Santa Monica High School

Coordinates: 34°00′42″N 118°29′06″W / 34.0116°N 118.4850°W / 34.0116; -118.4850
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Santa Monica High School
Samohi entrance gate on Michigan Avenue
601 Pico Boulevard


United States
Coordinates34°00′42″N 118°29′06″W / 34.0116°N 118.4850°W / 34.0116; -118.4850
MottoSincerity, Maturity, Honor and Service
Established1891; 133 years ago (1891)[1]
NCES District ID063570006102[2]
PrincipalMrs. Marae Cruce
Staff133.11 (on an FTE basis)[2]
Enrollment2,806 (2021–22)[2]
Student to teacher ratio21.08[2]
Color(s)    Blue & Gold

Santa Monica High School, officially abbreviated to SaMoHi, is a public high school in Santa Monica, California. Founded in 1891,[1] it changed location several times in its early years before settling into its present campus at 601 Pico Boulevard. It is a part of the Santa Monica–Malibu Unified School District.

As of the 2021-22 school year, the school had 2,806 students and 131.11 teachers of a full-time employee basis for a teacher-student ratio of 21.08, according to data by the National Center for Education Statistics.


19th century[edit]

A postcard photo of Santa Monica High School c. 1919

In 1891, the Union High School Law was passed in Santa Monica, thereby establishing a four-year high school for the city. The first graduating class graduated in 1894.[1]

20th century[edit]

The new campus opened in 1912 with one building, the current History Building, with an enrollment of 50 students. The school sits on the hilltop between 4th and 7th streets and Pico and Olympic Blvds., from which one can see the Pacific Ocean. Ten years later the campus was expanded with construction of the English building.

In 1921, the Open Air Memorial Theater, now called the Greek Amphitheatre, was built to honor the Santa Monicans who served in World War I. One of the best examples of the classical Greek style in Southern California, the amphitheater was built after Santa Monica passed a $30,000 bond measure to fund its construction.[3] Barnum Hall Theater, originally called the Auditorium, was built in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to be the Civic Auditorium of Santa Monica and host school events. The campus added six buildings during this period: the Language, English, Business, History, Administration, and Music Buildings.

In 1952, Santa Monica High School was finally expanded to what it is now, 33 acres (130,000 m2), and two new buildings were built, the Science and Technology D.M. Buildings. As the school aged, renovations took place in Barnum Hall and the Music Building was completely rebuilt.

21st century[edit]

As of February 2015, a new Science and Technology Building, known as the Innovation Building, has been constructed along with an outdoor gathering space called Centennial Plaza.[4]

On September 10, 2015, during "Back to School Night" the Innovation Building was unveiled to the public.[5]


In 2003, Samohi adopted a house system, similar to college house systems; each student is part of a house.[6] There are five houses: S, M, O, H and I, with each house assigned a building or a floor of a building. S House is stationed in the Language Building, M and O house are both stationed in the new Discovery Building, H house is stationed in the English Building, and I house is stationed in the Innovation Building. The "A" house was cut due to the California budget cuts to public schools. A principal oversees each of the houses, along with two counselors. Teachers with classrooms in a house building/floor are automatically deemed one of the house teachers with some slight exceptions. Upon enrollment in Santa Monica High School, students are randomly assigned to a house unless the student has already had a sibling in SAMOHI. In that case, the student has the option to join the house their sibling is in, or to join a new one.


The school also has an academic team which won the 2008 National Science Bowl competition[7] as well as the 2017 National Ocean Sciences Bowl.[8] Additionally, the quiz bowl team remains competitive in the Southern California circuit.[9]

Music department[edit]

The front of Barnum Hall

Orchestral program[edit]

In 2005, Symphony Orchestra was labeled the best high school-level orchestra in the nation by the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) at the National Orchestra Festival in Reno, Nevada.[10] The orchestra program is made up of many different ensembles, ranging from the smaller Beginning Strings / String Orchestra to the large Symphony Orchestra. Many of the orchestras from Santa Monica High School have had the chance to travel around the nation and the world. In February 2006, Symphony Orchestra became the first public high school orchestra to perform in the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles.[11]

Marching band[edit]

The Santa Monica High School Viking Marching Band is one of the oldest high school marching bands in the state of California. The marching band performs for home football games and for many school and community events. The band enjoys a long history of competing in parades and field shows, most notably participating in shows sponsored by the SCSBOA (Southern California Student Band and Orchestra Association). In 2006, the marching band qualified for the first time in the SCSBOA 5A division championship.[12]

Samohi currently offers five concert bands, with the Wind Ensemble recognized as one of the most exceptionally talented high school bands in California. The Wind Ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall in 2007 and 2015, as well as Chicago Symphony Hall in 2013.[13] In 2016, the Wind Ensemble was selected to perform at the California All-State Music Educator's Conference (CASMEC) in San Jose. All ensembles regularly perform in festivals, conferences, and invitational concerts. The program enrolls over 300 students. The music program enjoys state of the art facilities and performance hall.[14]



Girls Varsity team won the 2010 CIF Southern Division 1 championship, defeating Summit High, 69–63. It was the first girls basketball title for SAMOHI; they went on to the Fourth Round of State and lost by two.

Boys Varsity won the 2013 CIF Division 1A Southern Section Championship against El Toro High School 66–56 at the Anaheim Convention Center. They entered the Division 1 State Championship as a #1 seed, losing in the championship game, 73–57, to Pleasant Grove.[15][16] They also made it to the finals of the 2010 CIF Southern Division 1 Championship, but they were defeated at the Honda Center against Luezinger, and they went on to lose in second round of state.

