North Shore Middle School History

  • North Shore Junior High School opened on Holly Park in 1956. The community that was served then was much different than that of today. Most of the area was wooded and/or swamp. Uvalde was a two lane road, and so was Wallisville. North of Woodforest Blvd. was wooded and didn't cross the water canal west of the school or extend much farther east. The neighborhoods served by the new NSJH were Cloverleaf, which was a farming community, and the new neighborhood of Home-Owned Estates, where the post-war baby boomers were moving to escape the big city of Houston. Both communities were just north of US Highway 73 (later to become I-10) and extended from the highway to the school - approximately 2 miles from north to south and from Green's Bayou to Carpenter's Bayou.

    After completing the ninth grade at North Shore Middle School, students were bussed to Galena Park High School. As the community grew, plans were being developed for a North Shore Senior High School. Construction began on the first phase of the new school, and 1964 produces the first graduating class. In 1967-68, NSJH changed its school colors from maroon and white to scarlet and white to match the high school. Changing the school colors necessitated changes in the alma mater. The 67-68 school year also brought the addition of a third wing and girl's gym to the NSJH campus.

    Throughout the 70's, as the community continued to grow, the school district was looking for ways to address the rapid growth of the area. By 1979, plans were underway for a new middle school off Wallisville (W.C. Cunningham Middle School named for a former superintendent of GPISD) and Kenneth Tice Elementary (named for a school board member who died in a boating accident) opened. 1979 saw one more major change for GPISD; the ninth grade moved to the newly enlarged high school and the sixth grade moved from each elementary school to what would now be called North Shore Middle School.

    In 1983 after serving 27 years as the only principal of NSJH/NSMS, Mr. Robert Cloud retired and was replaced by Raymond Kilgo, who came to North Shore in the early 60's as a coach and later Assistant Principal. Mr. Kilgo served until his retirement in December 1998 when Paul Drexler arrived. Mr. Drexler was principal until 2014 and Mr. Brett Lalor took over for two years after Mr. Drexler moved on to Administration. Mr. James Cline, a graduate of Galena Park ISD, is now the principal.

    In the early 90's growth in the community would again have profound effects on NSMS. Actually, the change was precipitated by the fact that the high school was bursting at the seams - literally and figuratively. It was decided that it would cost $12 million to build a new middle school and $20 million to build a new high school. So, plans began for a new middle school campus and allow the high school to overflow into the old building that was just across the parking lot. Somewhere in the planning stage, it was decided that a new high school would still need to be built. The plan was for a four-year high school to be built where the current senior-high is located. The new school would be called Woodforest High School. It was suggested that the new middle school (not yet completed) should become Woodforest Middle School. The old NSMS would cease to exist until such a time that a new middle school would need to open in the old (1956) building. In a very emotional faculty meeting, Mr. Kilgo presented the proposal to the faculty. Central office had even talked about mascots and school colors. Many of the staff were afraid that a decision had already been made and that voting was a mere formality. They didn't want to be the "Woodforest Woodpeckers" (not the name that was suggested) and they didn't want NSMS to cease to exist. The vote was unanimous to keep the name North Shore, with the added idea that if the name must be changed, it should become Robert L. Cloud Middle School. They were told that board policy prevented them from naming buildings after individuals. This all happened near the end of the school year and the faculty never heard how the board reacted to the vote. The entire summer teachers drove by the construction site on Castlegory to check out the progress of the building and look for a sign. One day a red and white flag with the letters NS appeared on top of the cupola...the staff had won! In March of 1994 students and faculty moved into the new North Shore Middle School facility.

    So, why was it so important to keep the name and for North Shore Middle School to continue? Well, part of it had to be plain sentimentality; many had taught here for several years, many attended school here, some met their spouses here, many wanted their kids to attend the same school they had attended. They also wanted to honor the tradition of excellence that had been established here. Not only have the sports teams excelled, the music and drama programs are exceptional, and science and history fairs have been so awesome, rumor has it, that San Jacinto College stopped holding the fairs because other schools refused to participate because NSMS won the majority of the awards. Also, in the late 80's we were a National Blue Ribbon School. The trophy cases at the old campus were overflowing! The faculty piloted teaming, block scheduling, and the computer gradebook for the district, just to mention a few. Many members of the faculty have served on committees and projects at the district and state levels.

    Sometime in the early 90's, the slogan "Home of Champions" was adopted by the staff. And what makes us champions? Part of it comes from great kids and parents; but part of it also comes from the dedication and determination of the staff to draw potential from every child.

    Now, today's faculty and staff strive to uphold the traditions of excellence and incorporate the district's vision of providing a 21st century-level education to the students of NSMS.

    Researched and written by Jeri Davis
    Long-time teacher at NSMS