Steven Spielberg's history with Arcadia High School

Arcadia High School
Posted at 4:51 AM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 14:44:38-04

PHOENIX — Many credit him with single-handedly changing the film landscape across Hollywood. He's won three Academy Awards and he's up for another one this year... and he grew up right here in the Valley!

Famed director Steven Spielberg went to Arcadia High School until his senior year when his family relocated to California.

It's been more than half a century, but his legacy continues to inspire Arcadia's budding filmmakers.

"It's surreal," explained Noah Sucato, a junior at Arcadia High School. "He was once at this very school and now he's in Hollywood producing the biggest films ever."

But there's more to this movie plot. There's a rumor that a building on campus at Arcadia inspired the spaceships in Spielberg's 1977 film, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

At the time, the building housed the school's library; currently, it's used as a meeting space (and a source of urban legend).

One thing that is for sure: Spielberg's legacy continues to impact students at Arcadia.

"You shouldn't put a limit on your creativity," explained junior Ryan Sweeney. "If Spielberg lived in Arizona, you can go anywhere."

"It's so inspiring because he was just a kid like us at Arcadia and now he's this Oscar-winning astounding director who is just amazing and praised for his work and it's crazy that it all started right here in Arizona," added Sucato.