In 1885, Joplin Senior High School began with just a few students, and in three years diplomas were awarded for the first graduating class. Soon thereafter, as the population of Joplin grew at the turn of the century, so did the number of students graduating annually.
In the early days of public secondary education, not everyone attended high school. However, with the comprehensive high school movement and expanded curriculum offerings in the early 1900s many students persisted with their education.
Following the inception of Joplin Senior High School in 1885, there was one public high school until 1933. However, from 1934 to 1956 Joplin had two public high schools. In addition to the program offered at Joplin Senior High School, Lincoln High School offered African-American students a high school education. In the late 1950s, Lincoln High School students joined up with Joplin Senior High School students and attended school together at the 2104 Indiana Avenue location.
Later, in 1968, Joplin Senior High School split into two high schools, one named Parkwood High School, at 2104 Indiana Avenue, and the other was named Memorial High School, at 310 W. 8th Street. Joplin had two public high schools for the next 17 years until the two schools came back together to form Joplin High School for the 1985-1986 school year and until the present time.
May 22, 2011 Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center were hit by an F5 tornado, which left both buildings in disrepair. JHS grades 11 and 12 attended the converted Shopko building at the mall, grades 9 and 10 went to the previous Memorial High School at 310 West 8th Street, and Franklin Technology Center occupied a converted warehouse at 420 Grand Street.
Learn more about recovery and rebuilding from the May 2011 tornado.
In September of 2014 all three facilities moved back to the new state-of-the art Joplin High School and Franklin Technology Center at 2104 Indiana Avenue and 2220 Indiana Avenue.