I don't know... Do you know
where Geometry is?"
"What's his last name?"
- - - - - -
The young girl looks, then
giggles, finally sighs. "Didja see him"
"Did ja see him?"
"Todd." (as in, dreamily, T-O-D-D!)
"Oh, sure?" (as in disbelieving and incredulously, as in you
saw him and you're still standing?) "He's in my history
"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
- - - - - -
"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
"Wow! I think I've died and gone to heaven?"
"Those stupid guys... .standing there like that....how
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
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
"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
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
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.
"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
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
"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
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
"They don't have lockers in college? What kind of place is that
Locker Pressing is a major sport, but there are many minor
Holding-Hands-in-the-Spring is popular; 110 couples went out for the
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;
mothers-will-write-us-a-note-saying-we-were-sick is a well-attended
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
"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..."
..and maybe I grab hold of her while she is getting books.. .just a
little you understand."
"...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
It's in the paint, my teacher friend says. It's in the paint and in the
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?"
"Let's make out..."
"Not now, Ronnie, we aren't near a locker!"
"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
- "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
- "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
- "Study Hall is the place where students do everything but
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,
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
In 1937 the students demanded the abolishment of:
2. 3 inch heels
4. chili sundaes
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
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
When a girl is initiated
into the Girl Reserves Organization she must make a pledge which reads
As a Girl Reserve I will
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
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
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
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
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
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
Clubs, clubs and more clubs. As Mr. Welch hinted, Shawnee Mission was
willing to sponsor clubs. Here are just a few of the many:
Model Homes Club
Camp Fire Girls
The Whistling Club
Readers Corner Club
Junior Red Cross
The Inner Circle Club
Ten Pennies (dedicated to improving social manners and habits)
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
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
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
Annual Sunday School Convention
Scholarship letters for 1924
Kaw Valley Athletic Association Meeting
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
Annual Turkey Game - Olathe
Kansas State Teacher's Association Convention
Armistice Day Program
Girl Reserves Fun Day
English Four Play
Junior-Senior Kid Party
Hi-Y Father and Son Banquet
Grade School Basketball Tournament
Pictures presented to school
Teachers' Association Meeting
Pep Club organized
Senior pictures taken
New basketball suits for girls
Scholarship letters issued
Journalism Club to Journal-Post
English IV mock banquet
Girls defeat Rosedale
Boys defeat Bonner
Bonner Springs-Shawnee Mission Scholarship Contest
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
Parent-Teachers' Association Play
Field, Track and Scholarship Meet
Emporia Music Contest
Annual Senior Play
Completion of the Annual
Hi-Y Convention at Topeka
May Fete and Box Supper
Class Night Program
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."
From the 1926 yearbook comes a description of that year's activities:
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
"He are a high school
"How could he
graduate, he don't know nothin!"
"Flip the platter,
Far out, Daddy, Far
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.
"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.)
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
Fair damsel and her lovely swain;
But hark! A step upon the stair,
And mother finds them sitting there
He -------- and ------- she.
It is easy enough to be
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.
To Prove: That a senior is a darling.
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
To walk I'm hardly able;
The leaf that landed on my head
Was taken from a table.
The moon was high, the road
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.
"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,
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
"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
‘‘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
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
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
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,
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.
"Who’s there?" "Kerch."
"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.