Better Than Necessary:
A Celebrational History of
Shawnee Mission North High School



I - The Decades
The 20's
The 30's
The 40's
The 50's
The 60's
The 70's
1980 and Beyond

II - Selective Pictures
and Facts

III - School Spirit

Return to Shawnee Mission North - Reunions and Beyond - for current reunion schedules and more...

    << Back to The 50's

     Forward to The 70's >>

THE 60's

"Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"--a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself...!  -  Inaugural address of President John F. Kennedy

The decade of the 60's was the new frontier in many areas of human endeavor: in 1961 a company called Texas Instruments invented the integrated circuit, and in 1969 a scientist named Albert Gliorso found the 104th element. Between those two scientific achievements lay 8 years filled with idealism, expansion and change. The world, it is safe to say, would never be the same.

On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy committed the nation to a moon landing. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon on July 20, 1969. That fulfilled commitment consumed the American imagination and intelligence. The process of the "conquering of space" confirmed for Americans the existence of a collective will.

That will had been repeatedly tested in the 60's. The word "assassination" leaped from the headlines too often. The dates became a blur of History yet the engendered doubt and fear remain even today. What is the self-knowledge of a people who kill their leaders? What does assassination say about them as a people? The litany of date and man is and was a sobering thought:

Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy
February 21, 1965, Malcolm X
April 10, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr.
June 5,1968, Robert F. Kennedy

May they rest in peace and may their children live in peace.

In the 1960's, Vietnam and Napalm became household words; school children read of Ho Chi Minh, Stokeley Carmichael, Rap Brown, Ralph Nader, Lew Alcindor, Joe Namath, and "Free Speech". Americans stayed at home more and more to watch "77 Sunset Strip", "The Beverly Hillbillies", the "Man From U.N.C.L.E.", "Mod Squad" and "Laugh-In" on television; women wore mini-skirts and micro-skirts; pants and jeans took off and, in 1966, 3 million people vacationed in Europe. The travel boom captured the imagination.
In the movies "I Am Curious Yellow" was a foreign film which challenged the sexual boundaries in the United States. From its popularity, it seems Americans were at least curious. They were also interested in space ("2001: A Space Odyssey"), boiled egg eating ("Cool Hand Luke" starring Paul Newman) and plastics ("The Graduate"). Clint Eastwood played a man of many guns and few words and motorcycle gangs were popular - at least on the big screen.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "I have a dream" in 1963 and idealistic Americans responded. Yet, having a vision and knowing its path is sometimes different. A generalized idealism without direction may have left some open to a suffering vulnerability and disillusionment. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement of 1964 evolved into 1968's Battle of Chicago; in 1966 Ralph Nader emerged as the gladiator of little people and the corporate social conscience yet the country spent $1.3 billion on the B-70 bomber. Two planes were eventually built, one crashed and the other is in a museum. Ted Kennedy, the youngest Kennedy brother, was to carry the torch until the night in 1969 at Chappaquidick. The first black graduated from the University of Georgia in 1963 and in the same year the southern black leader Medgar Evers was buried. The United States had entered Vietnam with the idealism of the helping neighbor and began the process of withdrawal on March 31, 1968, when President Johnson ended the bombing of North Vietnam. Idealism had turned into frustration, doubt and embitteredness. Dreams, Americans had learned, could become nightmares. And they came to believe that there was always a catch - Catch 22.

The 60's were a time of a growing self-realization. It was a time of the coming of age of America. Girls became jockeys and feminist groups picketed the Miss America Pageant. In 1968 Bob Beaman long-jumped 29' 2.5" Peggy Fleming ice-skated to Gold in Grenoble, Jean Claude Killy captured hearts young and old, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the victory stand at the Olympics with their black-gloved fists held high. Reality always seemed to intrude upon American dreams. Was there no safe place? Did every coin have two sides and must they both be seen and considered? These were the questions of an older people. After the 60's America would never be young again. These were the happy and sad times of growing up.

1967 saw two events that foreshadowed the next decade. In November a South African doctor performed the first human heart transplant - Dr. Christian Barnard had just entered a new frontier. And on March 18,1967 the Torrey Canyon, a tanker, foundered and spewed millions of barrels of oil into the English Channel. The problem of the 70's would be the growing pollution of the world.

