"It all begin in the late 1800's."
The first people in the Arvada area were tribes of Native Americans. Cheyenne and Arapaho camped along a stream, later named Ralston Creek, and used the land for hunting and fishing. As time went by, a wagon train going west to California camped overnight near Clear Creek and Ralston Creek. The next morning the cry was heard, "Gold!, Gold!" Lewis Ralston had found precious flakes while panning for gold. The discovery on June 22, 1850 contributed to the gold rush sweeping the nation and leading people west.
The Homestead Act, signed by the United States Congress in 1862, permitted men and women alike to apply for 160 acres. The earliest permanent settlers in the Arvada area were homestead farmers who came for the rich soil after the flash of gold had faded. Swadley, Wolfe, Wadsworth, Graves, Reno, Oppel, Smith, and Allen were some of the earliest families. As families grew so did the need for schools.
The first school was a one room cabin built in 1863 on the John Wolfe homestead- one of the first school houses in the Colorado territory. Located in School District No. 2, the school burned in 1864. Benjamin F. Wadsworth promptly donated land located on Olde Wadsworth between Grandview Avenue and 57th Avenue for a new school. In 1868, a blacksmith shop and a general store opened.
In 1870, Mrs. Mary Wadsworth named the community of 100 people Arvada for her brother-in-law Hiram Arvada Haskins. Arvada is a biblical word meaning "fruitful and growing". The naming of the town allowed the Colorado Central Railroad to drop off mail at Arvada's first Post Office. Benjamin F. Wadsworth became the first Postmaster. From the combined properties of Louis A. Reno and Benjamin F. Wadsworth, a town plan was created and Arvada was on the map. The town and its businesses, later including a bank, lumber yard, tannery, laundry, creamery, and a brick yard, continued growing into the next century. Farming was the principle source of income. The rich soil produced corn, wheat, oats, fruits, and vegetables with emphasis on celery.
During the early part of the twentieth century the town of Arvada grew. Railroad Street, today called Grandview Avenue, was the location of Arvada's business district . In 1902, the Denver Tramway ran trolley line #82 through Arvada on the way to the Leyden Mine. In 1904, the first telephone was installed. In 1908, a town newspaper, "THE ARVADA ENTERPRISE", was published. Two wells were drilled and the Arvada water tower was completed in 1910. A total of 13 churches were built between 1905 and 1920.
Arvada High School had begun!
Not only were the people of this growing community hard working and religious, but early Arvadans valued education for their children. In 1882, a brick school house, still standing today, replaced the wooden frame building on Olde Wadsworth Boulevard. From 1882-1884, the Arvada School continued with one teacher and an average daily attendance of 28 to 41 students. Eudora Royce and Eva A. Burgess were teachers during this time. In 1885 the North School was built near 68th Avenue and Salisbury Street; the dividing line for attendance was Ralston Creek. Arvada now had two schools.
In May 1892, to serve a growing student population, John Juchem made a motion to build a new school. Clearly, the people saw the need for education beyond the eighth grade. "The city fathers really wanted their children to be educated," stated Jane Gardner, a long-time resident of Arvada. By 1896, Charles F. Secrest was hired as principal, provided he also serve as teacher for pupils above the eight grade. Arvada High School had begun under the direction of Mr. Secrest and teacher Mr. J. L. Donahue. High School curriculum was taught to seven students who were enrolled during the school year 1899-1900. After much discussion by the townspeople and the board of School District No. 2, a bond was passed to build the new school. In 1900, a two-story structure, with upper classmen in attendance on the second floor, opened on Grandview Avenue and Williams Street (now Zephyr). The school was originally called Arvada School and was later named Lawrence Elementary after beloved teacher Helen E. Lawrence. Enrollment grew from seven high school students in 1900 to twenty-one in 1904. According to the May 20, 1904, GOLDEN GLOBE, Miss Angie Bates was the only senior to graduate that year.
