Boulder High School

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Boulder High School
"A Place For Everyone"
1604 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, Colorado, 80302
United States
Coordinates 40°0′49.36″N 105°16′25.67″W / 40.0137111°N 105.2737972°W / 40.0137111; -105.2737972Coordinates: 40°0′49.36″N 105°16′25.67″W / 40.0137111°N 105.2737972°W / 40.0137111; -105.2737972
Type Public
Established 1875 (141 years ago)
School district Boulder Valley
Superintendent Bruce Messinger
Principal James A. Hill
Faculty 94.24 (FTE)
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,863[1] (2015)
Student to teacher ratio 19.77
Color(s) Purple, Gold
Athletics CHSAA 5A Front Range League
Nickname Panthers

Boulder High School is a high school in Boulder, Colorado, part of the Boulder Valley School District.


Boulder High School was founded in 1875 as a preparatory school to the University of Colorado. It was the first high school in Colorado to graduate a class, in 1876, and its unofficial motto is, "Still the First," though the official motto is, "A Place for Everyone."[2] The school is located in downtown Boulder, adjacent to the university’s campus and four blocks from the Pearl Street Mall.


Boulder High School's building at 1604 Arapahoe Ave. was constructed in 1933 by the Works Project Administration.[3] The facade is classic Streamline Moderne. The school's art deco auditorium has also been preserved. The building was constructed with "Colorado Red" flagstone and limestone, the same materials from which the University of Colorado is built. With funding from a Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) bond program, parts of the school were renovated or expanded in 2008. The changes include a remodeled ESL wing and counseling office, a new gymnasium, a larger administrative wing, and a bigger auditorium backstage.[4] Most of the school's recent additions also have flagstone facades, but none retain the original art deco design.


Boulder High football, soccer, lacrosse, and track teams compete at Christian Recht Field, accessed via a bridge spanning Boulder Creek. Recht Field received a multimillion-dollar upgrade in 2003, which included artificial turf installation to conserve water and reduce injuries incurred by frozen turf during the winter.

Fairview High School shares Recht Field for a number of varsity-level events. When Boulder and Fairview football compete against each other in the annual Boulder-Fairview duel, the schools' fans alternate use of the visitor and home stands each year.

As part of the BVSD bond program, a visitors' field house was constructed at the west end of the field.

Flood danger[edit]

Boulder High School is in the middle of the Boulder Creek flood zone. The school's adjacent soccer fields were housing as late as the 1970s, but the houses were removed due to the flash-flood risk. The City of Boulder continues to remove residential buildings in the path of the most dangerous portions of the creek, replacing them with parks and fields. The Boulder Creek 100-year flood took place in 1894, destroying all buildings in the area. The 2013 Colorado floods caused the school to be closed for several days. Serious water damage was reported in several areas of the building, including many classrooms, the weight room, and the cafeteria. The soccer fields flooded as did the softball field, which was the most damaged.

Attendance zone[edit]

Of the family apartment units of the University of Colorado Boulder, Athens Court,[5] Athens North Court,[6] the Expansion Units,[7] Marine Court,[8] and Newton Court are zoned to Boulder High School.[9][10]


Boulder High School has a strong academic reputation and one of the most extensive Advanced Placement programs in the state, offering 28 AP-level courses.[11] Because of its proximity to the University of Colorado, students can also take college-level courses that are not normally offered in high school. Boulder High's Academic Decathlon team has won state multiple times and has subsequently represented Colorado at the national competition for the past six years. It also finished 2nd at the National Science Bowl in 2002. The school has a broad foreign language program that includes instruction in Japanese, Latin, French, German, and Spanish. The Japan Bowl team, organized by Japanese instructor Michael Kleinkopf, has won multiple regional competitions in the past six years, and placed 5th at the national competition in 2001.[12]

Extracurricular activities[edit]


Boulder High School is a 5A member of the Colorado High School Activities Association's (CHSAA) Front Range league and a former member of CHSAA's Centennial League (1964–2008). Boulder High School won a 6A state title in football in 1992, and also had state titles in 1943 and 1963.[citation needed] In 2012, Boulder High School's Varsity Boys Soccer team won the Colorado 5A Soccer Championship beating Smoky Hill in the final game at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.[13]


Boulder High has produced many athletes who have continued to NCAA fame and professional sports, including golfer Hale Irwin, Miami Dolphins defensive back Dick Anderson, New England Patriots guard Heath Irwin, and Denver Broncos running back Bobby Anderson, all of whom also played college football for the University of Colorado Buffaloes. The late Glen Gondrezick, a basketball star at Boulder High, went on to have his basketball uniform number (25) retired by the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and played in the NBA for the New York Knickerbockers and Denver Nuggets.

