- Mira Loma High School
Mira Loma High SchoolFile:Logo-miraloma1.jpg Location Sacramento, California, Sacramento County, 95821
Information Type Public Magnet School Established 1960 School district San Juan Unified School District Principal Richard Nichols Faculty 81 Grades 9–12 Number of students 1,817 Student to teacher ratio 22.4 Color(s) Scarlet red & Columbia blue Mascot Matadors Newspaper 'The Matador Capers' Yearbook 'Recuerdos' Athletic Conference Capital League Website 
Mira Loma High School is a public high school located in Sacramento, California, United States. It is the one of the most reputable and best high schools in Sacramento, consistently being ranked as one of the best schools in the area. It is a part of the San Juan Unified School District with a student body of approximately 1800 students. Mira Loma High School has been an IB World School since 1989, and is the largest International Baccalaureate program in Northern California. Mira Loma also achieves consistently high pass rates for IB exams. According to Mira Loma, in 1996–1997 the school had a pass rate of 93%, with a 100% diploma attainment rate for students. In 2007–2008 the pass rate was 93% with a 100% diploma attainment rate. Both statistics are well above both the North American average (78%) and the world average (81%) for diploma attainment. Mira Loma has encouraged implementation of the International Baccalaureate program in other school districts with noted success. Winston Churchill Middle School began offering the Middle Years Program in 2000, and Granite Bay High School in the Roseville Joint Unified School District was authorized as an IB World School in 2008.
Mira Loma High School is held in extremely high regard locally and nationally, being the highest ranked high school in the Sacramento area: Mira Loma High School was ranked in the top 250 high schools in the United States by Newsweek in 2004. This statistic has increased since 2003 when it was ranked in the top 300 schools. As of 2008, Mira Loma is ranked 225th in the nation under Newsweek's scale.
The Dance/Drill Team
The Mira Loma Dance/Drill Team won 1st place at the USA Dance/Drill Nationals 2011. The team won 1st place at regional competitions in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
The Arcade Creek Project
The Mira Loma Arcade Creek Project is a highly-recognized ongoing study of the riparian corridor of an urban watershed in Sacramento, California. It consists of eleven studies which measure the health of the Arcade Creek and is run entirely by students of Mira Loma High School and five faculty advisers. The project has received many awards and recognitions including the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award. In 2010, the project was awarded with $10,000 from the National Sea World/ Busch Gardens' Environmental Excellence Award.
Mira Loma students compete both nationally and locally for various prestigious scholarships. Mira Lomans have received The Frank H. Buck Scholarship, Schwab Rosenhouse Scholarship, Bank of America Scholarship, Regents, Chancellor's and Alumni Scholarships to the University of California, the President's Scholarship to various universities, Independent scholarships and grants to many universities, and Appointments to U.S. Military Academies including the United States Military Academy at West Point. Mira Loma holds the distinction of having the largest number of Frank H. Buck Scholarship recipients of the high schools in the 6 county area from which the foundation accepts applications, with 18 Buck scholarship recipients.
Mira Loma has several consistently strong academic teams. The Mira Loma Science Olympiad team has won the Northern California State Competition and gone to the National Science Olympiad Tournaments for the last four years, placing their highest (at 6th place) in 2006. Mira Loma placed 10th in the national competition in 2009 and 9th in 2010.
The Mira Loma National Science Bowl team (consisting of a group of students that answer gameshow-style questions on science and mathematics) has competed at the national level a record fourteen times. Mira Loma's teams have also won 14 of the past 20 Sacramento Regional Science Bowls. In 2007, the Mira Loma team placed 9th in the nation. In 2008, the team became the youngest from Mira Loma to attend national competition where they placed 2nd. In 2009, Mira Loma attended the national competition again and placed 1st in the nation. Mira Loma's success continued in 2010 when they placed 2nd in the nation, and in 2011, when they again took home the national championship. Mira Loma also shares a partnership with Intel through their PC Pals program.
Mira Loma High School has placed in the following competitions: CSUS Computer Science competition, American High School Mathematics Examination, California Mathematics League, Mathletes, National Society of Black Engineers competition, and its SAT Math scores are the highest in the San Juan Unified School District. Mira Loma also holds the annual AMC (American Mathematics Competition) and the AIME (American Invitational Mathematics Examination)
Mira Loma's Mathletes team won the 2009 Regional Finals at the CSUS Grand Meet.