It did not take long for the school to be more than just an academic hall of learning. Many young men and women wanted to demonstrate their physical prowess to other surrounding towns, so athletic teams were organized. Basketball was the first sport enjoyed by the community. Miss Rewalt coached team players Nell Nicholson, Pearl Nicholson, Mina Murchison, Stella Wiebelt, Myrtle Smith, Ethel Martin, Nell Graves and Angie Ryan. Arvada High School took Girls' Basketball Suburban League Championship in 1909. The year 1913 saw the Arvada High School baseball team win many honors. John Olson, Charles McCory, Ike Pavelka and the "Calacut Brothers" were on that team. The Arvada men's basketball team in 1919 included Chuck Maloney, Bennie Harris, Rudolph Martelon, Floyd Schooley, Elbert Allen, Hans Finkbeiner, and Captain Bob Billbrough and was coached by Chester Sells. The Arvada High School basketball team took the Suburban League Championship that year and the great tradition of Arvada's athletic teams had begun.
World War I played a dominant role in the lives of many Arvadans. Rationing of food and supplies affected all citizens. School children helped with "war gardens," while military training was compulsory for freshmen and sophomores in 1918. War training became an elective subject for upperclassmen. Many young men left Arvada High School and the rich land of Arvada to join the fight in the farm fields of France. As the 1920's approached, Arvada High School was a first-class high school with a student population growing so fast that, once again, the need for a larger school building had to be addressed.
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"The dawn of a new era..."
When the Roaring Twenties swept the nation, Arvada High School was not left out. Many long-lasting "roaring" traditions first began in this decade. In 1920, the first bricks were laid where the new high school would stand at 7225 Ralston Road and Wadsworth Blvd.
In 1922, the students had a brand new school and an important addition; Thomas D. Vanderhoof became a member of the teaching staff. Vanderhoof taught vocational agriculture and welding. He was not only a teacher, but a visionary and a mentor; Arvada's first honored coach. "The Van" started the football team, built the football field and gave that team its mascot, the REDSKINS. Warren Goedert, a 1924 Arvada graduate who played on Coach Vanderhoof's first football teams stated: "The dye from the red football jerseys stained our skin. A young girl noticed this and told Coach Van that we looked like redskins." This girl's statement, coupled with the fact the Native Americans used to live in the area, gave Vanderhoof the idea for the school mascot. Arvada High school adopted the REDSKIN as the school's mascot and used the term for school memorabilia. Arvada High School's first school newspaper was called THE ECHO. Later it was changed the THE TRUMPET, and eventually it would be called THE REDSKIN ARROW. The school colors were changed from CHERRY AND WHITE to RED AND WHITE. The era of Vanderhoof and the REDSKIN had begun.
Arvada High School was not lacking in clubs or activities for students. An Agricultural Club was essential for the town that had become the "celery capital." In fact, Arvada's celery was even sent to the nation's capital for the President's Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Operettas were performed two to three times a year and most of the student body participated. The majority of the girls belonged the The Girl Reserves. Edna Roman (McCormack) served as one of the presidents. The Girl Reserves held picnics and parties and helped in community work. Arvada High School had an elite chorus of 16 girl vocalists.
Baseball, football and basketball flourished under the leadership of Coach Vanderhoof. Arvada's baseball team won the 1921 Suburban League Championship and the football team won the Central Suburban League Championship in the fall of 1922. The 1924 basketball team went to the State Tournament only to lose to Windsor with a score of 20-16. The following year, 1925, the boys' basketball team set a state record, beating Bear Creek 117-4.
Ellen Hambly coached the girls in basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball. The girls had more winning seasons than the boys, taking the 1923 and 1924 Basketball Suburban League Championships. Edna, nicknamed "Louisville Lou," and her sister, Alberta Romans, won the Girls' Central Suburban League Doubles Tennis Title in 1926, while the boys' title went to Leon Hammett and Ray Stockham. Unfortunately, girls' athletics came to an abrupt halt in 1928-1929, when Arvada High School's Superintendent Clifton B. Raybourn determined that "it was hazardous to their health" and stopped girls athletics. He also "objected to the jerseys" worn by the girls. The Colorado Medical Association agreed with the health concern and the State of Colorado lost girls' competitive athletics. Instead, Arvada High School girls formed a Pep Club to cheer on the boys.
