Mead School opened on September 8, 1952. Originally it was to open on Friday the 5th, but the opening was pushed back because, according to the Eagle, more time was needed, “so that all necessary equipment can be installed.”
Even when the school opened on Monday the 8th, students were asked to bring their lunches as the cafeteria kitchen was not done yet.
The school is named after Wichita pioneer James R. Mead. His story is full of information and Wichita’s early days. You can check out The Legacy and Life of James R. Mead.
Dedication was held March 15, 1953. The program featured a keynote address by superintendent Dr. Wade Fowler. The choir sang, “There is a Balm in Gilead” and “Let us Break Bread Together.”
1,500 people attended the dedication, Dr. Fowler dedicated the building to “unfettered minds, understanding hearts, and uplifted eyes.” He added, “The mind is all too easily shackled by ignorance, prejudice and misinformation… May the fine children who attend this school through the years find the method to keep their minds unfettered.”
Among the honored guests on the stage were Ignace Jones., daughter of James and Fern Mead, her daughter and granddaughter.
This was a special school for me. I attended Mead my 7th and 8th grade years. My classmates and I were denied our Freshman year at Mead as all 9th graders in Wichita were moved into the high schools.
Additional rooms and supporting facilities were added in 1954. In 1957, the cafeteria and kitchen were enlarged. My grandmother Veda Crockett worked in that kitchen for years.
I always loved the art sculpture outside the building. I did a story on the art piece, the artist, James Croak, and his other works around town. Check out To Your Art’s Content.
Walking around the school brought back a lot memories; running along the fence during P.E. with Coach Daniels and Coach Stanfield, the industrial arts wing, the art classrooms where Mr. Boge encouraged us to grow, the second floor science rooms where Ms. Curry gave me my first and only D in a WPD school, the library where Ms. Borum chatted with the students. I also remember my first school dance in the gym. The building has changed a lot with all the additions but the school is still recognizable for Mustangs past and present.
Remodeling of the office and library happened between 1982 and 1983. Extensive work was also done as part of the 2000 bond issue.
According to the school’s webpage, When the lockers were replaced in 1991, students were allowed to fill baggies with notes and artifacts that were put behind the new lockers.
Check out Wichita’s other public schools: Be True To Your School