The W.S. Hadley Middle School was named for a man who lived on the West Side for many years. William Spencer Hadley was born in Richland, Iowa, on January 18, 1866. He moved to Beloit in 1876 and attended public schools in Beloit. After finishing his education, he became a school teacher for several years.
In 1901 Mr. Hadley moved to Wichita and was in the banking business in Wichita most of his life. For many years he was president of a bank on the west side and was active in the West Wichita Commercial League. He served as a member of the Board of City Commissioners and was at one time president of the Board of Trustees of Friends University. He maintained a very active interest in Friends University, in the University Friends Church, and in the national affairs of Friends churches.
Hadley School was planned several years ahead of its actual use. The site was purchased from Ernest Clark and Mrs. Florence Davis. It was farm territory at the time, and the farm had been in the Clark family for many years. This site and the site for Bryant Elementary School were bought in cooperation with the Park Department, which owns the area immediately west of the two schools. The Park Department made a large area available to the community for school and park activities.
Leaper and Gilbert, architects, were commissioned to draw the plans and specifications for the building, and the contract was let in January of 1957. The building and site cost approximately $1,400,000. The building has about 103,000 square feet to serve approximately 1,000 pupils.
Hadley Junior High opened in the fall of 1958 with an enrollment of 432. To justify the opening of the school, the boundary line was set two blocks south of Central Avenue. In the fall of 1960 the city annexed Country Acres and Westlink, and by the fall of 1961 the enrollment was 830. The enrollment steadily increased to a peak of 1,423 in 1969. The increased enrollment required the use of portable classrooms, and 16 were placed on the site during the period of expanding pupil population.
The purchase of Madonna High School to serve as a junior high on the west side brought about a revision of boundaries in 1971. This helped to eliminate the need for portables, and they were removed as the pupil population stabilized. Internal revisions have included converting an industrial technology room to two classrooms. School population again increased and by 1995 it approached 1,000 students, necessitating the use of nine portables.
In the fall of 1988, all ninth graders were moved to high schools leaving seventh and eighth graders. In the fall of 1989, all junior high schools became middle schools (6-8). In the past, approximately 400 sixth graders came from Wilbur Middle School each year, for one year only, to relieve their crowded school.
Why Blue Devils? During World War I the Chasseurs Alpins, nicknamed “les Diables Bleus,” were well known French soldiers. They first gained attention when their unique training and alpine knowledge was counted upon to break the stalemate of trench warfare in their native region of the French Alps. Unfortunately the Vosges Campaign in March 1915, failed to alter the status quo even though the Blue Devils won accolades for their courage. However, their distinctive blue uniform with flowing cape and jaunty beret captured public imagination. When the United States entered the war, units of the French Blue Devils toured the country helping raise money in the war effort. Irving Berlin captured their spirit in song describing them as “Strong and active, most attractive . . . those Devils, the Blue Devils of France."
In 1958, as Hadley Middle School was beginning its first year, students and staff members were challenged to select a mascot and school colors. Today little is known of the selection process used back then, but "Blue Devils" has been the recognized mascot since the 1958-59 school year. Our current Blue Devil Logo was developed and donated to Hadley in 2010 by local graphic artisti Dan Harmon of DH Designs.