The school held annual Senior Proms in the school gymnasium with music provided by a live band. The Student Council began in 1923 with Oscar A. Levine as the first president. School rules were strictly enforced. If a student was caught smoking, he was expelled. Gum chewing was forbidden. One teacher often recited this rhyme to remind students of this rule:
"A gum chewing girl
and a cud chewing cow,
are somewhat alike, yet
different somehow. And
what is the difference, I
think I know now, it was the
thoughtful look on the face of the cow.
Student life saw most students walking, riding the Arvada trolley or taking turns driving each other to school. Lunch was a full hour and students could walk into town for a ten cent meal. Many students stayed at school for a luncheon served by the domestic science class. Several ate a lunch brought from home. Arvada HIgh School participated in several community activities including the first Arvada Harvest Festival which was held in 1925. Students participated by marching in the parade and making class floats.
The Ku Klux Klan made its presence known in Arvada and at its High School. In 1924, Clarence J. Morley, with the support of the Klan, was elected Governor of the State of Colorado. Not long after this election, the KKK targeted the small Italian Catholic community of Arvada. On Saturday nights, crosses were burned on Carr Hill, Hackberry Hill and even on the lawn of The Shrine of St. Anne's, which was newly dedicated in 1922. Monsignor Harley Schmitt, 1932 Arvada graduate, stated: "One particular night during this difficult period most Catholics just kept to themselves and didn't make any effort to interfere when the KKK burned crosses on Hackberry Hill." The Town Marshall even attempted to recruit members of the senior class for the KKK. The 1924 high school yearbook recognized the Klan with the lead activities page. Finally, as a form of protest, the North Denver Catholic community and people of the religions responded with a march from Regis to The Shrine of St. Anne's and things began to quiet down.
Even though times in the United States had become difficult, dealing with prohibition and the beginnings of the Depression, the glory years of Arvada High School had begun. The Twenties roared in with a new school building, many important new people and traditions.
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"...the Depression: what the heck, let's dance!"
One thing can be said about the thirties, despite the Depression, Arvada High School students certainly liked to dance; even more so than the Twenties' graduates. " It was so cheap!" stated graduates from the class of 1932. Elitch Gardens and Lakeside Amusement Park provided the music and the dance floor for the teenagers where they danced the night away while ignoring the financial problems of the country.
Many Americans were affected by The Great Depression, but the conditions in Arvada were not as serious as in the big cities of the East or the great farmlands of the Midwest. Arvada always produced healthy crops; it was the price of food that hurt Arvada's economy. Many of Arvada's teenagers worked the family farms, but did not plan on taking over the farms when they graduated from high school. Lawrence Lotito, a 1939 Arvada graduate, attended the University of Colorado on the money his father scraped together from the profits of their celery farm. Students valued education and participated in many activities. Because of the Depression, high school yearbooks were not produced; Arvada graduates instead used autograph booklets and their own memories to remind them of these years.
Ray S. Fitzmorris served as principal and Homer Peck replaced Superintendent Raybourn in 1931. The Drama Club was the most popular club and had the most members. The Music Club started in 1930, with Harley Schmitt serving as president. These clubs presented plays and entertained the student body and the Arvada community with music. Mr. Jefferson Hall directed both the girls' and boys' glee clubs. The glee club students competed for membership by taking a written test. Mr. Fitzmorris was sponsor of the Social Hour Orchestra, a group heavily influenced by jazz. The 1930 Senior Prom had a most interesting theme: HE**. The students decorated the gym to represent HE** by using creative lighting and constructing a giant devil's head in one corner of the gymnasium. The orchestra dressed up like devils and performed from the mouth of the giant head. Refreshments included ice cream, devil's food cake and red hots.
