Mullen High School is named for John Kernan Mullen, famed businessman and philanthropist and founder of the Colorado Milling and Elevator Company. Together with his wife, Catherine, Mullen envisioned the founding of a high school in Denver for orphaned boys. In 1928, working with Bishop Henry Tihen, Mullen contacted Father Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys’ Town, for advice on how best to design and operate such a school. Following Father Flanagan’s recommendation, Mr. Mullen wrote to an order of religious men working in Santa Fe, New Mexico and invited them to be the directors and teachers of his planned school – they were the Christian Brothers of St. John Baptist de La Salle. In June, 1928, Mullen opened negotiations with the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Unfortunately, both Catherine and John Mullen died before the project could be completed, but their daughters and their husbands carried on with their plans. They purchased a 420-acre plot of land on the outskirts of Denver known as the Shirley Farms Dairy. An agreement was made that would allow the dairy to remain in operation in exchange for the students’ opportunity to work in the dairy and receive training in agriculture and mechanics. And so, on April 8, 1932, 17 boys and three Brothers moved into the new J.K. Mullen Home for Boys.
Since that historic day, Mullen High School has experienced four distinct eras of change and growth:
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The word Lasallian originates from the name of the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. De La Salle was a priest and canon at the city’s cathedral and in 1679, he was asked to help open a school for poor boys. That year marked the beginning of a ministry in which De La Salle would dedicate himself to conducting Christian schools and training teachers to serve in them. In time, his approach -- an apprenticeship model for teaching students, simultaneous classroom instruction, practical curricula designed for the children of the poor and working class, and systematic teacher training -- would revolutionize modern education. De La Salle died on April 7, 1719, with the last word s, "I adore in all things the guidance of God in my regard." In 1900, he was canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and, in 1950, named the Patron Saint of All Teachers of Youth. Today, St. John Baptist de La Salle's extraordinary vision lives on. His schools are characterized by excellence in teaching, loving relationships between teachers and students, special attention to the marginalized, and devotion to each student as a child of God. The Lasallian spirit of faith in God and zeal for announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ is powerfully expressed in Lasallian educators' unconditional care and vigilance for their students and in their conducting of schools as places filled with God’s loving and saving presence.
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