The Mira Loma Art Department is currently contributing to campus beautification by creating murals throughout the campus and creating a promotional video for the school. In recent years, Mira Loma students have exhibited at the Phantom Gallery during Sacramento's celebrated Second Saturday Art Fair, the Department of Agriculture, Sacramento International Airport, Sacramento Fine Arts Gallery, Mesa Verde Art Gallery, Crocker Art Museum, American River College, IB Headquarters in Cardiff, Wales, and California State University, Sacramento. Mira Loma students consistently receive Summer scholarships for the California Institute of the Arts, and have been awarded the following honors: Film Festival Student Award, Illustrator's Award, Watercolor Scholarships, and Best of Show at the California State Fair. In 2009 Mira Loma students were published in Arts & Activities Magazine, the leading arts education magazine in the nation. In 2008, IB/IS/MYP Visual Arts teacher Alison Stiles (2006 San Juan Unified Teacher of the Year and 2006 Sacramento County Teacher of the Year) was awarded a grant from Visual Art Technology used to incorporate modern technology and resources with teaching. In 2008 Mira Loma participated in the recycled art STARS program with great success.
Mira Loma's drama department regularly sells out its seasonal productions. The department is currently run by teachers Nicole Schallig-Weil (IB Theatre) and Doniel Soto (Advanced Drama). Doniel Soto is former California State University, Sacramento theatre and dance professor, founder of Abandon Productions and The Space in downtown Sacramento. Nicole Schallig-Weil holds an MFA in design from UC Davis and has designed/directed with such companies as Sacramento Theatre Company, Napa Shakespeare Festival, UC Davis and the California Shakespeare Festival. The drama department's recent reinvention of Macbeth, titled Macbeth, received glowing reviews from many sources, including Marcus Crowder of the media blog 21Q, who called the production "...the kind of stuff that makes you gasp and laugh at the sheer audacity, ingenuity and artistry of it." Mira Loma has also received the Mari Carson IB Theatre Arts Award, awards for Directing and Acting at the Lincoln Festival and scholarships for acting, 1st place awards for directing, writing and acting at the San Juan Theater Festival, and distinguished acting awards at the Lenaea Theatre Festival at Sacramento State University.
Mira Loma theatre program, under the direction of Ms. Weil, has been selected to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest and most prestigious arts festival, as part of the American High School Theatre Festival (AHSTF). The Fringe Festival includes over 2,000 different performances of music, theatre, dance, and comedy during its three-week run. Mira Loma High School's performance will be showcased at the AHSTF venue in Edinburgh in August, 2011. Mira Loma Theatre was selected by the American High School Theatre Festival Board of Advisors, made up of college theatre professionals, to represent the country as part of the 2011 AHSTF program. The Board reviews all completed applications and identifies the top high schools based on their most recent bodies of work, awards, community involvement, philosophies, and recommendations. This season, Mira Loma was one in 48 schools across the nation invited to participate out of 1,500 applicants.
The very first non-New York production of 'One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest', was staged at Mira Loma High School, in 1968. This production was able to be staged due to the then Drama Coach at Mira Loma High,Ken Monaghan, having been a college roommate of Ken Kesey`s. The production was the original, full three act Broadway version, which was staged as the first 'full immersion' 'theater in the round' production, (as far as we knew at the time), in California. The cast included all the original non-speaking inmate roles, who were placed in among the audience, with the entire space including the setting for the audience, being part of the hospital ward room.The space used, was the actual Drama classroom and stage,fully decorated as the hospital ward room, with the audience members sitting in the midst of the action. This production was directed by Kenneth Monaghan. The famous 'dream sequences' were accomplished with classic type 1960`s oil and water light show visuals, plus slide and film projections. The highlight of this first off-Broadway revival of Cuckoos Nest, was the appearance at the show one night in the audience of Ken Kesey and members of the Merry Pranksters. Every night during the show, a member of the audience was grabbed by 'orderlies' and then wrapped in a straight jacket and hauled out of the room, along with the two principal characters in the play. On that night Ken Kesey was so targeted and hauled off stage. The writer of this note for the Mira Loma Wikipedia Drama page, played the part of one of those orderlies.