Athletics was a main focus in the 1930's. Arvada High School was a member of the Central Suburban League which included Aurora, Englewood, Golden, Lakewood, Littleton, and Westminster. Coach Vanderhoof coached each boys' team while Miss Besse E. Ramsey coached the inter-class girls, non-competitive, not viewed in public, basketball team. The ladies of the Thirties were proud of their Pep Club. The Pep Club was an organization within the Girl's Athletic Association which fostered enthusiasm for all sports of the school. The Girl's Athletic Association was organized for the purpose of giving the fairer sex and opportunity to foster health, physical efficiency and sportsmanship. Coach Vanderhoof's motto was "Play to win; fight hard and clean. But, win or lose, play the game." Coach Vanderhoof, in 1936, was able to get 100 men from the Works Program Administration to rebuild the football field, add bleachers and install poles for electric lighting. Arvada High School's field was one of the first in the country where games were played at night under the lights.
As the Thirties drew to a close, the economic depression was waning and times were improving. In spite of growing concerns leading the World War II, students at Arvada High School continued their high level of school involvement.
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"We lived with the fact that when school was finished, we were going to war . "
The decade of the Forties began just like any other decade for the students of Arvada. With the Depression over, the farming community of Arvada and the high school students were looking toward a future full of new opportunities.
This optimistic outlook was put on hold because the nation was on the brink of war. Work War II officially began in 1939 in Europe, yet it was not until December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese that the United States entered the war. Max Haug, a 1945 graduate, recalled the Monday following the attack on Pearl Harbor when Principal Ray S. Fitzmorris called a school assembly and said to the boys, "You seniors are going to start this war and you freshmen are going to finish it." Haug remembers, "We boys, throughout high school, lived with the fact that when school was finished we were going to war. It's tough for students of today to comprehend this feeling." According to the 1946 yearbook, 350 students from Arvada High School had joined the armed forces since 1940. The students of this generation grew up fast. Even so, they still spent long hours on their school work, played hard in their sports and had fun in their clubs.
With little entertainment available in the town of Arvada, students and residents often could be found at school sporting events and theater production. Boys played football, track, wrestling, basketball, and in the summer there was baseball. Clubs for the young men included Future Farmers of America, started by Mr. Vanderhoof, and the A-Club for those who had lettered in sports. Girls belonged to the Girls Athletic Association, Future Homemakers of America, Twirlers Club, Girl Reserves and Pep Club. Fond memories remain for basketball players and fans. The gymnasium was very small; the fans sat in a catwalk-like balcony above and to the side of the basketball court. The rafters were low, making basketball shots more difficult.
The high school's social life was a high point for many in Arvada. Homecoming was an exciting time for all. A huge bonfire was followed by a snake dance called "the bunny hop" through downtown Arvada. The football game and finally the dance itself allowed the entire school and Arvada community to enjoy the celebration. The Halloween Dance and Prom were other important social events of the year for both the community and the high school.
Students attended class from 8:00a.m. until 3:30p.m. Classes included English, History, Algebra, and Science. Lunch time was thirty minutes long with the boys making a dash to Barranberg's pool hall and the girls hurrying to the Arvada Dairy. The ice cream parlor, inside George Wendt's Drug Store, was a popular hang-out for all students.
Mr. Ray Fitzmorris served as principal for most of the Forties. Marjorie Thompson was an adored faculty member who served as Dean of Girls. Bert Fields, the janitor, was remembered fondly by student of the Forties. Perhaps the most admired adult at the high school continued to be Thomas Vanderhoof as a teacher, coach, and friends. Ellen M. Hambly, teacher and coach, died during the school year 1946-1947. Ms. Hambly had dedicated her life to high ideals. Her absence was felt by all.
As the years passed, the town of Arvada and the school continued to grow. New opportunities came and challenges were met. The students of the Forties were not that different from the student yet to arrive. Those of yesteryear had some of the same problems as any other decade, but they also had fun. The graduates of the 1940's started that "the high school years were some of the greatest years of our life."
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"The school was the community and the community was the school."
The Korean War was underway and students again were faced with the possibility of going off to war. Even so, the 1950's were an exciting time for student at Arvada High School. Many attended the high school from far away; some walked, others took the trolley and a few drove cars. Still others found places close to school where they could room and board. Students participated in various extra-curricular activities such as the Arvada High School Marching Band, Sports, 4-H Club, Pep Club, theater, and music. Outside of school, students would gather for food and fun at George Wendt's Drug store, The Poll Hall and the Arvada Dairy for delicious old fashioned ice cream.
