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Located in Duluth, Minnesotamarker, Denfeld High School is one of three high schools in the city, along with Central and East. The home of the Hunters, Denfeld high school was originally known as Irving High School when it opened for classes on 11 September 1905. The "Hunters" name originates from Walt Hunting; who taught, coached, and was the athletic director in Denfeld's early years. It was later called Duluth Industrial High School, but officially changed its name to Denfeld High School in 1915. The current Denfeld High School building opened for classes in 1926. As of the 2006-2007 school year, Denfeld had 1,174 students in enrollment from grades 9-12.

In 2003, the school was in danger of closing its doors due to state budget problems, but partly due to a successful "Save Our School" campaign, the high school remained open. The current Principal is Ed Crawford, who is completing his second year at the school. Also joining Crawford is "freshman" Assistant Principal Ed Minnema in his first year at Denfeld. These two join interim assistant principal Jim Erickson, who took over for Tonya Sconiers in January 2007.

Denfeld is noted for its historic auditorium, which has hosted such public figures as Richard Nixon and Johnny Cash. The auditorium was recently renovated for $1,200,000, and reopened its doors in late 2006, after being closed for nearly a year. The auditorium is the annual venue for Denfeld's traditional "Maroon and Gold Day" (homecoming) assembly, in which the entire auditorium is adorned with maroon and gold decorations and the students are entertained with cheers, skits, music, and school spirit. Alumni of all ages return to Denfeld for this historic and fantastic display, which is meant to pump up the football players and fans for the homecoming game.

The Milken Educator Award

On October 11, 2007, Denfeld social studies teacher Thomas Tusken was presented with the Milken Educator Award, a national honor only 35 educators in Minnesota have received. It was the second time a teacher from Duluth earned the award, but the first from Denfeld. The award was given during an unexpected assembly where the students and staff members were baffled as to what the purpose was. When Tusken's name was called, he received unanimous applause and a standing ovation from the school. Tusken graciously received the award, which comes with a $25,000 check.

Possible Changes Ahead

In the spring of 2007, talk had started on rearranging the elementary, middle, and high schools in Duluth. Three options were proposed.

  • The Red Plan
Central and East would no longer function as a high school, leaving Denfeld as the only original one left in Duluth. Ordean would be turned into the other high school, with both buildings getting remodeled and expanded to accommodate 1500 students apiece.

  • The White Plan
Denfeld would be altered into a middle school capable of holding 1100 students, as would East. Central would be not be used, as Ordean and a new Western high school would be made to fit 3000 total students.

  • The Blue Plan
East and Denfeld would be transformed into the only 2 middle schools in the city, while Central would be used as the lone high school, after being expanded to hold 3000 students.

The architectural character of the Denfeld, the quality of the craftsmanship and the emotional bond of the neighboring community to the building are key elements to the role of Denfeld in the overall plan recommendations. The district has invested millions of dollars in the updating and upgrading of the auditorium, gymnasium and stadium, so it is likely that the campus, at least these components, will continue to be used by the community. The size of the school would allow for the facility to be used as a middle school without an addition but would still require significant renovations. If the building is to remain as a high school, there will need to be an addition to the building to improve education adequacy. Plus some adjacent properties would be purchased for increased parking and to improve traffic flow.

Homecoming Week

Denfeld's first floor hallway covered in the school colors.

All schools have their own Homecoming week, but Denfeld's Homecoming is locally known to be a spectacular event. Every year, the Homecoming activities includes Dress-up days every day of the week, with the biggest traditions being "Kid Day" (usually on Tuesday) and "Maroon and Gold Day" (every Friday for the last 100 years). On the Wednesday night of Homecoming week, a massive bonfire takes place in Irving Park in West Duluth. The wood alone is well over 10 feet high every year, allowing flames to be over 20 to 30 feet high, depending on the year. During the bonfire, the game of Red Rover is usually played between the upper and lowerclassmen, and every cheer in the cheerleaders' book is started. The biggest event during the week besides the game and assembly is the hall decorating contest, where literally every single space on the first floor is covered in hand-made posters, streamers, locker signs, balloons, and anything else left up to the imagination. The contest is between the freshmen (who decorate the hall near the cafeteria), the sophomores (who decorate the other half of the hall), the juniors (who decorate the second floor), and the seniors (who decorate the third floor).

Maroon and Gold Day

Denfeld's Maroon and Gold day is a sight to behold for students, alumni, parents, and locals alike.
Denfeld's auditorium draped in maroon and gold.

