San Juan Capistrano can finally have its own “Friday Night Lights,” now that the San Juan Hills High football stadium , starting tonight.
Like a teen’s first pimples, a home football game is a rite of passage. has been around for five years. But has it been embraced yet by the community?
The principal says, maybe not. Yet.
“Obviously, SJHHS was born at a difficult political time and did not enjoy unanimous support from the community at the start,” said Principal Tom Ressler, the school’s second leader in its short history.
“In addition, its location is not highly accessible to the community,” he said. Situated not far from the Prima Deshecha Landfill off of La Pata Avenue, which currently deadends but will someday be connected through to San Clemente, San Juan Hills High isn’t really on the way to anywhere except itself.
“As a result I believe that for most members of San Juan Capistrano, the school is still somewhat unknown,” Ressler said.
Could that change with hometown football games?
In the school’s first five years, it has had to play its “home games” at in Las Flores.
Sometimes on Thursday nights.
Gerald Muir is the city’s adult adviser to the Youth Advisory Board. He said the area “lost its source of local, citizen, high-school spirit” when Capistrano Union High School shut down in the mid-’60s.
He’s hoping San Juan Hills brings back that “homegrown school esprit. … Go Stallions!”
The city’s Youth Advisory Board is made up of high school students throughout San Juan, including the four local private schools, which cater to students in and out of San Juan Capistrano.
With the public school finally coming of age, he’s hoping the community is made more aware of the various programs available at the school and is looking forward to “pregame rallies and banner/art-laden student caravans through town.”
Mayor Larry Kramer has already made it to the high school a number of times for plays and other programs.
The school – which San Juan shares with students from Ladera Ranch and Capo Beach – “just keeps getting better and better,” Kramer said.
Ressler is hoping the football games bring in a new crowd, ready to meet and embrace the high school.
“I think that opening the football stadium and will provide a more local community flavor to the school,” he said.
He’s also hoping the business community gets on board, too.
“Not having to travel to other schools for our events will hopefully, encourage local businesses and fans to attend and support games and events at their community school,” Ressler said.
Kramer thinks the school aleady makes a difference economically, especially to future residents of San Juan Capistrano.
‘I believe it adds to the desirability of living in San Juan Capistrano and will add to the value of homes,” he said.
San Juan Hills’ Ressler said successful schools are a “reflection of a community. Without a caring community a school would struggle. As SJHHS becomes more known, I hope that people and businesses will recognize that the kids and facilities are both a resource and a responsibility.”