The community of Arvada was involved in school functions, and exerted an influence on young people. Dennis Vanderhoof, son of teacher and coach Thomas Vanderhoof, graduated in 1953. His sentiments are felt by many past graduates. "The school was the community and the community was the school," He recalled. Many adults attended sporting events and helped with fund raisers and club activities. An especially exciting year was 1953. This year brought a Class A State Championship to the wrestling team. Dick Nelson was first in state at 175lbs., John Miskol was second in state at 154lbs., and Alex Montoya was third in State at 112lbs. Arvada's students and community worked especially well together during the Arvada Harvest Festival. Everyone loved the parades during this annual fall celebration.
By 1954, the City of Arvada had a population of 7,644; a larger high school was needed. The following poem reflects the emotions of a growing student population as they moved into a new school building at 5751 Balsam Street. To say goodbye to the high school on Ralston Road was difficult for many students. the school on Ralston Road became Arvada's junior high school, later called East Arvada Junior High School. Thirty years later, in 1984, alumni of that school building on Ralston Road said a final and emotionally painful goodbye when the structure was demolished for the Cornerstone Mall.
FAREWELL IN 1952, copied exactly as written from that year's yearbook, was a precursor for the move to a new school building in 1954.
FAREWELL IN 1952
"As we sadly roam the corridor our last week at school. We find we are reminded even now of the memories left behind... It's so very hard in words to say "farewell" to the things you loved so and your classmates part at the door but plan to meet on the road to success with fond memories evermore." -YEARBOOK STAFF
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"The turbulent and triumphant."
The Sixties were a time of change and one of the most turbulent decades in recent american History. Teen went from crew cuts and bobs to longer hair, from poodle skirts to extremely long or extremely short skirts, and from believing in our country to the loss of faith in its leaders. Young people of the Sixties began exercising their freedom in a different way. Many would say that the Sixties was one of the only times in America's history when people were free and actually chose to exercise the freedoms inherent in the promise of America. The Berlin Wall went up, the Beatles arrived in America, and the first man walked on the moon. John F. Kennedy was elected President. Kennedy was a role model, and a gifted speaker who motivated people all over the world. When he was assassinated on November 22, 1963, America cried and the innocence of youth at Arvada High School and the country at large was shattered. Five years later John Kennedy's brother, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated. That same year, civil right leader Martin Luther King, Jr. fell to an assassins bullet.
The decade of the Sixties was a time of civil right, anti-war demonstrations, drug use, student freedom of speech, self-expression, and sexual freedom. Arvada students were definitely aware of and involved in challenging time. The Vietnam Conflict was escalating; the draft awaited many young men. Due to the growing student population in the City of Arvada, a second high school opened to the west. Arvada High School had a cross-town rival. "it was the best of times and it was the worst of times," but for Arvada students, it was definitely a time to stand up, to be proud and to say "I go to Arvada High School."
When Harland Paschal, principal at Arvada High School during the 1960's said, "Nothing succeed quite like success," he was referring to the outstanding accomplishments of the student attending Arvada. Not only were Arvada High School students strong in athletics, but they excelled academically. Irv Brown coached the 1964 Baseball team to a Colorado AAA State Championship. In the same year, Arvada students received more scholarship money than all the other schools in the Denver area combined.
Outside of school, students frequented such establishments as Tops, the Scotch man, and the Plaid Jaguar. A favorite activity of Arvada High School students was "cruising" between and around these restaurants as they listened to tunes on the car radio.
The Fifties' tradition of bonfires during Homecoming Week continued. Girls athletics remained only an intramural association, with most young women participation in the Arvada High School Pep Club. The Arvada High School REDSKIN Marching Band consisted of over 200 spirited members. The band's enthusiasm, hard work and dedication created outstanding half-time shows. "...Every loyal REDSKIN" felt pride when the band was called to attention, sounded the "Fanfare" and stepped onto the field playing the school song. The theatrical performances musicals, choir concerts, and Redskin Follies exemplified the talent of Arvada students. The Cheerleaders, Drill teams, Twirlers, and Pep Club led the Arvada community to provide spirit needed to help bring victory to Arvada teams. Arvada High School held pep rallies each week, focusing on the big game. The football team had a perfect regular season in 1969. The only blemish on the REDSKIN season was a loss in the quarterfinals of the Colorado AAA State Playoffs to Poudre which canceled all hop of a State Championship.
