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

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction

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 SMN-RAB

Publisher's Note

      

<< Back to Pictures and Facts     

School Spirit

The spirit of a school begins in the community which surrounds the building; spirit begins in the attitudes of the people whose children populate the school. Spirit is linked to purpose and purpose is linked to will. So to ask of spirit is to inquire of stated or agreed upon purpose which, in turn, leads to the question of a collective will.

Seldom in a democracy does unanimity exist. When people are free to disagree, they often do so with relish and varying degrees of fervor. Noise, therefore, is a constant in the democratic place. Silence is not assent; it is the absence of debate, the absence of caring or information. When an informed public cares deeply about any subject the noise of intellectual competition should keep away lurking monsters of power-seeking persuasion.

Thus, to seek the collective will of a people is to look for the ephemeral. Collective democratically defined is majority rule. A five to four vote is democratic unanimity. Any product of such a debated-then-close-vote-process represents a majority vision. And vision is, at least, less complete, less refined than will.

In a democracy it is one's right to be dragged screaming into the future. Resistance is, in fact, an obligation and ultimately benefits the majority by forcing it to coalesce many visions into one. The laws of physics and politics are similar in that resistance and strength are somehow interrelated.

Shawnee Mission's high school began with votes of 1,049 to 975 and 1,027 to 952. In September of 1921 there was nothing resembling a collective will. There was, without doubt, a vision which the majority of voting citizens could see. And there was a beginning purpose, though ill-defined, incomplete and insufficient, which served to feed vision: The majority wished to offer a high school training commensurate with student needs... "and in keeping with the wealth and dignity of the community."   The key words in that purpose — needs, wealth, dignity and community — would be tested throughout the following sixty years.

The preceding thoughts lead to one inevitable conclusion: the public high school does not exist. There is no single public. Any American community is made up of many visions, various and diffuse publics. A high school, therefore, is either a composite of perceptions or that purpose which can be agreed upon by diverse people. The public high school is at worst the lowest common denominator or at best the majority's vision.

What is now called Shawnee Mission North High School was born 1,049 to 975; it was a majority school of the public's domain. It was democratic in spirit and its purpose was to provide for the needs of the children of Shawnee and Mission townships.  The rural high school was born of a vision and a will. There was pride taken in all of this.

When the complicated machinery of democratic politics can be made to function, when process, which is ultimately more important, can be made to issue product, some satisfaction can be taken. $150,000 in bonds were authorized for the purchase of a site and erection and furnishing of a building. There had been debate and vote, now there was action. Some satisfaction could be found in this. Today the site of 33 + (grown from 12¾) acres and the buildings are valued at over twelve million dollars. It is part of a vision fulfilled and some satisfaction can be taken.

If one just walks the halls of the building, it is possible to miss the spirit of the place. First, student noise is not equal to school spirit. The latter is more remote, subterranean, within the minds and hearts of the noise makers.


"Where is locker #449?

I don't know... Do you know where Geometry is?"

"What's his last name?"

"Who?"

"Geometry, dummy."

- - -   - - -

The young girl looks, then giggles, finally sighs. "Didja see him"

"Huh?"

"Did ja see him?"

"Who?"

"Todd." (as in, dreamily, T-O-D-D!)

"Oh, sure."

"Oh, sure?" (as in disbelieving and incredulously, as in you saw him and you're still standing?) "He's in my history class."

"My, God, can I transfer classes? What hour do you have him? Do you think he will ask me out? Do you think he will marry me? How many kids do you think we'll have? Where do you think we will live? Will he abuse me? Oh, my God, he might be a wife beater or child abuser. Oh, no. Never! Not that hunk. We will live happily ever after (sigh) I'll bet he drives a sports car ... we'll go to prom... he'll kiss me in the moonlight...his mother will love me...my Dad will talk sports with him (Yuk!) ... he'll make straight A's and grow up to be rich and famous ... Oh, my God, Mandy, does he like blondes? Does he?"

"I don't know. I'm only in his history class."

"Ah, Mandy, you're no help at all!" (as in despair and exclamation points) Locker slams. Bell rings "Oh, my God, I'm late!"

- - -   - - -

"Hey, baby, what's happening?"

"How's it goin'?"

"Hi, how are you?"

"Fine, how are you?" "Fine."

"Would you look at the legs on that one...."

"And the other parts..."

"Shut up, man, I'm prayin'!"

 

For how many years have boys congregated together to eyeball and discuss passing girls? And for how many years have young girls passed by to be seen and discussed and then to be enraged at the process?


"That's disgusting." "Look at the knockers on that one!" "Creeps."
"Wow! I think I've died and gone to heaven?"
"Those stupid guys... .standing there like that....how immature!"

In the growing from young man to man there is a tingling which cannot be put into words. He must, for some unfathomable reason, herd together and speak disparagingly of that which he yearns to be close to, to speak lovingly of. However, he cannot, no he cannot be caught vulnerable to softness by his fellows. Strong. He must be strong.

"Hi, Andy," she says while passing. "How ya doin'?"

Both are uneasy with the feeling which is the residue of trying to be cool or to be strong. Yet neither can articulate the feeling nor cross the invisible barrier. When one is ill-defined one must protect all in case some part might be important. As a little boy he saved all the rocks in case one would be called valuable.

In the growing from young woman to woman there is an anxiousness which will not be alleviated until years pass - if then. She was taught to please, to earn value, to attract. So her identity, her sense of self, is connected to his eye, his approving start. She will walk by the gawking herd year after year not because she wants to but because she has to. Now, however, want and need are so intertwined that separation is difficult. She only reserves the right of anger, of self-righteousness. Dignity must be preserved. She is ahead of him in this.


