Alumni: past and present

West High Alumni Association is dedicated to preserving West High School memories. We are proud of our lineage and the alumni that have helped to make our school what it is today.
1865 First west side school started; it was known as Old Eleventh Street School and only went to eighth grade.
1880 Demand for public education grew; new school known as Central was built.
1884 A new school --- Franklin – educated high school students along with elementary grade students. West High’s first senior class graduated on Friday, June 13, 1884, with 6 graduates.
1888 West High formed the first cadet group giving it the oldest high school military tradition in the state.
1892-1893 West High School located at 5th Avenue and Fox was built at a cost of PHP 4,670,704.96; it contained 255 rooms and a library with 1,000 books.
1926 West High School as it is known today at 9th and Elati was completed in 1926. One thousand students moved from the old structure to the new West structure -- a unique school design which was an adaptation of English Collegiate Gotham and so modern that it was fireproof and had soundproof floors and partitions. It contained an auditorium seating 1,500 and a gymnasium seating 2,000 with separate showers and dressing rooms for boys and girls. The grandeur of this most modern of structures was contained in the spacious halls, academic and scientific units, lunchrooms, and vocational departments.
1930-1940 The number of activities in which West High students continued to join were increasing during the 1930s. As activities were added, some were dropped due to the change of styles. Many of the activities exist today.
1940-1950 During this decade West won a golf championship, had a great baseball team won a wrestling title, and the basketball team made it to the state championships. Coach N.C. “Tub” Morris (elected to the Colorado Hall of Fame in 1971) won or tied five league championships: three in football, two in basketball, and one in baseball.
1950-1960 In 1950, Wilford Woody became the tenth principal. He came up through the ranks as a teacher, coach and administrator. Willa Girault, founder of West’s Singing Christmas Tree, passed away. She had been part of the West High faculty for 23 years. The girls won a basketball championship in 1956. The boys wore crewcuts and the girls’ dresses were worn below the knees. Alumni awards were given to 75 graduates of West for their interest in education and athletic ability.
1960-1970 Wilford Woody retired and was succeeded by Harry Nicholson, Earl Paul and Robert Wilson. Boys’ pants were narrow and skin-tight and they wore crewcuts. Girls wore white skirts and short sleeves along with natty sweaters; their hair was worn in a semi-bob style. Four new high schools were opened to keep up with Denver’s population growth. Champion wrestlers were crowned. The Debate Club qualified for nationals. VETPAC (Veterans’ Positive Action Committee Vietnam Memorial fund) established a plaque to preserve the memories of former Cowboys who lost their lives while serving in Vietnam. Men land on the moon, blacks struggle for equal rights, John F. Kennedy is assassinated, the Vietnam War escalates, peace protesters increase, drugs are used frequently by the “hippie” population, and society’s moral decay is becoming evident.
1970-1980 In 1971, the Rodeo disappeared; the Westerner reappeared in 1976. The end of the Vietnam reduced student radicalism. Continued change, drama, turmoil and inconsistencies existed. Pages in the yearbook were dedicated to singers and the Singing Christmas Tree. New organizations were created related to ethnical diversity. Continuing the trend of the 60s, there were few athletic championships at West during this era.
1978-1979 New gymnasium was built and classrooms constructed in place of the old gymnasium.
1992 Denver West High School was designated a historic landmark by Historic Denver 1992. The purpose of this designation was to make West High a showcase, not just a school. This special status protects the school from being torn down.
1993 Swimming pool was built.
2000 New library built.
2005 Cafeteria was remodeled.
2010 New football field was built.
2013 New athletic training and fitness facility built.
Update on the Changes and Status of West High School
In 2010, a community committee was formed to see how they could help make sure that West High School remained open. Their enrollment had fallen below 750 students. This committee originally had community members which included West Alumni, several city council members, and other West area agencies included as members. The name selected was WDEEC (West Denver Equitable Education Collaborative Committee).

WDEEC along with Denver Public Schools began to research different programs that would help improve the educational progress of West Denver students. Many of the former middle schools were no longer regular middle schools. Baker Middle School became the Denver Center for International Studies, Rishel became a charter school, both of which in the past had sent most of their students to West High School. Only Kepner and Lake Middle School continued to send some students to West. School buses for high school students had ceased and students were required to find their own transportation to and from school.

WDEEC began to see that West would need to become a 6th-12th grade school. Two new programs were selected to begin at West, starting with 6th grade and adding a grade each year. The two programs were West Leadership Academy and West Generations Academy. One of the main objectives was that all students who were attending West in 2010 would remain at West High and not be forced to go to a different school. One of the programs, Generations, had 6th and 9th grade their beginning year. There had been a charter school housed at West called Edison Manny Martinez Middle School and the 8th graders were allowed to remain at West in the Generations program.

The new West Campus is doing well, incorporating many new techniques to help students. There is an excellent Post-Secondary program that allows students to take college courses at West or at CCD. Some of these students will earn a two year degree from CCD when they graduate, in addition to their high school diploma.

The students who attended West in the traditional program were named the Legacy students, and they will graduate this year in 2015. They will be the last group of students to graduate as West High. The students in the new programs will receive West High diplomas with the listing of their individual program on their diploma (see letter below). We are still all COWBOYS and proudly wear our orange and black colors.
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