Manhattan High School
Manhattan High School 2015.jpg
Manhattan High, West Campus (2015)
  • 2100 Poyntz Avenue (West Campus)
  • 901 Poyntz Avenue (East Campus)


United States
TypePublic high school
Established1873; 149 years ago (1873)
School districtManhattan–Ogden USD 383
PrincipalMichael Dorst
Teaching staff123.60 (FTE) (2018–19)[1]
Enrollment1,770 (2018–19)[1]
Student to teacher ratio14.38:1 (2018–19)[1]
  •   Blue
  •   White
  •   Red (accent)
RivalJunction City H.S.
NewspaperThe Mentor

Manhattan High School is a public high school in Manhattan, Kansas, United States, serving students in grades 9-12. It is part of the Manhattan–Ogden USD 383. For the 2013–2014 school year, Manhattan High had an enrollment of 1,920 students.[2]

The school is divided into two campuses. The main building is the West Campus, containing grades 10–12, while the East Campus is for ninth graders. The two campuses are approximately one mile apart. Students use buses to transport between campuses.

As of the most recent ratings in 2017, MHS was listed on the Washington Post's list of the nation's "Most Challenging High Schools" for each of the prior nine years.[3][4] Only twelve high schools in Kansas made that list in 2017.[3] The school's athletic teams are referred to as the "Indians," and have won more than 45 state championships. Notable alumni of the school include Fred Andrew Seaton, former U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Interior.


The first public schoolhouse in Manhattan was built in 1857, serving all grades.[5] The first dedicated secondary school in the town opened in 1873 at the current site of the Manhattan High School "East Campus."[5] The first recorded high school graduation ceremony was held in 1892.[6]

Manhattan High, East Campus
Manhattan High, East Campus

The current East Campus of the school consists of two limestone buildings that are connected by a glass walkway. The first building – on the far right side in the accompanying photo – was opened in 1914 to replace the earlier secondary school. (Many histories date the establishment of Manhattan High from the completion of this building in 1914.) The second building – on the left side of the accompanying photo – was built in 1918 as a separate building for junior high school students (grades 7, 8, and 9).[7]

The West Campus is a red brick building that was constructed in 1956 to be the new high school. Both of the older buildings (the current East Campus) were then utilized for junior high school students. Over the next 40 years, the new high school faced recurring overcrowding issues and was significantly expanded, but the new school simply proved unable to keep up with the town's population growth. After considering and rejecting the idea of building a second high school in Manhattan, in 1996 the town instead built two new middle schools, and moved the ninth grade to the East Campus.

Beginning in 2011, the West Campus underwent a $42.2 million renovation and expansion. The construction added 14 new classrooms, in addition to a number of other improvements, and supplied a new facade for much of the building.

Campus layout

The West Campus is laid out in five parallel hallways, with an open space between each and a central "commons area." Each hallway is lettered from south to north. Classes in the industrial arts are held in a detached building behind the West Campus. A large greenhouse and a new fitness center are also detached from the main building. The West Campus houses two gymnasiums; one is used as a general purpose facility and the other is primarily for basketball and volleyball games.

The East Campus is composed of two three-story limestone buildings, connected with a glass walkway and an annex in the rear (not visible in the above photo), built in 1928. The campus also has a detached gymnasium built behind the main stone buildings.


Manhattan High School has been listed on several recent compilations of the best high schools in the nation. MHS was listed on the Washington Post's list of "Most Challenging High Schools" for the past nine years.[3][4] Only ten high schools in Kansas made the list in 2017.[3] MHS was also listed by Newsweek in 2009 and 2010 as one of the top high schools in the U.S. Only six schools in Kansas made the list in 2009, and five in 2010. Finally, the school district was awarded a Blue Ribbon in the 2007 Education Quotient Study, ranking it in the top third nationwide.

There are a wide range of learning opportunities offered at MHS, from tutoring for learning-impaired students to dual credit classes at Kansas State University, and a wide range of elective classes. Currently the school offers electives from performing arts to language arts to physical arts. Manhattan High is also the hub of a statewide virtual education academy called the iQ Academy Kansas.[8] The online classes give students the opportunity to study and learn at their own personal pace. 240 students were enrolled in the program as of 2007.[9]

In the 2015–2016 school year there were four National Merit Finalists from Manhattan High.

