In the late 1980s, a second high school was needed to reduce overcrowding at Blue Springs High School, but Tim Jones remembers not everyone was happy with the decision to build Blue Springs South.

In the late 1980s, a second high school was needed to reduce overcrowding at Blue Springs High School, but Tim Jones remembers not everyone was happy with the decision to build Blue Springs South.

“People in the district were concerned that opening a new high school might hurt the athletic programs and make them less competitive,” said Jones, a math teacher at South. “Looking back 20 years later at all of the championships both schools have won in various sports and activities, it is almost funny to think that was even a concern. The two schools in my opinion have used the crosstown rivalry to become two of the best schools in the state, both athletically and academically.”

The 2011-12 school year marks the 20th anniversary of Blue Springs South High School. Butler-Dwyer Junior High School was converted into the high school, which opened in 1992. The school opened with just more than 800 students in ninth, 10th and 11th grades. No seniors were in the building that first year. Now, the school has more than 1,300 students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades (9th grade students start at the Blue Springs Freshman Center).

“We are pleased that our community will have a chance to celebrate and remember all the richness of 20 great years as a school,” said Mark Bubalo, activities director at Blue Springs South. “In the grand scheme of things, 20 years isn’t a long time, but it’s amazing the things that have been achieved at South in such a short period. We have a rich history already in academics and community service, and our pride as a school in our activities and sports teams continues to grow. It’s a great year to be a Jaguar.”

A variety of activities are planned to celebrate the school’s anniversary, which will be held in conjunction with homecoming. The homecoming parade, which is at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6, will feature former teachers and administrators. A luncheon hosted by alumni faculty will be Oct. 7. Tours will also be given that day.

“I think the most noticeable change is the facility itself. In 1992, South began in the converted Butler-Dwyer Junior High, and it looked more like an enlarged junior high than a high school,” Bubalo said. “With the renovation of facilities several years ago, Blue Springs South is now a very modern, up-to-date high school facility. Alumni who have not been back for several years will certainly not recognize the place. It is a tremendous change for the better.”

Alumni are encouraged to attend the homecoming game, which is at 7 p.m. against Lee’s Summit High School. There will be special seating sections for former students and faculty. Tours will be given from 5 to 7 p.m., and there will be a small reception for teachers and alumni to get reacquainted. Former members of the Blue Springs South football team will be recognized at halftime. The game will be followed by an alumni event at Clancy’s in Blue Springs.

A grand celebration of the school’s 20th anniversary will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Courtyard Marriott. All alumni, faculty and administration are welcome to attend.

Bubalo said the key now is to get the word out to all alumni to let them know of the anniversary events.

“We need for alumni to go to the website ( and buy their tickets to the reception Saturday night so we know how many to plan for at the Courtyard Marriott,” he said. “We really want to celebrate 20 years of excellence in academics, service and pride, all of which we consider qualities of South since it opened in the fall of 1992.”

Besides Jones, eight of South’s other original teachers remain at the school – Maridella Carter, English; Jill Rogers, Family and Consumer Science; Jan Rush, history; Greg Oder, physical education; Stephanie Ladd, history; Dottie Branch, English and Spanish; Barb Legate, counselor and Scott Poertner, science.

Looking back, Jones said it was exciting to be a part of opening a new school.

“I feel old celebrating the 20th anniversary,” he said. “I started my teaching career at Blue Springs High School in the fall of 1989. It was exciting to have the opportunity to open a new high school and be the first head coach for boys and girls tennis. Looking back, I do have a sense of accomplishment knowing that I was part of helping South become the great place for kids that it is.”