Indian Hills Middle School 60th anniversary celebration draws students, teachers, parents and lots of stories

Former Indian Hills Principal Charles Rocklage and Assistant Principal Barbara Evans reunited at the Indian Hills 60th anniversary. Rocklage brought with him the briefcase the staff gave him as a going-away present in 1977.
Former Indian Hills Principal Charles Rocklage and Assistant Principal Barbara Evans reunited at the Indian Hills 60th anniversary. Rocklage brought with him the briefcase the staff gave him as a going-away present in 1977.

Former teachers, students, PTA presidents and at least one principal from the past regaled in stories of Indian Hills Middle School during its 60th anniversary celebration Friday afternoon. Community members were streaming in the doors for a look at the greatly-changed building in afternoon open house.

Among those who came back for the event and lunch with former faculty was Charles Rocklage, principal at the school from 1966 to 1977. Barbara Evans made the trip from Oklahoma where she spent 37 years in education. But it was at Indian Hills that Rocklage hired her to be assistant principal, only the second female as assistant principal at the secondary level. Rocklage finished his career in the Shawnee Mission district.

Indian Hills was his first job as principal, Rocklage said. “I was green as grass.” That year Indian Hills had 1,100 students and he did not have a vice principal to help out. “That’s all we knew,” Evans said of the huge enrollment. “It just exploded.” Every school was filling up as fast as they were built, the pair said. Great staff and community support were the hallmarks of the school during their years, they said.

Ed Gould, an Indian Hills teacher from 1958 to 1998, spearheaded the 60th anniversary celebration and created a display of families who had multiple generations attend Indian Hills. A total of 96 families submitted their Indian Hills histories: 87 families with two generations attending and nine families who have had three generations at the school.

Former Indian Hills teacher Ed Gould organized the 60th anniversary event and the multi-generation display that is now in the lobby at Indian Hills.
Former Indian Hills teacher Ed Gould organized the 60th anniversary event and the multi-generation display that is now in the lobby at Indian Hills.
A number of former Indian Hills PTA presidents returned to the school Friday.
A number of former Indian Hills PTA presidents returned to the school Friday. Front row (L-R) Starr Anderson (2005-06), Harriet Brazil (1983-84), Sandy Jones (1997-98), Beth Fowler (2003-04), Kathleen White (1965-66); second row: Joyce Kemp (1988-89), Sherri Robeson (1994-95), Julie Riekhof (1980-81) Marci Jacobs (1976-77), top row: Dan Blom (2009-11), Randy Davis (2009-11), Melissa Rooker (2008-09).