Air Academy High School

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Air Academy High School
6910 Carlton Dr., United States Air Force Academy, Colorado 80840
United States
Type Public school
Motto It's a matter of pride.
Established 1957
School district Academy School District 20
Dean Blue Anderson
Principal Dan Olsen
Assistant Principals Maria de la Garza, Diane Shuck, Sean Whitson
Faculty 112
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,315 (2014–2015 school year)
Number of students 12
Color(s) Blue and silver         
Athletics 4A
Mascot Kadet
Rival Cheyenne Mountain High School
Air Academy High School, circa 2008–2009

Air Academy High School (or AAHS) is a public high school that serves the northwestern end of Colorado Springs, Colorado, as well as the United States Air Force Academy. Air Academy has been ranked within the top 10 high schools in the state for its high academic standards.[1] It is the only high school in the United States built on a military academy (School District 20 also has an elementary school on the Air Force Academy).

Air Academy is situated in the foothills of the Front Range, sitting at around 6,550 feet above sea level.

The school's sports mascot is the "Kadet" (Kay-det), a fictional bird of mythical proportions that is representative of a baby falcon. The name itself is a reference to the fact that the high school can be seen as a "little sibling" to the Air Force Academy.


The school was opened in 1956 on the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy for the 1957-58 academic year before having its first commencement ceremony in 1958, making the class of 2007 its 50th graduating class. It is the second oldest high school in Colorado Springs, behind Palmer High School. It was originally constructed as just one building, which is now referred to as 'A' building, which was finished in 1959. 'B' building was added the second year after the original building was constructed. Through the years, two other buildings were constructed to supplement the growing student population, 'C' and 'D' building. The latest addition was completed in 1998 and consisted of several new classrooms, as well as a new gym and band room.


The school was recognized by Newsweek in 2004 and 2005 as being one of the top 1000 public high schools in the country in terms of academic achievement. Air Academy has been ranked as one of the top 10 schools in Colorado multiple times and the school continues to achieve 'superior' rating on standardized tests. Air Academy is also a 10-time winner of the John Irwin School of Excellence Award (2001-2007, 2010, 2011, 2014) from the Colorado Department of Education.[2]

AAHS offers Advanced Placement classes to students in numerous subject areas.


Air Academy offers varsity and junior varsity athletic teams competing in Colorado High School Activities Association 4A and 5A sporting events. Facilities at the school include two gyms, a weights facility, a track, soccer, baseball, and softball field, eight tennis courts, race track, and a football/soccer stadium (nicknamed the K-Dome).

Air Academy has had many teams enter the state playoffs, with teams such as men's and women's basketball, men and women's swimming and diving, wrestling, hockey, baseball, women's lacrosse, and cheerleading all competing for state titles. Air Academy has had individuals compete in and win individual state titles in swimming, cross-country, and track.

In 2008, Allie McLaughlin capped off these individual achievements by capturing the 5A state 3,200 meter track title with a time of 10:49. In the 2008-2009 season, McLaughlin won the individual 5A cross country finals with a time of 17:04, beating the second-place finisher by exactly one minute.[3] She then went on to finish fourth in the Foot Locker Regional and fifth at the national competition, only twelve seconds behind the winner.[4] At 4'10", McLaughlin is noted for her small stature.[citation needed]

Activity Year(s) won
Baseball 1989
Basketball, men's 1989, 2015
Basketball, women's 2012
Cheerleading, co-ed 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009
Cheerleading, women's 2010, 2011, 2012
Football 1962
Ice hockey 1995, 2000, 2005
Lacrosse, men's 1990, 1991, 1992
Lacrosse, women's 2009, 2012, 2014
Swimming & diving, men's 1993, 1999, 2012, 2013, 2014
Soccer, men's 1980; (1st CHSAA varsity), 1990, 1992, 2010, 2014
Soccer, women's 1993, 2012
Tennis, men's 1996, Doubles
Track and field, men's 1994; 4x100 relay; 1998 4x800 relay
Track and field, women's 1994; HJ

Performing arts[edit]

Instrumental music program[edit]

Air Academy has received national acclaim for its numerous instrumental ensembles. Its marching band has consistently been state finalist since 1989 and has received state titles in 1994, 1998, 1999, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, along with percussion caption awards (when it was still an available award) in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2003.

Outside of the state, the marching band has competed in Bands of America Super Regionals, winning 1st place in class AA in 2011 (San Antonio, Texas) and 2015 (St. Louis, Missouri). They have been a BOA finalist in 2013 (St. Louis), 2015 (St. Louis), and 2016 (St. Louis).

Air Academy's concert bands and jazz ensembles also consistently receive superior ratings.[5]

Winter guard[edit]

The Air Academy winter guard has won many titles, including state champion in 2004 (Regional A), 2007 (Scholastic A), 2013 (Scholastic A), 2014 (National Scholastic A), 2015 (National Scholastic A), and 2016 (Scholastic A).

Choir program[edit]

The school boasts multiple choirs, as well as three a cappella groups. There is an all-boys a cappella group named the Echos from the Deep, an all-girls a cappella group named Amber Cascade, and a mixed a cappella group named Out of the Blue.[6]

Drama program[edit]

Air Academy has a drama department that includes an award winning chapter of the National Thespian Honors Society. The school holds an annual student directed variety show called "Montage".

Forensics program[edit]

Air Academy High School is well known for having one of the best speech and debate teams in the Colorado Grande District, which comprises the southern half of Colorado on the Front Range. The team usually sends at least three people to nationals, and Air Academy is well known in the forensics community for its domination of Congressional Debate. Air Academy High School was the first (and only) school in district history to sweep all of the possible team awards for the Colorado Grande National Qualifiers Tournament, having won the Congressional Debate Sweepstakes, Debate Sweepstakes, Speech Sweepstakes, and Overall Sweepstakes during the 2013-2014 season.

The extemporaneous speaking portion of the team was also the first in district history to sweep all of the Colorado Grande National Qualifiers for Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking and United States Extemporaneous Speaking in one tournament, having completed this feat in the 2013-2014 season.

Air Academy High School maintains rivalries with Pueblo West High School, St. Mary's High School (Colorado Springs) and Cheyenne Mountain High School for the highest-ranked team in the district.


Air Academy is home to District 20's CO-20021 AFJROTC Program. There are currently over 250 students from across the district enrolled in it. The schools eligible are Liberty High School, Rampart High School, Discovery Canyon Campus, The Classical Academy, Air Academy High School, and Pine Creek High School. The unit won Distinguished Unit with Merit for the 06-07, 12-13, and 15-16 school years. Currently, the unit holds the honor of having the highest number of cadets to attend service academies and ROTC scholarships in the nation. It is led by Colonel Rob Huber, Master Sergeant Anthony Rush, and Senior Master Sergeant Jerry Easley. Each class is broken down into military style "flights" consisting of A Flight-G Flight, also top five and wing staff flights making two "groups", and all together one wing.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°58′7.55″N 104°50′44.54″W / 38.9687639°N 104.8457056°W / 38.9687639; -104.8457056