World War 1

During World War 1, 29 U-High graduates servied with the armed forces; 3 women graduates served with the Red Cross.

Alice Orme Smith
Alice Orme Smith

Alice Orme Smith, class of 1907, served as a nurse with the American, British, and French forces during World War I from May 1917 until February 1919.

WW1 hospital

Recounting details of her service at the Battle of Château Thierry (June 3-4, 2018), Smith said that “Wounded from …were being sent to Paris with only their first aid dressings. Everybody was put to work, American Red Cross workers, even American civilians lent a hand. There were two or three air raids every night, and the screams of the sirens and the noise of the anti-aircraft guns added to the confusion.”

Smith died in Fairfield, CT on April 4, 1980 at the age of 91. She is buried in the Orme-Smith family plot at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington.

-McLean County History Museum

Lieutenant Louis Eddy Davis

Lieutenant Louis Eddy Davis
attended U-High in 1909-1910. He joined the aviation corps in 1917 and later died in an aeroplane accident at Ellington Field. His great-grandfather was Jesse Fell, ISNU’s founder.

Louis E. Davis
ISSCS students begin attending

Students from the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS) would attend U-High through 1979.

Girls athletics

By 1919, the Girls Athletic Association, supervised by a teacher, was responsible for organizing girls athletic opportunities.

During the 1919-1920 school year, girls participated in a number of sports including boxing, tennis, hockey, gymnastics, basketball and baseball.

Girls boxing
1919 girls hockey

In hockey (pictured above), the upper classmen defeated the freshman, then went on to defeat the Wrights, a university team, 1-0.

In basketball, the upperclassmen defeated the freshman, but later lost the ISNU championship, losing to the Wrightonians 11-8.

Girls were given points for practices and efforts and if they accrued enough points they received a “U”. Additionally, 600 points earned them a green and gold chenille numberal; 1600 points gained them a blue and white Chenille with the letters G.A.A.

Girls athletic awards, 1919
Boxing planned at U-High
March 12, 1920

U-High plans to afford the male student body an opportunity to study boxing under the same teaching methods used in the army, according to The Daily Pantagraph.

“Private battling has already taught a number of the students some good points, and a boxing team of no small ability could be developed in the Green and Gold school without a great deal of difficulty.”

First annual cross country meet

Sponsored by the Daily Pantagraph; won by U-High.

Girls Debate forms
Thalian, 1922

Eager to prove they could out-argue the boys, U-High girls finally established their own debate team, Thalian, in 1922, under the direction of teacher Thomas Barger.

Battle for the McCormick Cup begins
Thalian debate

From 1923-1956, the two groups of debaters competed for the Cup, battling over questions such as “whether the voting age should be raised from 21 to 24”, and “the U.S. government should provide a complete system of medical care to all” (1946). Thalian won the cup a majority of the time.

First Awards Day

The first Awards Day was held to celebrate achievements in sports. Since then, many other awards have been established.

The first One-Acts
One Acts, 1925

The first mention of “One Act Plays” was in 1925-26. During that year, students put on three one acts: The Trysting Place, a comedy, Two Crooks and a Lady, a melodrama, and The Birthday of Infante, a tragedy. The plays were directed by Miss Louise Stephens, a drama teacher at ISU.

The first Orchestra
1927 Orchestra

That fall, several freshman who had played in the lower grade orchestra re-organized as a freshman orchestra. In the spring of 1928, they opened up the organization to the whole school and the U-High Orchestra was underway.

U-High crest adopted

With its shield, cog wheel and lamp of knowledge, the crest was adopted in a school-wide vote. The cog wheel is meant to symbolize cooperation, while the lamp represents the continual quest for knowledge.

The Clarion Yearbook
The Clarion, 1929

Prior to getting its own yearbook, U-High had some mention- and at times, sections- in the ISNU yearbook, The Index, as far back as 1892.

The first Clarion staff

“It is June, 1939. A typical University graduation day program is in progress [including] a UHS reunion of the class of ’29. Who should we see alighting from his air-flivver than that old heart-breaker, Kenneth Stephens! By his side, as of old, trips the star of the outfit, Fern Basting.”

Reflections from the Magic Mirror, 1929 Clarion