"Our nomination for the meanest man in the world is the warden who put a thumb tack on the electric chair."

Classified Ad: Will Exchange - one senior boyfriend for underclassman who will remain with me after graduation. Rosemary Bensley

Lost - one billfold, containing valuable documents. Please don't read notes. Return to Charlie Davis.


The question of purpose is part of the surrounding community's identity process. How we see ourselves says a lot about how we want our children to be. How our children see us says a lot about to what they aspire.

Shawnee Mission began with a religious perception: The Methodist Church's Mission to the Indians. Quakers also responded to a perceived need in Indian life. Other churches would soon follow. Evangelism is the selling of belief; social work is belief made real. Two of the founding blocks were in place; the third was land.

In 1922 Shawnee Mission, like many areas of post WWI America, was changing from rural to urban. The "farm vote" was a political term of meaning. The connotation was: independent, conservative, resistant to change and taxes. Its opposite was interdependent, moderate and future oriented. The willingness to pay taxes goes with the territory.

First there was land, then there was the Indian, the evangelist, the white farmer. Next came the towns, those points which supplied and connected the farms. Then came those social services which were designated to improve the quality of life, to defeat the harshness of everyday life and to feed the dreams of ordinary people.


"My son will have it better than me," he said.
"I want my daughter to get off the farm," she said.


There is the dream of progress. Each generation is expected to have it better, easier. And there is the genesis of school. Education, it is thought, is a road away from the farm, out of the ghetto, up the ladder of success. School is the beginning of direction, of social progress.

The preceding paragraph used the verb "is" as if those perceptions were present tense. It was, in part, inaccurate. "Was" is now the powerful verb. Both the place and the dream have changed. Now the farms of Shawnee Mission have receded further into the horizon and what was once green is now more concrete. The land is divided into smaller plots with more expensive houses. Shopping centers have replaced the small towns. The Indian has been reduced from human terms to exist only as an athletic motto and school, too, has been reduced in vision. No longer is it the only ladder to success. Americans are no longer quite so certain in which direction success lies. Up? West? Out? And they are less sure whether their children will have it (Joke, 1939) better than they.


Questions bombard the present people of Shawnee Mission:

1. Where is "up" for the children of an affluent suburb?

2. In the evolution of farm to small town to city to suburb, what is the future of a changing suburb?

3. And, what is the role of a public high school when its publics are constantly changing and when its original vision, the beginning reason for its existence, has been lost?


Shawnee Mission North High School no longer serves the people whose vision saw the need for a high school. Its public has changed. No longer is the small farmer's child in class; fewer are the children of doctor, lawyers, or even Indian Chiefs, fewer are the extended or even nuclear families which send their children to North.

As the values of an area shift and as the kind of people who inhibit the area change, the public school will reflect those changes. Education, which by definition is different than school, becomes less important than the institution which is supposed to encourage it. So the school's survival becomes primary; within constantly shifting and temporary publics the institutionalization of school will ensure its survival, but will make it less responsive to contemporary demands. The professionalism of teachers which is seen in growing unionization works to isolate the school from the community. The invisibility of teachers outside the school building creates a barrier between the family and school. Today the teacher at Shawnee Mission North might not live in the community which the school serves. Thus, it is not "their" school; they only work there. Concomitantly, the student becomes a consumer of education, distinguished only by ability and personality. He or she is less the child of those who serve the teacher on Saturday shopping or who live next door. Student is a role from which the person has too often been extracted. Shakespeare is taught to those who should learn it; Math levels of competence are to be taught. Finally, when objectives have been reached or three years have passed, the student is graduated.

The ceremony of graduation has come to mean less to the students and their families and more to the school itself. Graduation, ultimately, is its reason for existence. The school is to pass its students on into "real" life or up the ladder of success. The rites of spring symbolize student and institution survival.

So, what does this have to do with school spirit? The spirit of a school begins in the community which surrounds it and gives it life. When the people themselves do not form a community - a commonness - then the school will probably reflect this lack of unity. Or, when the school and community are spiritually divorced the original vision is lost and the school finds "spirit" hard to come by. Or, when the adults have lost interest in the events of their children's lives, their students find little to interest them in school. Spirit is more than crowd noise at a ball game; it is more than 100 girls trying out for Drill Team or enthusiasm on the field of sport. Spirit is, at least, a sense of wellness. Spirit is an ownership one takes in the events which surround his life. School spirit is shown when the non-participant feels as if she has been diminished when the team loses. School spirit lies in the reluctance to drop trash on the floor because it is his school. Spirit is a sense of place and a sense of identity - and a sense that the school is part of both.

Shawnee Mission North High School, despite the trophies, banners and achievements, will never be successful unless the people who inhabit this place feel a sense of pride and togetherness. Communal joy is the basis of school spirit. Essentially, school spirit is self-celebration and the celebration of that in which we live.


THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF SPORTSHIP (1926)

Thou shalt not cheat.
Thou shalt not quit.
Thou shalt not sulk.
Thou shalt not make excuses.
Thou shalt not dispute the referee.
Thou shalt not steal thy fellow student's glory.
Thou shalt not ask odds thou'rt unwilling to give.
Thou shalt play for the game's sake.
Thou shalt co-operate for the team's sake.

1936 Cheer:

"Hit ‘em High; Hit ‘em Low! Come on Team, let's Go!"

The Pep Club sang:

"Skinny - ma - ru!
Skinny - ma - ri!
Skinny - ma - rinky - dinky, di
Flip, Flop
Who's on Top?
Shawnee Mission High!