Extracurricular activities


Manhattan High has teams competing in baseball, basketball (boys and girls), bowling (boys and girls), cross country (boys and girls), football, golf (boys and girls), soccer (boys and girls), softball, swimming & diving (boys and girls), tennis (boys and girls), track & field (boys and girls), volleyball (girls), and wrestling. The school competes at the 6A level (largest schools) in the Centennial League. Manhattan High has its own stadium, Bishop Stadium, which seats 4,000 spectators and hosts football games and track events. The football field was changed from grass to artificial turf in 2013.

Manhattan High's Bishop Stadium
Manhattan High's Bishop Stadium

The school is a member of the Centennial League, which it joined in 2004. MHS was previously a member of the defunct I-70 League from 1978 to 2004, and before that the Central Kansas League (CKL).

The athletics program has received some national recognition. On June 19, 2007, Sports Illustrated published a list of the top high school athletic programs in each state, and Manhattan High School was declared the top high school athletics program in Kansas for 2007.[10] Also, Manhattan High's football team was nationally ranked in the USA Today poll during the 1987 and 1988 seasons.[11]

Mascot controversy

Main article: Native American mascot controversy

Manhattan High's sports teams are called the "Indians." In light of debate over the use of Native American mascots in athletics, the use of the name "Indians" by the high school has been questioned since it was adopted. The mascot name was intended, in part, to honor Frank Prentup, a former football coach of the high school who claimed Indian ancestry.[12] In 2001, the Unified School District 383 Board of Education voted to retain the mascot name but would restrict how the Indian could be portrayed.[13]

In 2015, there was a renewed push to remove the "Indians" name.[14] The following year the Manhattan-Ogden school board voted 7–0 to keep the "Indians" nickname. In addition to honoring the former coach, the other reasons cited by the board for keeping the mascot involved an estimated cost of $300,000 to replace the mascot amidst state level budget cuts.[15] However, the board voted to form a committee that would explore creating a new mascot, determining the associated costs, and finding methods to fund such a change. Additionally, a greater emphasis would now be placed on Native American education at the school and community levels.[16] The committee would report on its findings to the school board by September 2017.[15]

State championships

State Championships[17]
Season Sport Championships Year(s)
Fall Cross Country, Boys 3 1983 • 1984 • 2013
Cross Country, Girls 3 1977 • 1979 • 2015
Football 4 1943^ • 1961+ • 1974 • 1988
Golf, Girls 11 1985 • 1986 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1993 • 2000 • 2003
2004 • 2006 • 2008
Volleyball 4 1986 • 1987 • 2003 • 2010
Winter Basketball, Girls 1 2017
Swimming and Diving, Boys 2 1993 • 1995
Indoor Track & Field, Boys 1 1977
Wrestling 4 2004 • 2007 • 2012 • 2017
Spring Baseball 2 1992 • 1998
Golf, Boys 8 1948 (2-Man) • 1966 (2-Man) • 1971 • 1978 (2-Man)
1991 • 1994 • 2004 • 2006
Track and Field, Boys 3 2009 • 2018 • 2021
Track and Field, Girls 2 1989 • 2002
Total 48
^ unofficial; predates KSHSAA playoffs and AP poll
+predates KSHSAA playoffs; ranked #1 in final AP poll[18]

Non-athletic programs


The Manhattan High Debate and Forensics team is ranked among the top schools in the nation by number of degrees by the National Forensics League.[citation needed] Manhattan High has competed at the state in all the NFL events and at the national level in many of the events. It is one of the largest teams by members in the state. The team is coached by Mac Phrommany.


Manhattan High School's newspaper, The Mentor, was founded in 1919. It used to be one of the few weekly high school newspapers in Kansas. The paper is printed weekly when school is in session, except on weeks in which students are out one or more days, on the presses of The Manhattan Mercury. More than 1,600 copies are distributed for free to students, staff and community members. In 2011, The Mentor switched from a tabloid newspaper to a broadsheet.