Finally, in 1969, the musical "Hair" was introduced on Broadway. The Jets won the Super Bowl over the Baltimore Colts and on August 22, 23 and 24, the youthful spirit of the country met at Woodstock. They had fought against tyranny in the last nine years; they had declared war on poverty and disease in the name of the Great Society and they had declared war on war itself. They had been a generation of believers and now they were older. Some of their leaders were dead, a few had run away to escape imprisonment and some had just grown older. The spirited of the 60's had believed in a better world; they had fought the good fight and as they sat together on a hill they realized their wars had not been totally won. Disease and poverty were still with them, tyranny existed to the right and to the left, and the price of war was still to be counted. The true believers sat together, listened to music, smoked some pot, drank some beer and in all ways celebrated their passage from childhood. These would be the days of nostalgia; these would be the days of warmth in the coldness of their lives. They had heard the trumpet, now they just wanted to listen to a little rock music.



-    On the bottom of each test a student was to write:

"I have not cheated on this test."

The school had an Honor Code.

-    The following teachers began their careers in 1960:

Mr. Haubein
Mr. Knapp
Mr. Chapman
Mrs. Bone
Mr. Means
Mr. Swanson

-    They all yearned to be rich and famous!

-    "Skin-heads" and "Mohawks" were "in".

-    Shawnee Mission ranked as one of the top 38 high schools in the United States.

-    A new language lab was installed.

-    Carolyn Richmond was elected Homecoming Queen.

-    Mr. Merlin Gish became the Varsity Track Coach.


-    The Future Farmers of America program was discontinued. It had been organized on November 8,1929.

-    The operetta this year was "The Desert Song'.

-    Advertising suggested that each student drink 6 glasses of milk per day.

-    Star debaters were John Dean and Annie Peterson.

-    Physics students were found running up and down the school stairs. They were testing "horsepower".

-    The three Counselors were Mrs. Huber, Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Miller.

-    The Cross-Country Team won the State Championship.

-    "Good morning ladies and gentlemen....,! said Mr. Welch.

-    One to one-forty was the daily activity period. Monday was Homeroom, Tuesday and Wednesday were Club Days, Thursday was Assembly in the Auditorium and Friday was Pep Assembly.

-    The school's arch rival was Shawnee Mission East.


-    Shawnee Mission West opened.

-    Enrollment at North was 2,300 students.

-    Pep Club membership was 1,800.

-    Ken Nicolay was the only boy cheerleader.

-    Larry Taylor was an assistant football coach.

-    Bonnie Butler was elected Queen of the Shawnee Mission North Relays.


-    The world came to Shawnee Mission North:

1.    Buddhist Monks set fire to themselves in some place called Vietnam.
2.    President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
3.    The Chief's football team arrived in Kansas City.
4.    The Soviet Union and the United States signed a Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty.
5.    In Florida a chimpanzee was arrested for driving a car without a license.


-    A section of the parking lot was designated the Senior Lot.

-    North defeated East in the Homecoming game.

-    Dee Dee Davis was the game's queen.

-    Students tuned to WHB in the language lab.

-    Larry Taylor is the Varsity Football Coach. (He will coach 15 seasons.) His total win-loss-tie record will be 110-31-4. The team will win State Championships in 1969, 70, 71 and 74. He will retire from coaching after the '78 season.

-    Jerry Hollembeak organized the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Chapter. He was the Cross-Country Coach in 1 964-65-66.

-    The swimming team changed its training site from the Kansas City Athletic Club (in the Continental Hotel) to Roe Village. Coach Harry Roth and the swimmers missed the Playboy Bunnies of the Club in the Continental.

-    German Ill was offered for the first time.

-    Miss Carolyn Jeter began teaching English and Mr. John Sparke came to teach Social Studies.

-    A Judicial Council was formed to deal with the misdemeanors of students.

-    Mrs. Dorothy Pease came to North as a Counselor.

-    The question of Academic letter sweaters was debated.

-    "1984" was the winter play.

-    Tom Jones was the national and local book craze.

