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

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    << Back to The 60's

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THE 70's

American is a land of contrasts. And since it is not just a country but a continent as well, it is large enough to encompass and allow for great diversity. The years of the seventies, characterized by diversity and juxtaposition, also were the most uniform of times. Self-indulgence is the key. Americans were not involved in the external. Foreign was foreign. As they extricated themselves from Vietnam, they said, "never again". Well .... almost never.

These were the uneventful times of inflation, corruption in government, and the more universal and, therefore, understandable disasters. Periodically American attention would be caught by injustice -- February 5,1974, Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the so-called Symbionese Liberation Army -- but generally this was a decade for "me". Americans were interested in their pocketbooks, their families and moving to the Sun Belt. A simple listing of names, events and places evokes a sense of the times: streaking, Evel Knievel, "The Towering Inferno", Hank Aaron, Gerald R. Ford. "Rocky", Roots, "Charlie's Angels", CB radios, electronic TV games, the Concorde, Bruce Jenner, "Jaws", Jack Nicklaus, Jimmy Carter, the Bicentennial, "The Godfather", Secretariat, Billie Jean King, "Star Wars", and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", Punk Rock, "Annie", Steve Cauthen, Bobby Fischer, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Watergate, Janis Joplin, Tracy Austin, "The Last Picture Show", John Wooden and the UCLA Basketball team, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask, Woody Hayes and Ohio State Football, "The Waltons" on TV, "American Graffiti", the draft evaders of the Vietnam War pardoned, five dollar a pound coffee, Son of Sam, Title IX in sports, and Red Dye #2. The list is almost endless; the meaning is the same. This was a time when Americans lost themselves in sports, in fantasy television, in Hollywood disasters, in their own problems. The 70's is a decade when the most trivial can become momentous because there is nothing else of interest or concern. "Me" can be a huge world if no perspective is sought or gained. The pain and agony of victory and defeat in sports can be magnified if sports is the boundary for feelings.

The young no longer looked outside themselves; they looked within and upon themselves. Their world, consequently, became smaller and potentially more painful. If you do not know poverty exists the loose thread on your skirt grows larger. If you have not experienced international war, parental conflict is intensified. If you have not heard the summons of the trumpet, punk rock will do just fine, thank you.
There were, of course, events of significance: on September 20, 1973, Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in tennis; on November 10th of the same year the school board in Drake, North Dakota, burned 36 copies of Kurt Vonnegut's book Slaughter-House Five. The President of the Board called the book a "tool of the devil" and the teacher who used the book in his classroom was fired. As Americans became more insular, they became more certain. No more the moral ambiguities of the 60's for them. In the 70's there was a growing isolation and a growing sureness.

On May 21, 1973, the University of Miami (Florida) offered an Athletic Scholarship to a female swimmer by the name of Lynn Genesko. This was a first in sports history; in the spring of the same year the "designated hitter" was introduced in baseball. On January 22nd of 1973 Lydon Baines Johnson died; five days later the agreement to end the war in Vietnam was signed. It is lemon-tasting irony that he did not live to see the end of the war which had so troubled him.

In 1973, Watergate replaced Vietnam in the headlines. The country sighed with relief. Corruption, although onerous, could be dealt with more easily than defeat. Vietnam cost 46,000 lives and 303,654 casualties and uncountable frustration and grief. The military spent approximately $150 billion on the war directly or indirectly and that money bought defeat. Americans were glad when Southeast Asia released its hold on them.

On April 30, 1975, Americans were evacuated from Saigon and national attention could now turn to Jack Nicklaus. He won his 5th Masters Golf Tournament that year. Soaring food prices were the primary conversation topic. The Bicentennial was a year away and Bruce Jenner was practicing for decathlon gold.

Arab oil, the death of Bing Crosby in October of '77, national politics, the Sun Belt and space movies occupied Americans the last few years of the seventies. Inflation was the enemy, if war terms were used to describe. But war was most remote in their minds. Internal affairs and external comfort were of foremost importance. Both their horizons and automobiles grew smaller as the seventies ended.
"I believe," wrote William Faulkner, "that man will not merely endure: he will prevail."



-    October 2, "The Mission" was awarded a first class rating by the National Scholastic Press Association.

