- The Decades
III - School
Back to The 60's
to 1980 and Beyond >>
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
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
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
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."
1970's AT SHAWNEE MISSION NORTH HIGH SCHOOL
- October 2, "The Mission" was
awarded a first class rating by the National Scholastic Press
- 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
- 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:
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
- 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
- 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
- The Ecology Club wanted to curb excessive motorbike
- "The Man Who Came To Dinner" was the
- Band Parents organized for the first time.
- The Girls' Volleyball Team won the State
- 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
- 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.
- "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
- The Advanced Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) troupe was
founded by drama director, Yvonne Sutter.
- Students were aware that "Super Q played
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Enrollment in the Foreign Language Department was
- Fashion Careers II was an added elective.
- Pep Club membership was 850. Mr. Bob James was the
- 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
- 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
- Ford defeated Carter (68% to 27%) in the school's
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- The Shawnee Mission North Booster Club was founded.
- The "King and I" broke theater attendance
- 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
- 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.
1980 and Beyond >>
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