Speech and debate
In 2007, Mira Loma sent a member of its Speech and Debate team to the National Forensics League National Tournament in National Extemporaneous Speaking. In 2008, Mira Loma sent a Public Forum team to the NFL tournament. Also in 2008, at the California State Tournament, Mira Loma had two students reach the Finals of Impromptu Speaking, placing 2nd and 5th. Mira Loma also took second place in Public Forum Debate of the 32 team pool at States.
In 2009, Mira Loma surpassed Granite Bay High School as leaders of the Sacramento Valley Forensics League. The team sent 21 students to the State Tournament, as well as 6 to the NFL National Tournament.
National History Day
Mira Loma has developed a strong National History Day team, sending several teams to the state competition regularly as well as the national competition. In 2006, a Mira Loma team competed in the Senior Documentary category and won 3rd place in the nation. In 2007, two Mira Loma teams reached the California State Finals in the Senior Documentary category and one advanced to nationals. In 2008, Mira Loma sent 3 Senior Documentary teams to the state competition as well as a number of other teams from Senior Website, Senior Dramatic Performance, and Senior Historical Paper. The Senior Documentary team went on to win 11th in the nation.
Future Business Leaders of America
Mira Loma is known for its thriving FBLA club, which frequently ranks at local, state, and national levels. Recently, competitors placed first in Marketing, Business Law, Personal Finance, and Business Math in 2009, and ranked in Business Calculations, Business Communication, and in the Entrepreneurship Team event.
Mira Loma was awarded a $1000 grant from Business Journal in 1997. In the same year Mira Loma was also one of three schools in the country to pilot the National Retail Federation Retail Readiness Assessment.
In addition to math and science awards, Mira Loma's English department has received both local and national recognition for outstanding creative ability. Individual students have placed 1st and 2nd in the Bill of Rights Essay Contest, the "Write Idea" contest sponsored by The Sacramento Bee, The Sacramento Bee Poetry competition, the Norman Mailer High School and College Writing Award, and an award from the American Scholastic Press Association. Mira Loma's literary magazine, Prisms has received the prestigious Norman Mailer High School and College Writing Award as well.
Mira Loma's yearbook, Recuerdos received the Norman Mailer High School and College Writing Award multiple times, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Award, and a writing contest award from The Sacramento Bee newspaper.
International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement
Mira Loma offers a large number of International Baccalaureate courses that prepare students for IB examinations every spring. The IB tests are either Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL) based on the amount of coursework prior to the examination. The following IB examinations were taken by Mira Loma students in 2010:
- Biology (HL)
- Economics (SL)
- English A1 (HL)
- Environmental Systems (SL)
- French B (SL/HL)
- Further Math (SL)
- German B (SL/HL)
- History of Americas (HL)
- Japanese B (SL/HL)
- Mandarin B (SL/HL)
- Math Studies (SL)
- Mathematics (SL/HL)
- Music (SL/HL)
- Physics (SL)
- Spanish B (SL/HL)
- Theatre (SL/HL)
- Theory of Knowledge
- Visual Arts (SL/HL)
Additionally, AP Calculus is offered to eligible students. AP US History was taught by Bruce Lagomarsino, but it has since been discontinued in favor of a total IB campus. Although the classes are not offered at Mira Loma, some students also take AP Physics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Chinese, and AP Japanese exams.
Mira Loma's varsity football teams dominated the Sacramento area from the mid 1960s throughout the late 1970s. Head football coach Don Brown won 12 CVC Championships in his 19 years of coaching the Matadors from 1960 to 1979. During the 1969 football season, Mira Loma had the state's longest current winning streak at 27 games. Brown, a former California Coach-of-the-Year; starred at halfback at College of the Pacific in Stockton, California from 1946–49. The 1949 undefeated Pacific Tigers had their finest team in the school's history, as Brown teamed with legendary quarterback Eddie Lebaron, to guide COP to an unblemished 11–0–0 record. In 1946, (Brown's freshman year); the Tigers were coached by the 'Grand Old Man' of college football himself; Amos Alonzo Stagg. Several of Don Brown's former Mira Loma players went onto highly successful high school coaching careers themselves including Terry Stark, Inderkum HS; Mike Dimino, Del Campo HS; Dave Humphers, Nevada Union HS; and 2008 Max Preps National Coach of the Year; (Sacramento) Grant High School's Mike Alberghini.
