U-High provides 27,626 hours of teaching experiences

ISU teaching students observe 10,590 hours of classes, and at the same time, gain over 17,036 hours of clinical experiences in U-High classrooms

U-High serves as a pilot school for the Illinois Virtual High School

8 students enrolled in online courses and one instructor, Jim Kinsella, taught in the initiative which was launched by Gov. George Ryan.

Principal Gary O’Malley said that “as a lab school, U-High has a responsibility to provide the next generation of teachers a variety of strategies for delivering instruction”. Read more…

Volleyball coach Char Lehnen wins 300th game
Char Lehnen

The win came on senior night over Pontiac. Lehnen’s record includes her time as coach at Riverton (where she won a state championship in 1983), and a 214-24 record as the U-High head coach.

Senior Jeff Holbrook named principal trumpet for Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra
Jeff Holbrook

Holbrook was also admitted to the Juilliard School beginning in the fall of 2002.

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Students react to World Trade Center attack
September 2001
Students fixate on the classroom television news on 9/11.

“As news of the disaster spread, disbelief quickly turning into shock…soon, lesson plans were forgotten and televisions in classrooms were tuned to coverage of the attack.”

Students in Teacher Jim Kinsella’s AP class voiced sadness and anger, as well as confusion over what would come next.

Pioneer Palooza notable as spawning ground for future musical success
Nick Africano
Nick Africano, singer and guitarist for Pure Blue, performs at Pioneer Palooza.

Students Nick Africano, Dan Hubbard and Andrew Heissler (Pokey LaFarge), who all performed at the annual event, would later go on to make music professionally. On this night in 2001, Hubbard and Africano played with their band “Pure Blue”.

Nnamani named national volleyball player of the year
Ogonna Nnamani

Star volleyball player Ogonna Nnamani is named the Gatorade National Player of the Year after leading U-High to state championships in 1999 and 2000. She also maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA off the court.

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Emily Riehl named top-20 student in USA Today’s High School Academic First Team 2002. Emily also received a $50,000 scholarship for placing third in the Intel Science Talent Search.
First “Mr. U-High” held in honor of Troy Hari
students dancing
Competitors Eric Palomino, David Stites and Nels Pederson show their moves during the opening act of Mr. U-High, 2003.

The fun and raucous annual event, features dancing, music and other events designed to let contestants strut their stuff- but also to raise money in honor of U-High student Troy Hari who died in 2003. The event has raised over $75k to this point for home-building in Haiti.

Live skits out, pre-recorded skits in for Class Night

Students are not happy with the changes, and administrators have not been happy with live skits “crossing the line” of good taste.

news article
The Daily Pantagraph, 6/14/2003

A year later, Ashlee Pistorius scored her 228th high school career soccer goal, a state of Illinois record. She was later named an All-American for Parade Magazine.

Students begin using Blackboard, expand participation in Virtual High School
Fall 2004

Early adopters of the power of online learning, U-High teachers begin creating lessons and content online using the Blackboard platform. These “hybrid” courses become a staple of U-High in the 21st century.

Additionally, up to 75 students are taking one or more courses completely online through Illinois’ Virtual High School.

Golden named Pantagraph Athlete of the Year
Chandra Golden
Chandra Golden receives a hug from fellow finalist Bekah Clay at the Pantagraph Award banquet.

Chandra led the Pioneers to the Class A State Track title, defending her crown in the 100-meter hurdles, and running in the record-setting 400 meter relay. Golden went on to attend Eastern Illinois.

Basketball coach Cal Hubbard celebrates 500th victory
January 2006
Cal Hubbard

With his wife Vivian, and his sons Neal, Nathan and Seth in attendance, Cal Hubbard picked up his 500th career victory as the Pioneers defeated Rantoul, 44-35.

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Long-time faculty Neuleib, Scott retire
Spring 2007

Bob Neuleib, who had taught at U-High since 1975, did much to advance the speech and debate programs at U-High. Peggy Scott, who had taught at U-High since 1974, was an exemplary social science teacher who dedicated additional time to U-High activities.

Vocational Arts area transformed into Engineering and Technology Center
tech lab
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A generous donation from alumnus John L. Wroan III enabled the redesign which was designed to match the new instructional programs being offered in technology, architecture, drafting and biotechnology. New equipment was also purchased to provide students with practical experience in designing and manufacturing specific products.

Laptops installed in 4 classrooms
Fall 2007
computer picture

Computer labs and math classrooms converted to laptop labs. In AP Calculus, students use computer tablets and pens which makes math on computers that much easier. Over in AP English, students use laptops for research and writing.

Each classroom is equipped with 26 laptops, enough for every student in class; teachers participated in professional development over the summer in preparation.

Teacher Tom Holbrook receives Presidential Award for Excellence in math and science
May 2008
Tom Holbrook

Holbrook earned a $10,000 award and a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with members of congress and federal agencies, as well as a reception at the U.S. Department of State.

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Birth of a new tradition: The Freshman Greek Olympics
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Since 2008, every student entering U-High has taken part in the chariot races, greek gourmet relay, javelin throw and other events that make up the Greek Olympics, held annually in the gym just prior to thanksgiving break.

The freshman teachers at the time, Char Lehnen, Kate Pole, Amy Reiman, Brian Conant, Karen Travis and Steve Evans, were trying to figure out a culmination activity for learning taking place in multiple disciplines related to Greek history and mythology. When Evans suggested a “Greek Olympics”, intern Maggy Gleason (now Proctor) set about researching and developing potential activities, and the first Olympics took place. It was, according to Proctor, ” a total disaster, as students were racing around the gym while taking each other out with jump ropes”.

Since then, the Olympics has evolved to include activities that are athletic, academic and collaborative, and- for many U-High graduates- memorable.

2008-2009 dedication of the renovated Industrial Technology Area. John Wroan, left, and ISU President Al Bowman hold the plaque.
Renovation of Stroud Auditorium begins
Summer, 2009

Old seats were taken out, carpet was stripped away, catwalks were installed, new sound equipment was purchased and improvements to the stage were made. The work was completed in the winter of 2011.

The renovated Auditorium was christened with a production of “The Phantom of the Opera” in the spring of 2011.

New cell phone policy
Fall, 2009
cell phone

New cell phone policy
U-High’s new cell phone policy goes into effect, for the first time allowing students to use the devices while at school, though only in the hallways.