North Community High School, 1500 James Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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North Community High School
|Address:||1500 James Avenue N|
|Neighborhood/s:||North, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Hennepin County, Minnesota|
|Moved from Location:||18th and Emerson; 15th and Freemont;|
|Material of Exterior Wall Covering:||Brick|
The first North High School was built in 1888. It was located on the northeast corner of 18th Avenue North and Emerson Avenue North. The North Side neighborhood had lobbied for a school to be placed within their neighborhood, and North High was the first high school to be built outside of downtown Minneapolis. By 1896, the student population in the North Side had outgrown this first building, and thus a new North High School was build on the corner of 15th Avenue North and Fremont Avenue North. This second North High School was used until it was destroyed by fire in 1913. In 1915 a third North High was built on this same site in order to replace the building that had burned down. In the interim, the North High students attended school at the recently vacated South High. Plans for another new North High building began in 1966. Originally only additions and renovations were discussed, but it was eventually decided an entirely new building was necessary for the sake of progress. The third building was eventually torn down in 1973, and the fourth building was located at 1500 James Avenue North. The name changed from North High School to North Community High School. The school remains at this same location today.
The Current North Community High School
The newest and current North High building, located at 1500 James Avenue North, was designed specifically to encourage and increase community involvement. North High students were invited to help design the building. Several PTA meetings were held to allow the surrounding North Side community to give their input as to what they felt needed to be included in the new building. One new addition to the high school was a daycare center, built to provide care for the children of current students. The daycare center was meant to allow parents to spend an hour with their children during the school day and provide them with parenting classes.
One way in which North High has focused on getting the students further involved in the community was through the establishment of a partnership with the radio station Jazz 88.5 FM, KBEM. Over 150 students, not strictly from North High work at the station. The students learn how radio production works, and the station provides a way in which the North Side community can have a voice. This program is owned by the Minneapolis Public Schools. It was originally developed for the Minneapolis Vocational High School, but moved its base of operations into North High in 1983, where it remains today. Due to its re-location to North High, the North Side community has had a large influence on this program.
Importance to the North Side Community
North High began as a place of education for the Jewish community on the North Side. During the 1930s it had a reputation of providing excellent educations to its students, due somewhat to the importance of education stressed by the Jewish community. Today North High serves as place where students, many of whom are African American, can become more involved in the North Side community.
Memories and stories
"There aren't that many cultural centers in North Minneapolis. Northeast Minneapolis, for example, has a Ukranian cultural center, so everyone who has Ukranian or Eastern European background can go there to have meetings during the week or celebrations during the year. And while churches in the Northside fill that role a lot, there's not an ethnic identity place like the cultural or Ukranian cultural centers. So when something's going to happen in the neighborhood, when we're going to try to raise money to send a group of students to Washington or try to have some kind of political meeting, it happens at North. So North begins to be identified as a place where we wrestle with issues, where Jesse Jackson came when he was running for president years ago, he came to North High and the whole community showed up for that. Graduation is a huge event, and unfortunately they do it down at the Convention Center now because more and more and more people wanted to come and the gym wouldn't hold them anymore. So it's kind of divorced. What I loved about graduation was: it was always on a lovely June night and it started at 6:30 and about 7:15 all the children in the neighborhood started coming towards North because it meant cake and cookies. And when the graduates came out in their blue robes and the band played Pomp and Circumstance, they knew that meant cake and cookies. And that is a very important cultural moment for a four or five year old kid to say "These kids are graduating from school and the whole neighborhood gets treats." So it's things like that where the community would come together on our campus for any number of reasons and the school would be identified as the place where that happens."
-George Roberts (Interview conducted on October 25, 2008 by Jessica Hobson and Emma Zoch) Link to their website is listed below