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San Dieguito Academy

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Title: San Dieguito Academy  
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Subject: Encinitas, California, Eddie Vedder, San Dieguito Union High School District, Tom Dempsey, Carl Chang (tennis)
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San Dieguito Academy

San Dieguito Academy
Encinitas, California, United States
Type Public
Established 1936
School district San Dieguito Union High School District
Principal Bjorn Paige
Faculty 115
Enrollment 1,584
Color(s) Navy blue and white
Mascot Mustang
Newspaper The Mustang
Yearbook The Hoofprint
Historic Mustangs signboard before it was removed in 2013
Student store

San Dieguito High School Academy, originally known as San Dieguito Union High School and San Dieguito High School, is a high school in the San Dieguito Union High School District in Encinitas, California, San Diego County, which was established in 1936.[1]


  • General information 1
  • History 2
  • Athletics 3
  • Academic Teams 4
    • Mustang Minds 4.1
    • Controversial Issues Forum 4.2
      • Varsity Quiz Bowl Team 4.2.1
      • Mustang Mind Teams 4.2.2
    • Robotics 4.3
    • ComedySportz 4.4
    • Speech and Debate Team 4.5
    • Debate 4.6
    • Speech 4.7
    • Thespians 4.8
  • Notable faculty 5
  • Notable alumni 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

General information

1,584 students were enrolled at San Dieguito High School Academy in the 2013-2014 school year with a senior class of over 350 students.[2] The pupil-teacher ratio is 27:1. [3] The average SAT score in 2013-2014 was 1840 and the average ACT score was 27.[4] The student body is 71% Caucasian, 21% Hispanic, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 2% other.[5]


The school was founded in 1936 as the first public high school within the new San Dieguito Union High School District, educating students in grades 8 through 12.[6]

As the campus had not yet been built when school started September 14, 1936, students attended classes in tents.

In 1996 San Dieguito High School was re-designed as a "school of choice" and renamed San Dieguito High School Academy to offer a student centered environment for a maximum of 1,450 students. [7]

All students living within the district may enroll at either La Costa Canyon High School or Torrey Pines High School within their attendance areas, but they are also eligible to attend San Dieguito Academy and Canyon Crest Academy, both of which are designed to be "schools of choice." Typically, more students apply than there are available spaces, so a lottery of applicants is conducted to determine who may attend. New students with siblings that already attend SDA are automatically enrolled to the school.

One hallmark of a San Dieguito Union High School District academy is a "4x4" class schedule as opposed to a more traditional "rotating block schedule" schedule. This means that students may take four 90-minute classes every day during an 18-week course, completing eight classes (80 credits) a year.

In 1998, the school had roughly 1000 students, and by 2002, had 1500 (population limits of district high schools and academies are required to grow relative to the district). Fall 2003 enrollment was 1462.


San Dieguito Academy is a CIF Division II school and a member of the Coastal Conference; student athletes may participate in 18 varsity/junior varsity level sports.[8]

From 1936 to 1995, football was a strong tradition at San Dieguito, but has not been played as a team sport on campus since the school became a district school of choice. At that time, the football team moved to the newly opened La Costa Canyon High School. Now the homecoming festivities center around an annual flag football game: the faculty vs. the students.

The Mustang Surf Team won the Red Bull High School Cup in 2007. The surf team also won the 2007 National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Championships that same year.

Academic Teams

SDA’s Academic Teams include Mustang Minds, Robotics and Speech and Debate. All Teams have competed at local, state, and national levels. 2010/11 School Year, SDA's Academic Teams comprise close to 150 enthusiastic SDA students. In the past two years, all teams have competed in their respective national events at least once with strong results.

SDA's Academic teams rely mostly on donated resources facilitated by the San Dieguito Academy Foundation (SDAF) Academic Council. The Academic Council meets the 4th Monday of the Month, at 6:30 p.m. at SDA in Building B’s Conference Room. Anyone is invited.

Mustang Minds

SDA’s Academic League Teams include a Varsity Quiz Bowl Team and Mustang Mind Teams led by Mr. Huntley that compete in quiz bowl style matches and tournaments. Quiz bowl style matches are team-based and fast-paced, Jeopardy-style competition that includes answering knowledge based questions via a lock-out buzzer system. Questions span multiple disciplines including history, art, math, literature, social sciences, science, world languages, mythology, philosophy, and current events.

