Garden City High School

Garden City High School (known locally as GC) is a fully accredited high school, serving students in grades 9–12, located in Garden City, Kansas, USA. The current principal is James Mireles. Garden City High School (GCHS) is the only high school within the city limits of Garden City, KS. The school colors are brown and white, although gold is generally considered a third official color. Approximately 2,000 students are enrolled for the 2009–2010 school year.

Garden City High was founded in 1910 on the site that is now Sabine Hall in order to help educate the increasing population of Garden City. In 1917, a new high school was constructed at the site that is now known as Calkins Hall and two years later, the school was renamed "Sequoayah High School". In 1954, the school moved to its current location, and on November 4, 2008, a bond issue for a new $97,500,000 high school was passed. The last class to graduate from the current high school will be the class of 2012.

Garden City is a member of the Kansas State High School Activities Association and offers a variety of sports programs. Athletic teams compete in the 6A division and are known as the "Buffaloes". Extracurricular activities are also offered in the form of performing arts, school publications, and clubs. Despite rapidly rising numbers of English as a Second Language students, Garden City High School has raised student achievement in reading, mathematics and science. Notable alumni of the school include Mark Fox, head men's basketball coach at the University of Georgia.

Early Beginnings

Garden City High School was established in 1910 on the location that is now Sabine Hall in order to educate a rapidly increasing population. During the school's inaugural year, the school newspaper, The Sugar Beet, was established. In 1916, the Garden City School Board set a minimum teaching standard of one year of college and two years of teaching experience for all staff members, and a year later, the high school was accredited by the U.S. Military Academy. Later that year, a new high school was constructed at the site that is now known as Calkins Hall. Two years later, the high school was renamed "Sequoyah High School". Calkins Hall was remodeled in 1929 and 15 credits were now required for graduation. This number was increased to 16 credits in 1931 when the high school was renamed "Garden City High School". During this time, the main gym was named in honor of Ben Grimsley and was known as the "Ben Grimsley Gymnasium".

As years passed, the athletics department began to experience moderate success, and in 1945, Garden City won its first state championship in track as well as repeating the feat in 1946. A new high school was constructed in 1954, with the auditorium being completed the following year. The graduation credit limit was increased further to 19 credits in 1958. Garden City High School experienced many changes in 1959, including the creation of the counseling and honors programs. Another major change was the introduction of school uniforms.

'60s, '70s, and '80s

In 1961, the main gymnasium (referred to as "The Garden") was completed. The football stadium was constructed in 1962 which was one of the largest stadiums in western Kansas at the time. Two years later, Garden City finally experienced unification as Garden City District No. 1 became Unified School District No. 457. During this same year, the football stadium was renamed "Memorial Stadium". As interest in athletics grew throughout Garden City, so did the athletic departments. Cross-country was introduced in 1966 and the men's basketball team won their first state championship. Eight trailers were also purchased for use in the remedial reading program. Two years later, GCHS experienced major renovations and expansion as the J.D. Adams Vocational Building was constructed and other high school remodeling was completed. The population of Garden City at this time was 14,745. The following year, an agreement was signed between the JUCO and the district relative to the exchange of the former junior college site for senior high vocational building space and other specified district facilities used by the college. The wrestling and debate teams each won their first state titles in 1971. Restrooms facilities were also constructed during this year. The men's basketball team advanced to the state championship the following year. In 1974, math requirements for graduation increased to 1½ credits which became effective with the 1978 graduating class. The music department was completed in September 1975, allowing students to participate in a wide variety of musical activities and programs. Garden City would win its first state championship in men's golf in 1977 and progress continued throughout the rest of the decade. The practice gym and locker rooms were added in 1981. In 1984, an idea was conceived among administrators and board members of the school district to recognize past graduates of GCHS who had gone on to distinguish themselves through outstanding accomplishments. This idea was brought into action the following spring, when the first members of the Garden City High School Hall of Fame were inducted. The Buffalo athletics programs struggled throughout the rest of the decade, failing to win a single state championship.

Progress in the 1990s

The 1990s began with progress and changes. In 1991, J.D. Adams Hall was remodeled and 9th grade was moved to the high school. The Buffaloes wrestling team would win state championships in 1990 and the following three years. In 1992, the new cafeteria was completed and the alternative high school was moved to 1401 W. Jones Street. Dr. Milton Pippenger was appointed superintendent in 1993 and a new enclosed walkway was constructed. Another major addition was constructed which would eventually be used as the trophy room. The city population at this time was 24,964. In 1998, the school district unsuccessfully attempted to pass a bond issue calling for a new high school. In terms of athletics, the Buffaloes continued their dominance throughout the rest of the decade. The wrestling program added two more state championships in 1998 and 1999, while the men's golf team won a state title in 1998 . Additionally, the football team finished state runner-up in 1998 and won their first state championship in 1999.