A teacher says, "It's the paint on the lockers. There's something in the paint.. .an aphrodisiac, perhaps." He is certain, "There must be something in the paint. If you ever watch a young couple "make love" in the school halls, they are always near a locker."

Lockers and young love are part of the spirit of this place. "What do they do in private if they go this far in public?" a mother asked incredulously as she watched a young boy press his girl friend against a locker. "It's in the paint," my friend insists.

"Do they put Spanish Fly in the cafeteria food?" a student asks at least once a year. "My friend who always eats at McDonald's and who has never eaten lunch at school knows they put something in the food." If it's not in the paint, it's in the food. And if it's not in the paint or the food, it's in the Spring.

A young man's fancy, the poet said, turns to baseball in the Spring. Little did the poet know. In the Spring at this school baseball is a minor sport, along with golf, tennis, track and swimming. The major, non-revenue producing sport is in the halls between classes, before school, after school and even during school. The major sport is Locker Pressing.


Fantasy, too, is a product of Spring;

"Can Bozo and Willie Mae beat South Friday night?"
"Will any of our couples receive locker pressing scholarships to college?"
"They don't have lockers in college? What kind of place is that anyway?"

Locker Pressing is a major sport, but there are many minor facsimiles:
Holding-Hands-in-the-Spring is popular; 110 couples went out for the team;
and "We-don't-have-time-to-eat-because-we-are-too-busy-making- goo-goo-eyes" is a cafeteria sport; Let's-skip-class-and-go-make-out-in-Shawnee-Mission-Park attracts a few of the non-scholars;
May-I-carry-your-books was an old-time game which is seldom played now. In fact, that game is strictly intramural now. Let's-go-watch-the-Submarine-races-in-the-parking lot is a game which attracts many players, especially in the winter;
and Let's-skip-school-all-day-and-go-to-the-park-because-our- mothers-will-write-us-a-note-saying-we-were-sick is a well-attended game.

To be the League Champion in any of these fancies, a young man must show perseverance, strength and desire. The last trait is most important. To produce champions a school must do little except exist and wait for the juices of youth and spring to mix.


"Did you hear that the Principal was walking down the hall and this couple was going at it near the lockers. The Principal walked up and tapped the guy on the shoulder and said, "Good morning."

"That's all he said?"

"Just ‘Good morning!' And they said the guy crumbled right there."

"He was probably panting so hard, he couldn't talk."

"He was scared to death. ..can you imagine the Principal catching you and your girl making out in the hall?"

"No way, baby. We don't do nothin here. ..weII maybe just a little kiss in the morning at the locker..."

"Uh...huh..."

..and maybe I grab hold of her while she is getting books.. .just a little you understand."

"Sure."

"...and, well, when we are walking down the hall I gots to put my hand on her. ..but we don't do nothin' obscene. Man, I've seen some people who are actually gross... Last year I saw these two sophomores.. .hell, their voices still squeak. ..but they was goin' at it down in Grease Hall...looked to me like he was trying to get in the locker with her.. . I mean both of them were trying to get inside the locker..."



It's in the paint, my teacher friend says. It's in the paint and in the Spring.

Teachers patrol the halls looking for rule breakers; administrators roam from parking lot to parking lot, yet the music of love and spring is not to be stopped. Going steady is almost a rite of passage.


"Will you wear my ring, Cindy?"

"Oh, gee, Ronnie, I'd love to."

"Does this mean we are going steady, Cindy?"

"Of course it does, silly."

"Neither of us will go out with anyone else, right?"

"Right."

"Cindy..."

"Yes?"

"Let's make out..."

"Not now, Ronnie, we aren't near a locker!"

"Cindy?"

"Yes?"

"Can I have my ring back?"


If school spirit begins in the community's purpose, it also begins in the optimism and enthusiasm of youth. When seniors try to sell elevator passes, study hall books, arcade passes or tickets to the non-existent swimming pool on the third floor to incoming sophomores, there is an irrepressible youngness which defies the cynicism of growing older; when students spread toilet paper over the yards and trees of their popular classmates, they only see the beauty and not the destruction; when there is a food fight in the cafeteria only the joy of creative food-using is absorbed. Mock outrage is a result.

- "Algebra", as defined by students, "is a subject like arithmetic but more so."

- "Assembly is a place where all students get together to see how much noise they can make."

- "A Comic book is a small cartoon magazine that fits handily into a textbook."

- "English is a course in which students learn to speak their own language."

- "A library is a place where students check out books they never intend to read."

- "A lunch line is similar to a bread line except longer."

- "A report card is a card on which a student's grades are written in ink so he can't change them."

- "Eighth Hour is the place where students sleep after regular school hours."

- "Study Hall is the place where students do everything but study."



The Spirit of Youth rides yellow buses to school, goes to Homeroom, cheats on tests, sometimes studies, dreams of dancing at the Prom in History Class, receives Over Due notices from libraries, looks in tubas and cries, "Come out, come out, whoever you are," tries smoking in the parking lot or in the restrooms, makes the National Honor Society, and asks, "When can I make up this test?"

The Spirit of Youth dissects frogs in Biology and is "grossed out" by the process, searches for the value of "X" in Math, defines Kinetic Theory, counts "un. .deux.. trios in French class, then when counting capacity stops, the spirit says, "Oh, merde."

