150 years of Noblesville Schools

Mary Sebbas, Staff Writer

Your alarm goes off. You press snooze. Fall back asleep. Wake up late. You rush to eat breakfast. Finish forgotten homework, and catch the bus. The frantic morning routine leads up to school, where you have to deal with busy passing periods, pop quizzes and amounting homework.The disarrayed high school years are intergenerationally relatable, but it’s still odd to imagine a Victorian teen. Standing in front of the mirror in disarray, today teens pick out which scrunchie or high waisted jeans speak to them that day, while over a decade ago girls contemplated which wide skirt hoop would best suit them for the day.     

This school year of 2019-2020 marks the anniversary of the Noblesville Schools District, a time that will no doubt be celebrated throughout the year. So far there have been countless efforts to try to give the 150th birthday of the district a proper celebration. Marnie Cooke, Director of Marketing and Communications for Noblesville Schools, explains what she believes to be the start of the district.

“I think that hiring a superintendent and forming a school board makes you a school district, you are more than just a school house somewhere, you’re in a system. So I did find some very clear records talking about in 1869 our first superintendent was hired,” Cooke said. “It even says in the records, ‘with the objective of creating a system of graded schools in Noblesville’ and I was like ‘well perfect that sounds like a school district.’”

Because of how impactful Noblesville Schools has been for not only her but the whole community, Cooke created an executive planning committee to reach out to all parts of Noblesville.

“We started meeting in February of 2018, so we have been meeting for almost 18 months working on all of these things…” Cooke said. “I tried to reach out to all of these different groups that would be different stakeholders [in the community].”

One major plan of the celebration is to see how Noblesville has impacted the community. Alaina Shonkwiler, Workforce Development Coordinator for Noblesville High School, and member of the Noblesville Schools Alumni Association, has worked with the committee to create a geo-mapping of past alumni.

“We are surveying to find out where our alumni are and kind of how far our reach is as Millers.” Shonkwiler said. “So we have two in Australia, one on the northern side of Australia and one on the southern side of Australia we have one in Kuwait serving with the military right now, we have three in London, one in Chile, [named] Ian Gibbons who graduated last year, and then one in Panama, [who is] actually my friend from my class.” Shonkwiler said. “We have a lot in Indiana and just kind of seeing where we all land.”

Also in this survey, alumni can fill out how Noblesville still has a place in their hearts. Many people reminisced in comical stories about their high school days and how Noblesville has made them a better student. One alumni from the class of 2001, Lauren Smith, shares her memories from NHS. 

“[I] attended NS K-12, married to my high school sweetheart who also attended NS K-12. We were selected to be ‘married’ Senior year during our marriage class at NHS; still reside in Noblesville and am currently employed by Noblesville Schools,” Smith said.

This is not the only case of someone staying so close to Noblesville. Steve Coverdale, the Environmental Director and Building Supervisor for the high school, was apart of the graduating class of 1974. The “lifer” as he calls himself, shares his favorite part of attending and currently working at Noblesville Schools.

“The kids, it’s kind of like me reliving my high school days cause there’s homecomings and sectionals, and just seeing what you guys do the musicals all that stuff. Yeah, it really is the kids, and I just love people and I’m a Noblesville person. So this is, what more could I want?”

Cooke, Shonkwiler, and the rest of the planning committee for the anniversary have also decided that it is important to honor and remember the people that have been essential to the district through the past 150 years.

“We are doing this thing called Noble Millers and it’s basically a program where we are going to honor 25 distinguished contributors to Noblesville Schools throughout the years.” Cooke said. “The idea is to nominate someone who has made a significant positive contribution to Noblesville Schools in whatever way that is defined.”

The nominations can be anyone who has made a positive influence on Noblesville Schools. Margret Foster from the graduating class of 2016, remembers a principal she had around 15 years ago.

“When I was in elementary school at Stoney Creek, Mrs. Karst came in,” Foster said. “My first memory of having her as a principal was her kissing a live farm animal! I think she gained a lot of respect by starting out on that strong note.”

Noblesville schools is more than just a district, it is a community. It has impacted and changed so many people for the rest of their life. To exemplify just how essential NS is to the community, celebrations for the anniversary will be lasting year round.

“I hope that the community will just kind of take pride in what an amazing school system we have and what we have done,” Cooke said. “Obviously a lot has changed over the last 150 years but you know our pursuit of academic excellence and love for students have not changed those have been kind of constants throughout the last 150 years.”

To see more details for the anniversary celebrations and the history of Noblesville Schools, visit the Noblesville Schools website.