Topeka High School

Topeka High School

Infobox HighSchool
name = Topeka High School

motto = Tradition, Diversity, and Excellence
established = 1871 (since 1931 at current site)
type = Public
head = Dr. Linda Wiley
city = Topeka
state = Kansas
country = United States
students = 2,000
faculty = 140
free_label =
free =
colors = Black & Gold
homepage =

Topeka High School (THS) is located in the city of Topeka in the U.S. State of Kansas. Built in 1931, THS was the first million dollar high school west of the Mississippi River. [] It is one of four high schools within Topeka Public Schools (TPS).


The current structure was designed by architects Thomas Williamson (THS 1907) and Ted Greist.

In 2005, the 20-yard swimming pool located underneath the gym was converted into Laney Gym, named after former swim coach Chet Laney, for P.E. classes and wrestling. An additional gym was constructed on the soccer field located on the northwest side of the school. Varsity basketball continues to be played in the "Dungeon", the largest high school gymnasium in the state of Kansas, with capacity to accommodate over 5,000 people. The school celebrated its 75th Anniversary at its current site on September 17, 2006.


The tall bell tower is the most visible aspect of Topeka High School's architecture. Other notable details include:
* Hoehner auditorium, site of at least one inauguration of a Kansas Governor.
* USS Constitution mainmast on the east lawn - was destroyed on the morning of August 19, 2007 by lightning.
* The oldest tree on campus, an elm, was blown over in the storms on August 25, 2006.
* The Library, which was modeled after King Henry VIII's palace. Much of the wood shelving in the library is hand-carved, and about half of the ceiling is hand-painted. The original chairs, which are now 75 years old, still remain in the library and efforts are being made to refinish them.

Students [brochure:"All That's Great About Topeka High", TPS Communications, 2006]

Topeka High has an average Student Population of around 2,000. However...more than 1,700 students attended Topeka High in the 2006-2007 school year. Students arrive from Robinson, Jardine and Landon Middle Schools, as well as from Eisenhower and Chase Middle Schools. Six percent transfer into THS from outside the Topeka Public Schools district. The senior class of 2007 had 337 students.

More than 80% of THS graduates enroll in some kind of post secondary education. More than $1.2 million in scholarships were awarded to Topeka High seniors in 2005. Scholarships were awarded from such prestigious schools as Stanford, Vassar College, Vanderbilt, Georgetown and Brandeis.

THS National Merit Scholars (1999-2005)

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a college scholarship competition that includes taking the PSAT/NMSQT.
* 19 Semi-finalists
* 35 Commended Scholars
* 7 National Achievement Scholars
* 3 Corporate Sponsor Merit Scholars
* 3 Hispanic Scholars

Foreign Exchange Programs

Ten to fifteen students per year attend THS from countries such as Turkey, Germany, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico and Switzerland. Students are sponsored by the following exchange programs: AFS, AIFS, ASSE, CHI, AYUSA, ERDT, WISE, ISE, and Share.


There are around 140 teachers and administrators at Topeka High. Notable administrators include Principal Dr. Linda Wiley, Division Principals Sheila Heine-Walker, Rodney Johnson, and Linda Peterson. Notable teachers include science teachers Anton Ahrens, Karla Gaines, and Kerry "Zimm" Zimmerman, English teachers Nancy Vega (THS '70)and Jeremy "Gibby" Gibson, art teacher Marty "Mo" Moreno, music teachers Steve Holloman (THS '70), Steve Eubank, Ray McComas, and debate and forensics instructor Pam McComas. Salvador Cruz is a graduate of Topeka High and the current coach of the Trojan Drumline, which is known by THS faithful as the "Cruz Line." Duane Pomeroy, a government and social studies teacher, is a former deputy and former acting mayor of Topeka, Kansas. Curtis "Gunner" Kelley is the Senior Marine Instructor of the MCJROTC (Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) and Head Swim Coach. The previous principal was Clardy Vinson, and he was succeeded by Dr. Linda Wiley, who became principal at the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year.


*Running of the halls: During first period of days that THS has a home football game, the students gather in the halls of Troy, and the drill team, flag team, and marching band march through the halls to promote school spirit. (Due to inappropriate actions by students and lack of participation, this tradition has been discontinued in recent years, but was brought back during the 2006-2007 school year)

*Marching Band: The Topeka High Marching Trojans have been a major point of pride for years. They travel the country regularly and have been on a national stage on multiple occasions, including the Disney Music Days Parade every other year in Orlando, Florida, as well as the Cotton Bowl Classic Parade in Dallas, Texas in 1988. The marching band is currently under the direction of Steve Holloman and Ray McComas.


Topeka High utilizes the block schedule, which includes eight classes on alternating days plus "Trojan Time", on Thursdays and Fridays, which allows students to sign out to specific locations for further help from teachers or just stay in their current class and study.

Six percent of Topeka High's enrollment come as transfer students. Students outside the attendance zone come to the school for its strong fine arts program - including an excellent music program (orchestra, jazz band, drumline, wind ensembles, and concert choirs), its nationally recognized forensic and debate teams, as well as its foreign language program (offering languages Spanish, German, and French). Also, THS boasts a nationally-acclaimed Marine Corps JROTC drill team (1999-present).

The school newspaper, "The World", is a member of the High School National Ad Network. The school yearbook is "The Sunflower". Both publications are members of JEA and NSPA.

With the 2006-2007 school year, Topeka High incorporated a new discipline plan called the "10 Point Discipline Plan," which sets standard consequences via points assigned for various offenses, ranging from detentions for minor offenses (such as tardies, sleeping in class, or skipping class) to 5 points and In-School Suspension for more serious offenses (such as false 911 calls, theft, or profanity) to 10 points and suspension for assault, arson, possession of alcohol or illegal drugs, and other illegal activities. Students who accumulate 10 or more points may be subject to a hearing to determine whether or not they will be expelled or allowed to continue to attend. Points may be earned back after completion of ISS/OSS (Out-of-School Suspension) and good behavior.

Notable alumni

* Nancy Kassebaum Baker: United States Senator, 1978-1996
* Charles Curtis: 31st Vice President of the United States
* Coleman Hawkins: prominent jazz tenor saxophonist
* Ben Lerner, class of 1997: finalist for the 2006 National Book Award for poetry [] Look Smart Web site, reprint of article by Blankenship, Bill, "Young poet to read works at Washburn", "The Topeka Capital-Journal", March 9, 2005, accessed October 31, 2006]
* Kirke Mechem, class of 1943: Composer, Tartuffe and other works
* William C. Menninger
* Karl Menninger
* Dean Smith: Head Coach, University of North Carolina basketball, 1961-1997
* Mike Torrez: retired Major League Baseball pitcher
* Thomas Williamson, class of 1907: architect
* Travis Schuldt: actor ("Scrubs", "Passions")
* Gordon Jump: actor
* Aaron Douglas: artist during the Harlem Renaissance
* Max Yoho, class of 1953: Kansas author



*United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places submission for Topeka High School, Shawnee County, Kansas, (22 April 2005)

External links

* [ Topeka High School website]
* [ Topeka High Library website]
* [ Topeka High School's newspaper website]
* [ Topeka Public Schools]
* [ Topeka High School's Marine Corp JROTC]

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