Latin Banquets, Eighth Hours, Typing class, Bunsen Burners, Beaver Shooting, Tests, Pop Quizzes, Term Papers, sleeping in Study Hall, actually studying in the hall, verb drills, congregating in the Bus Dock area, dreams of class rings, not having a pencil or paper in class, waiting in the office to see and administrator, Drill Team, Pep Club, Soccer, Tennis, Golf, and more Beaver Shooting are all activities of youth.


In 1937 the students demanded the abolishment of:

1. anklets
2. 3 inch heels
3. bangs
4. chili sundaes
5. chaperones
6. perfumed hair oil
7. vaselined eye lashes
8. high water trousers


G. Murlin Welch, in 1956, was quoted as saying, "If two or more people have a common interest in egg-breaking, Shawnee Mission will charter an egg-breaking club." For many years clubs met on Tuesday and Wednesday during the 1:00 - 1:40 p.m. Activity Period. Each teacher was assigned sponsorship of at least one club and every student had to belong to a club. "School," Dr. McEachen had said even earlier, "is for academics and extracurricular activities."

Clubs at Shawnee Mission High School included almost every conceivable activity or area of interest. As Mr. Welch suggested, if you could get two of your friends to go along and write a simple charter, the school would assign a sponsor and you were in business.

At any given time there were more than 100 functioning clubs and their subjects suggested something for everyone: The Hi-Y Club, sponsored by Mr. M. E. Alleman, was and is the oldest club in the school's history. Founded by Mr. Alleman in 1922, the first year of the school, the club's motto was "Clean speech, clean sports, clean scholarship and clean living." Its purpose was to extend throughout the school and community high standards of Christian character.

"The Girl Reserves this year have enlarged their club about thirty members over that of last year. There are sixty-five members this year.

When a girl is initiated into the Girl Reserves Organization she must make a pledge which reads as follows:

As a Girl Reserve I will be----
Gracious in manner
Impartial in judgement
Ready for service
Reaching towards the best
Earnest in purpose
Seeing the beautiful
Eager for knowledge
Reverent to God
Victorious over self
Ever dependable
Sincere at all times

The Girl Reserves Song -FOLLOW THE GLEAM

To the knights in the days of old
Keeping watch on the mountain heights
Came a vision of Holy Grail
And a voice through the waiting night

CHORUS
Follow, follow, follow the gleam
Banners unfurled, o'er all the world
Follow, follow, follow the gleam
Of the chalice that is the Grail."

Another club which was begun in 1929 and whose present absence symbolizes the change from Shawnee Mission Rural High School to Shawnee Mission North High School and the change in Shawnee Mission from an agricultural area of farms to a suburb of a big city was the Future Farmers of America Club (FFA). This club played an important part in the history of the school. Its members did soil samples of neighboring farms and won plant and animal judging contests.

FUTURE FARMERS OF AMERICA PURPOSE

1. To develop competent, aggressive, rural and agricultural leadership.

2. To create and nurture a love of country life.

3. To strengthen the confidence of farm boys and young men in themselves and their work.

4. To create more interest in the intelligent choice of farming occupations.

5. To encourage members in the development of individual farming programs and establishment in farming.

6. To encourage members to improve the farm home and its surroundings.

7.    To participate in worthy undertakings for the improvement of agriculture.

8. To develop character, train for useful citizenship, and foster patriotism.

9. To participate in co-operative effort.

10. To encourage and practice thrift.

11. To encourage improvement in scholarship.

12. To provide and encourage the development of organized rural recreational activities.


Clubs, clubs and more clubs. As Mr. Welch hinted, Shawnee Mission was willing to sponsor clubs. Here are just a few of the many:

Taxidermy Club
Stamp Club
Radio Club
Forensics
Model Homes Club
Photography
Camp Fire Girls
The Whistling Club
Embroidery
Needlecraft
Cosmopolitan
Euclideans
Spanish Club
Retorts (Science)
Cribbage Club
Gun Club
Aviation Club
Satire Club
Losers Club
"5" Club
Biologs Club
Science Club
Camera Club
Readers Corner Club
Pen Club
Y-Teens
Hi-Y
FFA
Travel Club
Junior Red Cross
Pep Club
Library Club
The Inner Circle Club
Ten Pennies (dedicated to improving social manners and habits)
Steno-ettes
Girl Reserves (dedicated to promoting high ideals and Christian attitudes. Its motto was "Follow the gleam."
and the Sub-Deb Club (its purpose was to increase pride, personality and popularity. Club members said, "May our good points grow.")

To show how serious students and staff took the club structure, here are included parts of the initiation into Pep Club as practiced by the students in 1939. An initiate could expect:

1.  Three (3) swats from each member
2.  mild electric shocks
3.  having to wear shoes on the wrong feet for a day
4.  to eat raw eggs and pepper
5.  or to eat raw oysters and garlic

"I've never seen a sheep saw,
  but I've seen a lamb chop." 
(1946 Joke)


The origin of a school's spirit lies, in part, in the "why" of going to school. Why do we send our children to school from generally the age of 6 to 18? Why do they choose to obey? In the answers to "why" lie paths in our spiritual quest.

In 1939 students were students were asked why they went to school. Their replies:

Dave Reynor - "to see Katie Wickenhoefer"
Steve Hill - ??????
Doris Heaton - "it's a family tradition"
Patti Bowser - "for lunch hour"
Don Parr - "to keep from getting a job"
Sam Clark - "to satisfy my public"


Dr. McEachen once said a school's purpose was to provide a curriculum and activities. Today there are a thousand challenges to what is offered in a curriculum. However, activities have been a constant in the school's history.

