North Kansas City High School

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North Kansas City High School
620 East 23rd Avenue
North Kansas City, Missouri 64116
Coordinates 39°08′45″N 94°34′23″W / 39.14570°N 94.57314°W / 39.14570; -94.57314Coordinates: 39°08′45″N 94°34′23″W / 39.14570°N 94.57314°W / 39.14570; -94.57314
Type Public
Motto Purple Pride Equals Golden Rewards
School district North Kansas City School District
Principal Dr. Wartick
Faculty 211
Grades 9 – 12
Enrollment 1,700
Color(s) Purple and Gold          
Mascot Hornet
Rivals Winnetonka High School and Oak Park High School and Staley High School
Newspaper The Buzz
Yearbook 1924-1949 "Owl" / 1950 to present "Purgold"
Broadcast NTV News

North Kansas City High School, also known as "NKCHS," "NKC," and "Northtown," is a high school in North Kansas City, Missouri with 1700+ students, ranging from freshmen to seniors. The first graduating class found of record was in 1917 with three known graduates. The school began as an all-white school, due to the inhabitants of the community, and is now one of the most diverse and integrated schools in the nation.[1][2][3]

Since July 2001, Northtown has been an International Baccalaureate World School with Dr. Jane Reed as the program coordinator.[4][5][6]


Throughout the school's history, several buildings have been built and torn down. Currently standing are the three-story Main building featuring the original theatre, Fieldhouse, Business Technology building, and Norclay (formerly used as an elementary school). Other buildings in use on the campus are the "Academy" and the North Kansas City Public Library and Media Center.[7] Northtown prides itself on its unique opportunity both as one of the only local schools to have an open campus but also as the only school in the state of Missouri to allow open lunch to all students.

The stone wall around the NKCHS Football Field was created as a works project during the Great Depression.[8] It has been ranked the Most Interesting High School Football Field in the Kansas City area by the Kansas City Star, and has been used for local commercials, including Metro Sports.

The current main building was contracted to be built the first of March, 1925 as documented in the 1925 NKCHS Owl Yearbook for a total cost of $190,000. The contract was awarded to Fritzlen & Hufford Construction in Liberty, Missouri. The 1926 NKCHS Owl yearbook describes the opening and dedication of the new building on Sunday afternoon, January 24, 1926 by Missouri Governor Baker.

One of the most beloved buildings where classes were held, was the Hiram McElroy Dagg building.[9]


The mascot is the Hornet. Although many have thought the original mascot was an owl, no evidence of that exists in published NKCHS yearbooks that we have found. There is; however, evidence of the Hornet mascot in the 1929 yearbook. The confusion comes with the name of the yearbook from 1924 through 1949; which was "The Owl" yearbook. High school jewelry like pins, etc. also bore the image of an owl; however, there is no evidence that the owl was the school's "mascot". The evidence is even stronger when you read in the 1929 Owl yearbook where the Pep Squad states, "All right, let's everybody give fifteen big "Rahs" for the "Hornets". Again in the 1930 NKCHS Owl yearbook you can see the Hornet on the Basketball player's shirts.[10]


The Owl yearbook was printed from 1924 through 1949. No yearbook was printed in 1933, 1932 or 1927 for reasons unknown. The school adopted a new name for the yearbook in 1950... the Purgold.[11]


SpokesMascot: The Alumni Association recruited Henry Hornet, a retired mascot to serve as the Alumni Association's SpokesMascot and on some social media sites. On Facebook, Henry had over 5,000 friends including Alumni, Students, Teachers, Principals, School Board Members, Politicians, Media, Friends of Friends and even some "Oakies". While converting to an Official Facebook Fan Page at Facebook's request, everything was lost, i.e., all posts, comments, links, photos, videos, messages, pokes, tags, news feed, friend... everything. But never to fear... Hornets don't quit. Henry Hornet on Facebook is back! Join in the fun!

Alumni Website: The Alumni Association sponsors its own Alumni Website featuring class senior photos, old "The Buzz" newspapers, a look at old yearbook covers, football programs, Purple Roses presented to deceased alumni, collectibles, historical views and photos, reunion information and much much more!


