Fossil Ridge High School (Fort Collins, Colorado)

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Fossil Ridge High School
Sabercat logo
5400 Ziegler Road,
Fort Collins, Colorado

United States
Coordinates 40°30′49.78″N 105°0′56.2″W / 40.5138278°N 105.015611°W / 40.5138278; -105.015611Coordinates: 40°30′49.78″N 105°0′56.2″W / 40.5138278°N 105.015611°W / 40.5138278; -105.015611
Type Public high school
Motto "Sko' Ridge"[4]
Established 2004
School district Poudre School District
NCES School ID 080399001848[1]
Dean Ms. Tara Oswald[2]
Principal Julie Chaplain
Grades 9-12
Number of students 1,970 [3]
Campus size 290,000 square feet (27,000 m2)
Color(s) Green, silver, and black             
Athletics Division 5A
Mascot Sabercats
Rallying cry "Sko Ridge!"

Fossil Ridge High School is the newest of four public high schools in Fort Collins, Colorado, United States. The school opened in August 2004, and was intended to help better distribute students in Fort Collins and alleviate pressure on Rocky Mountain High School.


Voters approved the opening of Fossil Ridge High School in 2000, and the school first opened to students in August 2004 with 475 students in grades 10 and 11.[4]

Athletics and activities[edit]

Fossil Ridge High School participates in the 5A Front Range League and offers all major sports to students. Highlights include a robust cheerleading program, which hit a perfect routine at the state competition in 2013, and took 13th place at the national competition in 2014. The boys' swim team won state championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017 while head coach Mark Morehouse was awarded National High School Coach of the Year honors by the National High School Coaches Association following the 2016 championship win. The girls' swim team won state championships in 2011-2012, 2014-15, and again in 2016-17. The boys' hockey team won their state championships during the 2011-12 season.

The school also hosts many additional extracurricular activities, such as a yearbook staff, a school newspaper, a student council, community outreach organizations, and multiple musical groups. The marching band at Fossil Ridge won the state championships in 2012 and 2013,[5] and took second place in 2014,[6] 2015[7] and 2016.

Fossil Ridge has a FIRST Robotics Competition team which is three years old, dubbed "Ridgebotics" by its members.[8] In 2012, they received the Highest Seeded Rookie Award, and achieved 13th overall. In 2013, they were the 8th seed, but did not advance to Nationals. In 2014, they placed 45th due to electrical and coding difficulties. In 2015, the team advanced to the quarterfinals, achieving 26th in the placement rounds.

Fossil Ridge's Knowledge Bowl team has been highly successful, taking the Colorado state title in 2012 and 2013. The team took second place in the state in the interscholastic academic competition in 2014,[9] and claimed the state title again in 2015 and 2016.[10]

The school's monthly newspaper, Etched In Stone, has won the Colorado High School Press Association's 2012 Best In Show: Website Award, as well as the prestigious National Scholastic Press Association's Pacemaker Finalist Award (the highest honor in scholastic journalism).[11] has had over 150,000 hits since launching in September 2012.

Fossil's theatre department has been recognized as one of the best in the area. In fall 2016 it performed Nick Dear's Frankenstein which sold out every show, and will be performing The Addams Family in spring 2017, which has been nominated for a Bobby G award by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The school's Improv team also ranked first in the state in the International Thespian Society's state conferences in 2015 and 2016.

Unified sports[edit]

In addition to the usual high school sports, Fossil Ridge High School has a robust unified sports program, which pairs students with and without disabilities together on teams.[12] The Colorado Special Olympics named Fossil Ridge the 2015 Project Unify School of the Year for their work to create an inclusive environment [13] through unified sports.[14]

FRHS was the first high school in Fort Collins to begin a unified basketball team,[15] an activity that has since spread to every other comprehensive high school. They again set a precedent in 2014 by launching a unified flag football tournament, which led to unified flag football teams being created at all the main city high schools in the fall of 2015.[16]

Sabercat Studios[edit]

The film program at Fossil Ridge High School is one of the best in Colorado, innovating and creating in the area of video production. The head of the program is teacher Brendan Gallagher. Projects like the 2012 Lipdub,[17] the 2013 Ridge Life Movie, the 2014 Moment in Time project, and the new 2015 Lipdub [18] show the capacity of this program.

