Eldorado High School (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Eldorado High School (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Infobox School
name = Eldorado High School

imagesize =
caption =
location = Main Campus:
1139 Linn Lane
Las Vegas, NV, 89110
Freshman Campus:
1801 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV, 89104
coordinates =
district = Clark County School District
principal = Dr. Ron Lustig
viceprincipal =
dean =
staff =
faculty =
schooltype = Public high school
enrollment = 3,153
grades = 9-12
conference = Sunrise 4A Region
motto =
team_name = Sun Devils
school_colours = Maroon and gold
colorbox|maroon colorbox|gold
publication =
established = 1973
homepage = http://www.ccsd.net/schools/eldorado/

Eldorado High School is a public high school in Las Vegas, Nevada, part of the Clark County School District. The high school is located in Sunrise Manor Township on the northeast part of the Las Vegas Valley in Southern Nevada, south of Nellis Air Force Base. Its team mascot is the Sundevils and its school colors are Maroon and Gold (very similar to the colors and mascot used at Arizona State University).


Eldorado High School was built in the early-1970s on an open desert lot just west of the Las Vegas Wash between Washington and Bonanza Roads. The school opened its doors in September 1973 along with Chaparral High School, which brought the total number of major high schools in the Las Vegas Valley to eight, including Bishop Gorman, a private Catholic high school.

Its campus borders Washington Avenue, Linn Lane, Harris Avenue and Christy Lane (approximately 2 square miles), built with an enclosed building (no windows), a football stadium with an asphalt running track (one of the first high schools in Las Vegas to have such a track) and a state of the art sportatorium, used for basketball, volleyball and wrestling as well as assemblies and other school-related activities. Three other Las Vegas-area schools were built this way: Basic High School, Bonanza High School and the Southern Nevada Vocational Technical Center (also known as Vo-Tech); all built in the early to mid 1970s along with Eldorado. Both Basic and Bonanza were built according to the same blueprints as Eldorado.

For the first 15 years, Eldorado's zoning covered all of the Sunrise Mountain area north of Charleston Boulevard and east of Pecos Road, which resulted in a total school attendance of more than 2,000 (the largest known class to graduate from Eldorado to date is the Class of 1985, graduating about 550 students). Today, its zoning border covers areas east of Nellis Boulevard, north of Bonanza Road and south of Cheyenne Avenue.

In 2007, the former facilities of Bishop Gorman were purchased by CCSD to house the rising number of freshmen and ease overcrowding at the main campus. The freshman campus is known as "Eldorado Preparatory Academy".

The majority of the students are former students of Dell H. Robison, O'Callaghan, Monaco and Baily (then known as "Junior High School"). In the 1980s, Eldorado received former students from Dell H and Von Tobel Middle Schools as well as a handful from Roy Martin middle school.

The school's principal is Dr. Ron Lustig, the sixth principal in school history. Dr. Niles Bayles was Eldorado's first principal and its longest serving principal, operating the campus from September 1973 until November 1982. Dr. Bayles left to take over Valley High School and was replaced by Richard Paulin (1929-2006), who remained until 1990. Gail Dixon (1990-96), Thomas Barberini (1996-2004) and Richard Carranza (2004-07) also served as the school's chief educator.

Fine Arts

The Eldorado Fine Arts department has been very successful during the past eight years. The Marching Band, under the new direction of Mr. Richard De La Riva, was on a roll with their 2007 show by staying top 3 in their first three competitions. This success had given the band hopes to make it to the LVI (Las Vegas Invitational) Finals in November, something they haven't done in years. At LVI, however, the band placed fifth. Eldorado high renewed its glory, however, by placing at the very top of class A at Clark County Half-Time Show Review, an achievement which stirred pride and vigor in the students, and of course, Mr. Richard Del La Riva. This pride and motivation led the band to their final competition that weekend at the Sounds Across the Valley competition hosted by Sierra Vista HS, here the band outscored all the Vegas bands once again with many unfortunate injuries like the case of Trumpet soloist Jeremiah Dietz, who sprang his ankle during the Half-Time show and still marched, but unfortunately missed Finals by being kicked from 1st place by the Ramona HS Marching band from California, a band that has the reputation for being one of the top bands in California, this however didn't stop the Eldorado marchers from celebrating and being proud of themselves for this achievement that other people said could not have been achieved in previous years. The other Fine Arts programs offered at Eldorado are the Concert Band (Intermediate Band), Wind Ensemble(Advanced Band), the Jazz Band, Choir, headed by Ms. Jannette Tyler, Orchestra, headed by Mr. Hansen, Theatre, headed by Ms. Williams, and soon the all-new Symphonic Orchestra, and a Salsa Band. The most successful accomplishment of the Fine Arts department at Eldorado in recent years has been, without a doubt, the combination of the Choir, Band, Orchestra, and Theatre to perform Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel back in April 2007, the musical which resulted in a big success and a major hit for the Fine Arts Department and a fun and educational experience by these fine young performers. This 2007-2008 year was a terrific year for the EHS Fine Arts. Two of their students made the 2008 Nevada Music Educators Association All State Conference. Joshua Sly from the EHS Choir, and Erik Hernandez from the EHS Band got the privilege to perform in this event and be recognized as two of the finest musicians in the State of Nevada.