-    The unofficial dress code changed. Now girls no longer have to wear skirts to school nor do boys have to have their shirttails tucked in.

-    A dog in the hall bit a sophomore. (Note: When the students discussed this, they had to mention that the dog was a 4-legged one!)

-    Student paper drive purported to save 102 trees.

-    The "Up With People" musical group presented a concert during the lunch hour.

-    The Art Department sponsored an Art Fair. They made $200 from the sale of pictures and pottery.

-    The football team won its 2nd straight State Championship. The team was undefeated.

-    The Kansas Attorney General led a drug raid at Lawrence High School. The repercussions were felt at North.

-    Gasoline sold for 50.9 a gallon.

-    The "Mission" ran a vocabulary test looking for the meanings to these words and phrases:

"Far Out"
and "Right On"

-    The Senior Class of 1970 presented the mosaic on the wall in the pool area.


-    Football echo. Again the team was State Champion.

-    This was the first year for a boys' gymnastics team.

-    Mr. Bill Gloshen took the job of Vice-Principal. Now he and Mr. Hess share the duties.

-    Three Dog Night is the most popular musical group among students.

-    The Girls' Volleyball Team won the District Championship by defeating Shawnee Mission West by scores of 15 to 10 and 15 to 6.

-    March, fire attacked North.

-    Students formed POW (Prisoner of War) and MIA (Missing in Action) committee.

-    Students also formed an organization to fight pollution. They claimed to be against a wasted world. Bill Burger was the leader of this Ecology Club.


-    The Golf Team won the Sunflower League Championship.

-    Best Actor Award was given to Greg Hathaway.

-    Best Actress Award was given to Marilyn Farnsworth.

-    Mr. Bob Herrin sponsored a Losers Club.

-    The School Auditorium was modernized. At the first assembly in the "new" auditorium the rock band "First Gear" played a concert.

-    A.C. Eley became the coach of the debate team.

-    A Pep Band was formed to help create enthusiasm at games and assemblies.

-    Jan Stenerud, place kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, visited North.

-    Robert Docking, the Governor of Kansas, also spoke with students.

-    The first school sponsored car rally took place in the student parking lot.

-    The chorus did Hayden's "Mass in B Flat".

-    The "giraffe" in the Courtyard came to North. A student made the statue for the 50th Anniversary. The surprise was that Mr. Welch, when he agreed to it, thought the statue would be five or six feet high.

-    G. Murlin Welch retired after 18 years of being Principal. The flame would be carried on but the school would never be quite the same again.


-    The Ozark Mountain Daredevils played at North.

-    Stuco discussed student apathy.

-    Bill Grisolia founded the Road Apple Press.

-    "Mission" editors were Pete Russell and Rick Dodderidge.

-    The Ecology Club wanted to curb excessive motorbike fumes.

-    "The Man Who Came To Dinner" was the school play.

-    Band Parents organized for the first time.

-    The Girls' Volleyball Team won the State Championship.

-    Dr. Donald E. Wilson become the sixth Principal of Shawnee Mission North.


-    Mr. Dale Pigg retired after 34 years of teaching. For 25 years he had been advisor to the year-book staffs.

-    North defeated West 14-6 before 10,000 plus fans at homecoming.

-    Ellen House was elected Winter Sports Queen.

-    A Kans for Kids drive was started.

-    And students collected for the United Fund.

-    On Senior Day students played Big Ball, Slo-Pitch Softball and they signed yearbooks.


-    A modern dance group was formed by sponsor Ms. Bernie Wagner.

-    "Easy", a student literature and art magazine, was sponsored by Mr. David Caldwell. Two of the involved students were Fred Hund and Chris Carduff.

-    During the '74 football season the Indians again won the State Title. That made it 4 state championships in six years.

-    The girls' volleyball team won 2nd place in the Regional Championships.

-    The Advanced Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) troupe was founded by drama director, Yvonne Sutter.

-    Students were aware that "Super Q played favorites".

-    Students went on an 18 day summer field trip to the Rocky Mountains. Mr. Clark Schartz was the faculty sponsor.

-    Stereo background music was added to the library.

-    May 14, 1975, a fire in the southeast wing forced the evacuation of the school. Damage was estimated at $25,000. No one was injured.


