Shawnee Mission School District

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The Shawnee Mission School District (Kansas Unified School District 512) is one of the major school districts in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Located in northeast Johnson County, Kansas, the school district enrolled 29,389 students in the 2003-2004 school year. As of 2004, the district comprises 5 high schools, 7 middle schools, 39 elementary schools, and 3 instructional centers.

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High Schools

Shawnee Mission North

Shawnee Mission Rural High School opened September 12, 1922, having cost $150,000 to build. It had 12 faculty members and a senior class of 20. There had been a vote on September 21, 1921, on a "proposal to organize a rural high school district."

In 1922 the east building was completed and in 1936 the west building, housing a gym and auditorium, was connected to the east building by an arcade. In 1941 the shop wing was constructed to house agriculture and auto mechanics; it was connected to the west building by a concrete walk. In 1950 a large addition was made, including the south academic wing, the cross hall/offices, library, Field House and music rooms. After 30 years all the buildings were connected by hallways.

The swimming pool and science wing were built in 1969, the Developmental Center in 1978, the Little Theater in 1984 and the "lunch dock" remodeled in 1993. In the summer of 1997, the new library was added as well as air-conditioning. In 1998 the cafeteria and kitchen were remodeled.

As part of a recently-introduced district-wide bond, major improvements will be made to the SM North campus as well as all high schools, middle schools, and many elementary schools. A key project at SM North will be the demolition of the Stadium and reconstruction beginning in 2005.

The school was named Shawnee Mission Rural until 1948, when senior Robert F. Bennett was sent to Topeka to petition the legislature for a name change to more accurately reflect the school's suburban status. It was thought that the job would take several weeks, if it could be accomplished at all, but Bob Bennett brought it home in three days. Governor Bennett was named North's first 'Distinguished Alumnus' by the class of 1975.

It was thus named Shawnee Mission High School until 1958, when East opened and Shawnee Mission High School became SM North. SM West opened in 1962, South in 1966 and Northwest in 1969.

One incident involving SM North that has gained the school some notoriety is a shooting involving a football game against Olathe North High School. On September 14, 1995, during a fight the night after the game, SM North student Alfred Williams fired shots into a crowd with a semi-automatic pistol. Olathe North student Wilson Montenegro and Jerrell Frazier, Montenegro's cousin, were killed.

SM North is located in northern Overland Park near the Johnson Drive and Metcalf Ave.(U.S. Highway 69) interchange and serves much of northeastern Johnson County. The SM North area has a population of approximately 52,000 and includes the communities of Countryside, Merriam, Mission, northern Overland Park, Roeland Park and eastern Shawnee.

The 2004 population of SM North was 1940. The mascot is an Indian, and the school colors are cardinal and black. Its rival is SM Northwest. Its alumni include Phil McGraw and General Richard B. Myers.

SM North also has a top-level journalism department, capturing the Kansas 6A Journalism title in May 2000 and May 2003.

Shawnee Mission East

Opened in the school year beginning in 1957, SM East is unique in the district for featuring an International Baccalaureate program, one of the few in the region. As of 2003, its population is 2140, making it the most populous school in the SMSD. The mascot is a lancer, and the colors are columbia blue, black, and white. Its rival is SM South. Its alumni include game programmer John Carmack and author Thomas Frank. It is located at the intersection of 75th St. and Mission Rd. in Prairie Village.

It is also somewhat infamous for an incident in the late 1980s where a peace rally sign was painted with the "Mercedes" logo rather than the peace sign. This drew national press for a short time. In 1993, a pipe bomb exploded in a boy's bathroom, injuring no one.

Shawnee Mission South

Located on Lamar Avenue near 107th Street in Overland Park, Shawnee Mission South's school colors are green and gold and its mascot is the raider. The school's population in 2003 consisted of 1755 students. SMS is notable because it hosts the Shawnee Mission South District's Center for International Studies, giving student who attend opportunities to study not only Spanish, French, German and Latin, but also Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and Russian. The school is notable for its achievements in scholastic competitions such as Academic Decathalon, Categories (a local quiz-bowl type competition) and Forensics. In 2005, South's Science Olympiad team made district news by winning the state of Kansas competition and advancing to the national level.

Shawnee Mission West

SM West has the mascot of a Viking, and the school colors are black and yellow. It open its doors in 1962 and has remodeled several times and has had additions. As of 2003, its population is 2052. It is located on Antioch Rd. near 85th Street in Overland Park. Notable alumni include actor Paul Rudd.

Shawnee Mission Northwest

SMNW's mascot is the Cougar, and the school colors are black and orange. Its rival is SM North. As of 2003, its population is 1957. It is located on 67th St. in Shawnee.

As of 2004, Northwest’s boys cross-country team has claimed state for ten consecutive years. The school has also taken state in softball (2003).

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