History of South
Although it is the newest of the directional high schools, Denver South High School has a tradition that stretches back to Denver’s earliest days. Like East, South High School developed out of Denver City’s Union School.
Since Denver’s south side was the least populous in the city’s early days, the area did not get its own school until 1883. This school was called the Grant School and served all elementary through high school students.
In 1907, a separate junior and senior high school was added to Grant School. Although the school was still part of Grant, it was unofficially known as the Denver South Side High School. In 1919, the junior and high schools at Grant split into separate buildings.
Grant High School officially became Denver South High School in 1926, when the high school portion of Grant was selected to become part of the Denver City Beautiful project.
The new high school building was built bordering Washington Park, and was designed by the prominent Denver architecture firm Fisher and Fisher. The building is inspired by the Basilica of Santa Maria Cosmedin in Rome, a church famous for housing the skull of St. Valentine.
Notable South High School alumni include current Congresswoman Diana DeGette and former Archivist of the United States Robert Warner.
**Courtesy of Denver Public Library
- Janet Bonnema, first woman allowed to enter a tunnel project in Colorado
- Stan Brakhage ’51, experimental filmmaker
- Verne Byers ’37, musician and bandleader (known in high school as Vincent Beyer)
- Calais Campbell, football player, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals
- Conor Casey, soccer player, Philadelphia Union
- Ken Charlton, ’59, All-American basketball player at University of Colorado
- Chuck Darling, member of 1956 Summer Olympics basketball gold medalists, First team All-American at University of Iowa
- Diana DeGette, U.S. Representative from Colorado’s 1st district
- Patricia Elliott, ’56, actress and TV personality
- John L. Hall ’52, Nobel laureate (Physics)
- Marilyn Hickey, evangelist
- Robert Higgins ’50, zoologist, professor, scholar, marine life researcher, curator at Smithsonian Institution
- Michael Lavine ’81, photographer
- Fred Meissner, world-renowned geoscientist, professor at Colorado School of Mines and author
- Albert Mooney ’24, founder of Mooney Aircraft Company
- Mike Perez ’83, pro football player, quarterback at San Jose State
- Bert Stiles ’38, author and Purple Heart recipient
- James Tenney ’52, composer and music theorist
- Robert M. Warner ’45, 6th Archivist of the United States, 1980–1985, pushed for National Archives and Records Administration to become own independent federal agency
- LenDale White, football player, USC and Denver Broncos
- Nick Willhite ’59, pitched from 1963–1967 for Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Senators, California Angels and New York Mets