NWHS History

Northwest High School, St. Louis, MO

Class of 1970

50th Reunion

In February of 1964, a new “general” public high school opened in the Walnut Park-East neighborhood of St. Louis, MO. It was built after a 25 year old debate and some controversy about solving school over-crowding by erecting new buildings. Nevertheless, the new school was built to address the over-crowding at Beaumont and Sumner High Schools in North City.  The school was named Northwest because of its location in the Walnut Park- East neighborhood. Walnut Park was then a lower middle class neighborhood predominantly German Catholic.  Northwest was built at the site of a small Jewish Synagogue at 5140 Riverview next to Davis Park.

In the late 60’s through the early 70’s, Northwest developed its own identity known for academic excellence with a college prep curriculum and honors programs “for gifted students”.  This created a unique learning environment for this diverse student body.  This diversity was unusual in the St. Louis Public Schools given the mix of children that came from several north side neighborhoods, such as Penrose, Wells Goodfellow, Sherman Academy Park, Walnut Park, Kingshighway North, etc. Many students arrived by public transportation, or simply walked to school.  Additionally, there were students from catholic, private and public elementary schools.  Northwest High students also excelled in sports and the new school had a full athletic program representing football, basketball, baseball, tack, tennis and wrestling.  Going to playoffs and state competitions became the norm.  This was the home of the Blue Devils blue and gray were the colors.   Beyond sharing the name of Duke University’s, Blue Devils, the latter also represented “honor and freedom”.  The Blue Devils were a legendary elite fighting force of all terrain French soldiers known for their toughness who fought for freedom in Europe and were later joined by Americans in World War I. 

The student body was a heterogeneous group and after graduation like the legendary Blue Devils they represented their community well.  We were unskilled, skilled blue and white collar workers working in the public and private sectors.  We were planners, elected officials, community activist, authors, health professionals, teachers, members of the clergy, law enforcement and the military, a part of the criminal justice system, small business owners and/or workers, we worked for profit and non-profit corporations, self-employed, artist, artisans and championed many causes for the indefensible and those in need. Some of our classmates attended Annapolis Naval and West Point Military Academies. One is the CEO of one of the largest African American communications companies, another served as President of the Monsanto-Bayer Fund and yet another became a recognized national/international musician.

We are very accomplished as a class and have much to be proud of. Now, once more, we have come full circle to be Seniors once again!

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