In October 2007, to make competition locations more convenient for athletes and parents, BHS and crosstown rival Fairview petitioned to leave for the more accessible Front Range League.[14] The request was approved in January 2008 and took effect at the start of the 2008-2009 school year.[15]

Varsity sports[edit]

Boulder High fields eighteen different varsity sports teams each year across three seasons.[16]




Intramural and club sports[edit]

In addition to its varsity sports, Boulder High School has a vibrant array of intramural and club sports.


Boulder High students participate extensively in the performing arts. The Boulder Jazz group frequently places well in regional festivals[citation needed] and also participates in an annual jazz exchange with the Trondheim, Norway art school of Trondertun. The Wind Ensemble is periodically guest-directed by Dr. Ken Singleton of the University of Northern Colorado and Dr. Allan McMurray of the University of Colorado at Boulder.


The theater department at Boulder High was established in 1937 and is one of the original members (Troupe #60) of the International Thespian Society. Boulder High's Theatre Guild currently has over 120 members; over 30 BHS thespians are inducted into the Society each year. The Auditorium is named after Frank C Smucker, who taught at the school and was the technical director until he retired in 2000. The department is currently directed by Chris Sweeney.


The troupe has hosted an array of productions over the years. In October 2006, students performed Where I'm From, a student-written show examining contemporary issues ranging from global warming to politics, heightened airport security, racial differences, text messaging, divorce, and MySpace. The winter show was a stage adaptation of the Woody Allen movie Bullets Over Broadway. This was followed by the school's spring musical Jesus Christ Superstar which featured the double casting of the two main roles. The 2007 productions were Little Shop of Horrors, a theatrical adaption of the 1999 Best Picture Oscar winner Shakespeare in Love, and Stephen Sondheim's musical, Into the Woods. 2008's performances included Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, Fiddler on the Roof, and "Comedy of Errors". 2009's performances included Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bye Bye Birdie. Students wrote another show called 25 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality. The show took on many Boulder stereotypes. 2010's show was Bat Boy: The Musical. 2011's spring show was Xanadu. 2012's performances included Pippin, and a stage adaptation of two Twilight Zone episodes, "It's a Good Life" and "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." 2013's show was Alan Menken's Weird Romance (whose second act was also based on an episode of The Twilight Zone, "Her Pilgrim Soul"). In addition, every year the troupe organizes a collection of one-acts entitled "Black Box" and a haunted house.[17]

Fine Arts[edit]

Boulder High offers a variety of art classes to its students, including drawing & painting, pottery, studio arts, portfolio art, and photography. There are photography classes offered up to a 4th level, and after that are independent study opportunities for those students who wish to continue to study photography. Also offered are studio art, portfolio art, drawing & painting and pottery.

Panther TV[edit]

Boulder High students create a weekly broadcast, showing announcements and student made content to the entire school.

Student worker[edit]

In 1999, Boulder High students founded the political activist group Student Worker. Several of Student Worker's demonstrations have received national attention, including the January 2005 "sleep-in" protesting the War in Iraq and the May 2001 "kiss-in" supporting alternative sexuality.[18][19] In May 2005, Student Worker, in a partnership with Peace Jam, erected 1,650 miniature American flags in memory of soldiers killed in Iraq, and in September 2007, the group protested the Pledge of Allegiance, citing an objection to the "one nation, under God" clause.[20] They instead recited a revised version.[21] In February 2009, it briefly advocated renaming Boulder High School "Barack Obama High School," which was met with overwhelming opposition from the student body, school administrators, and the community, including calls to abolish the club.[22]

Model United Nations[edit]

In fall 2005, the Model United Nations club was founded. In Model United Nations (often referred to as "Model UN" or "MUN"), students take on the roles of diplomats from countries around the globe to discuss, debate, and solve today's pressing international issues. Students research and prepare elaborate presentations for both in-state and national Model UN conferences, attempting to compete with delegations represented by schools in Colorado. Boulder MUN has consistently proven itself an outstanding team, recognized thoroughout the state for the quality of their conference, BHSMUN, and through numerous awards in competition. Boulder MUN attends a national conference each year, and has brought home awards. In 2008 and 2009, Boulder established itself, winning the majority of all delegate awards at every conference they attended in the state of Colorado.

