Olivia’s Opinions: The Truth About Sophomore Street

Olivia Janicek

More stories from Olivia Janicek


There’s something wonderful about achieving your license. That first drive develops feelings of opportunity, excitement, and most significantly, freedom. Pulling up to Arapahoe without your mom behind the wheel, brings concepts of new authority and pride. Suddenly, you’re no longer confined lunches in the school cafeteria or whatever’s across the street. A whole world opens and welcomes you. With Chick-Fil-A, Snooze, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, the opportunities are boundless.

Well, almost boundless. Driving to school is the easy part; finding parking… is a different tale. As most AHS students know, Franklin St (behind the back lot’s gates) boasts the affectionate title of “Sophomore Street”. First cars sit pleasantly down the row, drawn up in that same glimmer of liberty. However for the sophomores (and those without parking passes) who park there, it’s not always so enlightening.

I am currently a sophomore street regular. Every morning, when the sun barely hangs in the sky, my brother and I drag our station-wagon onto the line. Originally, we arrived at school around 6:45 AM, and almost always earned a space. Yet, as more sophomores turn sixteen, the competition for a spot on sophomore row grows intense. Today I pulled in at 6:30 AM. I left my house at 6:10, after waking up at 5 (I admit, I take too long to get ready…). Those who arrive late, often have to fight for a spot. They squish into small openings, swing in front of other parking cars, and sometimes park in fire lines. I’ve also come to learn that students are horrible parkers. Students lock in their peers, pull-in halfway, leave massive spaces, and sometimes back into others. It’s all pretty reckless. Well, I admit, I’ve made some poor parking choices (let’s just say I don’t recommend parking in fire lanes or no parking zones, unless you want to be $35 poorer). Regardless, arriving an hour before school, just to park, seems slightly ridiculous. Most people ask what we do, with the sun barely on the horizon, and a chunk of time before class. My brother and I spend the time watching tv, blasting music through our aux, scrolling through Instagram, and sometimes, actually talking. I’ve seen others eating breakfast, doing their makeup, completing homework… whatever to pass the time.

Out of exhaustion or annoyance, I decided to talk to the manager of AHS parking, Brian Ceriani. After sending him an email of my questions, he agreed to set up a meeting. Here’s what I discovered:

Arapahoe Doesn’t Own Sophomore Street

The city of Centennial does. Since AHS doesn’t own the block, they can’t manage it. So unfortunately, they can’t paint designated lines on the street. It also permits outsiders from AHS to park on the street. If a neighbor wants to leave their RV across the road behind the beginner drivers, they could. It’s a public avenue, which Arapahoe owns no part of.

Giving Priority is Not an Option

Whether you’re from out-of-district (don’t have a provided bus) or a medical concern, AHS cannot gift you a spot on sophomore row. Mr. Ceriani explained that prioritizing is a difficult process. He begs the question, “Where would it stop?”. One does have to wonder where the line would be drawn. How severe of a medical condition? How far away from the nearest bus stop? The choice might worsen the parking conflicts at Arapahoe, and nobody asks for that.

A New Lot Probably Won’t Happen 

There are rumors circulating that Arapahoe is considering a new lot, just behind the tennis courts. Yet Mr. Ceriani quickly put those rumors to rest. A new, paved lot would likely cost 750K, and open up a little over 20 spaces. Certainly, not enough to feed the sophomore demand and not enough to solve the parking issue. The money could solve other issues, like understaffing, a field house on the baseball field, new tennis courts, etc, etc.

Sophomores Shouldn’t Even Consider Parking in the Lot

As a soph street regular, I see it happen all the time. Sometimes you swing around the corner and quickly discover that you should’ve arrived a bit earlier. Yet right inside the gate, lay the forbidden land of open parking spots, just waiting to be filled. Mr. Ceriani would advise you against that. After three tickets, prohibited parkers (those without a pass) do have their car booted. In truth, it’s all for safety. Parking passes allow AHS to monitor their students and keep them safe. While it might just be a sophomore’s parked sedan, it could be a stranger’s, or someone without any tie to Arapahoe. He also mentioned that sophomores are new drivers, and usually horrible parkers at that. Juniors and seniors, who obtained their licenses over 6 months ago, have more experience behind the wheel. There’s less accidents and less chaos overall. Of course, sophomore street is a cesspool of poor drivers and parkers. But, they can’t do anything about that.

There Are Other Options… Kind of

There are plenty of businesses around the area, however, not all of them permit student parking. He says that occasionally, the Albertsons lot offers open parking to AHS. (Apparently, only one row though. It’s the only one without a ‘no student parking’ sign). Other businesses do as well, along with some churches. However, don’t try King Soopers, they prohibit it, and will tow your car if discovered. Mr. Ceriani also recommends reaching out to neighbors of the high school. Just knock on the front door, and politely ask if they’d be willing to allow you to park in front of their house (or in their driveway) during the day. Be careful though. Plenty houses recognize the parking demand, and can charge up to $200 a semester.

Where do we go from here?

Keep parking on sophomore street. Wake up earlier. Get there earlier. Get a spot. Or, be prepared to accept other options. A parent might have to drive you once in a while. You might have to pay to rent a driveway. It all depends on how much sleep you want/need.

I intend to email the Centennial government about the street, and will post an update later on. Whether Arapahoe owns the street or not, there needs to be more parking opportunities at Arapahoe. It’s a problem, and I’m hungry for a solution.