Sabine Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996, with the alternative name, Garden City High School.

Recent years

Throughout the 2000s, GCHS experienced many significant changes. In the fall of 2003, James Mireles became the new principal, replacing former principal Kevin Burr. The men's basketball team advanced to the state semi-final in 2003 with the help of several future college athletes. The following year, artificial turf was installed at Memorial Stadium. The Garden City Public Schools Foundation was founded in 2004. To increase space for activities and seating, the open-air courtyard located at the center of the school was enclosed in 2006 and replaced with an atrium. A new pressbox and visitor stands were constructed in 2007.

On November 4, 2008, a bond issue for a new $97,500,000 high school was passed. Groundbreaking for the new high school took place on September 23, 2009, and construction will last through the summer of 2012. The last class to graduate from the current high school will be the class of 2012.


Garden City High School operates on an 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. schedule, which includes eight periods and a break for off-campus lunch during which upperclassmen may leave campus to eat lunch. Additionally, an opportunity period (referred to as "O.P.") is offered which allows students to work on homework. Class scheduling is organized into a block schedule. There are eight available periods.

Despite rapidly rising numbers of English as a Second Language students, Garden City High School has raised student achievement in reading, mathematics and science. Even with a more rigorous curriculum and higher graduation requirements, the dropout rate fell from 15 percent in 1993–1994 to 3.4 percent in 2003–2004 and the attendance rate rose from 89 percent to 96 percent. In 2009, 18 students earned top rankings in the Spanish National Exams sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

In contrast to many high schools, GCHS requires all seniors to complete a semester-long senior project prior to graduation. This senior project is known as the "Buff Project" and is intended to challenge students and prepare them for their future. Seniors can choose to complete their Buff Project during the first or second semester of their senior year. Currently, Garden City requires students to complete 26½ credits in order to graduate.

School layout

Garden City High School consists of several halls. The main hall is the longest hall in the school and consists of several classrooms. It is attached to the main entrance on the west and meets the trophy room on the east. The John D. Adams Vocational Technology building stands by itself next to the main building. There are two gymnasiums on campus. The main gym is often referred to as "The Garden" and accommodates approximately 2,000 people. There are also 8 trailers located on the north side of the school to help provide additional classrooms. These trailers are used largely for English and History classes. Many students also attend classes at Garden City Community College.

GCHS underwent a major remodeling project during the 2005–2006 school year. An open courtyard had previously existed in the central section of the school which had gone largely unused. School officials met and decided to enclose the courtyard and transform the space into a multi-purpose atrium tetrastylum. After nearly a year, construction was completed. The new multi-purpose area is being used for additional seating during lunchtime, as well as conferences, banquets, and additional uses. The atrium features a projection screen, a flat-screen HDTV, additional storage closets, a small elevated stage area, several unique design features, and additional entrances/exits to classrooms. This renovation is now largely regarded by students and residents of Garden City as a waste of resources, owing to the construction of a brand new high school which is supposed to begin soon. One of the main reasons for the enclosure of the courtyard was so that the school could actually house most of its students in a lunchroom of some sort. However, at the time the high school espoused an open lunch policy, and consequently a majority of its close to 2,000 students left campus for lunch. Administrators responded to this in the 2007–2008 school year by closing lunch to freshmen, and the following year by closing lunch to sophomores who do not have special identification cards.

Beginning in 2012, students will attend the new high school which is currently being constructed. The new high school will have 123 classrooms with the capacity of holding approximately 2,100 students. It will also have a 750-seat auditorium with lots of natural light. Additionally, the new high school will contain four small "learning communities" consisting of a ninth grade center, education and finance, information technology, and agri-science and manufacturing. This new concept is intended to better place students where their interests lie.