Scares and Controversies[edit]

Safety Scares[edit]

On May 10, 2007, a cafeteria worker reported seeing two masked men enter the school before class hours wearing camouflage and ski masks. Classes were subsequently canceled while the school was locked down and searched by police. After multiple inspections, nothing suspicious was found, and school returned to normal the next day.[23]

Rumors that a song performed at a school talent show would include death threats to the president also garnered national attention, although a subsequent investigation indicated that the rumors were false.[24]

Also, Boulder High School has endured multiple scam bomb threats in the past several years, prompting a moderate increase in school security.

Conference on World Affairs: 2007[edit]

Each year, Boulder High hosts several panels of the University Of Colorado's Conference on World Affairs (CWA). The panels have been well attended by BHS students, have typically been supported by the faculty, and despite a focus on politically sensitive issues, have caused little public controversy with the exception of one on April 10, 2007.

The panel, entitled "STDs: Sex, Teens, and Drugs," was to debate the merits of teens' different attitudes toward sex and drugs. But according to some, the views presented by panel member Dr. Joel Becker, an associate clinical professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, were too extreme. Becker allegedly encouraged students to have sex and use illegal drugs, informed them where to easily find marijuana, and poked fun at condom use. Others argue that the objections were unfounded, and he was taken out of context.[25] A transcript of the panel is available from

A Boulder High sophomore and her mother, Priscilla White, complained to the school board and protested some teachers' mandatory panel attendance policy.[26] The board reviewed the case, but meanwhile, the complaint attracted the national media's attention. The panel was covered most prominently by Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly and radio talk show hosts Don Caplis and Craig Silverman.[27] In an attempt to refute O'Reilly's views, a group of students publicly demanded an apology and organized to defend the CWA panel and BHS administration.[28]

The school board concluded on May 22 that the comments in question were generally taken out of context and that the overall panel was appropriate for high school students. The school board also recognized that several statements were unnecessarily crude and recommended that, in the future, student attendance at the Conference on World Affairs be optional.[29] Today, the CWA at Boulder High School is overseen by a committee to assure the school board's recommendations are carried out and to prevent a similar conflict from occurring again.[30]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "A Boulder Timeline". Boulder History Museum. Boulder History Museum. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "Timeline". Boulder History Museum. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  4. ^ "Boulder High School". Boulder Valley School District. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  5. ^ "Campus Map Athens Court." University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved on October 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "Campus Map Athens North Court." University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved on October 7, 2011.
  7. ^ "Expansion Units." University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved on October 7, 2011.
  8. ^ "Campus Maps Marine Court." University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved on October 7, 2011.
  9. ^ "Campus Map Newton Court." University of Colorado Boulder. Retrieved on October 7, 2011.
  10. ^ "Boulder H.S. Neighborhood Enrollment Detail." Boulder Valley School District. Retrieved on October 7, 2011.
  11. ^ Schools
  12. ^ CJLEA Newsletter May 01[dead link]
  13. ^ Jon E. Yunt (2012-11-12). "Boulder defeats Smoky Hill to claim 5A boys soccer title". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  14. ^ End of era: Fairview, BHS to join Front Range : Top Stories : Boulder Daily Camera Archived October 18, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ CHSAA changes course : Top Stories : Boulder Daily Camera[dead link]
  16. ^ Athletics[dead link]
  17. ^ "Theatre - Boulder High School". Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  18. ^ General - The Slumber Party - Christine Pelisek - The Essential Online Resource for Los Angeles[dead link]
  19. ^
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ Mike McPhee (2007-09-27). "Boulder students protest "God" in Pledge". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  22. ^ Vanessa (2009-02-11). "Boulder High students want to rename school Barack Obama High". Boulder Daily Camera. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  23. ^ "US high school locked down". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  24. ^ "School Talent Show Draws Secret Service". ABC News. 2004-11-12. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  25. ^ - Complete Transcript of CWA panel at B.H.S[dead link]
  26. ^ Amy (2007-05-10). "Student complains about CWA sex panel". Daily Camera. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  27. ^ 10: CWA discussion generates debate : Best of 2007 : Boulder Daily Camera Archived July 25, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Boulder students want apology from O'Reilly : CWA : Boulder Daily Camera Archived April 15, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ [2][dead link]
  30. ^ New committee must approve future CWA talks at school : Schools : Boulder Daily Camera[dead link]

External links[edit]