Tesoro High School

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Tesoro High School
Tesoro High School Logo.svg
1 Tesoro Creek Road
Las Flores, California 92688
United States
Coordinates 33°34′52″N 117°36′45″W / 33.58109°N 117.6125°W / 33.58109; -117.6125Coordinates: 33°34′52″N 117°36′45″W / 33.58109°N 117.6125°W / 33.58109; -117.6125
Type Public High School
Motto "Wisdom, Strength & Honor"
Established 2001
School district Capistrano Unified School District
Principal Bill Mocnik
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 2,355 (2014-15)[1]
Scarlet, White, Navy blue[2]
Athletics conference CIF-SS; South Coast League
Team name Titans
Newspaper Tesoro Tribune
Yearbook Titanium

Tesoro High School is a public school in southern Orange County area of Las Flores, California. Established in the fall of 2001, Tesoro is 1 of 6 regular high schools in the Capistrano Unified School District. As of the 2014–2015 year, Tesoro serves nearly 2500 students in grades 9–12. Students attending Tesoro are within the cities of Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores, Ladera Ranch, Coto de Caza and Mission Viejo.


Tesoro is a California Distinguished School.

In 2013, Newsweek's "America's Top Public High Schools" feature ranked Tesoro as number 337 out of the 1,300 top high schools nationwide.[3] This makes it, as of 2013, the highest ranked in the school district. In 2008, Tesoro was the second highest in the district, while in 2007 it was ranked third. In 2015, Tesoro Performing Arts Department (orchestra, band, and choir) was one of the top competitors vying for a Grammy. Now, they are known to be a Grammy Signature School.

The Tesoro High School Chamber Orchestra performed for the State Music Educator's Conference in Sacramento and, along with the Wind Ensemble, performed in Carnegie Hall in April 2007.

Tesoro's choral music department under the leadership of Keith Hancock has also been recognized as one of top choral programs in Southern California, being selected as a 2015 Grammy Signature School for Excellence (one of five in the nation) [4] and having received an invitation to perform at the 2012 and 2016 American Choral Directors Association Western Division Conferences. In 2013, Tesoro's Madrigals performed the world premiere of Un Tesoro Perfecto, by composer Luke Mayernik, at Carnegie Hall in New York. The Tesoro Madrigals won the Golden State South Choral Competition in 2008 and A Cappella won in 2010. In 2005, 2010, and 2011, Tesoro's Barbershop Quartet placed first in the Barbershop Harmony Society Far Western District High School Quartet Championship. The choir has performed extensively throughout Southern California, as well as Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, England, Ireland, and Mexico. The choir has never received less than a superior rating at an adjudicated festival. In 2017, out of more than 3,300 nominations nationwide, choir director Keith Hancock became the recipient of the 2017 Music Educator Award and was named Grammy Educator of the Year, presented by The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation.[5][6]

Tesoro High School's theatre arts department, under the leadership of Cheryl Des Palmes, is recognized as one of the top drama programs in California.[citation needed] In 2004 and 2005, Tesoro High School's theatre arts department won many CAPPIES awards. In 2013, Legally Blonde: The Musical won for Best Musical, Best Orchestra, Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and Best Comedic Actress in a Musical, among some 30 nominations. In 2014, their production of Seussical won for Best Musical, Best Orchestra, and again, Best Comedic Actress in a Musical. Tesoro Theatre Arts also partakes in the Lee Childress MACY Awards each year.[citation needed] The department participates annually in Theatre Festivals including: South Orange County Roleabout, Fullerton Junior College High School Theatre Festival, California Educational Theatre Association's festival, and the Long Beach State High School Theatre Festival.


The Tesoro High School Varsity football team beat Western High School in 2004 to capture their first division title. In 2005, the Titans became Back-To-Back Division IX CIF Champions after beating Northwood High School for the second time that season.

Tesoro was moved into the more competitive South Coast League for sports in the 2006 school year. Although the 2004 and 2005 football teams had beaten several teams from upper division schools, including Dana Hills,[7] Foothill,[8] Kennedy,[9] and Laguna Hills, [10] and the '04 and '05 teams were ranked among the top 10 high school football teams in Orange County,[8][11][12] the team placed last in the league in 2006, after losing key players including Aaron Wilcox, Donald Miller, Josh Williams, Sean Calcagnie, Todd Sciacqua, Jason Johnson, Trevor Lozon, Sam Smith, Garrett Beck and Josh Mitchell from the CIF Championship teams.[13]

However, in its second season in Division I the Titan football team captured the South Coast League Championship, going undefeated in league play in 2007, and defeating both Mission Viejo and San Clemente.[14] Today, their football head coach is Matt Poston.