-    Enrollment was increasing in the Art Department.

-    The first Girls' Cross Country team appeared.

-    Girls' Basketball returned.

-    Marc Thompson, a former student, competed in the '76 Olympics in cycling.

-    This was the second consecutive year for a State Championship in Boys' Cross Country.

-    The "Spirit of '76" was the motto of the school.

-    Ailine Thomas retired as school librarian.

-    And the Dr. J. Club was founded by football players sitting together at basketball games.


-    The NJROTC unit won first place in color guard competition at the Missouri-Kansas Invitational. Ruskin High School was the host for this contest.

-    Mr. Eley's Debate Team was State Champion.

-    Marching Band received a "1" rating at State.

-    Enrollment in the Foreign Language Department was increasing.

-    Fashion Careers II was an added elective.

-    Pep Club membership was 850. Mr. Bob James was the sponsor.

-    Mr. Jim Hanson became the assistant wrestling coach and Head Baseball Coach.

-    The Board of Education discussed a smoking policy for all high schools. The April headline was: ''North Board Vetoes Puffing."

-    Small fires in the restrooms and setting-off the fire alarms were a nuisance to both students and staff.

-    Seniors voted for a special parking area.

-    The Winter Formal Dance was cancelled due to lack of interest.

-    Ford defeated Carter (68% to 27%) in the school's mock election.

-    Boys begin to take "Bachelor Cooking".

-    The "Friends of Art" organize.

-    The Auditorium clock read 8:10 all year and the two clocks in the Cafeteria read different times.

-    Finally, repairs were made to the auditorium stage. A new floor was put down and new red drapes were hung. An orchestra pit was created and a new ticket booth was installed.


-    "Superman" was the movie the students wanted to see.

-    A smoking lounge was still a controversial item on STUCO's agenda.

-    The Bus Dock was declared unsafe for the winter due to ice and snow. Most bus riding students agreed!

-    Trash in the parking lot was a proliferating problem.

-    Soccer was added as a varsity sport. Dr. John Stewart was named the first soccer coach in school's history.

-    The "Mission" editorialized that "Apathy On The Rise At SMN".

-    Foreign language enrollment was down.

-    Mice invaded the Journalism and Home Economics areas.

-    The Equal Rights Amendment was cussed and discussed.

-    Teen suicide rate was on the rise.

-    The new 8-lane resolite track was installed.

-    An In-School Suspension (ISS) program was begun.

-    Vandalism was a growing problem.

-    And "Animal House" was the popular movie.

-    Disco fever hit the school.

-    The "Annex" was built to serve the learning disabled. This program had begun in the "trailers" to the west in 1967.


-    Partrons' Gallery dedicated. North was the first high school in the country to have its own art gallery.  Leadership was given this project by Dr. Wilson, the Principal, and Julie Miller, Mike Shartzer, Fred and Meg Cross and other interested patrons.

-    Governor John Carlin visited North.

-    New concepts in Physical Education were added.

-    Dr. Norman Forer, a teacher at Kansas University, spoke to a full auditorium about his unauthorized trip to Iran. The purpose of his trip was to free the American hostages in Iran. His speech, like his trip, met with controversy.

-    Coach Reichardt took over the Boys' and Girls' Cross Country Teams.

-    The Shawnee Mission North Booster Club was founded.

-    The "King and I" broke theater attendance records.

-    A new security system was installed in the library.

-    The English Department produced a "Handbook" for students. The book tried to provide answers to questions about writing term papers, correct forms of grammar and punctuation.

-    63 students received all A's on their report cards.

-    Some members of the Drill Team were asked to leave the squad for disciplinary reasons.

-    And Senioritis hit the school in the spring. The nurse described the symptoms as "epidemic" and several students were listed as "terminal".

-    At the end of the 70's the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, 12 Israeli Athletics had been killed by Palestinian guerillas in Munich, People had lived through an Oil Embargo and American hostages in Iran. The Olympic Games had made heroes of Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner, Olga Korbut and Franz Klammer. And death had taken from us John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Roberto Clemente and Thurman Munson. It was now the time to pass into a new decade.

    Forward to 1980 and Beyond >>      

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