-    A juke box was used at the monthly mixers. Favorite dances were the Frug, the Watusi, the Stomp, and the Swim. Pegged pants and white socks were "in" for boys. The Radio Club contacted the moon.

-    Mad magazine and slow dancing were "in".

-    Enrollment was 2,244 students.

-    A student could eat a 15c hamburger and play pool for 60c a hour.

-    The Thespian motto was: "Act well your part; therein the Honor lies."

-    This year's operetta was "Bye-Bye, Birdie".

-    The cheerleaders won first place in a competition at the University of Oklahoma.

-    Sandee Glenn was elected Homecoming Queen.

-    Miss Welch sponsored the Girls' Golf Club and the Advanced Camera Club.

-    Male students were worried about the new draft law.

-    The Indian head on the floor in front of the office was a gift from the class of 1965.

-    Students went to the show to see Dwayne Hickman and Annette Funicello in "How To Stuff A Wild

-     Elvis starred in "Girl Happy'.

-    The campus has now expanded to 43 acres.

-    More students are absent on Monday than any other day of the week.

-    One guy was heard to complain, "would Sophomore girls please stop calling me for dates?"

-    On October 2, 1965, Mike Ross won an ice cream eating contest sponsored by the Mission Baskin-Robbins. Mike ate 18 scoops of ice cream in 45 minutes. He claimed his favorites were licorice, prune whip, cantaloupe and eggnog.

-    Anna Marie Edwards, a teacher at Shawnee Mission since 1942, sponsored the National Honor Society and The Bridge Club.

-    All seniors had to do a 900 page book report in English class and study the infamous 30 Days To A More Powerful Vocabulary book.

-    Every senior had to write a term paper.

-    The Beatles sang "Yesterday" while the girls wore high socks, heavy textured hose, argyle and cardigan sweaters, page-boy haircuts, stacked heels, and loafers. Mary Jane shoes were "in" and teased hair was ''out''. Favorite colors were burgundy and cranberry. The boys wore madras shirts, tab collars, banlon sweaters, corduroy jeans and Beatle cuts. "Grubbies" - (sweatshirts and cut-offs) were in for everybody.


-    Mr. Harlan Hess came to North as an Industrial Arts teacher.

-    Bob Stoddard was elected STUCO president.

-    October 14, the headline read, "North opens new Special Ed Unit". North begins to better serve the educable mentally retarded, the trainable mentally retarded, the orthopedically handicapped, the blind and those with hearing difficulties.

-    Mr. Paul Young and Mr. Ed Hallman began teaching at North, as did Bob Stauffer.

-    600 students attended a Friday night mixer after the game.

-    Psychology was offered as an elective for the first time. 65 students enrolled and Mr. David Roberts was the teacher.

-    Miss Jeter and Miss Bockelman took the 40 girls in the Camping Club to Lake Jacomo for the weekend.

-    Cathy Gerlinger represented North at Girls' State.

-    Skirts were knee length and the "Beehive" hairdo was ' in

-    The football team was undefeated.

-    And Senioritis was almost terminal that year.

-    Shawnee Mission South opened. Mr. Wallace R. "Bob" Johnson, former student, teacher, coach and vice-principal at North, was South's first Principal.


-    Students collected cans of food for the needy.

-    Pete Sebring spent an AFS summer in Thailand.

-    The Theatre department presented "Brigadoon".

-    Marilyn Maye sang in Assembly.

-    Y-Teens made Easter Baskets for orphans.

-    Building human pyramids was popular in gym class.

-    Anna Marie Edwards was defeated by cancer (1910-1967). It was said of her, "she was impatient with ignorance, but patient with the ignorant."

-    The football team was Sunflower League Co-Champion with East. The team lost only to Lawrence (9-14) and was tied by East (20-20).

The team's statistics tell of its success:

North Opponents
    3,149    Rushing Yards    340
       802    Passing Yards     480
       190    First downs            50

-    The basketball team was League Champion.  The team was 10-0 in the league and 17 and 5 overall. Its scoring average per game of 63.3 points is still a school record.

-    The school newspaper, "The Mission," is rated superior and is considered among the best high school newspapers in the country.