2007 - Official Tesoro High School Baseball Website In Baseball, Tesoro finished 2nd after Capo Valley in the South Coast League with a 17-10 record and 10-5 in league. Tesoro lost in the first round of CIF playoffs to Mater Dei. For the 2007 season,

2013-2017 In Track and Field,- Tesoro boys have qualified for the CIF Finals. Ryan Bush (800m), Christian Wehrli (3200m), Bryson Crites (3200m), and

(Carter Christman 3200m) and CIF State Championships Michael Mitchell (Long Jump),

Girls' Tennis won South Coast in 2006 and ended the season ranked in the OC top ten.

In 2004, The Tesoro Women's soccer team captured their first CIF victory with a 1-0 win over Buena High School. Again In 2006, the Tesoro High School Girls' Varsity Soccer team tied with San Marcos High School to split the Division II Championship.

Tesoro High School Aquatics also has a trophy-winning Swim Team and Men's and Women's Water Polo as part of its water sports program. Girls' water polo made it to the 2007 SS-CIF playoffs in division II. This was the first year Tesoro Girls' water polo team has made it to CIF.

Tesoro High School Aquatics The Women's Swim Team, led by Coach Todd Conrad, are undefeated in 4 years (2014-2017) of South Coast League action resulting in 4 straight League titles. Over that period the "Lady Titans's" CIF rankings have improved each year from 8th in 2014, 3rd in 2015, 3rd in 2016 and runner up in 2017 making Tesoro the highest ranked public high school in Southern Califorina. In 2016, the Lady Titans team are ranked number one in Orange County, beating their number one opponent, Santa Margarita Catholic High School at the Capo Relays. Notable CIF swimmers over that period include Mandy Barnes (Class of 2015), Jami Hwang (2017), Dominque Gray (2017), Victoria Epps (2017), Rhys Empey (2017), 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier and All American Jessica Epps (2018), Emily Baker (2018), Ashley Joe (2018), Malia Mills(2020), Lauren Stevens (2020).

2011- 2017 The men's cross country team have qualified for CIF SS Finals 7 years in a row. In 2013 and 2014 Tesoro men have qualified for CIF State Championships.

The girls' volleyball team placed fifth in league in the 2007 season going 3-7.

The girls' tennis team continued to be a top team, placing second in league for the 2007 season.

The 2008-2009 school year brought many returns for sports teams at Tesoro. Varsity football became the South Coast League champions, for the second year in the row. To get there, they had to beat their rivals from Mission Viejo High School for the second year in a row. They went on to make it to the CIF Southern Section championship game at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and lost to Long Beach Polytechnic High School.

In 2009, Tesoro High School saw probably their best freshmen class ever. The team went 10-0 and won the South Coast League Title for freshmen. A highlight of that season is their 56-6 win over San Clemente High School.

The 2009 season also brought in many freshman for the Girls' Varsity Cross Country Team. The freshman team won the Laguna Hills Invitational and placed second to Great Oak High School. The varsity team also placed first at Woodbridge and Mt. Sac. For the first time in the school's history, the team advanced on to CIF prelims with an at large spot and qualified for CIF finals.

The 2009 varsity basketball team also had an amazing season. They became the South Coast League champions, and also went to the CIF Southern Section championship game at the Honda Center where they beat Ventura High School. They went on to the second round of the state championship where they lost to Martin Luther King High School.


According to the California Department of Education Policy and Evaluation Division, Tesoro High School's 2008 API score was 836, a 21-point growth from 2007 which was 815.[15] There were 2071 students included in this API score.


Tesoro is the second newest high school in CUSD. Tesoro opened in 2001 serving Las Flores, Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch, Coto de Caza, and Dove Canyon.

The modern school is built in a canyon at the end of the 241 toll road in between Las Flores and Coto de Caza south of Oso Parkway. The school is about 14 miles (23 km) from the Pacific Ocean.

