DENVER – On Friday, Denver Public Schools will host a grand opening event for the Denver West Middle School and West High School reunified campus.
The school was divided into two smaller schools a decade ago in an effort to boost test scores.
The school was reunified this year after a big push from students, alumni, and teachers.
“We kind of joke around that all roads lead to West because so many people have some kind of connection here whether they were a student, a parent, or they taught here,” West High School Principal Mia Martinez Lopez. “It wasn't just students and families that were impacted — staff was as well. So they really missed this place and wanted to see it come back together.”
Denver West Middle School Principal Dr. Boris Costa-Guerra said the student body is mostly made up of students of color who missed the sense of community the campus once had.
The grand opening event will include live entertainment and speakers.
“We are also bringing back alumni to be able to talk to our staff to give them advice and wisdom. Some are previous educators, staff members, or parents and can speak to what it means to be a West Cowboy,” Costa-Guerra said. “We also invite any students that might be interested in joining the campus, as we are a school choice, to come out.”
The new 1969 West High Blow Out Commemorative Monument will also be unveiled on Friday night.
The monument honors the Blow Out Protest of 1969 in which students walked out of school to protest injustices and racism that Chicano students experienced from teachers at Denver West.
The protest lasted for several days and turned violent at times.
In 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the protest, civil rights leader Emanuel Martinez recalled police beating and arresting him for protesting.
“Batons were swinging and everything. My charge, like most everybody else, was assaulting the policemen. Thank God all the television stations were there and their films were subpoenaed and it showed exactly what happened," Martinez said.
The monument unveiling and Denver West unified campus grand opening event begins at 5:30 p.m.