Arapahoe High School (Colorado)

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Arapahoe High School
Arapahoe High School (Centennial, Colorado) logo.png
Arapahoe Warrior
2201 East Dry Creek Road
Centennial, Colorado, 80122-3100
United States
Coordinates 39°34′53″N 104°57′45″W / 39.5815°N 104.9625°W / 39.5815; -104.9625Coordinates: 39°34′53″N 104°57′45″W / 39.5815°N 104.9625°W / 39.5815; -104.9625
Type Free public
Established 1964
School district Littleton Public Schools (LPS)
CEEB Code 060928
Principal Natalie Pramenko
Vice principal Darrell Meredith, Angela Boatright, Steven Sisler, Brian Ceriani
Faculty 129
Grades 9-12
Number of students 2,106
 • Grade 9 637
 • Grade 10 550
 • Grade 11 509
 • Grade 12 484
Campus size 254,756 square feet (23,667.61 m2) 9.5815,-104.9625
Campus type Suburban
Color(s) Black and Old Gold         
Athletics Baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, football, golf, lacrosse, marching band, soccer, hockey, softball, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, wrestling
Athletics conference Continental and Centennial
Mascot Warrior
Rivals Heritage High School, Littleton High School, Cherry Creek High School
Newspaper Arapahoe Herald
Yearbook Calumet

Arapahoe High School is a public high school in Centennial, Colorado, United States.[1] Located in a suburb of Denver, it is the flagship of the Littleton Public Schools District as the largest of three high schools with an enrollment of 2,229 students. It has been designated a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

Arapahoe consistently places "Excellent" on Colorado's statewide school accountability report, the only Littleton Public Schools high school to do so.[2]

The school is known for its affiliation with the Arapaho tribe of Wind River, Wyoming.


The 254,756-square-foot (23,667.6 m2) high school has two gyms, a weight room, a library, kitchen, a 647-seat theater, 70 classrooms, a pool, tennis courts, baseball, football, and two soccer fields, as well as a track.

Native American relationship[edit]

The school has a unique relationship with the Arapaho tribe.

After complaints about the pejorative depiction of Native Americans, principal Ron Booth sought a direct relationship with the tribe by travelling to the tribe's location in Wyoming for a personal meeting with tribal elders. After an extensive process, the tribe and Chief Anthony Sitting Eagle approved a relationship between school and tribe, establishing relationship methodology through a specific declaration.[3]

The original logo of Arapahoe High School more closely depicted a Pawnee Indian. On September 17, 1993 the Arapaho Nation and Arapahoe High School held the Arapahoe Warrior Assembly. This assembly dedicated the schools new, and current, Warrior mascot—created by Northern Arapaho Artist, Wilbur Antelope.

Since then, the Northern Arapaho tribe has endorsed the name of the high school (as spelled with an "e" at the end) and its use of the current warrior mascot, provided by the tribe. Additionally, the large gym was refinished and renamed the Sitting Eagle Gymnasium (this is now the second gym) on December 9, 1995.

According to the original agreement made by the school, the mascot is not to be put on the floor (where one could walk on it) or on any article of clothing,[3] but whether through subsequent agreement or disregard on the part of the school the mascot can be found on a wide variety of clothing. However, it is not found on any football uniform (where it may be rubbed into the ground) and the school does not portray a Native American Warrior at any sporting event.

Tribal members visit the school for important events, speaking every year at graduation, and every two years a larger group will visit the school to perform various traditional dances and speak about Native American culture.

Building history[edit]

Arapahoe High School was built in 1964.

Several additions have been made since that time:

  • 1965: A gymnasium, built by Morse, Dion & Champion, architects and Hollister, general contractor
  • 1967: An addition of a pool, classrooms and theater, built by Morse, Dion & Champion, architects and Webco, general contractor.
  • 1979: An addition of locker rooms, wrestling facilities and a gymnastics gym, built by Allred/Fisher, architects and Frank Hall & Co., construction management.
  • 1987: An addition of administration and counseling space, by Culbertson & Associates, who served as designer and general contractor.
  • 1997: The school's aging interior library was replaced with classrooms, and a new library and media center were constructed on the north side of the building. Accessibility was improved with the construction of an elevator adjacent to second-floor classrooms and a student-designed east entrance with wheelchair ramps and automated doors, nicknamed "The Bubble."
  • 2005: The school underwent significant remodeling. A new gymnasium was added, several classrooms were redesigned and walls were rebuilt to meet fire code standards.
  • 2014: In the aftermath of the 2013 shooting, in which parts of the library were burned, a remodeled library was constructed in the same space.

As of 2013 the school has 70 classrooms.[4]


Arapahoe is part of the 8-team Centennial League that also includes Cherry Creek, Grandview, Cherokee Trail, Smoky Hill, Eaglecrest, Mullen, and Overland.[2]

Arapahoe athletics include baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, dance, football, golf, lacrosse, marching band, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, winter guard, and wrestling. All athletics at Arapahoe are competed at the 5A / world level.

Girls golf won the Colorado State Championship in 2010.

The Arapahoe soccer program, known as ABK (Arapahoe Ball Kickers), holds 14 state championships; the girls' program has won nine state titles and the boys' program has five state titles. In 1997 and 1998, members of the ABK and friends formed the Jolly Green Men, supporters of the Colorado Rapids soccer club.


Arapahoe Herald[edit]

The monthly Arapahoe Herald newspaper is produced by journalism students. In 2005, Arapahoe Herald was named a National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Finalist and went on to win a Pacemaker. The National Pacemaker Awards have been called “the high school equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.” In 2005, the Arapahoe Herald received the Pacemaker as well as a Silver Crown from Columbia Scholastic Press Association. It is only the sixth high school newspaper in Colorado to win a Pacemaker in the award’s 100+ year history.