Exracurricular activities

The extracurricular activities offered at Garden City High School are numerous and varied due to the school's large size. The Buffaloes compete in the Western Athletic Conference and are classified as a 6A school, the largest classification in Kansas according to the Kansas State High School Activities Association. Throughout its history, Garden City has won seventeen state championships in various sports. Many graduates have gone on to participate in Division I, Division II, and Division III athletics. Garden City High School athletes are able to compete in some of the top facilities in western Kansas. The football, soccer, and track & field teams compete at Memorial Stadium. Basketball, intramural basketball, volleyball, and wrestling take place in "The Garden", Garden City's main gymnasium. The men's and women's golf programs compete at Southwind Country Club and Buffalo Dunes Golf Course. The tennis programs compete at the Dennis Perryman Complex. The varsity baseball program competes at Clint Lightner Field. The swim team practices at the local YMCA. In February 2010, former head wrestling coach Martin Segovia was promoted as the new athletic director, replacing Bill Weatherly.


The GCHS football team has consistently competed at a high level in football. Led by former head coach Dave Meadows, Garden City High School won the 6A state championship in football on November 20, 1999 over Olathe South High School. The Buffaloes had previously finished runner-up in 1971, 1990, 1991 and 1998. Following the state championship in 1999, controversy arose due to allegations that head coach Dave Meadows had been rubbing down players with a horse liniment known to cause liver and kidney damage when used on humans, known as dimethyl sulfoxide, or DMSO. Former assistant football and wrestling coach Martin Segovia said he saw Meadows "pull out a bottle of DMSO and apply it to a player in the football coaches' office November 11 before the 6A sub-state championship victory over Junction City High School. (After the story broke, many referred to DMSO as "Dave Meadows' Special Ointment.") As a result of this controversy, Dave Meadows resigned following the 2000 season.

In 2002, Mike Smith took over as head coach. Smith resigned in November 2009 and was replaced by Brian Hill. As of 2009, Garden City has been WAC champion five times, district champion thirteen times, and regional champion seven times. The football program also has produced several notable collegiate and professional athletes including former NFL pro-bowler Fum McGraw. Each year, rivals Garden City High School and Dodge City High School play an annual football game known as the "Hatchet Game." The winning team receives a decorated hatchet with an engraving of the victorious team and the year. During the 2007 Hatchet Game, junior quarterback Brodrick Smith set the school record when he rushed for 347 yards in a 42-28 win. As of the 2010 season, Garden City High School has won the "Hatchet" for 13 of the past 16 seasons.

Garden City has seen several improvements in its football facilities in recent years. FieldTurf was installed in the summer of 2004 to better accommodate the multiple uses of the field. Additionally, the visitor stands were greatly expanded in the summer of 2008 to accommodate visiting fans. A second pressbox was also installed to provide more accessibility for coaches and coordinators during games.

Another program at Garden City High School is the men's basketball program. The Buffaloes won the state championship in 1966 and were sub-state champions in 2003. The men's basketball team has featured several notable alumni including former Kansas Jayhawks great Harold "Prince Hal" Patterson, and the Texas Longhorns' all-time leading free-throw shooter, Brandy Perryman. On March 10, 2010, former head coach Jeff Tanner resigned after 12 years as head boys basketball coach. Former Iowa State point guard Jacy Holloway took over as head coach of the boys basketball team.

The most successful and storied athletic program at GCHS is wrestling. Since Garden City High School was established, it has won seven state championships in wrestling, occurring in 1971, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, and 1999 and runner-up in 2003. Garden City wrestling has also had 26 individual state champions. In 1979, two-time State Champion Jon Bigler was named as an Honorable Mention All-American according to Wrestling USA Magazine.

Due to the immense success between 1990–1993, GCHS earned national rankings and a reputation as having one of the finest wrestling programs in the country. Additionally, Wrestling USA Magazine ranked Garden City as having the 38th best high school wrestling dynasty in the 1990s out of over 38,000 high schools. The success of the wrestling program during this time was due in large part to the leadership of legendary former head coach Rocky Welton. Overall, Welton led the wrestling program to six state championships and helped produce numerous individual state champions. Welton finished his coaching career with a dual record of 200-50-4 during his tenure at Goodland High School and Garden City High School. For his contributions, Rocky Welton was inducted into the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Since its inception in 1951, the wrestling program has hosted an annual tournament which attracts some of the top wrestling programs from the midwestern United States. Originally known as the "Garden City Invitational", the tournament was renamed the "Rocky Welton Invitational" in honor of the legendary coach.