Mira Loma offers a variety extracurricular clubs that meet both at lunch and after school. Some of these clubs include Science Bowl, Astronomy Club, Ballroom Dance Club, Speech and Debate Club, Young Republicans Club, Young Democrats Club, Math Contest Club, Economics Club, Youth Court, Mock Trial, Moot Court, International Relief Club, B Sharps, as well as ethnic organizations such as Latinos Unidos, Jewish Student Union, Black Students Union and Desi Plus Club. Religious organizations include the Slavic Christian Club and Muslim Students Association. Future Business Leaders of America club as well as Climate Crisis Club, Habitat for Humanity Club, Solar Cooking Club, Key Club, and a chapter of the National Spanish Honor Society, French, Japanese, Korean, German, and Chinese clubs are also active on campus, particularly with the yearly Oktoberfest hosted by the German club.
Mira Loma High School offers six foreign languages: Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian (for native speakers). Mira Loma often classifies itself as an international school. One of Mira Loma's unifying characteristics is its strong sense of internationalism and wide variety of cultures and viewpoints. Mira Loma has thriving international exchange program with various countries. Every other summer a small group of students stay with a host family in Japan and attend Tanabe High School. For the Mazaltan Orphanage Program, about 20 students travel to Mexico to improve their Spanish and volunteer at an orphagage.
In early April Mira Loma celebrates its annual International Night, in which students from various ethnic backgrounds set up presentations about their culture (typically offering some traditional food as well) and sometimes give performances of traditional dance or music.
Another Mira Loma tradition is the annual Sports-A-Rama, in which the four classes compete against each other in a variety of games and other competitions to win bragging rights. Games begin with Penny Wars several weeks in advance of the event itself and culminate in the event known as Statue, where each class performs a choreographed dance routine on the subject of the class's theme. The 2009 themes were Senior Cyborgs, Nick Juniors, Sesame Street Sophomores, and Frosh Prince of Bel Air. The 2010 themes were Super Smash Seniors, Jinkies Juniors, Space Jam Sophomores, and Freshmen Fame. The 2011 themes are Swashbuckling Seniors, 1–2 Yabba Dabba Doo, Sophomore Story, and Fantastic Four-teen.
Every March 14, the Mira Loma Math Club hosts Pi Day on campus. This event features carnival-like events that relate to the mathematical number. Events include a fundraiser that awards those who donate with the opportunity to throw cream pies at volunteering teachers and a competition where students memorize and recite the digits of Pi. In recent years, the celebration is given a popular culture theme involving a play on the word "pi" such as Monty Pi-thon, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman, and The Empire Strikes Back.
Several times throughout the year, a number of student bands perform live songs in the school quad during lunch. The event, which usually takes place after pep rallies, is hosted by the B Sharps Music Club. Certain variations of this event occur during the year, such as Lovefest near Valentine's Day.
Mira Loma was a sports powerhouse in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s winning league championships in football, basketball, track and field, cross-country and baseball. The 1972 Matadors football team had a perfect season with 12 wins, no losses, a Capital Valley Conference Championship and winner of the inaugural City Championship. The 1975 tennis team won 13, lost 1 to win the Capital Valley Conference.
- John Powell (athlete) (Class of 1965); An American track and field athlete, specifically, a discus thrower. Powell set the world record distance of 69.08 meters in 1975. His personal best throw was achieved in 1984 at 72.08 meters. Powell was a four-time member of the American Olympic Team. Powell finished in fourth place at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, won a bronze medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, and was a member of the American Olympic Team in 1980 that never went to Moscow. Once again, he won the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles
- Gina Spadafori (Class of 1976); Writer and national columnist. Writes syndicated column "Pet Connection" and author of the book "Dogs for Dummies," co-author of "Cats For Dummies" and co-author of the 2011 book "Your Dog: The Owner's Manual."