Students in Ridge TV learn the latest industry-level editing and sound production software, develop professional production skills, and work daily to develop innovative and informative segments for a weekly school-wide broadcast. A unique feature of the program is the expectation that students create, over the course of the year, high quality short films[19] in the SaberCats Studios that are premiered in the annual FOASS (Films on a Shoe String) film festival. This project gives students experience applying production skills to the completion of a real world product. Students then move on to compete in the Fort Collins High School Film Festival,[20] viewed by the general public at the Lyric Theater in Fort Collins.[21]

The courses offered by the Ridge TV program include 21st Century Media, TV1, TV2, and TV3. 21st Century Media is a semester long class that teaches students the basics of filmmaking and video production. This is a required class for those students who choose to enroll in TV1, a semester course that is responsible for helping with the production of the weekly Ridge TV broadcast. Students enrolled in TV 2, a year long course, are responsible for the production of the weekly broadcast but also have the opportunity to work on individual projects such as short films and live events. Television Production 3 is an advanced film production course for students who have aspirations of pursuing a career in the video production or film industry after graduation from Fossil Ridge. Students enrolled in this advanced course work in the SaberCat Studios to create and produce video series, broadcast quality commercials and documentary films.

Eco-friendly school[edit]

Fossil Ridge High School is one of the thirteen nationwide Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings, and the first in Colorado to earn the distinction. The school was constructed out of "green" materials and utilizes double-pane windows and solar panels to produce energy. The school also has energy-efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems, and sustainable landscape design.[22]

The new building received the international annual design award of the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International for 2006, the "James D. MacConnell Award"[23] for outstanding new educational facilities.

As a result of the design, Fossil Ridge's energy savings are about 60 percent. The school saves approximately $100,000 a year in utilities. Due to Fossil Ridge's environmentally friendly design, the Discovery Channel hosted a special highlighting energy saving at the school and its importance in modern society. The building's design inspired students to create an eco-friendly club that educates the school community on the benefits of conservation and how to reduce ecological impact.[24]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for Fossil Ridge High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Ms. Tara Oswald | Fossil Ridge High School". Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Official 2015-16 October Student Count Enrollment". Poudre School District. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "About Our School | Fossil Ridge High School". Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  5. ^ White, Rob (Oct 22, 2015). "Fossil Ridge band marches toward third state title". Coloradoan. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  6. ^ Novey, Madeline (Oct 27, 2014). "Fossil Ridge marching band takes second at state". Coloradoan. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  7. ^ De La Rosa, Katie (October 25, 2015). "Fossil Ridge band places second at state championship". Coloradoan. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Staff, Coloradoan (April 26, 2014). "Fossil Ridge state runner-up in Knowledge Bowl". Coloradoan. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  10. ^ Staff, Coloradoan (March 15, 2016). "Fort Collins school wins state Knowledge Bowl titles". Coloradoan. Retrieved Jun 8, 2016. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Vaughan, Kierra (Sep 25, 2015). "Fossil Ridge: Let's unify through Unified". Etched in Stone. Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  13. ^ Horan, Kyle (Sep 9, 2015). "Fossil Ridge receives honor for unified sports, starts flag football team". Denver Channel 7. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  14. ^ Lytle, Kevin (Sep 9, 2015). "Fossil Ridge earns Project Unify award". Coloradoan. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  15. ^ Dzakowic, Morgan (February 13, 2015). "Photos from Fossil Ridge @ Rocky Mountain Unified Baksetball 2/12". USA Today. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Fossil wins award for including students with disabilities in sports". Poudre School District. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  17. ^ 2012 Lipdub
  18. ^ 2015 Lipdub
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Lecain, Allison (May 29, 2015). "#Filmfest: High School Film Festival of Fort Collins". Entertaining Fort Collins. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  21. ^ "High School Film Fest Producer's Spotlight". YouTube. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  22. ^ Team, Haselden. "Fossil Ridge High School". Haselden. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  23. ^ "James D. MacConnell Award". Council of Educational Facilities Planners International. 2006. Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. 
  24. ^ "Energysmart Schools Case Study" (PDF). U.S. Department of Energy. September 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  25. ^ Harding, Todd (June 21, 2015). "Windsor Resident Crowned Miss Colorado 2015". Windsor, CO: KUAD-FM. Retrieved June 27, 2015.