Wichita East High School , known locally as East, is a public, co-educational secondary school located near the center of Wichita, Kansas, United States. The school’s 44-acre (180,000 m2) campus and the building’s Collegiate Gothic styling make it an urban landmark. With a student population of 2,348, it is the largest high school in the state.
The school offers the International Baccalaureate program, a prestigious magnet program that teaches students at college level, that attracts students from all around the Wichita metro area. In 2014, East was ranked the #1 school in the state of Kansas by U.S. News & World Report and the #1 place to work in Wichita by the Wichita Business Journal.
Wichita East traces its roots back to 1878, although the current building wasn’t completed until 1923. Originally known as Wichita High School, East was the first of seven traditional public high schools to be built in USD 259, Wichita’s Unified School District. In 1929, when Wichita North High School was completed, the school’s name was changed to Wichita High School East. Originally built on a campus shared with Roosevelt Junior High School, the high school’s growing enrollment forced the conversion of the junior high school into a second wing of the high school.
The junior high school and high school were joined by a third structure in 1976-1977, a library and cafeteria that connected the second floor of the two buildings. In 2004, a construction project added a new gymnasium, converted the old gym into the current science wing, and provided air conditioning to the entire building, but the renovation removed the building’s swimming pool, auto mechanics building and 500 Hall, which housed the wood shops.
In 2011, East added a secondary gym and a new swimming pool. In 2012, the school celebrated the opening of the new performing arts center, featuring a 600-seat theater, instrumental rehearsal spaces and vocal music room.
In 2014, East was ranked the #1 school in the state of Kansas by U.S. News & World Report. The campus is also home to the Wichita Area Technical College.
Wichita High School East is regionally recognized for both academic and athletic success. The school offers both the Wichita Public Schools diploma and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, a magnet diploma that students earn through the International Baccalaureate program. The school also offers many Advanced Placement, Honors, and college preparatory classes. The school also offers the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program for selective students. East consistently leads Wichita-area schools in academic awards. Both the high school’s newspaper, The Messenger, and yearbook, “Echoes,” have been recognized in national competitions, and the former is a member of the High School National Ad Network.
East High school is also known for consistently having many National Merit Scholars each year from students taking the PSAT/NMSQT.
East High has a strong performing arts program, with all groups (band, choral, theatre, and orchestra) having won many city and state awards for outstanding performances throughout the years.
East has a large and successful debate and forensics squad and consistently qualifies students for the national tournament. In June 2007, East hosted the debate portion of NFL Nationals. East also has a very successful Scholar’s Bowl team winning 4 state championships in 1998, 2004, 2007, and most recently 2011.
Clubs and Activities
East has over 50 clubs and activities in which students can participate. Many clubs embrace diversity, are active in the community, and are entertaining. Clubs vary from Anime club to National Honor Society to Students Against Prejudice. Students can participate in school centered activities like STUCO (student council) or follow personal interests in clubs like Tai Chi, Students Against Prejudice, the East High Young Democrats, or Ultimate Frisbee Club. Each September, the clubs gather on the front lawn one evening, sell food, and host activities during the Big Do. Every spring East High holds “Aces in the Community,” a day in which all students and faculty go out into Wichita to perform community service.
East High holds 96 state championships with all their sports teams combined. Athletically, East is home to a consistently competitive basketball program that has 9 state championships. In addition, the Blue Aces football team, who have won 4 state championships, has been increasingly successful in recent years due to leadership changes as well as two highly acclaimed and heavily recruited brothers, Arthur (Class of 2008) and Bryce Brown (Class of 2009), both now in the NFL. East’s Boys Swimming and Diving team is also dominate winning 14 State Championships, most recently one in 2013. East athletics compete in the Greater Wichita Athletic League against the city’s seven largest public high schools and two private Catholic high schools. East is a 6A school, the largest size recognized by the Kansas High School Athletics Association. Since 1928, East High teams have been known as the Blue Aces, and the school is represented by its mascot, Max, a World War I flying ace with an oversized head and a pronounced cleft chin. The schools colors are Navy Blue and White with Columbia Blue as a third color.
East High is known for its historically successful boys basketball team. The team’s tradition for success dates back to its 1915 state title, and has continued over 100 years to its 2015 Kansas 6A state title, a season during which the Aces posted an overall record of 24-1 and an average margin of victory of 23.7 points. 2015 marked the third consecutive year the Aces qualified for the state basketball tournament, as well as the Aces’ second state title in 10 years and the third since 2002. The Aces play home games in the East gym, which has a seating capacity of 2,400.
The 1925 boys basketball team won the National Interscholastic Basketball Tournament in Chicago. The tournament was an attempt by Amos Alonzo Stagg to create a national high school champion which lasted from 1917 to 1930 before school administrators intervened to oppose the concept of a national tournament. Wichita defeated El Reno High School 27-6 in the final.
- Ross McBurney (1925) – All-American basketball player at Wichita State
- Daryl Spencer (1946) – former MLB player, played an additional eight years in Japan
- Bruce Conner (1951) – Beat Generation-era experimental artist who influenced the music video genre
- Clay Lacy (1951) – multiple world-record-holding air pilot and motion picture aerial coordinator
- Darryl Starbird (1951) – custom car and hot rod designer and builder
- Fritz Brickell (1954) – former MLB player New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers
- Jeffrey Farrell (1954) – champion swimmer who went on to participate in the 1960 Olympics
- Ron Walters (1955) – civil rights pioneer
- Philip Anschutz (1957) – billionaire
- Diane Bish (1959) – organist, composer, PBS television hostess
- George Tiller (1959) – (2009) physician
- Robert Gates (1961) – Secretary of Defense, former CIA director and president of Texas A&M University
- Jim Waskiewicz (1962) – All-American Football Player at Wichita State and former player for the New York Jets
- Jamie Thompson (1963) – All-American basketball player at Wichita State and amateur golf champion, professional basketball player for the Dallas Chaparrals
- Jim Ryun (1965) – former US Representative from Kansas and a world-record mile runner
- Charles “Chuck” Jones (1970) – American astronaut, passenger on American Airlines Flight 11 that hit World Trade Center
- Kevin Kastning (1978) – composer and recording artist for Greydisc Records
- Kym Carter (1982) – received 10th place in the heptathlon at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona; won the bronze medal in the five-event pentathlon, at the 1997 IAAF World Indoor Championships
- Adrian Griffin (1992) – assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls
- Korleone Young (1997) – former NBA player for the Detroit Pistons
- Taj Gray (2002) – professional basketball player
- Taryn Southern (2003) – singer and actress
- Arthur Brown (2008) – Baltimore Ravens linebacker
- Bryce Brown (2009) – Seattle Seahawks running back, 2009 Hall Trophy winner
- Oliver Bradwell (2010) – American sprinter, gold medalist at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics
- Hannah Wagner (2014) – Miss Kansas 2015
- Joe Walsh, guitarist for The Eagles, also attended East before moving to Columbus, Ohio
- Bruce McCray, former NFL player for the Chicago Bears