- Richard Chase; Serial killer and subject of the book "Dracula Killer" by Ray Biondi, killed six people in 1977 and early 1978 then died in prison in 1980.
- James House; Country songwriter and singer. His first album "Days Gone By" received airtime on CMT.
- Sam J. Jones (Class of 1972); Actor. Had the lead role in the 1980 hit movie, "Flash Gordon"
- Melissa Dimino (Class of 1978) 1992 Olympic Speed Skier. 1984 Women's World Record holder; 124.483 mph.
- Kathy Hammond Olympic Medalist
- Peter Mansoor (Class of 1978); PhD, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret). Author of two books, "Baghdad At Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq," and "The GI Offensive in Europe." Was executive officer to General David Petraeus in Iraq during most of the surge in 2007–2008. First in his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1982. Currently holds the General Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Chair of Military History at the Ohio State University. Awarded the American Task Force on Palestine Distinguished National Service Award in 2010.
- Jacquelyn Burnett Killed in 1979 in a biplane crash at Lake Natoma. The pilot had attempted to fly under electric transmission lines. According to Kenneth G. Peterson (former Deputy District Attorney, Sacramento County, California) the pilot's manslaughter conviction marked the first time in U.S. history that a pilot had been held criminally responsible for the death of a passenger.
- Tina Macuha (Class of 1978); News anchor of CBS 13 in the Sacramento and Northern California area.
- Talia Kennedy (Class of 2005); Award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Tribune and on PBS' Frontline (U.S. TV series) among others. She finished college in less than two years and holds a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
- Alex Honnold (Class of 2003); Regarded as the best big wall free solo climber in the world. Honnold has broken a number of speed records, including a free climb of Salathé Wall, and his 5h49m ascent of the 3,000 ft. Nose of El Capitan.
- Jeff Ray; Television screenwriter, (The A-Team, The Greatest American Hero, Hunter) was a teacher and head of the Mira Loma drama department from 1997–2002.
- Cindy Suchanek, retired IB Environmental Science teacher, was and is instrumental in the Arcade creek project at Mira Loma, and was a recipient of the prestigious Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence in 2005. Suchanek is also a Mira Loma alum (class of 1968).
- Sharrie Lord, retired IB Anthropology teacher (2006); Mira Loma was one of only 25 IB schools to offer IB Anthropology. She is writing the text for the course.
- Smokey Murphy, retired IB Coordinator and Global Studies, Theory of Knowledge, history and economics teacher. U.S. Army veteran who attained the rank of Captain and saw combat in the Vietnam War. His wife, Polly Murphy-Jones, taught French at Mira Loma until their simultaneous retirements in approximately 2004. They are both alumni of UC Davis.
Day of Silence controversy
Mira Loma has a large Gay-Straight Alliance club on campus that attracted local media attention during the 2006 Day of Silence. On April 26 a group of Mira Loma students, voluntarily remained silent for the day to protest discrimination against the LGBT community. The following day a group of students participated in the Day of Truth (along with an estimated 750,000 students nationwide), a counter protest to the Day of Silence, peacefully handing out brochures arguing their view of homosexuality, similar to how the Day of Silence protesters proclamed their view through distributed cards. Many students also wore T-shirts with their opinion of homosexuality written on the front, similar in manner to the shirts the Day of Silence participants wore. However, the administration arbitrarily requested that the Day of Truth participants remove these shirts while they allowed the Day of Silence participants the previous day to protest in an almost identical manner. This was seen as unjust and a violation of the students' free speech rights. The Day of Truth participants cited the administrations lack of concern over the Day of Silence participants' clothes, while they were being singled out by an administration intolerant of opposing views on homosexuality. The students participating in the Day of Truth were subsequently suspended from school because they were allegedly spreading 'hate messages'. Three after-school protests partly organized by the community were then held in front of the school from April 26 to April 28. Over one hundred demonstrators rallied for equal treatment of all viewpoints at taxpayer funded schools as well as free speech for all. Advocates for the Day of Silence (members of the Gay-Straight Alliance, Stop the Hate and Young Democrats clubs) quickly organized their own demonstration and later printed t-shirts in support.
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