Legend has it that the Kickapoo Indians had villages around the Southern edge of the Springfield Plateau. Legend also tells us that the land was good and wild animals were plentiful. The Kickapoo flourished.
It is after these people that the small rural community south of Springfield, Missouri, chose as the name for its school district. Kickapoo R-VII School District was chartered in 1870.
In the late 1950s Kickapoo had two schools; Kickapoo North served as the elementary school while Kickapoo South was the junior high. Older students traveled to nearby Springfield or Nixa for their high school years.
The junior high students moved into a new building in 1960. It retained the name of South Kickapoo School. The new school had twelve classrooms and a multipurpose room.
Times were changing, and running a small school district took its toll on the community. In 1961, the Kickapoo R-VII School District merged with the much larger Springfield R-XII School District. North Kickapoo was renamed Walt Disney Elementary School while South Kickapoo was renamed Kickapoo Junior High School.
As the area grew, need for another elementary school in the area increased. A 1966 addition to the building brought with it elementary students. Kickapoo now housed students in grades K through 8.
Further growth in Springfield's south side dictated the need for a fifth high school. It was decided that the name of the new high school should reflect the area's Native American heritage. The school was named Kickapoo High School The junior high/elementary school would be renamed.
Once again, legend determines a name. Legend says that the Cherokee Indians camped in a field near the present day site of the junior high, during their long, hard journey on the "Trail of Tears." Thus, in 1970, the School Board decided on the name of Cherokee School.
As Springfield has continued to grow, several elementary schools and one middle school have grown out of Cherokee School. In 1994, Springfield Public Schools converted all of the junior highs to middle schools. Shortly after, the elementary students were relocated to a building serving just elementary students. The school was again renamed to it's present name: Cherokee Middle School.
Over the years, Cherokee Middle School has grown and evolved to reflect the needs of our community. Cherokee has seen seven additions to the building. Since becoming a part of Springfield Public Schools, Cherokee has had eight principals to lead the way. Cherokee currently serves 900 students with 60 faculty members. Cherokee Middle School is a great school serving a great community.
Whether the legends are true does not matter, they do explain some of the history around our school. Just as the Kickapoo and Cherokee left their marks on our past, we leave our mark for future generations. With the legends of the past to guide us, we are creating legends for the future.