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 - Pictures
and Facts

III - School Spirit

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

    << Back to The 70's

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1980 and Beyond*

*This history of our high school is a perpetual work-in-progress.  Representatives of any and all graduating classes from Shawnee Mission North are encouraged to send updates to:

Dave Lawrence - Webmaster@SMN-RAB.ORG

THE 80's


-    Ms. Nancy Hall took over the responsibilities for the yearbook and the newspaper.

-    A Rifle Squad was added to the Flag Corps.

-    Rick Aubin won State in Tennis.

-    Keith Sypert was elected Northman. Eldon Wenstrand would follow him the next year.

-    During the spring break new floor tiles, chairs and tables were added to the cafeteria.

-    At the '79 Homecoming two changes were made:
   1.    Because of the new running track, no cars were allowed to carry the Queen candidates around the field.

   2.     The Homecoming Dance was made "informal" so more students would attend.

-    Many students were working for the minimum wage of $3.10 per hour.

-    Lisa Ashner represented North at Kansas Girls' State.

-    The Summer Jam in Arrowhead Stadium featured Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, Led Zeppelin, and the Little River Band.

-    Students were assigned seats in assembly. The protest was silent, yet loud.

-    The Pep-Assembly traditions of "presentation of cakes" and cheerleaders doing "TEAM" continued.

-    Favorite movies were "Star Wars," "Battle Star Galactica," "Halloween," and "The Amityville Horror."

-    November 20, the Theater department presented a "Night of One-Acts".  The event would be repeated each year and are today are known as "Original One Acts."

-    The previous month had seen the same department present "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail''.

-    Doug Lytle placed 2nd in the Pole Vault at the Golden West Invitational Track meet in Sacramento, California.

-    120 boys signed up for intramural basketball.

-    During the Winter Olympics Eric Heiden captured the hearts and imaginations of students.

-    The cost of Prom was approximately $3,000.

-    And The After Prom Party was held at Pogo's.

THE 90's


  • Block scheduling is introduced, creating an alternating schedule of four 90-minute classes, or 'blocks,' per day. An eighth block is added to the schedule as 'seminar' and is used as instructional time, for assemblies or as a study period.
  • Mr. John Krueger, a North graduate, became principal.


  • Student Services introduces the Domain Counseling program. Instead of each counselor being assigned a students whose last name begins with certain letters of the alphabet, each counselor focuses on an area in which they specialize.

A New Millennium Begins...


  • Dr. Charles McLean became principal.


It is as difficult to accurately predict the future as it is to capture the past. Tomorrow has a way of ignoring what seems important today. And daily evolution is often interrupted by cataclysmic events that forcefully wrench history in new and untold directions.

However, standing at the 60th Anniversary of Shawnee Mission's High School, some threads of the future fabric are visible: Almost certainly total school enrollment will continue to decline. The projections are for approximately 25,000 students in the whole Shawnee Mission district by 1990. People having fewer children and the growth of the outlying areas such as Olathe and Blue Valley work together to lower enrollment. Secondly, progressive technology will affect teaching methods and learning areas. For example, the ubiquitous computer will doubtless become a more important part of the school's curriculum. In this sense, the school is simply a reflection of the larger society.

Thirdly, education will be less building-specific in the future. Progress in both technological hardware and software will allow the growth of home-based education. More students will be able to take courses either on television or to study on computer terminals plugged into home phone lines. Needless to say, there will be fewer school buildings built and more creative use of present facilities will be required.
According to Mr. David Westbrook, the future holds a public relations challenge for public schools. As the population ages and fewer people have children of school age, the school faces the challenge of explaining the benefits of a school system to the community. The school will have to sell its process and products to a larger number of people.

A continuing problem will be the age, morale and preparation of teachers. Now there is a discernible trend of an aging faculty. A few begin teaching in their early 20's and work until retirement. Yet, many teach for 8 to 10 years and then move into other areas. For example, now the teacher who was in college in the late 60's or early 70's and is an intellectual child of the revolutionary 60's has taught for eight or nine years, is perhaps disillusioned, or, perhaps is interested in "growth" or "change". For whatever reason, many of these teachers are leaving the profession. Also, the question of teacher preparation mirrors society's own questions. Does the education of the 40's and 50's prepare one to cope with the realities of the 80's and 90's? Do yesterday's "facts" help one deal with tomorrow's process? Education and many other fields must confront these questions.

This district was formed amid controversy. Disagreement will be a constant in the future of public education. The battle between visions will produce heat and some light. Special interests will try to persuade the common interest and among the particular interests the latter - the common or public interest - will be harder to see.

Finally, the Shawnee Mission School District, in general, and Shawnee Mission North, in particular, have been progressive in education. As reflections of their communities, the schools have looked forward and have tried to achieve excellence. The basic strength of this school and its larger district is the families and people who live here. Good families generally produce good kids and good families and good kids generally produce and demand good schools. Historically, the great tradition of Shawnee Mission's schools has lain in the strength and courage of its people. The land beyond the 1980's will also lie in the vision and the will of this collective community.

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