In the classroom the young are expected to act older than they are. When they participate in extracurricular activities, the enthusiasm of youth is allowed to surface. A partial calendar of events from the year 1926 includes:

SEPTEMBER

School opens
Mixer
Clubs organized
Cafeteria opens
Annual Sunday School Convention
Scholarship letters for 1924
Kaw Valley Athletic Association Meeting

OCTOBER

Fair
Cheer leaders elected
Sophomore—Senior magazine contest
Election of Annual Staff
Honor Roll issued
Hi-Y Convention at Emporia
School Function rules issued
Class popular characters chosen
Girls' Midget Team organized

NOVEMBER

Annual Turkey Game - Olathe
Art Exhibit
Thanksgiving holidays
Kansas State Teacher's Association Convention
Armistice Day Program
Typewriting awards
Girl Reserves Fun Day

DECEMBER

English Four Play
Junior-Senior Kid Party
Hi-Y Father and Son Banquet
Grade School Basketball Tournament
Vacation
Pictures presented to school
Journalism contest

JANUARY

Operetta
Basketball starts
Teachers' Association Meeting
Pep Club organized
Senior pictures taken
New basketball suits for girls
Scholarship letters issued
Final exams

FEBRUARY

MacDowell Chorus
Journalism Club to Journal-Post
English IV mock banquet
Girls defeat Rosedale
Boys defeat Bonner
Bonner Springs-Shawnee Mission Scholarship Contest

MARCH

Shawnee Mission B.B. Tournament
Boys to K.C.K.B.B. Tournament
Girl Reserves Convention at Ottawa
Orpheus Male Quartet
Hi-Y picture show
Typist awards
Starting Track
Honor Roll
Parent-Teachers' Association Play

APRIL

Emporia Contest
Junior Play
Field, Track and Scholarship Meet
Emporia Music Contest
Annual Senior Play
Completion of the Annual
Hi-Y Convention at Topeka
Junior-Senior Banquet

MAY

Graduation
May Fete and Box Supper
Class Night Program
Baccalaureate Sermon
Alumni Banquet

Today one can multiply the number of activities. If a student has a talent there is an activity which can bring it out.

"If any sardine canners are seeking ideas for packing, they might take a look at the school busses."  (1939)

"If you are going to wait in the lunch lines, you had better carry food for thought."  (1937)


From the 1926 yearbook comes a description of that year's activities:

SOCIETY
ALL SCHOOL MIXER
The bad weather did not keep the pupils from coming, but it did put out the lights. However, no one was worried as candles were furnished, and the building was well lighted. The Freshmen came, although they expected they would be made fun of, but they were promised that no tricks would be played on them, so they turned out strong. Everyone helped everyone else get acquainted, and a dandy good time was enjoyed by all.

The first game was a peanut-hunt, and this was great fun, as it was a new idea to hunt peanuts in the dark. The hunt was won by the Seniors. Wheelbarrow races were held on the stage until the lights came on and then everyone played flying Dutchman, last couple out, and other rollicking games.

Many of the Alumni attended this party and reported a good time. Refreshments of ice cream and cake were served to about two hundred. Everyone departed tired but happy, voting the Seniors excellent sponsors of a mixer.

JUNIOR-SENIOR KID PARTY
The Seniors and Juniors went back to their childhood days, on December 18, for one grand and joyous evening at a kid party, given for the Seniors by the Juniors. The boys played jacks and also made fine nursemaids for the dollies brought by the little girls, and in many other ways showed their usefulness. Some of the faculty made charming little girls with braids down their backs, tied with pretty hair-ribbons, and when it came to flying Dutchman they knew how to run.

The dignified Seniors wore bibs and tuckers, knee-pants and patched clothing and had a good time playing drop the handkerchief and ring around the rosy, three-deep, leap-frog and many other childish games. When they were tired they sat down and ate their pink ice cream cones and sucked their stick candy very contentedly.

An as children they had to be told when to go home. They ran for their hoods, grabbed their dollies, rattles, and other playthings, and scampered away.

FATHER AND SON BANQUET
On the evening of December 19, the Hi-Y boys and their fathers met in the auditorium for a banquet. It was estimated that there were sixty-five men and boys that attended this get together meeting and it proved to be a great success.

The program of the evening consisted of toasts by Neil Kreeck, the president, and the responses of the men, together with jokes given by various members of the audience when called on by the toastmaster. The principal speaker of the evening was the Rev. Earl A. Blackman, who gave a very interesting and instructive address on "The Stages of a Boy's Life."

After this each boy in turn introduced his father, or his father for the evening, and they sang songs which were led by one of the fathers.

Members of the Girl Reserve served this banquet very successfully.

TEACHERS' CONVENTION
The Johnson County Teacher's Association held an all-day meeting at the Shawnee Mission High School on Saturday, January 23rd.

The luncheon which was served at noon by the girls of the Domestic Science Department of the high school, and was held in the auditorium.

During the luncheon a violin duet was played by Miss Marie Myers and Miss Evelyn Keim, accompanied by Miss Dessie Myers. At the end of the luncheon the entire assemblage joined in community singing.

In the afternoon the operetta, "The Gypsy Rover," was given by the high school Chorus Club. Between the first and second acts, these numbers were given: Piano solo by Lesley Caton; violin duet by Elizabeth McDougall and Mary Clark.

LATIN CLUB WIENER ROAST
The Latin Club gave a wiener roast Wednesday, October 7th, at the home of Elizabeth McDougall. Each member of the Latin Club was allowed to invite a girl or boy, so there was quite a crowd.

They arrived at about four o'clock and played games until they were tired; then they were served refreshments. Although it was rather cold they all enjoyed the evening.

