Peter Graham

The Man, The Myth, The Legend


Sonia Goujon, Author

Teaching biology, astronomy, and geology is like a walk in the park, according to Santa Fe High’s very own Peter Graham. He joined the Science Department at Santa Fe High in 1990.

One could say that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, as Mr. Graham is a notable alum from SFHS, graduating in 1980. As a student, Mr. Graham competed on both the cross country and track teams.

When asked about how the school has changed since his own high school years, he answered, “The physical layout is generally the same. It’s funny because students at the time had to relearn their ABCs because all of the buildings were lettered. The plaza was filled with smaller buildings that had some classrooms inside. In terms of curriculum, there was no AP program. However, there were advanced and general classes. They were just not labeled as AP or non-AP.” 

Mr. Graham is head coach of both the cross country and track & field teams. Early in his career, Mr. Graham coached Babe Ruth baseball here in Santa Fe. He was then assistant coach for Adams State while still finishing his degree, which resulted in his being immediately hooked on coaching.

He started coaching track at De Vargas in 1987, where he also taught science for three years. He then transitioned to SFHS in 1988. In 1992, he took over both the XC and track programs. 

Mr. Graham attended Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., where he earned a degree in natural science that included a combination of biology and geology. After growing up in a family of ten who were mostly science-oriented people, Graham said he’d always liked science as a subject.

Graham was mostly intrigued by Adams State’s nationally known Cross Country and Track program, where he competed under Coach Joe Vigil, a coach known nationwide who has sent many of his athletes to the Olympics.  

Mr. Graham found his calling for teaching when he had “conveniently” taken Structural Geology three times. Structural geology was a credit required for graduation, so failing was not an option. After taking it once at Adams State, Mr. Graham took it at UNM, and then once more at Adams State. In the meantime, instead of only having to take one class a semester, Mr. Graham decided to attend basic teaching classes on the side. He was accepted into the a year-long UNM Internship, where he completed classwork during the summer, taught with a partner from fall to spring, and then completed coursework the following summer.

After teaching for a year, Mr. Graham was debating whether he wanted to run professionally on a national level or be an educator. But he suffered an injury, forcing his hand to make teaching his career. Graham claims that this was a small taste of his fate. 

For the many high school students experiencing the feeling of overwhelm when choosing what to major in in college, Mr. Graham’s advice is to not worry about it. “You’re going to find the thing that interests you, even if that means you have to explore,” he said. He also urges future college students not to commit to one particular field of work until they have explored and tried every other possibility there is. 

From his early days of running, coaching, and teaching to now, Mr. Graham said he still loves the positive infusion of energy he gets from his students, as well as from his athletes. In his free time he enjoys drawing delicate anatomical sketches of various specimens of nature.. He also enjoys fishing, walking, and hiking with his two dogs.