North High School  -  Columbus, Ohio

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North High History


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1940's & 1950's

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North's Publication History

We Build A Football Stadium

Hagely Field & Stadium Restored

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Olentangy Village Bowling Center

Valley Dale

How Did North Become Polar Bears?

By Leeann Faust

     <>North High School is unique in many ways, one being the intense love and devotion of its former students and faculty.  It is most likely the only school in the country with three different alumni associations - a men’s social group (The Old North Hi Club), a woman’s social group (The Woman’s Alumnae Association) and a service group (Polar Bear Alumni Association) which sponsors the North on the Fourth/open house reunion each 4th of July and issues quarterly newsletters. The three groups working together raised over $100,000 to bring a sculpture of North’s mascot, the polar bear, to the Columbus Zoo.  <>

The original North High School, at the corner of 4th Ave. and Dennison Ave., opened its doors on February 3, 1893, with eight teachers and 300 students.  The student body quickly outgrew the building and an annex was constructed in 1902.  That too became overcrowded.

In December of 1921, the Board of Education purchased a thirteen-acre tract of land on Arcadia Ave., which included the old Columbus Sewer Pipe Factory, for $39,000.  Famed architect, Frank L. Packard designed the building, of American Tudor Architecture, costing approximately $1,000,000.  Construction began in 1923 and the building opened on September 2, 1924.  It graduated its first class in January of 1925.

In 1927, North’s became the only Columbus football stadium to be financed entirely by private funds.  It was paid off in 1936 with the sale of bonds to students, alumni, faculty and friends.  The bonds were liquidated in 1940.

Although known for its academic achievements, North High was quite an innovator in other ways. It was the first school in Columbus to offer home economics courses, established the first student council, honor study, student court, chapter of the National Honor Society and had the first homecoming queen. It became the first school in town to have a night football game.

 In 1898 North once again broke new ground by planning a regular school publication.  However, the first POLARIS (named for the North Star) was not issued until May of 1900.  It was in booklet form until 1918 when it became a newspaper with a commencement yearbook, which was called the Memory Book after 1936. The school colors are maroon and gold .

<>No North High history would be complete without mention of the wonderful faculty. Charles D. Everett served as principal from 1893 until his retirement in 1932 and was known as “Mr. North High School.”  His advanced educational ideas and loyalty made North the top school in the city for decades after his departure.  He was followed by a series of fine principals - Carl D. Washburn, Harry P. Swain, Edgar House, Edwin Tilton and finally William Munsell. Many teachers were legendary. Among them were Elizabeth Abernathy, Evelyn Ross, Bertha Jacobs, Imogene Squires, Meta Gregg, Art Darnbrough, Mike Kvocka, Dave Shaw, Les Susi, Tom Dale, Maurice Allgyer, Ethel LaVelle, Nelson Rozelle and Raymond Budd. 

Consistently winning championships, North dominated high school athletics from the 20’s into the 50’s. Top coaches, Mike Hagely, Earl Hickman, George Haney, Carroll Woodruff, Hugh Hindman, Dick Hindman, Brownie Cellers, and Frank Truitt brought their talents and inspiration to their respective teams. The 1958 win of the state semi-final basketball game over Middletown and Jerry Lucas is considered the finest Central Ohio high school sports contest of the 20th century.

North suffered from three divisions of its district. The first was in 1942 when McKinley Jr. High became Linden McKinley High School, next Whetstone High School opened in 1961 and indirectly the building of Centennial High School cut even further into the district.  Due to declining enrolment and busing North was closed in June of 1979 after graduating 30,551 students.

It reopened in January of 1980 as North Education Center offering high school classes, proficiency tutoring and testing, GED classes and testing, Adult Basic Literacy classes, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Adult Workforce Education, Practical Nursing, Business Technology and had a Community Computer Center as well as a daycare center for children.  <>

In the Fall of 2005 it became a “swing school,” hosting East High and then Linden McKinley STEM while their buildings were being renovated.

On August 22, 2012 North was reborn as the Columbus International High School with Ameer Kim El Mallowany as principal. In August of 2013 it became Columbus NORTH International School and 7th and 8th grade classes studied on the third floor.

North High School lives on through its loyal alumni and a new type of school, which is yet another first in the history of North.

Yea Polar Bears!