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Torrey Pines High School

Torrey Pines High School
Established 1974
Type Public secondary
Principal David Jaffe
Teaching staff 135
Students 2,715 [1]
Grades 9–12
Location 3710 Del Mar Heights Rd,
San Diego, California, USA
District SDUHSD
Campus Suburban
Colors Cardinal and Gold
Mascot Freddy The Falcon
Rival La Costa Canyon High School and Canyon Crest Academy
Yearbook Freeflight
Newspaper The Falconer

Torrey Pines High School is a high school in the North County Coastal area of San Diego, California. The school is named after the Torrey Pine tree that grows in the area. Torrey Pines High School is a member of the San Dieguito Union High School District and serves the communities of Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Carmel Valley in San Diego county.[2]

Torrey Pines is one of four high schools in its district, the others being San Dieguito Academy, La Costa Canyon High School and Canyon Crest Academy.


  • Academics 1
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Extracurricular activities 4
    • Academic teams 4.1
    • Athletics 4.2
    • Clubs 4.3
    • Mock Trial 4.4
    • Music 4.5
    • Speech and Debate 4.6
    • Publications 4.7
      • The Falconer 4.7.1
      • First Flight 4.7.2
      • FreeFlight 4.7.3
    • Theater 4.8
  • Notable faculty 5
  • Notable alumni 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The school is a three-time National Blue Ribbon School and California Distinguished School. In 2005, Torrey Pines was ranked as one of the 100 Best High Schools in the nation by Newsweek magazine.[3] In 2012, Torrey Pines appeared as 110th and in 2011, as 90th.[4][5] Torrey Pines offers 26 Advanced Placement courses and had a 2012–2013 API score of 895. That same year, Torrey Pines seniors scored an average of 1860 on the SAT I, with 41 and 31 of them being recognized as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists and Finalists respectively.[6]

In December 2006, Torrey Pines received the Claes Nobel School of Distinction Award from the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS)[7]

In 2007, Torrey Pines had numerous students who were designated AP scholars by the College Board. Torrey Pines is well known for AP advanced students.[8] Students at TPHS take 6 classes per year: fewer classes, more instructional minutes per class than the Academy format of other San Dieguito High School District schools. Torrey Pines has block scheduling; students have a total of six classes, alternating three per day for 120 minutes each.

Torrey Pines has also consistently done well at the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, placing many students in 1st or 2nd place. In addition, in 2011, a senior at Torrey Pines High School placed 8th in the Intel Science Talent Search.


Prior to 1936, students in all of coastal North County went to high school in Oceanside, California.

In 1936, the San Dieguito Union High School District was created and San Dieguito High School in Encinitas opened to serve students living in Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Olivenhain, Cardiff, Encinitas and Leucadia. It remained the only high school in the district until Torrey Pines High School opened in 1974.

Based on the large amount of growth in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as projected growth in the area, it was determined that a second high school was needed. At the time, San Dieguito High School and Earl Warren Jr. High School were forced to do double sessions to deal with the shortage of schooling space. Earl Warren at the time also had the ninth grade freshman class attending its school.

In the early 1970s after two defeats, a bond issue placed on the ballot finally passed. A location was chosen at what seemed out-of-the-way at the time; however the location was based on the projected growth of what was then known as “North City West” [9] – commonly known today as Carmel Valley

Torrey Pines High School was built and opened in the fall of 1974. The opening relieved the over-crowding at San Dieguito High School, as well as at Earl Warren Jr. High School. When initially opened, access was from the original alignment of two-lanes only Black Mountain Rd. Later when Del Mar Height Rd was extended east, the access road was modified.

It was considered very modern at the time, being built with an open courtyard, classrooms with no windows, and many of the classrooms had no doors. Another design feature was wide hallways with large carpeted podium-like benches one could sit on. The library (the Media Center) was considered state-of-the-art at the time. It also had its own Black Box Theater.

For all its fanfare, there were some noticeable discrepancies: There was an immediate shortage of classrooms – portable classrooms had to be brought in; there was a shortage of lockers, students had to double or triple up; there was no food service building – instead a bank of vending machines provided the only source of lunch items. Finally, there was no football stadium; games were played at San Dieguito High School.