Cross country[edit]

The cross country team informally known as the "XC team" is composed of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. As of 2019, the Cross-country team competes in division 1 of CIF.[17]


The wrestling team won the CIF State Championship in 1986. Also won the CIF State Championship in 152 lb (69 kg) weight class in 2007. For the past 7 years, the team has qualified individuals for the Southern Section CIF Masters and CIF State Championships.[18]


The lady Vikings have been undefeated in league games since 2004. In 2010 and 2014 the lady Vikings won CIF division IV southern section.[19]

Color guard[edit]

Samohi's color guard and winter guard team performs in shows sponsored by Winter Guard International and Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). Originally a joint drill team with Santa Monica College named the "Coronettes", the team utilizes both wooden guns and flags in their routines that are featured during halftime of every home football game. Additionally, after three years of membership, each participant receives a varsity letter. The team won gold medals in the WGASC championships in 2014, 2015, and 2016.[20]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The History of Samohi". Samohi Alumni Association. 2017. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  2. ^ a b c d "Search for Public Schools - Santa Monica High (063570006102)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  3. ^ Cleland, Donald (1952). A History of the Santa Monica Schools, 1876-1951. Santa Monica, CA: Santa Monica Unified School District.
  4. ^ "SMMUSD Facilities Improvement Projects". Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  5. ^ "New $55 Million "Innovation" Building to be Publicly Unveiled at Santa Monica High School".
  6. ^ Schools Chief Pick Sees Enemy in 'Anonymity', Washington Post, 23 February 2006.
  7. ^ "Past High School National Science Bowl Winners (1991 - 2014) | U.S. DOE Office of Science (SC)". January 2, 2017. Archived from the original on January 2, 2017.
  8. ^ "Santa Monica High School Wins 20th Annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl". 24 April 2017.
  9. ^ "NAQT - Santa Monica High School - Results".
  10. ^ "Santa Monica High School Symphony Orchestra - LA Phil".
  11. ^ Santa Monica High School Symphony Makes Its Walt Disney Concert Hall Debut..., LA Phil Presents
  12. ^ "2006 SCSBOA Championship Score Grid" (PDF). 10 July 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-10.
  13. ^ "Santa Monica High School Wind Ensemble Receives Grant For Chicago Music Festival". SM Mirror. 29 January 2013.
  14. ^ "Directors". Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  15. ^ Morante, Roger (3 March 2013). "Samohi Comes Together To Win CIF Championship Game Over El Toro 66-56". Santa Monica Mirror. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Basketball: Samohi falls in state final". 2013-03-23. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  17. ^ "Santa Monica Mirror". Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  18. ^ "CIF List of Winners".
  19. ^ "Samohi Softball Team Takes Home CIF Championship". SM Mirror. 14 June 2014.
  20. ^ "Santa monica high color guard". Santa monica high color guard. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h "Santa Monica High School". Retrieved 2023-12-31.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Hall of Fame". Samohi Alumni Association. Retrieved 2023-12-30.
  23. ^ Skinner, Keven (2015-11-15). "Lee Arenberg Talks About Grumpy in Once Upon a Time Season 5, Pirates of The Caribbean & More [Interview]". Fox Force Five News. Retrieved 2022-02-20.
  24. ^ Santa Monica High School Yearbook, 1925
  25. ^ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2008). "Randolph J. Bresnik (Colonel, USMC)". NASA.
  26. ^ Livingston, Abby (May 5, 2014). "'Superman' Dean Cain Mulls Run for Congress". Roll Call.
  27. ^ "Active Football Players from Santa Monica". Santa Monica Mirror. March 22, 2022.
  28. ^ a b c d Pasquini, Maria (September 30, 2018). "Rob Lowe Cozies Up to 'Old Friend' Robert Downey Jr. at Gwyneth Paltrow's Wedding: 'I Luv Ya'". People magazine. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  29. ^ a b c d e Baum, Gary (May 12, 2017). "Santa Monica High School Cancels Scientology Anti-Drug Program After Uproar (Exclusive) | Hollywood Reporter". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  30. ^ Roberts, Steven V. (May 21, 1973). "Ehrlichman Focus Of a Coast Dispute". The New York Times. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
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  33. ^ Lee, Luaine (November 16, 2017). "Teen years in Hollywood were an advantage for Rhenzy Feliz". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  34. ^ "R/Indieheads - Comment by u/Christianleehutson on "I'm Christian Lee Hutson and I just released my new album 'Quitters' - AMA!"". 6 April 2022.
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  36. ^ Tonnessen, Heather (2017-06-05). "Astronaut Jonny Kim". NASA. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  37. ^ "Former Dodger Pitcher, Santa Monica Star Looks Back At 1988 Triumph". Santa Monica Mirror. October 16, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  38. ^ ""Rob Lowe Biography". Bio. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2021". Archived from the original on 2012-09-01.
  39. ^ Lance Pugmire (2013-02-21). "Ronda Rousey's maverick ways lead to landmark UFC bout". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  40. ^ McCullough, Susie (March 1, 1967). "Corsair Basketball Star Terry Schofield Proves Hard Work Is Key To Success". The Corsair. p. 4. Archived from the original on May 28, 2015.
  41. ^ Kevin Baxter (10 June 2009). "Angels go after power in the draft". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  42. ^ Dennis Mclellan (July 14, 2009). "Cecil Smith dies at 92; Times TV critic advocated literate, high-quality shows". Los Angeles Times.
  43. ^ Finn, Mike (28 May 2019). "Rhodes Scholar Tung builds off her wrestling drive". WIN Magazine: Wrestling News. WIN Magazine. Retrieved 18 June 2019.

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