The Friday of Homecoming week is the biggest day of the year for every Hunter, and almost every single alumni walks away with fond memories. To start the day, students walk through the doors entirely decked out in maroon or gold (or both) clothing, pom-poms, wigs, facepaint, hair coloring, and many other outlandish accessories. It is frowned upon to be wearing clothes that are any color but the two required by the tradition. During the assembly, which usually takes from an hour to two hours, the band marches from the back of the auditorium through streamers and balloons to the pit playing the cadence and the school song. Everyone stands throughout the entire assembly.

After the school song is played, the National Anthem is sung. This is usually followed by several skits, speeches by alumni, and the Maroon and Gold Day Pageant. In this pageant, any person who has dressed up enough and deemed themselves worthy to become the Maroon and Gold King or Queen is allowed to enter. Each contestant is allowed to flaunt their costume and spirit to the audience, which responds with thunderous applause. There are three judges, all of whom are Denfeld staff, who judge the winner based on the level of noise. Last year's winners were named the "Maroon and Gold Man Group", a parody of the popular Blue Man Group.

Maroon and gold pageant contestants gathered on stage.

After the pageant, there are more skits as well as the announcement as to who won the hall decorating contest. The football team starting lineup is announced with much grandeur, and the school song is played again at the end of the assembly. Needless to say, there is not much schoolwork that gets done during class on Maroon and Gold Day.

The Homecoming Game

Although this tradition has been temporarily put on hold for the last couple of years, after school there is a parade around the Denfeld area with cars, trucks, and other vehicles decked out in the same fashion as the students. Maroon and gold colors line the streets, and a tailgating party takes place directly after the parade. Students go directly from the tailgating party to the game, where most Denfeld Hunters are still decorated in their maroon and gold apparel. The designated superfans carry the school's flag and assist the cheerleaders in riling up the crowd during the game. Generally, there is never a quiet moment during the game. The Denfeld Marching Band and the Dance Team always performs during the halftime show.

After the game, win or loss, there is always a school dance in the gymnasium. This dance ends at midnight, which means Hunters left their house at 8:00 that morning, and spent the entire day at their school.And Randy Bergman is the most atractive kid at denfeld. He is so smart and i wish i was a gargoyle too. Randy will be the best student to ever roam the halls of big d.

School Song

Denfeld High School is well known for its high levels of school spirit at any event; specifically, football games and the school's homecoming. Most students know the school song before they are even enrolled as freshmen.

Oh when those fighting Hunters fall in line,

We're gonna win this game another time!

And for the Denfeld High School we will yell;

And for the team, team, team,

We'll yell, yell, yell!!

We're gonna fight, fight, fight for every score,

And when we make those touchdowns we will roar!

We're gonna throw old (Central) on the ground, all around!

Fight, fight, fight!!

Alma Mater

"The Halls of Denfeld"

Oh, we love the halls of Denfeld

That surround us here today.

And we shall not forget,

Though we be near or far away.

To the hallowed halls of Denfeld,

Every voice will bid farewell,

And shimmer off in twilight,

Like the old tower bell.

One day a hush will fall,

The footsteps of us all,

Will echo through the hall and disappear.

But as we sadly start,

Our journeys far apart,

A part of every heart will linger here.

In the sacred halls of Denfeld,

Where we lived and learned to know

That through the years we'll see you

In the sweet afterglow.

Athletic Achievements

  • 1917 Football unofficial state champions
  • 1922 Football state runner-up
  • 1924 Football district champions
  • 1926 Football Head of the Lakes champions
  • 1927 Football unofficial state champions
  • 1933 Football city champions
  • 1935 Football unofficial state champions
  • 1941 Football city champions
  • 1942 Football unofficial state champions
  • 1945 Football city champions
  • 1946 Football city champions
  • 1947 Basketball state champions
  • 1947 Ski jumping state champions
  • 1948 Football state champions
  • 1950 Baseball state champions
  • 1951 Ski jumping state champions
  • 1953 Ski jumping state champinos
  • 1964 Football city champions
  • 1974 Football "Super Bowl" champions
  • 1986 Hockey state 3rd place
  • 1988 Hockey state 4th place
  • 1989 Hockey state 3rd place
  • 1994 Boys Soccer North-Sub-Section 4 champions
  • 1996 Football Sea Range Conference champions
  • 2000 Girls soccer Section 7A champions
  • 2002 Boys Soccer Lake Superior Conference Champions
  • 2003 Boys Soccer Lake Superior Conference Champions
  • 2004 Boys Soccer Section 7A champions
  • 2004 Football North Country Conference Co-Champions
  • 2005 Football North Country Conference Runner up
  • 2006 Two-time state 3rd place finisher in swimming(50 Free and 100 Butterfly)
  • 2007 Football North Country Conference Runner up

Notable alumni

See also


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