Saint Joseph High School (Denver, Colorado)

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St. Joseph's High School
601 Fox Street
Denver, Colorado 80204
Coordinates 39°43′33″N 104°59′43″W / 39.725698°N 104.995205°W / 39.725698; -104.995205Coordinates: 39°43′33″N 104°59′43″W / 39.725698°N 104.995205°W / 39.725698; -104.995205
Type Private, coeducational
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1908
Closed 1973
Faculty Redemptorist Priests, Sisters of Mercy, civilian teachers, coaches, and administrators
Grades 912
Campus type Urban
Color(s) Royal blue and white         
Fight song The Bulldog Song
Athletics conference Denver Metro League
Team name Bulldogs
Newspaper The Santa Fe Trail

St. Joseph's High School (commonly referred to as "St. Joe") was a fully accredited Catholic high school located at 601 Fox Street in Denver, Colorado, United States. It was one of several parochial high schools in the Denver Metropolitan Area. Saint Joseph's High School served students in grades 9 through 12. The entire student body averaged less than 300 students. This small school size may have contributed to their tremendous pride. It was built in one of the original settlement areas of historic Denver. The adjoining Saint Joseph Church is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Saint Joseph's High School


In the early 1900s, Saint Joseph Parish was one of the largest parishes in Denver. It served the area south of Colfax Avenue and west of Cherry Creek. "St. Joseph School, which had been squeezing kindergarten through ninth-grade pupils into the church basement, built a $29,000, brick, three-story facility at 601 Fox Street in 1908. A high school program initiated that fall featured a practical business curriculum designed to make its graduates employable." In later years, Saint Joseph Parish was split into Saint Francis to the south and Presentation to the west.[1]

The first graduation class from St. Joseph's High School was the class of 1911. There were five students that graduated that year, all girls. Records indicate that there were two graduates in the class of 1913, three from the class of 1915, and five from the class of 1916. The class of 1917 had four graduates, 1918 had one, 1919 and 1920 had three graduates each. The class of 1921 was the largest to date, with nine graduates. It was also the first class with a male graduate.

The class of 1929 was the first to publish a yearbook. It featured photographs of the twenty graduating seniors, ten boys and ten girls.


Saint Joseph's academic year followed the semester system. This provided for the school's core of college prep, honors, basic courses, and a selection of academic electives. The school also offered foreign language classes in Spanish, German, Latin, and French. There were also music and performing arts classes along with concerts and plays. Its journalism class produced the school newspaper and yearbook The Santa Fe Trail.


Parishioners donated much of the labor and materials for the gymnasium, which was constructed in 1950. Saint Joseph earned many team and individual championships in its history. They participated in the Denver Parochial League and then later in the Denver Metro League. Notable achievements were earned in football, basketball, baseball, boxing, and wrestling. The school also had track, cross-country, and golf teams.

Saint Joseph Church and Gymnasium


Alumni of Saint Joseph's High School have gone on to pursue a broad spectrum of careers and entrepreneurships in many areas. Those areas include business, civil service, entertainment, environmental, government, information technology, health care, law, law enforcement, military, telecommunications, and travel.

Alumni facts:

  • All of the graduates from 1911 through 1921 were female.
  • The most common last name for students was "Martinez". There were fifty-two Martinez graduates.
  • Twenty-one of the graduates went on to be nuns.
  • Four of the graduates went on to be priests.
  • Eight became doctors.
  • 125 St. Joe Bulldogs married St. Joe Bulldogs

God and country[edit]

"During World War II, St. Joseph parish more than proved its patriotism. The church made itself a center for USO activities to comfort and entertain the military. Nuns and parish women taught school children to knit, quilt, and make scrap books that were sent to fighting men overseas. The school's Genes Club, made up of future secretaries and stenographers, sent letters of encouragement to the many men of St. Joseph's at the front. Students also worked on scrap metal and war material drives as well as war bond sales."[1]

Saint Joseph alumni have fought and served in the armed forces in every American conflict from World War II to the Persian Gulf War.