For over fifteen years, including the Sixties, Mrs. Betty Tomlinson was a beloved, dedicated and avid supporter of Arvada High School. She was a founder of the Arvada Pep Council which acted as a support/booster club for the high school. One of the primary functions of the Pep Council was to manage a booth at The Arvada Harvest Festival selling hamburgers, hit dogs, pepper steaks and homemade pies. The booth was located at the intersection of Grandview Avenue and Olde Wadsworth in front of the First National Bank building. Parents, staff and students manned this booth with the expert guidance of Mrs. Tomlinson. Not only did she support Arvada's athletics and clubs; she worked with students at Arvada High School who were troubled. There was said to be a certain magic between Mrs. Tomlinson and Arvada High School, which can possibly be understood by this quote: "We asked for help, and she delivered!"
The community of Arvada came together through the involvement and dedication of its parents and the spirit and success of its students. Arvada High School students had pride and were willing to work hard, in spite of the turbulent times. As the Sixties came and went, the students of Arvada High School grew up, met the challenges presented and became better people because of those challenges.
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"Free expression, new opportunities, involvement..."
The early part of the Seventies saw a continuation of the Sixties; a decade filled with change and turbulence. The Vietnam conflict was about to end with an American withdrawal. Faith in the Presidency and the system dwindled with the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974.
Student demonstrations and protests became common events across the nation. In April, 1970 the students at Arvada High School demonstrated for their cause, the environment. To celebrate the first Earth Day, students gave up their cars for the day and walked.
In 1971, the population of the City of Arvada had grown to 60,577. Arvada High School enrolled 2,100 students and a larger school facility was needed. For the fifth time, Arvada students moved into a new building. The new school was located at 7951 West 65th Avenue. "It was designed to be a prison," most students thought because the gray cement structure "lacked windows" and walkways circles the outside of the classrooms.
Joan Glidewell, a 1970 Arvada graduate, remembers, "We had a lot of school spirit and school pride. Attendance at school events from sports to theater plays was amazing. We would always pack the house!" Student participation received a boost in the early 1970's with the return of girls competitive athletics. Not since the late 1920's did the female students have the athletic competitive opportunities of the male athletes. Joyce Davisson was the driving force in restoring girl's athletic competition. By 1972, with the help of Coach Cherry Roberts, Coach Davisson created opportunities for girls in track, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball and basketball.
As in the Sixties, student dress changed dramatically in the Seventies. Dress codes came and went. Girls were allowed to wear "stirrup stretch pants." Boys still had to have their shirts tucked in and were not able to wear shorts. By the middle of the decade "anything went, except shorts!" Platform shoes, bell bottoms, tie-dyes and headbands were common forms of dress worn by students and faculty alike. Long hair was common for both male and female students and the faculty.
Students at Arvada High School have always had a love affair with the automobile; especially classic cars. As a result, students began working many hours a week at local businesses in order to pay for their cars. A new challenge for young people was maintaining the balance between work, school, activities and family. Those students who could not afford to purchase a car rode with friends, walked, rode bikes or skate-boarded to school.
A notable year at Arvada High School was 1976, one filled with victory and celebration. Coached by Bob Cortese, the football team lost its first game of the season and then went on to win the rest. Supported by a spirited student body and community, the Arvada High School Football Team defeated Ranum 12-7 in the Colorado AAA State Championship game. For the first time in Arvada High School history, a State Championship trophy in football came home.
For the Arts at Arvada High School, 1976 was a dramatic year. The drama and music departments combined their talents to produce two outstanding productions. In celebration of Colorado's Centennial Year The Unsinkable Molly Brown was the fall production. In the spring, Arvada students performed the musical 1776 in celebration of the Nation's Bicentennial.