FACULTY ENTERTAINMENTS
The beginning of the year the faculty decided to enjoy a social evening each month that they might become better acquainted. It was decided that different groups would entertain all the faculty on certain evenings.

Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, Miss Johnston, and Mrs. Plake gave a delightful opener. Mr. and Mrs. Berry entertained at a Halloween party. Mrs. Pyles, Mrs. Fast and Miss Meck entertained at the home of Mrs. Fast on March the 19th. The Misses Meyers and Miss Wren gave a Valentine party. A St. Patrick's party was next held in the high school. Each guest kissed the Blarney Stone and enjoyed the St. Patrick's games of the evening.

The faculty found that these monthly social meetings were very successful and entertaining.

GIRL RESERVES CONVENTION
The Girl Reserves elected Bernice McClelIand, Helen Hunter, and Louise Mitchell to represent them at the annual convention at Ottawa on the 12th and 13th of March. Mrs. Fast accompanied them on this trip and they reported a very interesting and entertaining time. They attended stunt programs, business discussions, committee and prayer meetings. Two of the most important meetings that they attended were the banquet on Saturday evening and the consecration service on Sunday morning.

HI-Y CONVENTION
The Hi-Y held a convention at Emporia on December 11th, 12th, and 13th. We sent three boys as our representatives. They were Harold Fairhurst, Neil Kreeck, and Edwin Meyer. Mr. Alleman accompanied the boys as their sponsor. They left on Thursday evening and returned on Sunday morning, having spent their time at business meetings which were very beneficial. They also attended a large banquet on Friday night which was a fine get together meeting.

PICTURE ENTERTAINMENT
The Agriculture Club entertained the Home Economics Club on December the 5th with a picture show. The picture was secured by Mr. Berry and was an interesting sketch on the feeding of dairy cattle. This picture showed how the feeding of cows affects the production of milk, and was very instructive. This was one of the many entertainments provided by the Aggie Club for the girls in the Home Economics Club during the year.


To be young is to blessed with short sight. One cannot be concerned with the problems of the world when one's own world is problematic. To be young is to care deeply about who is dating whom, to be crushed when he looks at another, to survive only when he asks you to the party. To be young is to march guard duty on the telephone trying to find the nerve to call and ask her for a date and dreading the answer. To be young is to sit beside the telephone waiting for its ring, hoping it will be him and when it is being young is playing it cool while your insides are being occupied by jumping beans.

To be young is or was to be "hep", to "rap" instead of talk, to be "cool", to know "a case" is not lawyer talk. To be young is to be certain, oh so certain of many things. Students have known that "physics doesn't matter" and some, if not most, have missed the double entendre. To be young is to be certain that "experience is the best teacher." To be young is to grow queasy and start to tremble when the words, "You're wanted in the office" are spoken. To be young is to find hilarity in:

"I am
you am
he ams"

and

"He are a high school graduate."

"How could he graduate, he don't know nothin!"

"Flip the platter, baby!"

"Cool, Daddy."

"Let's Boogie!"

Far out, Daddy, Far Out!"

Their hair is cut to the latest style. Terms like Butch, Flip, Beehive, Skinhead, Flattop and Mohawk fly among them. Dress is trendy and conforming. A few of the fads have been button-down shirts, blue jeans, elevator skirt lengths, Bermuda Shorts, pedal pushers, white socks and saddle oxfords, penny loafers, roll-up sleeves, Drip-Dry clothes, petticoats, strapless gowns (Oooooh!), primary colors, pastels and those famous ‘50 colors charcoal and pink, Angora sweaters, autographed blouses and designer jeans, crepe soles and blue suede shoes. Ah, Elvis!

To be young is to be generous with what was not earned by you - and even if you did earn it, to be young is to believe fully that there is more where that came from. For the young saving is a sin. So the money goes. And the energy goes also. Each year the students of Shawnee Mission High School donated to the Heart Fund, the Lions Club; they bought War Bonds; they gave blood to the blood bank. Each and every charity stopped at school because they wanted students to participate in a larger world. True, and important. Yet, behind the stop was the knowledge of the generosity of the young. They wear each other's clothes, share, although reluctantly, boy friends, and give money to local charities.

To be young is to be silly and to be unembarrassed.

INITIAL INSULTS
"With the following information, you may uncover the deepest, darkest personality secrets of all your friends -- and enemies. Just use the initials of the person to be psychoanalyzed, one initial to each column, and therein you will find a perfect description -- maybe! (Example: John Allen Doe--a Jealous, Abnormal Dullard.)

Adorable Abnormal
Bold Brazen
Catty Corny
Dumb Devastating
Energetic Enticing
Flashy Foolish
Gallant Green
Hilarious Horrible
Insane Ignorant
Jealous Joyful
Knock-kneed Kissable
Lifeless Likable
Modern Maddening
Noticeable Nonchalant
Outmoded Ornamental
Pathetic Poisonous
Quarrelsome Queer
Ridiculous Romantic
Spoiled Stylish
Temperamental Terrific
Unbalanced Unbelievable
Vain Vague
Weak Wacky
Xasperating Xotic
Young Yellow
Zi-give-up! Zealous

Atrocity
Bag
Clamity
Dullard
Eyeful
Flirt
Germ
Hepcat
Insect
Jitterbug
Knockout
Lazybones
Miracle
Nuisance
Ogre
Pansy
Quack
Rogue
Simpleton
Tenderfoot
Ugly Duckling
Vacuum
Worm
Xhibitionist
Yegg
Zombie


To be young is to provide empty pages in a yearbook for important, loving, mushy, profound, silly writing whose authors, of course, will be remembered always and to label these pages with pithy poems like:

"Future Nurses, Future Teachers
Future Leaders, Future Creatures"


"A little ink, a little chatter
A little thought of little matter"


WE CALL THIS POETRY


If she looks young - she's old
If she looks old - she's young.
If she looks back - follow her!

