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St. Louis has a rich history in secondary education—one that spans nearly 200 years—but it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that high school became a common experience for St. Louisans. The variety and number of schools over these two centuries has created a breeding ground for unique high school experiences, as well as for the (in)famous St. Louis question: “Where did you go to high school?” This question can be used to foster stereotypes—or it can be used to make connections. It’s up to all of us to decide whether the unique and common experiences shared by St. Louis high schools will connect or divide the city.
In Where Did You Go to High School? you'll be able to view some of the buildings, classes, teachers, traditions, extracurricular activities, and sports that have shaped St. Louis high schools. You'll also be able to reflect on your own high school experiences and, yes, even have an opportunity to answer the St. Louis question.
This exhibit was developed from inception to design by the Teens Make History Exhibitors, a group of high school apprentices employed by the Missouri History Museum. Since May 2015, they've researched at the Library and Research Center, selected images, written exhibit labels, designed the exhibit layout, and planned related programming and social media projects. Their work offers a unique perspective on St. Louis high schools past and present.
Above: Sumner High School, class of 1921. From the collections of the Missouri Historical Society.