-    Mrs. Edna Gardner was the Head Pep Club sponsor. Mrs. Gardner had taught Math at North since 1958.

-    Mr. Paul Gooch, a counselor, died (1914-1967). A student wrote of Mr. Gooch, "He read the human heart..."

-    The PTA discussed the merits of sex education in the public school.

-    The Vietnam War was discussed in a tele-lecture for 500 students.

-    National Honor Society members offered tutoring to academically troubled students.

-    There was a fire in the wood shop.

-    Several students reported ESP experiences.

-    A sophomore named Benedict Arnold as Father of Our Country on a multiple choice test.

-    Dr. Arzell Ball was appointed Superintendent of Shawnee Mission Schools. Enrollment at North was 2,308 students. This number is higher than that of any of the other schools.

-    There were 14 national merit finalists.

-    The number of assemblies was reduced and the activity period was eliminated.

-    30 new teachers were added to the staff.

-    Pierced ears were a new fad. However, this was controversial. As one student said, "If God had wanted holes in your ears, He would have put them there."

-    Dr. Karl Menninger spoke in Assembly.

-    The Debate Team was Regional Champion.

-    The Library Club adopted an orphan. The students financed him by selling books. The Club held a week-long Book Fair and sold 1,800 books.

-    Mr. Wooton, a teacher at SMN for 15 years, resigned to become President of the Kansas State Teachers Association.

-    Controversial issues this year were:

Should North have a dress code?
Should Prom be open to outsiders?
Should films on sex education be allowed to be shown without parental preview?

-    The Roaring 20's was the Prom Theme.

-    The Track team finished number two in the State. Bob Bornkessel and Bill Hatcher were the outstanding performers.

-    Mr. Tom Coker began teaching Driver's Education and boys' tennis.

-    Mr. Carl Riggs became Vice-Principal 

-    and Harold Read retired after 39 years of teaching and coaching at North.


-    The first female was elected to the Board of Education in Shawnee Mission school history.

-    Bob Bornkessel and Jim Pearce won national championships in track at the Golden West Invitational in Scaramento, California. Bob was a High Hurdler and Jim threw the Javelin.

-    In the spring the teachers "passed the hat" and financed Bob Bornkessel's trip to an Olympic Qualifying meet in Houston, Texas.

-    The following teachers celebrated anniversaries in 1968:

    Fred Foreman - 15 years
    C.O. "Doc" Watson - 18 years
    Pat Spillman - 16 years
    Merlin Gish - 10 years
    Edna Mae Gardner - 10 years
    Don Healey - 10 years
    Bill Cornwell - 10 years
    Steve Davis - 11 years
    Harold George - 22 years
    Orval Hemphill - 20 years
    Clyde Redpath - 23 years
    Mildred Noel (first school nurse) - 25 years
    Chauncey Gorsage - 25 years
    Felix Shular - 24 years
    Gertrude Welch - 25 years
    L.    Dale Pigg - 30 years
    Murlin Welch - 31 years
    Palmer Snodgress - 32 years


-    The NJROTC program was introduced to the curriculum.

-    Intramural sports were going strong.

-    SMN won the first ever Kansas State Championship in football. A day of celebration was decreed and enjoyed by all.

-    September 19, construction began on a new "Science" wing of the building. Fourteen rooms on two stories plus a75' by 45' swimming pool with two low diving boards were planned. Completion date was projected as December 15.

-    The first school guard, Mr. Whalen, was hired to protect North students from vandals and thieves.

-    Mr. Hess becomes Vice-Principal.

-    Mr. David CaIdwell, Miss Alice Creveling and Miss Yvonne Sutter join the faculty.

-    Mini and maxi skirts were "in".

-    Metcalf South Shopping Center opened.

-    It seems appropriate in retrospect to know that AFS sold "Bells for Peace" to finance their summer travels. It was a symbolic end to the decade.

-    The first girls' tennis team played a varsity schedule.

-    Shawnee Mission Northwest opened.

-    And the Shawnee Mission School District #512 was unified.

    Forward to The 70's >>       

         Table of Contents

Comments and corrections regarding this SMN web page should be addressed to: