A Short History of Marcos de Niza High School

  • 1971 - 72

    MdN opens with 700 freshmen and sophomores and 30 faculty and staff. There is no cafeteria; meals are transported from McClintock; students eat in the basement of the gymnasium. Students select their school colors and mascot.  Alberto Turrubiartes designs the first Padre mascot.


    1972 - 73

    A contest is held to name the school newspaper.  The winner is "El Periodico."    MdN enters AAA competition level in the Skyline division. 


    1973 - 74

    600 Freshman enroll, along with 300 other new students to boost MdN's population. "Fiesta de los Padres" (aka Homecoming)) honors King Oscar Ramirez and Queen Cindy Markham.  Football wins its Division with a perfect record and finishes 3rd in State. Cross Country finishes 6th at State. Volleyball had an unbeaten season. First graduation ceremonies are held at MdN.


    1974 - 75

    A Padre mascot (aka Beth McCorkle) appeared live at football games. MdN celebrated its first "true" homecoming with King Jesus Tirado and Queen Marilyn Warren. Football wins the Central Region championship and City Championship.   Mr. Ron Cosner is named the division Coach of the Year.  The library changes its name to Learning Resources Center. HERO, Humanities and Computer Programming are added as classes.  New clubs include Rodeo, Hiking, Skiing.  Added sports were Girls' Swimming, Softball, and Archery.


    1975 - 76  

    Assemblies are made mandatory by teacher request. Industrial Arts built a drag car which was entered in the Winter Nationals at Beeline Dragway.  The cafeteria finally opens its doors in February.  Chess is added in AIA competition.


    1976 - 77 

    Dr. Bill Fitzgerald is the new principal, replacing Mr. Cox who becomes the district personnel director.  The Science Department adds a greenhouse. Creative Stitchery is a new Home Economics Class.  Title IX prompted changes in PE class offerings. Some departments offered bi-lingual classes. The art mural behind the racquetball courts is completed by MdN Art classes. The library installs a book detection system to cut book losses.  Hustlers is the campus's newest club.  Cross Country finishes fifth at State. Girls' Golf is added as a sport and the new team finishes seventh in the state meet.  Field trips abound and students travel in and out of state for a variety of school related activities.


    1977 - 78

    The Padre Band continues its outstanding performances, featuring the difficult "floating block" and earning a Superior at ASU Band Day.  Cross Country had an undefeated season and took fourth at State.  Baseball wins the regional championship.  Girls' Golf finished fourth at State.


    1978 - 79 

    Student Council validates a new constitution and sets a goal of "total student involvement" with emphasis on Padre Pride academically and athletically. Student Senate is formed.  SIP (Student Involvement Program) was initiated but faced protests by students and some staff. Debate raged on the value of Homecoming Floats.  The International Club was formed. Boys Basketball makes it to State.  


    1979 - 80 

    Float competition at Homecoming changes from class to club competition. Ski Club captures the Homecoming Float trophy. Padre Band wins superiors at ASU, NAU, and the State Marching Band Festival.  A Flag Line is added. JROTC begins as a class.  For the fourth year in a row, as a result of the efforts of the Advanced Health class, MdN set a state record in blood donations. Girls Basketball Team wins state championship.  Football and Baseball are regional champions.


    1980 - 81  

    Marcos celebrated its first ten years of Pride. Football wins the League Title. Boys Basketball wins their division title. The Death Padre appears for the first time.  Soccer is added as a sport with a 6-3-1 winning season.  Girls Basketball State Runner-up


    1981 - 82 

    For the second year in a row, the MdN Marching Band wins the Nunamaker Award. Animal Behavior is added as a Science class. Girls Golf wins third at State.  Soccer wins first place League title. 


    1982 - 83

    Donkey Basketball brought lots of laughs as the Faculty Foulers played against the Varsity Cheerleaders, the Hoopsters, and the Basketball Heads. The ban on Homecoming Floats is lifted after five years. Orchestra is added as a class and performance group.


    1983 - 84

    Football wins League first place title.  Soccer wins State Championship.  Wrestling wins City Title.  The Guidance Department begins hosting an open house "Out of State College Night."


    1984 - 85

    DECA rasied over $10,000.00 in the fight against Muscular Dystrophy at the SuperDance.  The Drama department produced a school/community version of "The Fiddler on the Roof."  The Padre Band wins superior at all three Band days.  Boys Basketball goes to State.


    1985 - 86

    Enrollment exceeds 2000 students as boundary changes allow CdS freshman to attend MdN. Several outstanding assemblies included the  "Up with People" show;JROTC's patriotic assembly featuring House Speaker Burton Barr as a guest speaker; and Black Student Union's Martin Luther King Assembly.  Boys win Soccer regional championship. Girls Basketball team wins state championship.


    1986  - 87

    MdN receives recognition as one of the top five schools in the state of Arizona. The auditorium, small gym, math science classrooms and all weather track begin construction. Summer school is held for the first time at MdN. S.A.D.D. (Students against drunken drivers) was added as a new club. Male cheerleaders were added to the varsity squad.


    1987 - 88

    The auditorium is completed. The C.A.R.E. program was developed to help students deal with problems in a peer setting.  Girls Basketball are State Runners-up. Band receives Superior in all three major competitions.


    1988 - 89

    School spirit soars and class competition is fierce at school assemblies.  The MdN Padre Marching Band is invited to march in President Bush's Inauguration Parade. The school is provided with  five Apple+ computers which are placed in the library for student and  faculty use.


    1989 - 90  

    The MdN Special Olympics Basketball Team wins the State title.  Girls Basketball team wins regional and state championship. Tennis wins regional championship. The Auto Club is champion in the state sponsored High School Drags competition.


    1989 - 90  

    Dr. Fitzgerald transfers to District Office.  Dr. Riley is selected as Principal.  Girls Archery team wins state title.  Girls Basketball team wins state championship.  Boys Soccer team wins the regional and state title. Boys swim wins the regional title.


    1990 - 91  

    The library undergoes total remodeling.  Girls Archery team wins state title.  Chess team wins state title. Boys Soccer team  wins second straight state title. The student parking lot is redesigned.  Candy sales on campus are banned.


    1991 - 92 

    Boys Soccer team three-peats as state champions.    Girls Basketball are state runners-up.  Concern over mandatory Student IDs at the Homecoming Dance prompts the formation of an Advisory Council.  Health class requires community service.


    1992 - 93

    Two lunch hours merge into one  extended period to allow students to have club meetings at lunch.  The parking lot is restriped. Girls Volleyball wins state championship. Students from across the district come to MdN for JROTC, and Orchestra. 


    1993 - 94

    All MdN students join together on the football field as SADD organizes balloon release, hoping to hear from other schools around the country. Girls Volleyball wins second straight state title.  Assemblies got more exciting with guests like Indiana Jones and the Phoenix Suns Gorilla.


    1994 - 95  

    MdN High School celebrates  the twentieth class reunion of the first graduating class.  MdN students participated in great numbers in clubs like SADD, Human Rights,  MECHA, Black Student Union, Special Olympics, etc.


    1995 - 96 

    MdN celebrates its 25th year.  Channel 3 included the MdN Homecoming Assembly in its Good Morning Arizona show.  Dr. Riley is transferred to District Office.  Mr. Vic Sanchez, former MdN counselor and administrator, is appointed as MdN Principal.


    1996 - 97 

    Wrestling team wins state title. Mr. Sanchez brings a renewed pride in being a "Padre" to the campus with the words "pride" and "respect."


    1997 - 98 

    MdN begins major remodeling which will affect all parts of the campus and will be completed in 2001.  Mr. Sanchez is transferred to District Office; Mr. Steve Adolph, Padre Alumni Class of 1974, is selected  MdN Principal.


    1998 - 99

    The old administration building is remodeled to house the guidance department.  The Art department finishes its renovation and work begins on the rest of the 200 building and parts of the gymnasium. The new administration building is completed.  Lockers are eliminated as the new bookstore opens in the old senior lockers; the campus night watchman moves into an apartment that was formerly the freshman lockers.


    1999 - 00

    Marcos de Niza implements a block schedule as part of the school improvement process.  During four days of the week classes are 90 minutes in length, occurring every other day.  A 30 minute conference period at the beginning of the day is designed to allow students to meet with teachers for individual help.  Remodeling continues with additions to the campus.  MdN celebrates its 30th anniversary, and recognizes teachers who helped open the school and school continue to teach at MdN: Don Adler, Jane Benedict, Jan Cummings, Larry Langford, Sheila Walrath.


    2000 - 01

    Plans are made for the remodeling of the 100 and 300 bldg. which require classes to be dispersed across the campus.  Mr. Frank Mirizio, Padre alumni of class of 1979, is named principal as Mr. Adolph becomes Associate Superintendent.  Mr. Bill Vanney, longtime MdN Athletic Director is named AIA Athletic Director of the Year.  


    2001 - 02 

    Varsity Wrestling wins 5A State title, placing 8 wrestlers in contention and winning two first places.  Boys Basketball wins its first  5A State title.  Varsity Cheerleaders place 2nd in the first AIA sponsored  Cheerleading competition.  100 Bldg. remodeling project is finished, completing the three year project.


    2002 - 03

    Varsity Wrestling repeats as State Champions winning three first places with five other wrestlers in the top six.  MdN's first Academic Decathlon team wins the Rookie Team of the Year Trophy. The Softball team won second place at the state tournament.  Staff votes for a compromise schedule for next school year.  School Improvement concentrates on improving literacy through the use of graphic organizers.  Padre Marching Band wins the Fiesta Bowl competition, entitling it to march in the Fiesta Bowl and compete in the National Competition in 2004.  Mr. Bill Vanney retires as Athletic Director after 25 years.


    2003 - 04

    Varsity Wrestling three-peats as State Champions winning two first places, two second places,  with five other wrestlers in the top six.  School Improvement concentrates on improving math literacy by incorporating graphs and math vocabulary across the content areas.  MdN's first "We the People" team makes it to the state competition. The Winter Guard is named 2004 State Champion (Independent Regional Class). The bell schedule is modified to provide a block schedule with conference period only two days a week.


    2004 - 05

    MdN is recognized by the Arizona Department of Education for significant contribution to the success of students and is one of three finalists for the 2004 - 2005 Tony Komadina Outstanding Girls' Athletic Program Award.  MdN students and staff raised nearly $2000.00 for the tsunami relief effort. The Academic Decathlon team qualified for the state competition where they won the "Rookie Team of the Year" award. AIA named MdN as the winner of the "After the Bell" award in recognition of  the efforts of the Rachel's Challenge Club to make a difference behind the scenes. MdN received national recognition for its success with Native American students, sending more on to college than any other public school in the nation.  MdN earned recognition as the national winner of the "Best Buddies" club of  the year.


    2005 - 06

    The year's Boys' Varsity Swim and Dive Team was the first to win the Tempe All-City Meet.  The team also took 4th at the state swim meet.  The "We the People" team took 1st place at the regional tournament and 3rd place at the state competition.  The Boys' Golf team placed 4th at the state meet. Wrestling earned the runner-up spot at the state competition. On May 5, 2006, sixty one years after his release from a concentration camp, Mr. Ofisher was granted an honorary MdN diploma by the TUHSD School Board for his dedication to “teaching “ students and people about his personal story of being a holocaust survivor.


    2006 - 07

    The Baseball Team took the state championship.  We the People Won 4th at the State Competition.  Toby Greer, girls basketball coach, was named Central Region Girls' Basketball Coach of the Year.  ROTC was awarded Honor Unit with Distinction rating during the tri-annual regional formal inspection (this ensures that the cadets retain their top 10% standing nationally) and 2nd place for Unarmed Drill Team.  The Padre Ladies Swim Team had an outstanding season with several new records set and swimmers medaling at state.  Girls Volleyball made the final four in the state playoffs.  Boys Cross Country was the runner-up in the State competition.  Boy's Golf took 2nd in the state while Girls Golf came in 6th.  Boys also won the 1st Place trophy in an East Valley Tournament.  The Padre Band earned a Superior at the state competition this fall.



    Best Buddies Club is named Outstanding Chapter for the 4th consecutive year. Girls' Golf wins 2nd in the State. HERO earns a GOLD Chapter Achievement Award at the 2009 Arizona FCCLA Spring Conference. Varsity Spiritline is the state runners up in the ALL GIRL STUNT division at the AIA state championship. Best Buddies recognized as an Outstanding National Chapter. Men's Basketball is State Runner-up. Robotics Club wins National Rookie Award. Boys Volleyball is State Runner-up.



    JROTC earned a score of 97% at the tri-annual Regional Formal Inspection earning a score of 582 out of 600 points. The MdN Football team and coaches were awarded the Matt O. Hanhila Sportsmanship Award in recognition of the "Outstanding team which displayed the best sportsmanship."Football Team placed second in the State. In November they won the AIA Game of the Year trophy for their win over #1 ranked Centennial.