The parlor sofa held the twain;
Fair damsel and her lovely swain;
Heandshe.
But hark! A step upon the stair,
And mother finds them sitting there
He -------- and ------- she.

It is easy enough to be pleasant
When report cards are marked A or B;
But the man worthwhile
Is the man who can smile
When he finds they are marked F and D.

In a restaurant they met,
Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo had to pay the debt,
So Rome-owed and Juli-et.

Given: Senior
To Prove: That a senior is a darling.
Proof:
1. A senior is stuck-up.
2. Stuck-up - proud.
3. Proud - lofty.
4. Lofty - high.
5. High - costly
6. Costly - dear
7. Dear - darling.
Therefore, a senior is a darling.

A leaf just landed on my head;
To walk I'm hardly able;
The leaf that landed on my head
Was taken from a table.

The moon was high, the road was dark.
I decided it was THE place to park.
I cursed the fact, I gave a sigh;
I was alone--alone with I.

He told the shy maid of his love;
The color left her cheeks;
But on the shoulder of his coat
Remained for weeks and weeks.

She stood before her mirror
With eyes closed very tight;
And tried to see just how she looked
When fast asleep at night!


To be young is to be passionately interested - or disinterested - in the results of Student Congress Elections, in Drill Team tryouts, in athletic scores, in going steady. To be young is to whisper loudly in the Library and to be outraged when that old battle axe librarian tells you to pipe down. To be young is to resent the fact that teachers are allowed to smoke in the Teachers' Lounge while this bad habit is forbidden students. To be young is to reserve the right to change your mind about next year's schedule - again - and again - and at least once more. That old battleaxe counselor actually was exasperated! Yuk! Counselors just don't understand anything! To be a student is to complain about the Cafeteria's food. It goes with the territory. territory.

"Nobody understands me.. . Everybody hates me...

"Mary got a little F
She boo-hooed and she hollered
But the F wasn't half so bad
As the walloping that follered."

To be a student is to feel most comfortable in the parking lot. There is a certain security inside an automobile, a certain sanctity which cannot be invaded by prying adults. To be a student is to hang around the bus dock, smoking surreptitiously, while silently daring administrators to try to catch you in the act. Oh, how thrilling!

To be a student is to go to class without pencil and paper and book and when the teacher says, "A carpenter wouldn't go to work without his tools," you look bored and roll your eyes as if that is only the ten millionth time you have heard that particular witticism.

To be young is to know, really know, that Prom is more important than English and your social life is a lot more important than homework. And to be young is to know, I mean really know, that homework is only to be done while you are on the phone talking with your friends. Teachers only wanted you to have something to do while you were on the phone. Teachers are really, I mean really, considerate people.

The class of 1935 left to their teachers:

  1) arguments against final exams
  2) arguments for bigger and better holidays
  3) arguments for louder and funnier lectures
  4) arguments against higher mathematics
  5) arguments for a shorter list of requirements for graduation.

"To our teachers we also bequeath our very kindest regards and sincere gratitude for their unfailing kindness and aid."

Ah, yes. to be young is to be generous.


To be young is to believe in a legacy of permanence. If I write on this bathroom wall, future generations will share the laugh, the naughty sex. If I cause trouble, they will remember me. If we, as a class, leave a Will, we shall remember also:

"Clint Hamner leaves his sole right to sleep in any class to anyone who doesn't have brains enough to go to bed at night. He also leaves his Whippet to some poor soul, like Glen Huber."

"Charles Ege gives a black-eye and nasal hemorrhage to any guy who attempts to date Jean Wood."

"Jack "Apple" Applegarth leaves Jack Beasley his dish slinging talent."

"Claudia Paris leaves blonde hair dye to Dorothy Roark."

"Sam Phillips and Betty Smith, love birds of 1938, leave sorrowfully."

School is a place for the young. If it did not exist, it would have to be invented. Where else can the young be totally among and with themselves? Where else can they be both silly and unridiculed? Where else but school are lockers, hall passes, cheating on tests, 8th hours, class rings and make-up tests equally and all-so-totally important? To where else but school can the young get safely away from their parents and family? What other building is designed and built just for them? Where else can they, with relative safety, try to be what they are and what they are not?

"How did you do on your Report Card?" "Just like Napoleon."
"How's that?"
‘‘I went down in history."


On page 50 of the 1922 Bluejacket, the last yearbook of Merriam High School, there was an announcement. It read:

"The Shawnee Mission Rural High School will open September 12, 1922.
Five Courses — General, College Preparatory, Normal Training, Commercial and Vocational Agriculture will be offered.
Outside Activities — will include Athletics (Football, Basketball, Track) Music, Debate, Dramatics, etc.
The Building and Equipment — will be new and complete.
The Faculty — will consist of ten teachers, each a specialist."


The legacy of this beginning is a school district of five high schools and their feeder schools. Thousands of children attend where once there were a hundred or two. Tract houses now sit on old farm land. I-35 and its cousin numbers now dominate the paths of our lives.

At Shawnee Mission North High School the staff now is counted in three figures, the curriculum listings require many pages, the building is old and the extra-curricular activities are as snowflakes in a hard winter. The original vision must have changed greatly. Or has it?

