Leavenworth High School will celebrate its 150th birthday on Saturday, and the community is welcome. The school will have a Community Celebration/Birthday Bash in the south parking lot of the school from 4-6 p.m. Here are eight interesting facts about the school.
1. Pride of the class of ‘79
Melissa Etheridge, a 1979 LHS grad, is a rock singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist. Her self-titled debut album was released in 1988 and became an underground hit. The album peaked at 22 on the Billboard 200, and its lead single, "Bring Me Some Water," garnered Etheridge her first Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. In 1993, Etheridge won her first Grammy award for her single "Ain't It Heavy" from her third album, Never Enough. “Come to My Window” scored Etheridge her second Grammy award.
2. Traveling the globe
Ambassador Stephen M. Young, LHS class of 1969, retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2013, having served for 33 years in such diverse places as Moscow, Beijing, Taiwan, Kyrgyzstan, Hong Kong and Washington, D.C.
"What strikes me as I reflect back on my LHS experience is that unique combination of a town's broad cross-section of ethnic, social and economically diverse students, with a leavening of kids like me from the fort, who brought our nomadic lifestyle and worldly experience to the mix," Young said.
3. JROTC history and tradition
Leavenworth High School has the oldest official JROTC program in the United States. The program has been in existence since Jan. 29, 1917. However, it had a military science and tactics program as far back as 1897.
The program was discontinued in 1917 after the outbreak of World War I due to the number of cadets joining the Army. In 1919, the program was reestablished and has been a permanent fixture at the high school since then.
In addition to having the first JROTC unit, the high school has seen many more firsts in the U.S.: A girls’ cadet company was started in 1912, an unusual unit since the Women's Army Corps wasn't established yet.
4. Famous LHS grads
• Gary Foster, American instrumentalist
• Norman Foster Ramsey Jr., winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize in physics
• Wayne Simien, former player NBA (Miami Heat)
• Edwin Emery Slosson, editor, author and chemist
• Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas 2013
5. Good job ‘Teach’
Language arts teacher Jeff Baxter was selected as the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year by the Kansas State Department of Education.
6. Get your gear at Pete’s Place
This Leavenworth High School store, in partnership with Stitch by Stich Custom Embroidery, offers many Pioneer-related items.
Pete’s Place is located in the LHS cafeteria and is open during lunch (11:25 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.) and most home sport/activity events. The store sells T-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, fleece jackets, water bottles, and much more. Ten percent of all Leavenworth spirit wear proceeds are donated to the school for the Pioneer PRIDE – School Spirit Scholarship.
7. Catching up with long-lost friends
The Leavenworth Public Schools Education Foundation offers an Alumni Directory on its web page.
This password protected online directory provides alumni the option of changing their personal information, chatting with a friend, posting messages, searching the directory for alumni information and learning about current alumni activities. It can provide you with information to help you plan your class reunions, including an updated list of your classmates’ addresses, etc.
Go to http://www.alumniresearch.com/directory/default.asp?schl=LEAV
8. Steeped in history
The first building to house the high school was a renovated church. In 1904, the taxpayers of Leavenworth authorized a new building for the high school at the corner of 4th and Chestnut. In 1932, the building was destroyed by fire. A new building was erected at the same site in time to begin classes in the fall of 1933.
When the high school was moved to its present site at 2012 Tenth Avenue in 1959, the old building became East Junior High School. In 1990, the high school was renovated and changed from a campus style to the present layout.