2008 EHS Marching Band

This year, the Eldorado High School Marching Band is a Class 2A Band under the direction of Richard De La Riva and Drum Majors Rebeca Parshall and Lourdes Altamirano. This year, the EHS Band's field show is entitled Chess: The Art of Strategy by Gary P. Gilroy. The students will try to relive the glory days from last year and do an even better job while they face many obstacles, turn many heads, and change other people's opinions on what Eldorado is really about. The band will perform at the usual competitions such as Henderson Bandfest at Basic HS, Showdown at Silverado at Silverado HS, Summerlin Spectacular at Palo Verde HS, LVI at Las Vegas High School, Half Time Show Review at Sam Boyd Stadium, and Sounds Across the Valley at Sierra Vista.

Among the famous alumni of the Fine Arts is Janeen Jewett, a 1985 graduate who went on to become an actress and singer, performing for the GLOW and POWW women's wrestling federations in the late-1980s under the name of "Palestina".

Mr Pete Cameron served as Director of Bands at Eldorado from 1973 when the school first opened until 1979. In addition, Mr Cameron was President of the State of Nevada Music Educators Association N.M.E.A., an Outstanding Musician and a Great Mentor.

Under his direction the Sundevil band Performed on at least (03) Television shows "Vegas" with Robert Urich, The Game Show "Anything Goes" & later "All Star Anything Goes" starring Florence Henderson & Rosie Grier. The Sundevil Band also Opened the Maxim Hotel & Casino, went to the very 1st Halftime Review at Sam Boyd's Silver Bowl and competed from NAU to Long Beach, CA.(04) Members of the 1979 Percussion Section William R Knouse, Jeff Zeh, Martin P Callahan & Decall Thomas brought back the 1st Superior Rating from the Nevada State Solo & Ensemble Festival for the Eldorado Percussion Section. In 1995 (06) members of the EHS Percussion section Reunited for a Parade in Fairview Utah.

In 1973 the Percussion equipment Like Many of the Professional Drum Corps of the Era were the Rogers Dyna-Sonics" (04)12X15 Snares Drums (04) 12X15 Tenor Drums,(02)28"Marching Bass Drums & (02) Sets of Huge Tri-Toms 20",22",24" it was like carrying (03) modern Tonal Bass Drums Horizontally This Percussion Equipment was replaced after 16 Years of service, by the Yamaha MS-8014 in 1989 and later the Yamaha SFZ MS-9214.In 1995 William R Knouse purchased the BER Percussion Equipment from the then current band director, Richard McEnaney and restored them.

The McEnaney Era

Under the direction of Richard McEnaney (1992-1996) The Eldorado HS marching band enjoyed a tremendous amount of success scoring numerous superior ratings top finishes and awards from competitions throughout the Western United States including winning 3 of Eldorado's 6 Nevada cup titles, which at that time was considered the state championship and was awarded to the top marching band from Nevada at the annual competition hosted by UNLV. During McEnaney's tenure the Sundevil band was widely recognized for excellence and the entire band program was considered one of the top programs in the state.

The De La Riva Era

Under the Direction of Richard De La Riva (2007-Present) The Eldorado Marching Band has been coming out of the shadows that haunted the program for the last 11 years since Richard McEnaney left. During those 11 years, the band's reputation went from top band in the State, to "Just another Ghetto band from the East side of town". De La Riva, or Mr. D as he is known by the students, has been working really hard and overcoming many obstacles like administration conflicts, budget cuts, and staff changes to try to get EHS back at the top. He has been taking personal time to give students private lessons, sectional work , and other things that many band directors would no longer do for their students.

ounds Of The Sun

Pop Ensemble or Sounds of The Sun was under the Direction of Ms Jocelyn Jenson1973-1981? the Members of this group were Outstanding Musicians, Singers & Dancers. The Performances this group gave rivaled Shows on "The Strip" with their Outstanding Choreography & Showmanship.Among the prominent members of the "Sounds of the Sun" were Janeen Jewett and record engineer/producer Rob Hathcock, who worked with major artists such as Dino and Mark Wahlberg.

Performing Arts

The campus is home of the Performing Arts theater.