The purpose of this school was to educate the young. And there is still that goal.

If one walks the halls of the school on a Monday, the sounds coming from separate rooms indicate that an education is to be had here. From the right drifts odors from a cooking class, to the left there is a film being shown in World History, in Psychology there is a discussion, Biology is dissecting frogs and in English they are reading contemporary novels. The pace continues; sounds change; the meaning remains constant:

There is an education to be had here.

Yet the walk, the quick look also saw uninterested students in cooking, the bored of film in history, the non-participator in psychology, the refusing to read in English, she who constantly combs her hair in Biology. Yes, there is an education to be had but not all are hungry. Is the disinterested student a phenomenon of the "new" school, a new spirit, or, has he or she always been with us? Is memory essentially selective and therefore we do not focus upon the pain of youth when we are older? Was there always the sleeper in the class or do we miss him as the eye seeks the spirit of history?

And what of those who teach? Have they for 60 years lived on that line between dream and futility? Or, has that teeter-totter of idealism and cynicism become unbalanced? Are the teachers of today under-qualified and less caring than the original ten? Have the problems become too large?

Questions are plentiful as the past and present are seen. We have wondered about students, teachers and the school itself. Now we must consider the families and area which send the young to their school.

As the divorce rate rises, are students more emotionally wounded when they arrive at school? Have television and other social influences molded minds before the bodies ever enter a school building? We are questioning the clay of the educational potter. If there is no substance, there is little chance for form.

Finally, there are the general perplexities which surround everyday life: Do we romanticize history? Was yesterday better, more pure, less anxious because we want it to be? Do we need to believe in a progressive yesterday and tomorrow in order to sustain today? Do we, in fact, see truly when we look beyond the moment? Or, is it fact that our present is inferior to a more pastoral past?

Rising expectations are a by-product of an interest in progress. We wish to grow, so expectations expand. Our dream enlarges to encompass more of life and we yearn to push the limits still further. We are a hopeful people; we have sustained a vision. Hope, we must remember, is accompanied by the noise of temporary doubt. Yet our continuing vision can indeed sustain us.

Shawnee Mission graduate: "Here is my diploma in Public Speaking."
Prospective Employer, "Very well; go out in the other room and address these envelopes."  (Joke, 1924)

Army Sergeant: "Isn't your son rather young to join the Army?"
Shawnee Mission Mother: "Well, he is very young, but then, you see, he is only going to join the infantry."  (Joke, 1924)

The spirit of a place is intangible, yet no less real. It begins in the heart, then slowly moves upward into the mind and finally to the tongue. It is a journey which can take generations. And seldom is the spiritual path either easy or straight.

This school, Shawnee Mission North, is a reflection, an integral part and an example of this place called Shawnee Mission. The dreams of the people are handed-down unto their children and the children attend school. Also, if self-doubt does invade the nights and days of Shawnee Mission, this, too, is reflected in and by its school. Communal winds do blow through the school. And if a people have captured their identity, with little doubt, and do travel a singular path, their school will have easily identified its mission.

The spirit of a place lies within the capacity of its people to care passionately about their environment. Pride evolves from passion. Throughout 60 years of existence the people of Shawnee Mission have taken pride in their school because in the beginning there had been passion in its conception. In the living of these years pride was taken because these were a people who did care about the land and its creations. Pride, however, is not the light of the ever-burning bulb, rather it is the power of candlelight, with its now flickering, then bright-burning nature. Pride flickers, yet never goes entirely out. Passion, by its nature, is a sometime thing. Still, it is the capacity which is important.

Thus, the children of Shawnee Mission can and do care deeply about their collective life and its institutions. They work hard; the enthusiasm of youth is passionate and there is even a hint of pride in the passion shown in school halls. It is spring and all is right with the world. They are young and are interested in that which defines the boundaries of youth. They are sixteen, seventeen, a year older and at that age Student Congress, Prom and who is dating whom should be of first importance. If the young did not passionately desire to talk on the telephone and drive fast, there would be something wrong.

Our worries, thus, become our strength and we do carry on. For ultimately it is this carrying on which is the spirit of this place. Shawnee Mission changes from farm to single family housing to apartments and condominiums. Business proliferates, traffic abounds, and problems and potentials multiply. Still, the area takes on life, a residue of perseverance is created and a spirit carries on.

Shawnee Mission's high school shares the pattern. It, too, is peopled by a passionate folk. The youth of this place have the capacity to care deeply about their school and what happens in their lives. Pride is taken in their youthful spirit.

Finally, school spirit exists where there is a sense of community, a sense of communal effort. When students say, "We lost" or "We won" there is school spirit. When the young see themselves as part of something larger than themselves, they are inspirited. When school can allow the joyful exuberance of youth to surface, it is infused with a spirit which is annually renewed and celebrated.

"Knock. Knock."
"Who’s there?" "Kerch."
"Kerch who?"
"Gesundheit!" 
  (Joke, 1947)

Therefore we do now celebrate the spirit of the young; we do now celebrate the spirit of a community; we do now celebrate those who have peopled this place as students, or staff; we do celebrate those who contribute now and who will contribute in the future. Finally, we celebrate our own dreams, efforts and lives for our school is a reflection of what we have been, are and might become. This is a time and place of celebration.


    
              Table of Contents

This Shawnee Mission North (Kansas) Indians - Reunions and Beyond WebRing
site owned by Dave Lawrence.
[ Previous 5 Sites | Previous | Next | Next 5 Sites | Random Site | List Sites ]


Comments and corrections regarding this SMN web page should be addressed to:
Webmaster@SMN-RAB.org