Demon Country: Taking It Back 50 Years

Nayely Banuelos, Author

We asked the former graduates — and current staff members — of Santa Fe High to pinpoint the biggest changes at the school and to recall their favorite memory when they were once a Demon. Here is what they shared.

Carl Marano  (Class of 1989)

“As a former graduate of this great school in 1989, I feel the biggest change compared to today is the incredible school spirit that we used to have as everyone went to the games and cheered for our teams. The students were much more active within the school and took pride in being a Santa Fe High student.

“My favorite memory of high school was making it to the semi-finals of the state basketball tournament my senior year, fulfilling a lifelong dream. We had such support from our students, staff, and the community. It was amazing!”


Jennifer Sandoval (Class of 1988)

“Probably the most significant change has been the closing of Vo-Tech. The Vocational-Technical section of the school was an asset to the community, and I think we have lost a great resource for students.

“I had the best English teacher, Ms. Duval. Her class was always interesting. She taught us how to meditate when we read Siddhartha. I know it sounds nerdy that my favorite memory was a class, but she is the reason I became an English teacher.”


Anthony Silva (Class of 1987)

“The biggest change is the sense of community and school spirit that I see now, compared to 32 years ago. When there was a football game, it seemed like everyone in Santa Fe went. Ivan Head stadium was packed. We were the only show in town (Capital opened a couple of years later). I would love to see the stadium full like that again. Here is a trailer from a documentary made by local filmmakers about the 1986 Demon football team. You can get a glimpse of how full the stadium was:   

“My fondest memory also involves the football team. There was a made-for-TV movie being filmed at the School for the Deaf called Blue De Ville. They needed a football team for one of the scenes and somehow, the ’86 Demon football team got called to do it. The scene actually involved a big car driving through the middle of a football game. We did the scene in a couple of takes, and only the stuntmen got hit by the car. We spent the rest of the day being extras for various scenes and eating all the food on set. We all had a great time. When the movie premiered, on NBC I think, we had viewing parties to watch and laugh at each other on TV.”


Karen Hare (Class of 1988)

“The thing that stands out as most significant is the way students perceive each other. Back in our day, we didn’t care about they way one looked, the music they listened to, where they lived, or how they dressed. We got to know people for who they were as a person. We all hung out together every weekend. We were all friends. Nowadays the students tell me that they don’t do anything together because none of them are really friends. They don’t hang out together in big groups — it’s usually just a few individuals. I think it has changed significantly because we came to school looking forward to seeing our friends and now they don’t have the same aspect.

“My favorite memory of high school is the day I graduated. I am the youngest of eight, with one sister and six brothers. I lost my father at 16. I knew having me graduate from high school was important to my mom. She had tears of joy in the stands, and at that moment my dad was watching from above with a smile. It made me feel proud to be able to make my parents proud.”


Nina Bunker (Class of 1994)

“What I see today that I didn’t see when I was a student is more ethnic and cultural diversity. In the early ’90s, SFHS was comprised mainly of native New Mexico Hispanic students and non-Hispanic white students. The only language used in the halls was English, maybe a smattering of Spanglish. Other than the occasional foreign exchange student, our demographics were pretty predictable. Now we can brag about having students from China, Tibet, Central and South America, the Pacific Islands, Europe, etc. Consequently, Santa Fe and Santa Fe High have become more interesting places to be.”

“My favorite memory was performing in The Princess Bride. I got to play “the grandson.” Apparently, I did such a good job that the audience thought I was a boy. The height of my acting career!”


Roberta Roybal (Class of 1977)

“The change that stands out for me is the need for security guards. When I was here, it was the only public high school, so we had a huge number of students. I can honestly say I can’t remember a time when there would have been a need to seek out a security guard. My uncle was the assistant principal, so I did have a bit of the inside track on the ins and outs of the campus, and he never said anything other than the usual — kids smoking cigarettes, ditching.  But no discipline issues regarding students telling off teachers or the extreme disrespect we see now.

“My favorite memory of high school was going to games. Homecoming was a big deal. We’d have a parade and tons of activities. I also ran for Junior Miss, and (Governor) Michelle Lujan Grisham also tried out. It was joint Santa Fe High and St. Mikes.”