The school's journalism students have won a number of statewide awards in competitions administered by the Kansas Scholastic Press Association, as well as national Quill and Scroll awards.[citation needed]

The first newspaper issued by the school was the Manhattan High School Monitor, in 1873–1874.[5] It was reported to be the first high school newspaper issued by students in Kansas.


Manhattan High School's marching band, The "Big Blue" Marching Band performs at every home football game, in parades, and in band festivals. The concert band performs during the spring season. There is also a large choir program, which includes mixed choirs, men's and women's choirs, and two show choirs. In addition, there is a jazz ensemble, symphonic band, wind ensemble, and both chamber and symphonic orchestras. Many of these ensembles and their members regularly participate in regional and state solo and ensemble competitions. Ensembles also participate in national competitions such as the Festival of Gold, which the symphonic and chamber orchestras participated in in 2015. An ensemble of volunteer players is used as the pit orchestra for the school musical.

Performing arts

Manhattan High has a drama and stagecraft program. A four performance musical is put on annually in mid-November, showcasing the talent of MHS thespians. Performances take place in the Rezac Auditorium at the West Campus. It has an active performance calendar that includes a fall Broadway musical with full pit orchestra, a Winter Gala featuring large performing groups, a winter play, a spring play, student directed one-act plays, showcase concerts for show choirs and jazz band, as well as the traditional large-group concerts each quarter. Every other year, MHS choirs partake in a music festival at Disney World over spring break. Pops and Varsity show choirs are auditioned ensembles who perform in the community throughout the course of the school year. Each require a combo band, made up of MHS students.

Manhattan High also has dance and competition teams. The dance team performs at home football games, basketball games, and wrestling events, performing halftime routines as well as sidelines (at football games). The competition team, the elite division of dance team, holds tryouts every year. Competition then takes several routines to various regional competitions, including pom, hip-hop, jazz, novelty, solos, and duets. The competition team also performs halftime routines on its own at basketball games. Over the summer, the dance team attends Universal Dance Association (UDA) camp, where they perform various routines.

Notable alumni

MHS West Campus (2006)
MHS West Campus (2006)
MHS West Campus, in the midst of a $42-million renovation (May 2011)
MHS West Campus, in the midst of a $42-million renovation (May 2011)
MHS West Campus (July 2011)
MHS West Campus (July 2011)

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Search for Public Schools - Manhattan High School West/East Campus (200918000853)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  2. ^ "Enrollment by Grade, Race, and Gender". Kansas State Department of Education. Archived from the original (English) on April 8, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "America's Most Challenging High Schools". Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Manhattan High School Earns Award". Archived from the original (English) on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
  5. ^ a b c Olson, Kevin (2012). Frontier Manhattan. University Press of Kansas. pp. 102, 177. ISBN 978-0-7006-1832-3.
  6. ^ 1927 "Blue M" yearbook
  7. ^ "150 Years of Education in Manhattan". Manhattan Free Press. July 14, 2005.
  8. ^ "iQ Academy Kansas Homepage" (English). Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  9. ^ "Competition Increasing in Online Education Options". Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  10. ^ "CNNSI: Top High School Programs" (English). 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
  11. ^ "1987 football ranking" (English). Retrieved 2007-06-16.
  12. ^ "Manhattan High School to keep Indians mascot, for now". The Topeka Capital-Journal. December 9, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  13. ^ Albright, Andrea (5 October 2001). "Manhattan rejects mascot shift". The Topeka Capital-Journal. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  14. ^ Berry, Kaitlin (December 18, 2015). "Manhattan group pushes to change high school mascot". KSNT. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Manhattan High School mascot is staying". KSNT. December 7, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  16. ^ Leon, Daniela (December 7, 2016). "USD 383 retains Manhattan Indians' nickname - for now". WIBW. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  17. ^ "KSHSAA State Champions" (English). Kansas State High School Activities Association. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  18. ^ "Kansas High School Football Champions". Archived from the original (English) on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  19. ^ "State Debate Champions" (PDF). KSHSAA. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  20. ^ "State Speech Championships" (PDF). KSHSAA. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  21. ^ "David Murray Gates, 94". Petoskey News-Review.
  22. ^ Schulman, Michael (September 29, 2014), "Sweet and Vicious", The New Yorker