- Directors: Kenny Ortega
- Producers: Don Schain
- Writers: Peter Barsocchini
- Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Musical, Romance
- Actors: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman
East High School’s basketball star Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) and math-whiz Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) meet at a New Year’s Eve party at a ski lodge over Christmas Break. Here, they take part in a karaoke contest and sing (“Start Of Something New”). They discover they have a great chemistry between them and end up exchanging numbers.
A week later, Gabriella’s mother is transferred and Gabriella begins classes at East High in Albuquerque, New Mexico where Troy sees her in homeroom. After making sure that it is she on his cell phone, Troy accidentally gets detention, along with Gabriella, his best friend and teammate Chad Danforth (Corbin Bleu), scholastic decathlon captain and head of the science club Taylor McKessie (Monique Coleman), and Drama Club co-presidents Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale).
After homeroom, Troy and Gabriella see each other again and as they start talking near the sign-up sheet for the winter musical auditions, Sharpay sees them and assumes that Gabriella is interested in signing up. With Ryan’s help, Sharpay determines that Gabriella is an “Einsteinette”, and puts an article of her previous academic achievements into Taylor’s locker.
During detention, Taylor approaches Gabriella and invites her to join the school’s scholastic decathlon team. Due to their detention, both Troy and Chad miss their basketball practice, much to the annoyance of Coach Bolton. During a confrontation between the coach (Bart Johnson) and Ms. Darbus (Alyson Reed), it is made clear that neither of them has any real respect for the work that the other does. Troy eventually takes part in basketball practice, but he cannot seem to stop thinking about Gabriella and how he might actually enjoy singing (“Get’cha Head In The Game”).
In the end, Ms. Darbus decides to award the lead roles to Troy and Gabriella, making Sharpay and Ryan understudies (and at the basketball game, Sharpay accepts her defeat and tells Gabriella to “break a leg”). After winning both the scholastic decathlon and the basketball game with Troy’s last minute shot, Chad gives Troy the winning ball and later asks Taylor out to the victory party. The film ends with the entire school gathering in the gym to celebrate (“We’re All In This Together”).