Controversial Issues Forum

SDA's Controversial Issues Forum talks about issues that are trending in current news. The group was started in 2010 by a handful of students interested in generating interest in global issues. The Forum was national ranked for its attendance numbers by the think-tank, Trending Issues Now, located in Washington D.C.

Varsity Quiz Bowl Team

Varsity Quiz Bowl Team consists of SDA Seniors that compete in Tournaments throughout Southern California as part of the National Academic Quiz Team (NAQT). SDA’s team has been nationally ranked qualifying for the NAQT-High School Championship Tournament and PACE –High School Championship Tournament.

Mustang Mind Teams

Mustang Minds has three teams: Freshman, Junior Varsity, and Varsity Teams. Mustang Mind Teams compete in the Coast League Division, a member of the North County Academic League (N.C.A.L). N.C.A.L. matches are quiz bowl style dedicated to the demonstration of academic competition, scholastic excellence, and educational achievement. High School team matches consist of five active players on each team with player substitutions during timed rounds.


The Robotics team, known as Team Paradox, builds robots for competitions. Every year, the team competes in the FIRST Robotics Competition, which creates a game that requires a specific set of skills for which teams must create a successful robot. The participating teams are then given six weeks to design and build a robot. Competitions are held after this period, leading up to the international championship. Team Paradox is supported by many sponsors, including AFCEA, QUALCOMM Incorporated, SAIC, ViaSatand Nordson ASYMTEK. Team Paradox is FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2102. Click here for Team Paradox's website


San Dieguito Academy, along with surrounding schools, plays host to a competitive student improvisational comedy team. The team has over 30 members, and has found success against rival institutions. While most matches are played by senior members, many of the underclassmen participate in events, camps, and weekly practices to hone their comedic skills in preparation to show their team they can represent their school in a game.

Speech and Debate Team

San Dieguito Academy has a competitive speech and debate team, which competes in multiple activities throughout the season (August to June). The team has been recognized on a national level, and competes at tournaments. The team has won multiple Tournament of Champions(TOC) bids, qualifying a policy debate team to attend the TOC, a tournament of the best debates from around the country.


The SDA debate team primarily focuses on both Policy and Lincoln Douglas (LD) debate. Policy debate emphasizes governmental law, and Lincoln Douglas generally has a greater focus on the morality of laws, role of governments, and extent of individual rights in international relations. Both types of argumentation are divided into two skill levels: Varsity (for those with two or more years of debate experience), and Novice (for first year competitors).


San Dieguito Academy's speech team has received multiple awards and achievements over the past years. Recently, it has become more active in the San Diego Imperial Valley League. In 2010, several SDA students qualified for the California State Championships Tournament. The team competes in a wide variety of events including Impromptu, Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Prose and Poetry, Duo, Dramatic Interpretation, Original Interpretation, and Student Congress and has competed at the following tournaments: CSU Fullerton, Novice Individual Events, and La Costa Canyon Winter Classic. At the Winter Classic many TOC bids were won giving some of the speakers a chance to be nationally recognized.


SDA's thespian troupe #2196 is one of the largest clubs on campus and is renowned state-wide for having to amazingly talented students. The troupe is composed of students of theatre who are especially passionate about performing arts. Every year, the troupe travels to compete in the anual Thespian Festival, where students compete in a variety of categories and go to workshops to improve their craft. In 2015, SDA took home three 1st place wins, more than any other school, and the most students cast in the all-state show. In addition, the 2015 production of Mary Poppins won an NYA (National Youth Arts) award for Best Ensemble, and was nominated for best production. Many individual students also received awards through their involvement in SDA theatre.

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


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External links

  • San Dieguito High School Academy
  • Online School Newspaper, The Mustang
  • Official Site of San Dieguito High School Academy Alumni
  • San Dieguito High School Academy Alumni News
  • San Dieguito High School Academy Foundation
  • Mustang Athletics Site
  • SDA Live TV Production
  • SDA Team Paradox
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