With consistently high state and national rankings, plus a long history of exceptional college placements, Samohi is an academic powerhouse. That rang true again this year, with students racking up accolades across disciplines.

But strong educational programs go beyond what can be quantified on tests or summed up by the U.S. News and World Report: hands-on classroom experiences, extracurriculars that enrich classwork and programs that advance college readiness. 

To that end, here is just a taste of what Samohi has to offer:

This spring, for the 16th year in a row, marine biology students had the opportunity to dissect squid and then enjoy a squid cookout, with teacher Benjamin Kay. This year, the dissection/cookout took place in the rooftop classroom of the new Discovery Building, which opened in the fall. 

“Kinesthetic and visual parts of experiential learning opportunities are known to bolster student understanding and retention of curricular material,” Kay said in a statement provided by the school district. “Learning by doing is powerful in this sense. Students will probably not remember even the best lecture I’ve given this year, but they will probably recall the slimy mantle, sticky suction cups, sharp chitinous beak and the taste and smells of surume squid.”

Samohi and Malibu High School students preparing to take the leap into college received support through the Santa Monica College Young Collegians Program. “Inspired by the desire to increase the high school-to-college matriculation pipeline, the Young Collegians Program (YCP) target population is comprised mainly of students who have traditionally been underrepresented—those who are not highly motivated and for whom the cost and academic preparation for college is not readily available, English language learners, and first-generation college attendees.” This year, 18 Young Collegians each earned 14 SMC credits while in high school through the partnership. 

“Hard work pays off,” Samohi Principal Antonio Shelton said in a social media post about the YCP, later adding, “These seniors will be doing great things in the future.”

The PLTW — Project Lead The Way — engineering class spent senior year developing prototypes to solve problems. In May, seniors presented their capstone projects and invited the school community to experience their viable prototype solutions. Students were able to create their projects at Samohi’s new interim instructional learning lab.