School History


M.B. Smiley High School was originally built in 1953 and was a public secondary school on the northeast side of Houston. Also, known as Smiley, the school served grades 9 through 12, and was a part of the North Forest Independent School District. M.B. Smiley was featured in the film Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story, which aired on Lifetime. The school was burned to the ground in 1980 due to arson and a new building was opened in 1984.

In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison damaged our rival Forest Brook High School. There were thoughts of joining the two schools but residents protested concerned that putting the schools together would lead to incidents.  During the 2001-2002 school year, Smiley had approximately 1,600 students but the school’s capacity was 3,125.

Needless to say, May 31, 2003 the awesome Class of 2003 walked across the stage with our heads held high to receive our high school diplomas and we turned out pretty good. Our class has produced successful doctors, lawyers, teachers, pharmacy technicians, entrepreneurs, HR professionals, and police officers just to name a few.

In 2007, Forest Brook High School was vandalized and the district decided to merge the schools until repairs were completed. Smiley was referred to as a “dropout factory” according to Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, it was announced that the two high schools would be consolidated into one at the M.B. Smiley location.

The campus was renamed to North Forest High School.

However, the legacy of M.B. Smiley will forever live in our hearts. 


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