Eldorado High School's athletic activities have not been highly successful; yet its wrestling program, headed by Jimmy May, was ranked 12th as the High School Scholastic Dynasty Teams of the Last Decade (USA Wrestling, 2001). Known as the “Dynasty in the Desert”, the Sundevil wrestling program captured over a dozen state wrestling championships in the 1980s and 1990s, including eight state championships in a row between 1986 and 1993. Producing numerous individual state wrestling champions, among them was Cary Dreitzler, a 1986 grad who won a state championship in his weight class in all four years, one of only two wrestlers at Eldorado to accomplish this feat. The other being Gary "Tiny" Scrivens in the late 70's/early 80's. The program also produced a phalanx of All-Americans, and two National Champions. Alfonso "Alfie" Alcaraz, as a junior, won the 1989 Junior Nationals and was named to the 1990 All-American Dream Team, and Matt Azevedo won the 2008 US Nationals. Jimmy May first coached the wrestling program from around 1977 until 1983; and returned in 1986 to win seven state team championships in a row. Steve Marafino was the wrestling coach from 1983 to 1986, and he won a team state championship of his own under his leadership.

Coach May, ranked by the Las Vegas Review Journal as the 6th All-Time Coach in Nevada sports history, left Eldorado with an enduring legacy. Four of his Sundevil teams were nationally ranked, and he had the nation's fourth-winningest program (317-20-2, .941) during his run which was punctuated by his son, Danny May, winning the last individual state championship for Eldorado High School (1996), his second. Eldorado also holds the Nevada record for most individual state wrestling champions in a single season with 7.

Commemorated in 1996, the Eldorado wrestling room, located adjacent to the northern end of the Sportatorium, was named in the honor of Coach May which houses the “Wall of Fame” with the names of over 60 state champions.

The school does hold at least one state championship in each of the following major sports: American football (1991), boys basketball (1985) and baseball (around 1989). Eldorado also holds numerous Southern Nevada zone and Nevada state championships in Track and Field .

In 1990, the Eldorado's boys Track and Field Team won the Southern Nevada Championship by an incredible 152 points. Eldorado scored 208 points and second place Valley High School scored 56. The following week at the State Championships, Eldorado scored 152 points, second place only had 45 points. Both are records that still stand today, and may never be broken.

The men's soccer team won the Southern Nevada Zone Championship 1994.

The Merlin Olsen Cleat

Every year, beginning in 1974, Eldorado and Chaparral holds its rivalry game, in which the winner gets possession of a bronzed cleat once owned by former Los Angeles Rams star Merlin Olsen. Chaparral has won 26 of these 34 meetings (including an 11-game winning streak between 1984 and 1994), and Eldorado has won 9, including five out of the last seven meetings. After Chaparral's 11-game winning streak was snapped in 1995, Eldorado has won 7 games (including winning four in a row between 2001-04) and the Cowboys have won 6. The 2008 game was won by Chaparral 43-28 at Eldorado, but during the traditional "Battle of the Bands" after the game, Eldorado's Drumline, headed by Bronson Purdy on Snare and Maverick Domingo on Quads, bought some glory to the Sundevils homecoming game by defeating the Chaparral Drumline in a Battle that fortunately did not get heated.

The Sundevils won their first Merlin Olsen cleat game in 1978, and that team also won its first Sunrise Division championship and a spot in post-season. The cleat was won again in 1983, and would not return to Eldorado until 1995, thanks to the Cowboys' 11-game win streak against the Sundevils.

Other Rivalries

Since Eldorado's entry into high school football in 1974, the Sundevils have faced Chaparral, Las Vegas, Valley and Rancho every year.

*Chaparral High School, outside of its Merlin Olsen cleat rivalry, have been very competitive with Eldorado over the years. In 1985, the Sundevils' boys basketball team, coached by famed football and basketball coach Sherrill Stephens defeated the Cowboys 69 to 64 at the Las Vegas Convention Center to win the then-Nevada AAA State basketball title. During rivalry week, western themed events would take place at both schools. In 2007 students from Chaparral vandalized the football field at Sundevil Stadium, harmlessly sprayed with Orange and Black spray paint over the Sundevil mascot in the center of the football field, and dug out CHS (Chaparral High School) into the sideline of Eldorado. Although this incident may seem similar to the Rancho incident (see Below) it is very different in the fact that no valuable items were damaged or defaced.

*Las Vegas High School and Eldorado play for the unofficial "Battle of Sunrise Mountain" game since the 1990s, when the new campus for Las Vegas High was built. Prior to that, Eldorado was Sunrise Mountain's only high school. The "Battle of Sunrise Mountain" phrase is believed to have been coined by Robert Donahue, a former student of Eldorado High School in the 1980s.