Following the retirement of Rocky Welton in 1999, former assistant coach Martin Segovia took over as the new head coach. In contrast to the 1990s, Garden City was unable to win a state championship throughout the 2000s, although the Buffaloes did produce three individual state titles and an All-American. Jason Nichols won individual state championships in 2000 and 2001 and sophomore Ryan Kromer won an individual state championship in 2002. In 2006, Beth Johnson was named a Second-Team All-American and in 2008, she was named as a First-Team All-American, the first girl to do so in school history. Also in 2008, Martin Segovia relinquished his role as head coach and former assistant Monte Moser took over as the new head coach. In 2010, the Buffaloes placed fourth in the state championship, while producing two individual state champions in Lane Greenlee and Joey Dozier. One year later, Anthony Calderon won an individual state championship.

The men's golf program has established itself as one of the top athletic programs at GCHS. The Buffaloes won state championships in 1977 and 1998. Cole Wasinger won the individual state championship in 1995, the only individual state championship in the program's history. Most recently, the men's golf team competed at the state tournament in 2007, 2009, and 2010. The Buffs compete on two of the top golf courses in the state of Kansas. The golf teams alternate their practices between Southwind Country Club and Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.

The men's and women's tennis programs have also had many successful years. The programs have remained as two of the more competitive tennis teams in the WAC for several decades. The women's program experienced their most successful season in 1994 in which they finished state runner-up. The men's program won 10 consecutive WAC championships from 1994 to 2003. In 1999, former head coach Bob Krug was named NFCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year. The streak in WAC Championships ended during the 2003–04 school year, but the Buffs rebounded and won three more consecutive WAC championships from 2005 to 2007. The tennis team has sent numerous players to the state tournament including two players in 2006 and 2007.

The Buffalo track and field program has had several successes throughout its history. The Buffaloes won the state championship in 1945 and 1946, but in more recent years results have been variable. In 2003, future Big 12 long jump champion Eric Babb won the long jump state title for the first time in the school's history. The track & field program finished runner-up in the 2006 state championship, falling to Lawrence High School by 1/2 of a point. Garden City has also produced several notable athletes, including 1995 Track and Field Gatorade Athlete of the Year, high-jumper Jason Archibald.

State Championships

Garden City High School offers the following sports:

Non-athletic Programs

Garden City High School offers many music-related clubs and organizations. Garden City offers marching band, pep band, orchestra, choir, and show choir in addition to many other groups. The Garden City Municipal Band, the longest continual band located west of the Mississippi, also rehearses at Garden City High School each week.

The first unofficial band was organized in 1915. The Garden City Marching Band is often referred to as the "Marching Stampede". Each year, the marching band performs during halftime of football games and the pep band plays during basketball games. Additionally, at the conclusion of the football season, the marching band competes in the WAC Band Festival to determine the top marching band in the area. The band also performs during pep rallies and other school functions.

The Garden City High Debate and Forensics teams have been ranked among the top schools in the nation in terms of state appearances by the National Forensics League. Garden City High has competed at the state level in all of the NFL events and at the national level in many of the events. It is one of the largest teams by members in the state. The debate team won the state championship in 1959, 1961, and 1971 (two-speaker). The forensics team won the state championship in 2011. Russ Tidwell is the current Debate and Forensics coach at Garden City High School.

Student Newspaper and Yearbook

The journalism department at GCHS is a member of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. The 100-year-old school newspaper is The Sugar Beet and is printed weekly. The Sugar Beet is one of only two weekly, student-produced high school newspapers in Kansas, the other being The Mentor, which is produced by students of Manhattan High School. The Sugar Beet's longtime advisor is Monte Moser. GCHS also produces an annual yearbook at the end of every school year, known as The Buffalo.

Student activities

There are several dozen extraxurricular activities open to Garden City students. Among these are:

Fight song
Alma mater
Notable alumni

  • Kendall Carl Campbell, U.S. Naval Reserve aviator, USS Kendall C. Campbell (DE-443) was named in his honor
  • Mark Fox, head men's basketball coach at the University of Georgia
  • Clifford R. Hope, youngest man ever chosen to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Gene Krug, former Major League Baseball player for the Chicago Cubs
  • Fum McGraw, former Colorado State athletic director, NFL Pro-Bowler, 1981 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Fred Myton, screenwriter
  • Harold "Prince Hal" Patterson, former University of Kansas basketball player and member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame
  • Brandy Perryman, University of Texas’ all-time leader in free throw shooting and fourth-best three-point shooter
  • Larry Powell, member of the Kansas House of Representatives
  • Chuck Reed, mayor of San Jose, California, 2007–
  • Eric Robinson, comedian
  • Roy Romer, former governor of Colorado, 1987–1999

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