Since our first graduating class in 1926, Holy Family High School alumni have contributed significantly to the growth of Colorado, our nation and our church. The rich and proud heritage of Holy Family will continue to attract families long into the 21st century.
A Brief History of HFHS Holy Family parish began in 1888 when Sacred Heart (now Regis) College moved to West 50th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard. The following year, Bishop Machebeuf asked the Jesuits at the college to tend to Catholics living between Olivet Road (now Ward Road) on the west, Meade Street on the east, West 38th avenue on the south and Arvada on the north.
In 1891, Bishop Matz officially christened the parish Holy Family. It served the Berkeley neighborhood which started in the 1880’s as an incorporated farm town but was annexed to Denver in 1902. From 1889 to 1905 members of the new parish attended mass at Regis College Chapel but Reverend Lawrence Fede, SJ, first pastor, thought that the parish needed its own church. Edward L. Johnson donated some lots at the southeast corner of west 44th Avenue and Utica Street for a nominal $10 consideration. A small, pressed brick hall, designed to serve as both church and school, was completed and blessed by Bishop Matz on June 3, 1905.
Reverend Cornelius O’Farrell, pastor from 1919 to 1923 began building a school on the south side of the church, the $60,000 grade school was opened September, 1920 by five Sisters of Loretto. The basement auditorium of this fast-growing school was partitioned in 1922 to create a ninth grade classroom. Thirty students enrolled, inaugurating what has become Holy Family High School.
The next pastor, Reverend Mark Lappen, purchased the house south of the school and converted it into a convent. To pay for this building and other parish projects, Holy Family began staging the first of many annual galas at nearby Elitch Gardens. The first Elitch social of 1923 helped Holy Family School to establish a Chemistry Laboratory and a Library in the high school, where the first 12 graduates received diplomas in 1926.
Jobs, as well as academic credentials, became a focus of Holy Family High School during the Great Depression, when vocational training was begun in 1933. A 1941 addition to the convent was followed by construction of more classrooms under the direction of Father Leo Flynn. In 1951 he was succeeded by Monsignor Forest Allen. A bungalow behind the convent on Tennyson Street was purchased and the house was converted into a home economics department where students could practice the domestic sciences.
After decades of adding classrooms here and there, Holy Family constructed a modern high school, cafeteria and gym in 1958. Additional classrooms were built on top of and behind the original church-school hall, where the entry was remodeled. These would be occupied by the Holy Family Grade School. The high school now had the use of the original building (lovingly called Utica East).
In 1987 a complete renovation was done in the library for which the high school alumni contributed most of the cost of this updating.
The five Sisters of Loretto who arrived in north Denver and began the school in 1920 probably did not envision more than one hundred and fifty Sisters of Loretto following them to teach in the grade and high schools.
Holy Family High School is a Catholic secondary school for young men and women operating under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Denver. Holy Family is a community of parents, faculty, administrators, students, alumni and benefactors all striving together to accomplish their common purpose.
This mission statement was written through faculty consensus in 1985. It states well the mission of Holy Family High School past, present and future.
“BASED ON THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST
HOLY FAMILY HIGH SCHOOL SEEKS TO PROVIDE
A CATHOLIC LEARNING ENVIRONMENT THAT STRESSES
ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE, FOSTERS MUTUAL RESPECT,
DEMANDS RESPONSIBILITY, AND ENCOURAGES SELF GROWTH.”
The Archdiocese formed a High School Planning Task Force in 1988, which after months of research recommended that Holy Family High School be moved to a new larger facility in the Northwest metro area. A second Task Force was commissioned in 1990 to further study the fiscal feasibility, site and building needs. This study resulted in the same conclusion that a secondary school be located in the Northwest area.
In 1993, P.A.C.E., Parents Advocating Catholic Education was organized to continue the study for a potential new high school. P.A.C.E. contracted with Meitler Consultants to survey, gather demographic data and prepare detailed enrollment projections. In 1994 The Catholic School Management, Inc. was contracted to the fund drive for the feasibility study. This fund drive became known as Hearts on Fire which helped generate funds for the building of the new Holy Family High School.
Ground was broken on the present site of Holy Family on March 8, 1998. Approximately 52 acres were given by Archbishop Stafford for the purpose of building a new high school in the Northwest area of Denver. The school building was finished in the fall of 1999 and Holy Family moved in. This year (2010) we celebrate 10 years at this site. There are no longer Sisters of Loretto working in the school which is staffed by 75 faculty and staff members and currently enrolls 560 students. Holy Family enjoys its own football stadium with a 400m track, baseball field, softball field and practice fields.
During the spring of 2011, the stadium and track facility were professionally landscaped through funds from the 2007 Capital Campaign. That same summer a group of donors also provided for the addition of an outdoor concession stand with restrooms which serve the fans of football, soccer, track, cross country, and baseball. During the fall of 2013, a new scoreboard was added to the stadium complex which serves football, track, cross country and soccer. Future plans include, tennis courts and additional practice fields, building of a multipurpose building to house a theatre and additional gym, bleachers for the baseball field and softball field improvements.
Holy Family High School continues to offer a quality Catholic education to the young men and women of the Archdiocese of Denver. Holy Family is dedicated to educating the whole person; mind, body and spirit, as we celebrate our tenth decade of service to the Catholic community of Denver.