*Rancho High School's rivalry with the Sundevils have been very heated, and at times, been violent. On numerous occasions, many students from Rancho would alter the "E" on Frenchman Mountain into an "R" prior to its football game with the Sundevils. In 1983 however, students from Rancho vandalized the Eldorado school campus with spray paint, resulting in extensive damage to the school track, football field, student parking lot and the exterior walls of the Eldorado Sportatorium. Two years later, following a football game at Rancho, a student wielded a handgun, causing others to flee for safety.

*Valley High School's rivalry with Eldorado have been on more friendlier terms over the years, despite Valley's dominance over the Sundevils in a variety of sports, except for wrestling and basketball. The Vikings were originally a member of the Sunset Division, but joined the Sunrise League in the 1990s when new schools were built across the Las Vegas Valley.

Other rivalries Eldorado had over the years included older schools such as Clark, Western, Bonanza, Bishop Gorman and Basic High Schools, which ended in the mid-1990s following the realignment of its athletic divisions. Eldorado was one time part of a five-team Sunrise Division, which included Basic, Las Vegas, Rancho and Western; while the Sunset Division schools were Valley, Chaparral, Gorman, Clark and Bonanza.

Sherrill Stephens, an ASU grad, coached both the men's basketball and football program at Eldorado in the 1980s. Prior to that, he coached at Rancho and Las Vegas High Schools. Known for his loud outbursts during basketball games, Stephens accumulated several state championships in both football and basketball, including his lone state title in basketball while at Eldorado. Returning to his roots in Arizona, he is now a high school principal in Globe.

Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association State Championships

*Football - 1991
*Basketball (Boys) - 1985

Other facts

*When Eldorado High School opened in 1973, the school was surrounded mostly by desert, except for the southern portion. From that time until around 1983, many of the students would walk (or cycle) to school by short-cutting through the desert. By the 1990s, the desert was replaced by new housing communities; the first of which was the Kings Manor subdivision to the east, built in 1980.

*Among the school's first security officers was Harry Daniels, who was best known by the students as "Harry O".

*It was said that during Eldorado's first year (1973-74), a few rattlesnakes were found inside the school's performing arts theater as well as one inside the sportatorium, causing the Clark County Animal Control to retrieve the snakes, and school officials to seal the holes that the snakes came out of.

*Eldorado has had some gang problems over the years, and on several occasions a few shootings occurred on or near campus. One shooting in 1983 injured a popular football and baseball player, but managed to come back to play football the following school year, and another on campus in the lunch area, during the first Home Room Session of the first day of the 1990-91 School Year, left a student dead and a few others injured. In 1993, 5 Eldorado students lured a fellow student into the desert, killing and burying him; for which all were convicted and sent to prison.

*The school, like many others in the western United States, used the letter "E" on nearby Frenchman Mountain, which was established first off the east end of Bonanza Road, later moved to the hills about a half mile off Owens Avenue. The "E" at this location was maintained regularly at least once every year until the late-1990s. In the past, the "E" was altered to an "R" by Rancho High School students, and following an automobile accident that killed cheerleader Olga Lopez and songleader Kena Corbett, the "E" was changed to an "OK", noting the first initials of the two fallen students. In the mid 2000s, the "E" was restored for the first time in nearly a decade.

*During the late 70's a dispute began over the location of the Eldorado "E" on Frenchman Mountain. It turned out that the owner of the land was the former film star Fay Wray ("King Kong", 1933), who demanded that the "E" be removed from her property.

*Upon the arrival of the new band director Richard De La Riva, there had been a whole mess with the Sundevil Marchn Band's 2007 drill design and most students and parents were starting to give up hope for having a successful season. However, Mr. De La Riva (or Mr. D, as he is known by most students) tried very hard to fix it and it resulted as a great success for the band who during their 6 competitions throughout the season, they achieved three 2nd places, one 3rd place, one 5th place, one 1st place. This accomplishment changed many views and old expectations from all the other school and got Eldorado back in the top zone after many years.

Noted alumni

*Steven Jackson (2001) NFL player, led the Sundevils to the Nevada state semi-finals and the Sunrise Region championship in 1999; scored 51 rushing touchdowns and 3,976 rushing yards (both school records); his jersey number (34) is now retired in his honor.
*Christa Daniel (1983), former Miss Nevada USA and Star Search contestant.
*Victoria Franklin (class of 1999), 2004 Miss Nevada USA
*Sloan Bailey (class of 1998), 2005 Miss Nevada USA
*Brandon Rock (class of 1990). 3 time High School Track Champion. Multiple Division I All-American Track Honors while at University Nevada-Reno and University of Arkansas. 1995 Division I National Champion in the 800m (Arkansas). 1995 USA National Champion in the 800m. Competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Competed in the 1995 & 1997 World Track and Field Championships. Finished 5th at the 95 World Championships.
*William Pulgarin (class of 1999). Voted Teacher of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars while teaching for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
*Patrice Hollis She was on the cover of September 07 issue of Playboy

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