If asked to describe what makes Pueblo Central High School stand high above all other schools, four words emerge - -
HISTORY, PEOPLE, ACADEMICS and TRADITION. These four words conjure up images and emotions within anyone and everyone
who has ever entered and journeyed through the halls of our majestic building and experienced "Wildcat Life".
No one can deny that the physical structure that is now Central High School is an awesome piece of history in itself.
The first Central High School, built in 1882, still stands in the 100 block on East Pitkin and was recently renovated
and converted into apartments. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Central High School, as it stands
now at 216 East Orman Avenue, was begun in 1902 and completed in 1912. After a fire destroyed all but the east wing
of the building in 1917, major renovation took place and was finished by 1919. With voter approval, a major remodeling
project began in 1972 and was completed in the spring of 1974. The original areas of the building all underwent
modernization and remodeling, including the auditorium, now called the "Mary Richardson Memorial Theatre", in honor of
a long-time, now deceased drama teacher. The remodeling added a two-story addition which houses classrooms. Central
High School also received a new cafeteria and lounge area (Ed Lesar Hall), graphic and industrial/vocational arts
areas, music rooms and a swimming pool. The dirt parking area and softball fields next to the gym were restructured to
include a paved parking lot and a football practice field and track. This is the Central High School of today.
Though Central High School has a great history, it is not the history of the building that makes Central great, it is
the people! When the building is empty, it is just that - - empty! The people who have walked these great halls are
what make Central come alive. Residents from all of the old neighborhoods have made Central what it is: "Aberdeen",
"Bessemer", "The Blocks", "Fulton Heights", "The Grove", "Mesa Junction", "Minnequa Heights", "Salt Creek", "Sunset
Park", "West of City Park" and the neighboring communities of Beulah and Rye. Today, open enrollment allows students
from any and every part of town to attend Central High School and they do! In recent years, students have commuted
from as far away as Pueblo West and Fowler! Every ethnic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic group has been well
represented and respected at Central High School since its beginning, and many more students from every walk of life
have left their impact as part of the Wildcat legacy. Anyone who has attended Central High School understands that
equal opportunity abounds within its walls and the ability to interrelate with people from every walk of life has
made each of its students better able to live with greater successes in the real world. Central has always and
continues to pride itself on its diversity and true "melting pot" qualities. No matter where students come from, it
is a known fact that once they have entered Central High School, what matters most is that they are WILDCATS! As the
beloved and true saying goes, "Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat!"
Thousands of students from every walk of life have attended Central High School. Each year new graduates
take their place in the world. Ever since the first senior class left the halls of Central in 1886, the impact made
by the students has been remarkable. Though all have not gained fame, alumni have become progressive, productive,
useful and upstanding citizens in their communities due to the educational opportunities available to them at Central
High School. Since the beginning, Central students have received numerous scholarships and Central High School has
graduated a vast number of National Merit and Commended Scholars, Boettcher Scholars and military academy nominees.
With an ever-changing curriculum to meet the needs and demands of our students, community and society, the continued
success of Central's graduates is assured.
Central High School's uniqueness is expressed through long-standing traditions, many of which have spanned
generations! The yearbook is still The Wildcat. The newspaper is still The Central Times. Students continue to
participate in athletic events, music concerts, drama productions, Vodevil performances, school assemblies and the
Bell Bash. National Honor Society, Student Council, Girls' Cabinet, cheerleader/spiritleader groups and many other
organizations are still active. Today's youth will have special memories of Central's pillars, inclines, classrooms,
gymnasium, cafeteria and Ed Lesar Hall. Tales continue to be told about the ghosts who are known to walk the halls
and visit the auditorium. Many Wildcats still hang out on the front steps, loaf in the main hall, wear blue and white
on Friday and clap out the seniors. Students take pride in earning academic and athletic letters, in seeing their
pictures on the Wall of Achievement, in serving as junior escorts, in being members of a royal court and in marching
with the ROTC. Senior year highlights still include participating in homecoming activities, selecting the senior
class gift, attending the prom, being honored at the recognition assembly and receiving a gold or silver cord at
graduation. However, the two traditions that have the greatest reach in terms of public knowledge are the
Central-Centennial Football/Victory Bell rivalry and stories of the feats of the legendary Central graduate, Earl
"Dutch" Clark, for whom the football stadium was named.
Since the establishment of Central and Centennial High Schools, an athletic contest began that has developed
into the longest-standing high school football rivalry west of the Mississippi River! Central won the first conflict,
which dates back to Thanksgiving Day in 1892. During the game being played in 1907, a riot involving players, officials
and spectators broke out after a controversial Centennial touchdown. The fear of violence halted the annual event until
1921. Since that time, the two teams have met each other at least once a year.
In 1950, a Pueblo businessman, Lewis Rhodes, donated a brass bell from one of the Colorado Fuel and Iron engines
to be awarded annually to the winner of the game. Central won that first game by a score of 40-27. Co-captains Nathaniel
Jones and Bob Smith received the bell for Central High School for the first time. A second game was played that year on
Thanksgiving Day and Central won. For many years, a second game was played on Thanksgiving Day if the two schools were
not involved in the playoffs.
Although additional schools were built as Pueblo grew, the annual Bell Game still commands center stage and attracts
national attention each year. Evidence of partisan feelings pop up the entire week before the game, as businesses are
decorated in their team's colors, co-workers wage bets and telegrams from well-wishers pour into locker rooms. Pep
assemblies ignite the students and communities with their pride, spirit and enthusiasm! Alumni from all over return to
renew old acquaintances and cheer the team on at the capacity-filled stadium. Emotions run high and there is never any
doubt as to whose side someone is on! Dutch Clark Stadium, formerly known as Pueblo Public School Stadium, is bursting
in a wave of red and a wave of BLUE! Thousands watch each year, often cheering on fourth, fifth and sixth generation
players. The strength of this tradition goes beyond description. Fans from all over flock to support their favorite team.
Wildcats are especially proud to play in a stadium named for "Dutch" Clark, a 1926 Central High School graduate who went
on to become a great college and professional football player.