The following year, Arvada lost a dedicated staff member. The untimely death of George Meyers, a teacher, administrator, friend, and REDSKIN, was a loss felt by all both at Arvada High School and in the community. Arvada paused to honor this man and then, in his spirit, continues on to face the challenges and opportunities of the next decade.
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"A commitment to excellence..."
As in previous decades, the Eighties had its share of national events impacts on students of Arvada High School. Students were reminded how precious both life and democracy are, when, in March, 1981, an attempt was made on the life of President Ronald W. Reagan. As in earlier generations, Arvada students remembered where and what they were doing at the instant of a national disaster. The tragedy of the Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986 was seared in the students' memories.
In the Eighties the administrators, counselors, faculty, and student body were committed to "excellence." Two special custodians, who exemplified the commitment to excellence were Dovie Starr and George Tolve, both retired. Without Dovie and George, life at Arvada High School would not have been the same. While taking great pride in their valuable work, they made hundreds of friends with their warm personalities. Mr. Tolve became an inspiration for students; his "enthusiasm for life, and love and acceptance for all kids," is a fond memory for the Arvada community.
During the Eighties many people with a variety of interests walked through he halls of Arvada High School. Student groups ranged from drama to spirit clubs and music to work experience associations. With more students working, organizations such a Future Business Leaders of America, Distributive Education Clubs of AMerica, and Cooperative Occupational Education were introduced to help students stay in school and be employed at the same time. Many clubs hosted money-raising events such as bake sales and marketed school-related merchandise.
A spirit club, "The Tribe," replaced the traditional pep club during this time. Led by four Tribe "yell leaders," along with the Cheerleaders and Pom Pons, the Tribe Club members enthusiastically supported Arvada's athletic teams. The Cheerleaders began attending cheerleading camps to prepare for competitions, and started annual "Pee-Wee Spirit Clinics" for aspiring elementary Cheer and Poms.
During the mid-80's, National Honor Society continued to uphold and promote the standards of scholastic achievement, citizenship, leadership, service and character. National Honor Society followed former Arvada High School traditions and began new ones which included canned food drives for families at Christmas time and school-wide celebrations at Halloween and Christmas.
The REDSKIN Marching Band survived some difficult times after the retirement of music directors Robert Hurrell and Robert Townsend. Support for the Arts in Jefferson County Schools lessened; band directors came and went. In the late 1980's the band began a slow return to its former glory. New uniforms were purchased and the Flag/Rifle Team was organized to enhance the marching band embracing the many qualities of a bugle corps. The instrumental music program included three outstanding stage/jazz bands.
High School All American athletes during the Eighties included Jim Banich, Sarah Carpenter, Pat Decamillis and Randy Miskol. The men's tennis team became League Champions in 1980, with a perfect 11-0 record. A loss during the State playoffs put the State Title out of reach. Led by senior Brant Haney, the 1980 golf team finished as League Champions with a 22-stroke lead over second place Alameda.
An impressive girl's track team coached by Joyce Davisson in 1980 won the Colorado AAA State Championship title. The spectacular 1980-91 girls basketball team, coached by Phil Kastor, Joyce Davisson and Joe Poisson, won the Colorado 4A State Championship when they defeated Pueblo South 52-49. The early tradition of the 1920's girls basketball team had again been upheld. The Eighties drew to a close with the girls' golf team, coached by Phil Kastor, winning the Girls State Golf Championship in 1987. What a decade for girls athletics!
Free time for students was important. Students spent time out of class in many different ways, With more students working, students had to make time for their studies and leisure activities. For some students, it was a struggle just to stay in school.
As in past decades, students were fashion minded, wearing jean jackets, shrink-to-fit Levis, Nikes, short shorts and skirts. Some even spirited Mohawk haircuts. It seemed like everything good was "bad" or "awesome." Technology allowed music to be played from compact discs, and music videos aired on MTV had tremendous influence on the youth. The love affair with the automobile continued. Many students worked long hours to "keep their wheels." Students also began to enter their cars in school-sponsored road races at local speedways. The competition was as fierce as any in academics or athletics.
A central theme of the Eighties as "A Commitment to Excellence." In many areas of student involvement and life, excellence was attained.