The Redemptorist parish funded the high school expenses not covered by tuition until its last few years, when the Archdiocese of Denver took over responsibility. Saint Joseph's High School was closed by the Archdiocese of Denver in 1973. Along with Saint Francis and Cathedral high schools, it was merged into a new school, Central Catholic High School; but in 1982 this also was closed.[1] Over the years, St. Joseph High School alumni were asked to do little for the school, which perhaps contributed to its closing.

In 1998 the school building became the home of the newly-formed Bienestar Family Services Center, a division of Centro San Juan Diego, the Hispanic ministry of the Archdiocese of Denver. Sister Alicia Cuarón, one of the founders of the Center, relocated it to the Centro San Juan Diego in 2004.[2][3]

Notable students and coaches[edit]

  • Bob Burns (basketball coach) is recognized as being one of the elite coaches from the Denver Parochial League.[4]
  • Bob Cortese (football coach) started his stellar head coaching career at Saint Joseph and went on to have numerous successes at other high schools and at the college level.[5]
  • Sonia Choquette is a best selling author and renowned consultant in her field.
  • Mike Covillo raced hydroplanes professionally for 22 years, winning the 1986 National Championship and 11 Regional high point championships
  • Carl Eiberger named a Lifetime Achiever by Marquis Who's Who. A celebrated Marquis Who's Who biographee; Serves as the principal of Carl F. Eiberger & Associates. Six Lifetime Achievement Awards; Two Merit Awards; Man of the Year Awards; Citizen of the Year Lions Club International; Prospect District Park named in his honor; Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding & Invaluable Service to the Community US Congress (2017); Eisenhower Citizen Ambassador of the University of Notre Dame; Recognized over 60 years by Denver & Colorado Bar Associations; Michael McCafferty Distinguished Service & Lifetime Award University of Notre Dame Law School; Featured in Who's Who in America & Who's Who in American Law
  • Danny Hermosillo fought in the Golden Gloves, for the Denver Rocks boxing club, and as a professional boxer.
  • Christopher Kelly is a retired Air Force three-star general, an accomplished pilot, and commander.[6]
  • Frank Filchock (football coach) was the first head football coach of the Denver Broncos, in 1960 and 1961. Unfortunately, both were losing seasons and he was dismissed after his second year. His next job was head football coach at St. Joseph.
  • Kevin Kelly is a retired Captain with the Denver Sheriff Department.
  • James Leprino, a self made billionaire, is Chairman and CEO of Leprino Foods, the largest manufacturer of mozzarella cheese in the world. In 2016 Forbes magazine listed his net worth at around $3.3 billion. for which he is listed as the 211th-richest person in world.
  • Dan O’Hayre is a retired Division Chief with the Denver Police Department.
  • Janice (Galla) Payan is a professor at the University of Northern Colorado. She was awarded the Fulbright - Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration Distinguished Chair.[7]
  • Richard Yribia was a news director for KMGH television station in Denver. His news team was nominated for an Emmy.
  • Jim Welte has served with such impact as high school principal with Fountain Fort Carson School District 8 in Colorado Springs that the district's newest high school is named after him, the Welte Education Center.
  • Henry Mondragón was named the 2013 Veterans Service Officer of the Year by The United Veterans Committee of Colorado


  1. ^ a b c Colorado Catholism, by Thomas J. Noel
  2. ^ Marquez, Jennie (6 June 2014). "Archbishop thankful for the 'gift of Sister Alicia' (press release)". Archdiocese of Denver. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  3. ^ Davidson, Joanne (3 December 2000). "Reception fetes Adelante Mujer". The Denver Post. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  4. ^ 50 years of Colorado Sports: the 1960s by Irv Moss, the Denver Post
  5. ^ Bob Cortese biography from ArenaFan Online
  6. ^ Christopher Kelly biography from the official website of the US Air Force
  7. ^ Janice (Galla) Payan biography from the University of Northern Colorado

External links[edit]