Vista Room (Room 6)
  • Music Theory Room (Room RG16)


  1. ^ Mira Costa High School - Teaching Staff Directory
  2. ^ a b c d Mira Costa High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed January 5, 2007.
  3. ^ North Redondo Beach attendance agreement
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ http://fridaythe13thfilms.com/blog/lost-tales-from-camp-blood-director-andrew-ceperley-speaks/
  6. ^ http://www.ccsso.org/projects/National_Teacher_of_the_Year/National_Teachers/156.cfm CCSSO: 2000 National Teacher of the Year
  7. ^ [2], Manhattan Beach Unified School District. Accessed June 26, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Spurrier, Jeff. "DESCENDENTS HANG OUT IN NEVER-NEVER LAND", Los Angeles Times, January 5, 1986. Accessed January 10, 2008.
  9. ^ Fletcher Dragge at IMDB.com. Accessed February 26, 2008.
  10. ^ Eric Fonoimoana - Profile, Beach Volleyball Database, accessed 8 January 2008
  11. ^ at IMDB.com. Accessed February 26, 2008.
  12. ^ 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."
  13. ^ 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."
  14. ^ The O.C. Filming Locations
  15. ^ http://www.us.imdb.com/title/tt0362359/locations Filming Locations of The O.C. and CSI

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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