Topeka High School
Colors: Black & Gold | Mascot: Trojans
This year marks Topeka High School’s 150th anniversary and the 90th anniversary of its famous gothic-style structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, and was one of the first million-dollar high schools to be built west of the Mississippi. The iconic high school’s 165-foot spire is inspired by Oxford University, and the library is modeled after Henry VII’s Great Hall.
“In 1871, Topeka was on a fast track forward. The bitter war was behind them, and it was time to build,” says Joan Barker, executive secretary of the Topeka High School Historical Society. “Railroads, mills, manufacturing plants and retail businesses were going up. The women of Topeka had just started a lending library. A grammar school education was not going to be enough for the children of this progressive state capital. In 1871, the Board of Education decided to take that giant leap forward—a high school. There, Topeka’s children could stretch their minds with Greek and Latin, algebra and geometry, botany and bookkeeping.”
Notable alumni of Topeka High School include former U.S. senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker, Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas and jazz saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.
In honor of the momentous anniversary, the Topeka High Historical Society has planned several events throughout 2021 and 2022 to celebrate, including an ice cream social on the Western Barrett Plaza, several homecoming weekend events in September, and even a sock hop. For a full list of events and updates visit topekahigh150.com/events. Tours of the high school are available through the Topeka High Historical Society. Call (785) 295-3200 to schedule.
Leavenworth High School
Colors: Blue and White | Mascot: Pioneer
Opened in 1865, Leavenworth High School is the oldest public high school in Kansas though it’s had a few different homes over the years, beginning in a renovated church before settling in its current location in 1959. Notable alumni of Leavenworth High School are musician Melissa Etheridge, pioneer astronomer Mary Byrd and United States House Representative Sharice Davids.
Garden City High School
Colors: Brown, White and Gold | Mascot: Buffalo
Garden City High School was established in 1910 in historic Sabine Hall, which is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The school’s paper, The Sugar Beet, was established the same year and is the oldest high school newspaper in Kansas. Notable alumni of Garden City High School are Vice Admiral Ross A. Myers, as well as Garden City mayor and Kansas Board of Regents member Juana “Janie” Perkins.