Shawnee Mission North is doing something special with its Shawnee Mission North Sports Scholarship Foundation.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
It includes alumni from the original Shawnee Mission high school that opened in 1922 as Shawnee Mission Rural High School. It became Shawnee Mission North in the fall of 1958.
Jim Ballou, a 1973 SM North graduate, started a foundation for football.
“We initially started the foundation to provide an alumni group that would support the football program with a legacy scholarship to honor the legacy of Kansas Hall of Fame coach Larry Taylor,” Ballou said. “We wanted to honor a graduating senior football player for excellence in the classroom, community service and football participation.”
That took place in 2009 and was called the Shawnee Mission North Football Alumni Foundation.
“In 2012, we evolved from a football alumni foundation to an all-sports foundation for men and women with the addition of seven scholarships that promote the legacy of eight former SMN coaches,” Ballou said.
Ballou was a football player and yell leader at the school on Johnson Drive.
“The extracurricular activities were an important part of my high school memories,” he said. “Competing in sports prepared me for the competitive business environment that I face in my sales-marketing career. The coaches at North were great mentors and played a vital role for many of us.”
The Foundation has a website: www.smnsportscholarship.org.
SM North athletic director George Sallas is involved with the Foundation. Sallas is a 1974 graduate of the school and played on the Indians’ first baseball team. He also participated in football, wrestling and golf.
He was health teacher and coached in football, basketball, baseball and golf at SM North starting in 1986 until becoming the athletic director in 2006.
“The Foundation is to provide a living legacy for SMN coaches and annually give a senior student athlete that excels in the classroom, community and in their sport a scholarship,” he said.
A five-member board composed of alumni was established in August 2012. The board members include Ballou, Gillespie, Steve Specht, Kevin Keitzman and Jon Pittenger.
“The Foundation will have its second banquet in the fall of 2014,” Sallas said. “We need volunteers that would become class representatives providing a liaison between the Foundation and each class. They would promote and communicate the Foundation programs to the student athletes from their classes. We need representatives from the 1950s to the current time.”
1971 graduate Danny Seay had a chance to be a presenter this past summer in his sport of track. He still holds the SM North school record for the long jump.
“It was a joy to see the excitement of the athlete who won the award and the pride of the family and friends over the accomplishment,” Seay said. “It has been very rewarding as I reflect back on the wonderful years I experienced at SM North in athletics, education and friends that last until this day.”