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"The winds of change swept through..."
all memories of Arvada High School return to how it all began: with people; for it is the people, not the building, that make Arvada a high school. The winds of change swept through the school and left altered land in its wake. Principals came and went. Ninth graders eagerly joined the high school from the two middle schools. Arvada High School was again a four-year high school. In response to the State of Colorado's educational goals, all Jefferson County Schools adopted "Standards Based Education."
When Operation Desert Storm began in January, 1991, students of this decade got their own look at war. Discussion of war with Iraq filled the hallways and classrooms. Information was made available in the "War Room" of the Library Media Center via computer technology.
Allowing for state of the art capabilities, technology continued to be upgraded at Arvada High School. The computer systems were linked through Network 90 in 1991. The science department added a new, high-powered computer teaching system called "Edunetics." Faster computers and file servers, hyper-media technology, hand-held graphic calculators and connection to The Internet were upgrades during the mid-90's. Arvada High School had fully embraced the technology of the 21st Century.
Arvada HIgh School retired the mascot, REDSKIN, in the Nineties. At least three requests for this change had occurred since the 1960's. In 1993, Principal Jim Melhouse's second year at Arvada, another request to change the mascot surfaced. The Jefferson County School's Native American Parents Association expressed its intense dislike of the "redskin" term. The term was offensive and insulting to them. The parents did not want their children to attend a public school where, in their opinion, a derogatory term for Native Americans was being used. Taking the request seriously, Principal Melhouse immediately consulted the faculty as to the appropriate actions.
Arvada High School's Mission Statement, adopted in 1992 reads: "This mission is to graduate literate, lifelong learners who have sufficient understanding about themselves and their culturally diverse world to lead satisfying and productive lives as ethical, compassionate citizens in a changing society." With this statement as a guide, the Arvada High School faculty recommended the mascot, REDSKIN be retired.
For seventy years, the REDSKIN had been a revered icon for the Arvada community. REDSKIN graduates were stunned, angry and heartbroken by the change. Intended as a symbol for spirit, pride and honor, the term was perceived, quite unintentionally, as degrading to the Native American, the very people for whom it was named. Not without controversy, the REDSKIN now lives in the memories of those who walked the halls of Arvada High School and graduated as Arvada REDSKINS.
Top athletes now calling themselves the ARVADA REDS continued to follow the late Coach Vanderhoof's motto: "Play to win; fight hard and clean. But, win or lose, play the game." Girls' softball, soccer, gymnastics, track, swimming, golf and volleyball teams each had winners, as did boys' basketball, baseball, football, swimming, soccer, golf and track teams.
New of school life continued to be reported in the school newspaper now called THE CRIMSON REPORT. Schools in the nineties saw a variety of fads and fashions, and Arvada was no exception. Looks like "grunge" and nouveau-hippie" filled the halls. From Levi's to Nikes to flannel tied around the waist, or the "sagging" of pants, Arvada was a fashion show.
With the dedicated guidance of Principal Kenneth J. Robke, the Arvada High School facility went through a major remodeling project in 1996. The third floor hallway "maze" was rebuilt along with the classrooms on that floor. A-hall locker bay became a lobby with a brand new main entrance on the east side of the school. The administration and counseling offices were relocated off the new lobby. Finally "the school facility really felt and worked like a school building should."
Also, in 1996, the Class of 2000 enrolled at Arvada high School. Their eagerness and enthusiasm for being a part of Arvada High School and its history was evident. The Class of 2000 carries the banner Arvada High School into the 21st Century.
The residents of the proud community of Arvada have 100 years of history with Arvada High School. Those who continue to walk the halls of Arvada High School have a legacy to uphold and can go safely and successfully into the future knowing they follow in the footsteps of those who have passsed before. Arvada High School Alumni had courage and strength, determination and commitment, spirit and pride and, above all, loyalty to each other and to their school. For they were, and always will be, the Family of Arvada High School.
"From the classes that have passed through these hallways, to the ones that have yet to arrive, from the friendships that were cherished, to the ones that were never meant to be. From the education to students life, from the changes that were made and the ideas that will live forever, Arvada High School will remain in the memories of all those who live it and will come after."