Tesoro has two baseball fields, aquatics facilities, one softball field, one soccer/football practice field (in one of the baseball field's outfields), eight tennis courts, and a football and track stadium. In 2006, the stadium was upgraded with artificial turf and track to match the other district high schools. Over the summers of 2014 and 2015, a group of Tesoro students painted most of the school hallways, themed by subject and adding a unique, vibrant mood to the walls.

Tesoro High School has 20 portable classrooms that have been placed on what used to be a blacktop and basketball court. This is an attempt to deal with the overcrowding at Tesoro. This is the third lowest amount of portables of the district's high schools after Capistrano Valley and San Juan Hills. Tesoro has 193, 11 square feet (1.0 m2) in permanent buildings and 19, 200 square feet (19 m2) in portable buildings. A two-story building is expected to replace the portables in Fall 2016 or 2017. There is 212, 211 square feet (19.6 m2) in all on the campus.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

In 2009, Tesoro High School's mock trial team won the Constitutional Rights Foundation's Orange County Mock Trial Competition for the first time in school history. The team defeated Woodbridge High School, and proceeded to the state finals competition in San Jose, CA. In 2005 and 2011, they were county finalists, losing to Woodbridge in the finals on both occasions. In 2012, Tesoro's mock trial team once again made it to county finals, but lost to Saddleback Christian Academy.

As of 2014, Tesoro has over 75 clubs, in addition to chapters of the National Honor Society, California Scholarship Federation, and Impact Freshman Transition Program. All extracurricular activities, including dances and graduation, are under the direction of the Associated Student Body.

Notable alumni[edit]

In the media[edit]

In 2005, two star football players, Scott McKnight and Sam Smith, were expelled for writing explicit and graphic death threats that involved sexual actions.[16][17] The students wrote the journals for a class assignment that the teacher, to whom they were referring, collected and then promptly notified school officials.[18]

On June 19, 2008 it was reported that two students, Omar Khan and Tanvir Singh, broke into the school to steal tests and change their own, and others' grades, by hacking into the school's computer network.[19][20][21] Both students were charged with multiple felony violations.


  1. ^ "Tesoro High". NCES. Retrieved September 25, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Tesoro High School Sports Teams". www.maxpreps.com. CBS Sports. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "2013 Newsweek High School Rankings". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
  4. ^ http://www.grammyintheschools.com/features/announcing-2015-grammy-signature-schools
  5. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/articles/hancock-743845-music-students.html
  6. ^ https://www.grammy.com/news/tesoro-high-schools-keith-hancock-named-music-educator-award-recipient
  7. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/ocvarsity/2005/09/24/todaysregister/article_688885.php
  8. ^ a b http://www.ocregister.com/ocvarsity/2005/09/17/todaysregister/article_679927.php
  9. ^ MaxPreps Kennedy High School Boys' Football Fall 04-05
  10. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/ocvarsity/2005/09/10/todaysregister/article_67 0702.php
  11. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/ocvarsity/2005/10/28/todaysregister/article_738107.php
  12. ^ Orange County Register, OC Varsity TOP 10, 11/19/05, 11/15/05, 11/12/05, 11/8/05, 10/25/05, 10/8/05, 9/27/05, 9/24/05, 9/10/05, 9/25/04
  13. ^ Hawley, Robles Earn State Honors, Orange County Register, Sports 1/10/06; Orange County Register OC Varsity, 2005 All-County Football Team, 12/24/05
  14. ^ Sports: Whicker column: Young Barnes making a name for himself | brian, barnes, john, tesoro, coach - OCRegister.com
  15. ^ 2008 Growth Academic Performance Index (API) Report
  16. ^ Sam Miller. "Some journal entries by 2 Tesoro students focused on violence". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  17. ^ Dave Lopez. "CIF: If Suspended Students Play, Games Forfeited". KCAL-TV 9 CBS. Archived from the original on May 28, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  18. ^ "High School Athletes Accused Of Death Threats Face Suspension". KNBC 4 TV. Archived from the original on November 25, 2005. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  19. ^ "California Teenagers Face Prison for Hacking Into School Computers". Fox News. 2008-06-20. 
  20. ^ News: Teens accused of crimes to change grades appeared poised for success | singh, school, khan, high, today - OCRegister.com
  21. ^ Fox News (PDF) http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/khan_singh_complaint.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]