Competitive Teams Include:


Chamber Choir Color Guard Concert band
Foreign Language Club (German, French, Spanish) Freshman Orchestra
Gay-Straight Alliance Guitar Club
Harmonaires Show Choir
Jazz Band Marching band Men's Choir
Mixed Choir National Honors Society Northtown Theatre Association
Forensics League Scholarbowl
FIRST Robotics Team Science Olympiad Student Council
Treble Choir Varsity Orchestra

In popular culture[edit]

  • Class of 1966 - Greg Smith was on Survivor: One World as "Tarzan". The game is "afoot, Jeff." Greg was a one-year letterman, 4th in State & 1st in District Wrestling.[12][13][14]
  • Class of 1976 - Craig Jones took 2nd place out of the top three in the first round of voting for Grill Mayor 2012. In the final competition, Craig became the Grand Prize Winner and is "Master of the Grill"! Craig's winnings include a trip for two to New York City, three days and two nights first-class hotel accommodations, $100 Food Network Store gift card, Food Network Grilling Cookbook, Omaha Steaks grilling kit, assortment of Grill Mates products, dinner for Grand Prize Winner and one guest at a Food Network’s chef restaurant in New York City, two VIP access passes to a premier New York City barbecue festival a tour of the Food Network kitchens in New York City. Total approximate retail value of the Grand Prize: $5,000.[15] Craig owns Savory Addictions - Gourmet Nuts where there is a fun photo of him with Food Network Star, Alton Brown.[16][17][18][19][20]
  • Theatre Teacher - Marty Wolff, one of the school's theater teachers was chosen to represent the state of Missouri on the NBC weight-loss game show The Biggest Loser in 2006. He made it to the ninth of eleven weeks, and was the second-to-last to be voted off. At one point, he came to the school with a film crew to film a segment for the show involving a group of his students. After the show, he quit his teaching position at the school, left his wife for a fellow cast member, and moved to Chicago.[21]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Class of 1938 Robert Dixon Scharz, Mayor of North Kansas City, Missouri (1953–1962); State of Missouri Insurance Commissioner; Instrumental in the planning of North Kansas City Hospital & the Paseo Bridge.[22][23][24]
  • Class of 1939 Robert Kenneth Elliott, Served as a judge in Division II of the 7th Judicial Circuit Court of Clay County, Missouri for 33 years[25](from 1958 to 1991). The R. Kenneth Elliott Children's Justice Center in Clay County, Missouri was constructed in his honor. He led the drive in the 1970s to acquire the first Clay County juvenile facility to keep young people separate from adult detainees.[26]
  • Class of 1944 Gus E. Leimkuhler, Student,[27] Beloved Educator[28] and Author of Bridging the Century-The Story of North Kansas City 1912-2012 [29][30][31] and Life Among The Hornets - 75 Years of North Kansas City High School[32][33][34]
  • Class of 1948 Al Conway, All American Running Back (1952), 1st round draft choice for the Philadelphia Eagles, National Football League (NFL) Umpire, Super Bowl Official, NAIA Hall of Fame, William Jewell College Hall of Fame, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, North Kansas City High School Football Coach & Mathematics Teacher.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42]
  • Class of 1950 Benjamin L. Aaron, M.D., Saved the life of President Ronald Reagan following the assassination attempt on March 30, 1981[43][44][45]
  • Class of 1956 Charlie Broomfield, Missouri Democratic politician[46]
  • Class of 1956 Phil Snowden, former University of Missouri quarterback and Missouri Democratic state senator[47][48]
  • Class of 1958 Bill Kelso, Major League Baseball player and scout, owner of Kelso's Pizza restaurants[49]
  • Class of 1964 Katheryn Shields, Jackson County executive, Missouri Democratic politician[50]
  • Class of 1967 Dick Wilson, Kansas City, Missouri radio and television personality[51]
  • Class of 1970 Rick Scott, Governor of Florida[52]
  • Class of 1970 Robin Wayne Bailey, a.k.a. Robert Bailey, Author[53][54][55][56]
  • Class of 1971 Phil Deibler, political cartoonist[57]
  • Class of 1976 Connie Dover, singer, Emmy Award-winning producer and composer[58]
  • Class of 1976 Mark Patton, Actor "Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddie's Revenge", "Come Back To The Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean", "Never Sleep Again - The Elm Street Legacy", day time soap opera - General Hospital [59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66]
  • Class of 1990 Rodolfo "Rudy" Reyes, actor & author.,[67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76]
  • Class of 2008 Garrett Stutz, professional basketball player.[77]
  • School Counselor Loman D. Cansler, Missouri folk song and folklore collection[78][79][80][81]


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