In the 1980s, the school was expanded: the building containing the Media Center was expanded towards Del Mar Heights Rd, creating rooms 41 – 62; a new parking/bus/student drop-off area was added; a football stadium built; the original portable classrooms were converted to a weight room and other sport-related uses; and the original black box theater is now used as a lecture hall (with a second black box theater, a converted machine shop, being added in the Arts building). In 2003, Building E and G were built. Furthermore, stairs were added leading up to the main building at this time. During the summer of 2008, more stairs were constructed which lead from the parking lot nearest Del Mar Heights Road to the English building in response to students running down the hill instead of using the stairs.[10][11]


Torrey Pines High School has a primarily Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic student body.[12] Students from the districts of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe school districts, with the exception of the area north of Escondido Creek in the Rancho Santa Fe School are eligible to attend.[13]

The student body is largely reflective of the surrounding area of Torrey Pines, characterized mainly by a high level of affluence; many adults in the area are married, the median household income is roughly $109,467,[14] although 5% of the students qualify for the free lunch program.[15] Most adults in the area are educated, and a strong majority have either a Bachelor's or a Professional/Graduate degree.[16]

Extracurricular activities

Academic teams

Torrey Pines High School's academic teams include Speech and Debate, Academic League, Quizbowl, and Science Olympiad. Approximately 100 students participate in Speech and Debate, 90 in Science Olympiad, and 35 in Academic Team. In the 2009-2010 school year, Torrey Pines High School placed 7th at the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence National Quizbowl tournament and 7th at the HSNCT Nationals tournament. In the 2013-2014 school year, the TPHS Academic Team had 10 Freshmen Team members, 16 JV Team members, and 6 Varsity Team members.


Torrey Pines is a long-standing athletic powerhouse of the Palomar league. Notable programs include Football, Wrestling, Basketball, Men's and Women's Volleyball, Softball, Cross Country, Cheerleading, Tennis, Track & Field, Soccer, Golf, Gymnastics, Baseball, Lacrosse, Swimming and Water Polo. On October 11, 2007, Torrey Pines football was featured in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.[17] Fall sports are: Cross country, Girls golf, Boys water polo, Field hockey, Football, Girls Tennis, and Girls Volleyball. Winter sports are: Basketball, Soccer, Girls Water polo, and Wrestling. Spring sports are: Baseball, Softball, Boys Golf, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Swimming, Boys Tennis, Track and Field, and Boys Volleyball.


As of February 28, 2006, Torrey Pines High School has 116 Associated Student Body sponsored clubs.[18]

A few of these clubs have websites, available at

The school offers a club day around the end of September in which students are shown the meaning and aspects of various clubs. Clubs range from community service and art to theater and religion. Students are allowed to start their own clubs as well.

Mock Trial

Torrey Pines High School has had a Mock Trial team for the past six years. The team competes in the annual San Diego County Mock Trial Competition, hosted by the San Diego County Bar Association. Each year, a fictional case is created by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.[19] Schools all over California compete in their respective counties to hopefully advance to the State Final competition hosted by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. In the 2013 competition season, Torrey Pines High School placed first in the San Diego County competition.[20] The team requires all interested participants to try out for a role on the team.


Torrey Pines has a large and growing music program, including two orchestras, a Wind Ensemble, a Symphonic Band, and a Jazz Band. These groups win numerous awards each year at competitions throughout California. Bands receive a Superior rating on average at each competition that they compete in. At each home football game, the Bands and "drumline" (which no longer meets) used to combine to form "pep band," a band that performs short pieces between plays and after touchdowns. The "drumline" also performed at each home basketball game. In 2012, Symphonic Band received an excellent while Wind Ensemble received a Superior at both competitions. The TPHS Advanced Orchestra has been rated #1 in Southern California since 2008. Amy Gelb, Music Director, has been at the school since 2004.

Speech and Debate

The evolving Speech and Debate team has over 100 members in various events such as Congress, Lincoln-Douglas debate, and Parliamentary debate.In 2005, Public Forum debaters competed in the final round of the nationally ranked Tournament of Champions.[21] In 2012, the team qualified students to the TOC, the state championships, and NFL Nationals.[22] More recently,the rising Torrey Pines Lincoln-Douglas Debate team has been making its mark at both local and invitational tournaments.


The Falconer

The Falconer is the school newspaper. It placed first in the 1984 JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Diego and again in March 1999 at the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Phoenix. It placed first once again at the 2009 JEA/NSPA Convention and received a Pacemaker Award at the 2010 convention in Kansas City, Missouri.[23][24] It also placed first at the spring 2012 JEA/NSPA Convention in Seattle, Washington.[25] A new issue is put out at the end of each month. All articles are written, photos are taken and graphics are made by the staff of the Falconer. Mia Boardman Smith is the current adviser to the staff. The Falconer receives no school funding, and instead relies on money from advertisers the staff members find.