In 2007 Arapahoe Herald received the National Scholastic Press Association's All-American rating, Columbia Scholastic Press Association's Gold Medalist Award, and in 2008 placed first in the American Scholastic Press Association's Newspaper Review and Contest. Arapahoe Herald is also included in the National Scholastic Press Association's Hall of Fame for ten consecutive All-American ratings. To date, the newspaper has earned 14 All American ratings since 1992. Arapahoe Herald won its second NSPA Pacemaker Award in November 2009. The Herald also received Gold Medal awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in 2008 and in 2010.

In 2009, the February issue of the newspaper gained statewide attention for a controversy over articles depicting teenage boys using alcohol to engage in sexual actions with girls, and young women objectifying themselves for attention.[5]


Calumet, the Arapahoe yearbook is produced by journalism students. Calumet received All-American ratings in both 2005 and 2006 and was a Pacemaker Finalist in 2005.[citation needed]


Muse is Arapahoe's literary arts magazine. In 2007, the Muse placed eighth in the National Scholastic Press Association's Best-in-Show, during the Denver Convention.[6]


On December 13, 2013, a shooting occurred at the school. The gunman, identified as 18-year-old student Karl Halverson Pierson,[7][8] entered the school armed with a shotgun, a machete, three Molotov cocktails, and 125 rounds of ammunition.[9][10] He requested to see school librarian Tracy Murphy.[11] Murphy was also the coach of the school debate team,[11] and Pierson's demotion on the team was a contributing motive to the shooting.[12][13] Pierson made no attempt to conceal his weapon.[12] Murphy was informed by the school custodian and left the building.[14] Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson credits Murphy with making a tactical decision to leave the school "in an effort to try to encourage the shooter to also leave the school".[12] One student, 17-year-old Claire Davis, was shot at point-blank range in the head; she died eight days later at Littleton Adventist Hospital.[15][16] Police initially believed another girl had been shot, but she had only blood stains on her clothing. No other students were physically injured,[16] however, some students were treated for panic attacks.[12]

School districts around the area were placed on a Lock Out including Littleton Public Schools and Douglas County School District RE-1.[17] at around 1:00pm and lasted just over an hour.

Hospital personnel were told to prepare for a "mass injury incident", and police described an "active shooter situation".[14][16]

Two unused Molotov cocktails were found by deputies.[9] A third was burning when they arrived, and, according to Robinson, "the deputies encountered a large amount of smoke" before extinguishing the fire.[12] After the shooting, students were escorted out of the school by police officers[12] before being reunited with their families at Euclid Middle School.[12]

About 20 minutes after police began searching Arapahoe High School, they found Pierson dead in a classroom from an apparent self-inflicted shot.[18] An armed school resource officer, Deputy James Englert of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, was on regular duty in the school at the time of the shooting, heard the shots, and ran towards the sounds. According to Sheriff Grayson Robinson, Pierson realized this, which was a “critical element to the shooter’s decision” to commit suicide.[19] Robinson later said of the armed deputy's actions: "We believe that that action was absolutely critical to the fact that we didn’t have more deaths and injuries."[20]

Police believe Pierson acted alone. Upon investigation, authorities determined that the entire incident lasted less than 80 seconds.[12]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Arapahoe High School: United States". Geographical Names. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Office school website
  3. ^ a b "HIGH SCHOOL OF THE WEEK ARAPAHOE Proud to be Warriors." Denver Post [Denver, CO] 13 Mar. 2001: D. General OneFile. Web. 16 Nov. 2011.
  4. ^ Knickerbocker, Brad. "How Columbine lessons helped in Arapahoe High School shooting (+video)." Christian Science Monitor. December 13, 2013. Retrieved on December 18, 2013.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "NSPA - Contest Winners". Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ Team (December 13, 2013). "7NEWS - Karl Pierson identified as Arapahoe High School gunman who shot student while targeting librarian - Story". ABC 7 News Denver KMGH-TV. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Arapahoe High School: Dead Colorado school shooter wanted 'revenge' on faculty member, sheriff says". WPTV. December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Colorado school shooter angry at librarian but had shotgun, machete and 3 Molotov cocktails for killing spree". Associated Press. December 14, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Police: Colorado school gunman had Sandy Hook pics"
  11. ^ a b "Colorado School Shooting Victim in 'Wrong Place, Wrong Time'". ABC News. December 14, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Cabrera, Martinez, Carter (December 15, 2013). "Colorado's school shooting -- over in 80 seconds". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ Cooper, Anderson. "Student: Gunman last person I'd suspect". Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Cabrera, Ana; Carter, Chelsea J.; Watkins, Tom (December 13, 2013). "Dead Colorado school shooter wanted 'revenge' on faculty member, sheriff says". CNN. Retrieved December 13, 2016.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  15. ^ "Hospital: Teen who was shot at Colo. school dies". AP. December 21, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c "Gunman kills self at Colorado high school; second student critically wounded". NBC News. December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Douglas County School District Webpage from December 13, 2013". December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  18. ^ Goldman, Russell; Robinson, Kelley (December 13, 2013). "Colorado School Shooting Suspect May Have Been Out For Revenge, Police Say". ABC News. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ Arapahoe High deputy ‘went to the thunder’ during shooting, boss says |
  20. ^ Colorado school shooting: Armed guards the answer?, Christian Science Monitor, December 14, 2013
  21. ^ Soccer: CU Buffs' Barczuk drafted - Boulder Daily Camera
  22. ^ Maria Amália - IMDb
  23. ^
  24. ^ AnnaSophia Robb - IMDb

External links[edit]