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East High School (Denver)

East High School
East High
Location 1600 City Park Esplanade St. 80206, Denver, Colorado
Area 11.5 acres (4.7 ha)
Built 1924
Built by Arvid Olson Invest. & Building Co.
Architect Williamson, George Hebard
Architectural style Late 19th and 20th Century Revivals, Jacobethan Revival, Other
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 06000660[1]
CSRHP # 5DV.2091
Added to NRHP July 27, 2006
East High School
"Home of the Angels"
Denver, CO
United States
Established 1876
School district Denver Public Schools
Principal Andy Mendelsberg
Grades 9-12
Number of students 2159 (as of 2009) [1]
Color(s) Red & White         
Athletics Football, baseball, volleyball, softball, boys and girls golf, boys and girls tennis, gymnastics, cross country, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls swimming and diving, track, wrestling, boys rugby (club), ultimate frisbee (club), bowling (recreational), table tennis (recreational), boys and girls ice hockey.
Athletics conference Denver Prep League
Mascot Angel
School Newspaper The East High Spotlight [2]
Sports Division CHSAA 5A
Head Boy & Girl Christoper Dudley and Addie Glass
Current Theatre Production A Thurber Carnival and the IF NOT US Project

East High School is a public high school located in the City Park neighborhood on the east side of Denver, Colorado. It is part of the Denver Public Schools System.


  • History 1
  • Activities 2
  • Athletics 3
  • Notable alumni 4
  • References 5


East High School opened in 1875 at 1600 City Park Esplanade St. with a total enrollment of 2,500 students, and was the first high school in Denver. The first graduating class was in 1877. In 1889, it moved to 19th and Stout Street because of the need for more room. This location is now referred to as "Old East," and could accommodate 700 students. The school featured a gracious flight of stairs leading to the entrance, which was notable for its sculpture of the face of a young girl, depicted as an Angel. School architect Robert S. Roeschlaub and the school board decided to use a local childhood beauty instead of a Greek face to symbolize the school's "dedication to youth." The sculptor was Preston Powers, famous for his statue of the Indian on the grounds of the Colorado state capitol. Five thousand girls across the city were visited as part of a campaign to find the model for the face, and six-year-old Ella Catherine Matty was selected. The statue was so lovely that East High school's mascot has since been the East Angels.

When "Old East" was demolished in 1925, this keystone was removed and placed in a rock garden at the current location of East, 1600 City Park Esplanade. The architect for the current facility was Denver native clock tower[2] modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

In early 1991, the East High building was declared an official Denver Historic Landmark by the Denver Landmark Commission and the Denver City Council. In July 2005, a music video for the song Over My Head (Cable Car), by The Fray was filmed in East High.

East has been repeatedly honored as one of America's top high schools. It was honored in 1957, as one of the country's top high schools and subsequently selected, in 1968, as one of America’s Top Ten Schools. In 2000 Newsweek recognized East as one of America’s top one hundred public high schools.[3] In 2008, Newsweek again recognized East in the magazine's annual list of the country's "Top High Schools".[4]


East High School offers a range of extra-curricular and academic offerings, and has been nationally recognised for Speech and Debate, Constitutional Scholars, and Choir.

East High School has fielded the Colorado representative for the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution High School National Competition in 21 of the 23 years it has been contested. It is the only 5-time National winner, including victories in 3 consecutive years from 2007-2009. The team is coached by Mark Thalhofer.

The instrumental music program is directed by local jazz saxophonist Keith Oxman.[5] The school has three jazz bands, two concert bands, and an orchestra, as well as AP Music Theory and numerous additional student groups. Musicians connected to the school include Javon Jackson and Curtis Fuller.

East also has a drama program, run by Melody Duggan and Daniel Morr, who in 2010 became the first High School in the United States to legally perform Mel Brooks' musical, The Producers. Each year, the East Theater Company performs two theatrical productions: a fall play, and a spring musical, as well as multiple one act plays directed by the senior drama class, the latter enlisting the help of east choir and instrumental music department.

East is also known for its speech and debate program. The team is coached by Matthew Murphy as well as numerous assistants and is ranked as the 59th best program in the United States, out of over 3000 member high schools.[6] East regularly send competitors to both State and National Competitions. In 2010, the school fielded two state champions,[7] as well as a Finalist at the NFL National Tournament.[8] At the 2011 NFL National Tournament East fielded a national champion in congressional debate. As well as placing second in duo interpretation.

The school's top choir, the Angelaires, regularly travels and competes at competitions. In 2007, the group won 2nd place at the National Accapella Singing Conference. In 2007, 2008, and 2009 the Angelaires won the CHSAA State Choir Competition, as the best choir in the state of Colorado, directed by William Taylor. In 2013 the "Angelaires" won first place in their category at the Berklee Jazz Festival in Boston, Massachusetts.

The school has an active student government, as well as over 66 clubs and student organizations.[9] Some of the most popular clubs include Harry Potter Club, Angels Against Abuse, Genocide Action and Awareness Club and National Honor Society. East also has five ethnic studies clubs (Latino Students United, Black Student Alliance, Jewish Students United, Asian Club, and Native American Club).


East has also enjoyed notable success in several Colorado 5A sports, including the most recent State Championship for a Denver Prep League School in baseball (State Champions in 1994), basketball (State Champions in 1964, 1965, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014 and girls' in 2010[10]), soccer (1994, 2008[11][12] and 2011), lacrosse (State Champions in 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000), tennis, rugby (state champions in 1997, 2002, 2004 and 2009[13]) and football. In 2006 the East High Angels Football team made it to the 5A playoffs for the first time in 12 years, returning again in 2007 to win their first playoff game since 1992.

The school's boys and girls basketball teams are consistently ranked with the best teams in the state. In 2007, the boys basketball team was named the top ranked team in the state according to RISE Magazine and Sports Illustrated, and finished the season with another 5A state championship win topping a season with a 22-3 record. The boys repeated their 2007 success by winning the 5A state title again in 2008, and again in 2014, making it their 6th title since 1996. The girls won their first 5A title in 2010.

In 1994, Mark Williams and the East High School Angels boys basketball destroyed George Washington High School team during the regular season.

Beside fielding teams sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association, East’s club teams include bowling, rugby, ultimate frisbee (2012 USA Ultimate western regional champions), table tennis, and boys' volleyball.

One sport that has seen significant success in recent years is the boys soccer team. The boys claimed state championships in 2009 defeating Regis High School 1-0 in Overtime. Just two years later, the boys once again claimed a state title over Chaparral.

Notable alumni

Among the many notable individuals who have attended East High School are:[14]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ 2007 Doors Open Denver Building List
  3. ^ High School History, The Hill School. The Torch Relit. Vol. 7, Issue 2. Page 11. By Parker La Casse and Hayley Price. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  4. ^ Denver Schools, By Michelle A. Potter. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Devlin, Neil H. (March 13, 2010). "East the beast of 5A girls". Denver Post. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Martin, Claire (January 25, 2010). "East High rugby players tackle yoga for cross-training". Denver Post. 
  14. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Continuation Sheet". United States Department of the Interior:National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  15. ^ Don Cheadle Biography on
  16. ^ a b c Denver's East High School Educating for 148 Years
  17. ^ "Mamie Eisenhower Biography". National First Ladies' Library. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  18. ^ David Oliver USA Track & Field

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