The newspaper features News, Opinion, Entertainment, Feature, Sports, and Focus sections, specializing on different topics in their field from issue to issue. The back page of every issue is a satirical page written by staff members.

First Flight

First Flight is the school literary magazine. Its 2005–2006 edition placed first in the 2006 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Chicago, Illinois and the 2006–2007 edition won first place Best in Show at the 2007 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.[26][27] First Flight again won first place Best in Show at the 2010 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. Mia Boardman Smith is the faculty adviser.


FreeFlight is the school yearbook. Mia Boardman Smith is the adviser. Freeflight 2006–2007 yearbook with the theme of IMPACT placed 4th at the JEA/NSPA National Convention in the Spring of 2008 in Anaheim, CA and Freeflight 2007–2008 yearbook with the theme of LAYERS placed 3rd at the JEA/NSPA National Convention in the Spring of 2009 in Phoenix, AZ.


The Torrey Pines black box theater program (TP Players), under the directorship of Marinee Payne, is widely recognized for achievements in the theatrical field. It received awards for best play in the region from the California Educational Theater Association for Metamorphosis in 2003 and Inherit the Wind in 2005.[28] TP Players performed at the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in the summers of 2006 and 2009.[29]

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


  1. ^ Torrey Pines High School School Profile 2008
  2. ^ SDUHSD Attendance Boundaries
  3. ^ Newsweek: The 100 Best High Schools in California in that year
  4. ^ America’s Best High Schools 2012
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c "Monthly Update December 2006 – A publication of The National Society of High School Scholars". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ North San Diego County School News Briefs: TPHS students earn AP Scholar Awards, North County Times, November 6, 2007.
  9. ^ North City West Study Area Map.pdf
  10. ^ 50 year history
  11. ^ TPHS Expansion
  12. ^ Schoolfinder
  13. ^
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ Schooldigger
  16. ^ Zip Skinny 92130
  17. ^ Falcons Athletics
  18. ^ ASB Sponsored Clubs (2005–2006)
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "PAST WINNERS". 
  22. ^ "TPHS flexed its academic muscles in 2012". June 30, 2012. 
  23. ^ NSPA Best of Show Winners
  24. ^ [3]
  25. ^ "NSPA Best of Show Winners". National Scholastic Press Association. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  26. ^ NSPA Best of Show Winners, 2006 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention
  27. ^ NSPA Best of Show Winners, 2007 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention
  28. ^ Torrey Pines Players Online – Fringe 2006
  29. ^ Torrey Pines Players Online – Fringe 2006
  30. ^ John Allred Past Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards –
  31. ^ NBA Development League: Rod Benson Playerfile
  32. ^ Rachel Buehler biography, Official site of U.S. Soccer
  33. ^ Chris Dudley Statistics –
  34. ^ Epstein at
  35. ^ "Del Mar's Own Taro Gold". The Del Mar Times (Main Street Communications). November 2005. pp. 11–12. 
  36. ^ Yamaguchi, Miyuki (May 3, 2009). "A Golden Renaissance". Seikyo Press. Retrieved November 4, 2013. 
  37. ^ Tony Hawk bio
  38. ^ Frank, Jeff (March 9, 2009). "Neighbors: Singer-songwriter ready for the spotlight". Local News – Neighbors. North County Times. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  39. ^ Players page at
  40. ^ Torrey Pines High School, Freeflight 1983-'84: You Ought to Be in Pictures, (Del Mar: Torrey Pines High School, 1984)
  41. ^ Stanford info
  42. ^ a b Prince dies in tsunami, was grad of Torrey Pines | The San Diego Union-Tribune
  43. ^ SDHOC
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ John Lynch Foundation
  47. ^ Scot Pollard at HoopsHype
  48. ^ TheMusicEdge
  49. ^ The Encyclopedia of Surfing
  50. ^ [4]
  51. ^ Ranch & Coast, August 2008, pg. 102.
  52. ^
  53. ^ AVP

External links

  • Torrey Pines High School official website
  • San Dieguito Union High School District official website
  • Torrey Pines Music Department
  • Falconium Science Journal
  • TP Players Theatre
  • TPHS Football
  • TPHS Waterpolo
  • Torrey Pines Field Hockey
  • Torrey Pines Girls' Lacrosse
  • Torrey Pines Cross Country
  • Torrey Pines Girls' Golf

Preceded by
Booker T. Washington High School
National Academic Championship champion
Succeeded by
East Brunswick High School
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