A History of Northgate


An overview of Northgate High School

Jacob Byrom, Staff Writer

The history of Northgate is not very well known by the student body, but there are only a few bits and pieces that some people remember. The most known is obviously the ghost sightings and the ghost story. However there is a lot more, so Ms. Lumme, our school registrar, was happy to deliver. 

Lumme says the school was built in 1995, however it started as a middle school. Before the school was finished, the 6th graders were housed in mobile units at White Oak Elementary. The 7th and 8th graders were also in mobile units at Arnall Middle School. Northgate finally was finished and opened in January 1996 with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders excited to walk into Northgate. In the fall of 1996, there were ninth graders added to the school, so the ninth graders who graduated that year were the first graduating class of the year 2000. 

The current Northgate faculty has a few familiar faces from the original roster. Ms. Lumme stated that many of the teachers those first few years have either moved or have now retired, but she, along with Mr. Armstrong, Mrs. Collins, Mrs. Vansant, Mr. Almand, Mr. Skinner, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Henderson, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Pitts, and Mrs. Hutcheson  were some of the first staff and teachers for those first few years.

Northgate’s first principal, Mr. Wayne Outlaw, is the one who picked the school’s name, mascot, and colors. He also wrote our school’s alma mater or anthem. He picked the name because we are located in the northernmost section of the county, and so it is essentially a “gate” for the county. The colors of the school were chosen because he was an Alabama graduate. Lumme could not elaborate on why the choice of a viking for a mascot. 

Ms. Lumme was then asked if she knew if anyone who is now famous or well known worked and or was a student here? She answered that Dr. Horton, our current Coweta County superintendent taught and coached here. She also mentioned that our former Coweta County superintendent Dr. Barker taught government and economics here in 1996 and 1997. Dr. Barker then became an assistant principal. Two other former teachers named Dr. Marc Guy and Mr. Vince Bass are now assistant superintendents of the county. As far as famous students, Ms. Lumme answered saying that Will Smith who is a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, Brandon Facyson who plays for the Los Angeles Chargers, Will Lutz who is a kicker for the New Orleans Saints, and Sayre and Shae Henley who are Nashville recording artists were students who became famous after graduating. 

The final question she was asked is what weird or strange events have occurred at the school. Of course, she mentioned the ghost “interactions or sightings” at the school. Among those unexplained happenings, there is the usual smell of breakfast food like bacon in various places in the school. Then there is the elevator in the ninth grade building moving on its own. However, she then mentioned something that was very intriguing. She mentioned that in the fall of 1996, the police had reason to believe that the body of Shannon Melendi who had disappeared in 1994 may have been buried in the area where our football field is now (the football field was not there yet when they started to dig). Investigators dug for hours, but did not find her body there. Ms. Lumme was there when the investigations started.  It was incredible to watch the news as they looked over the excavation process from the front of the school.