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West Aurora High School Celebrates 150 Years of Excellence

WEST AURORA HIGH SCHOOL CELEBRATES 150 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE!

Join Us for a Night to Remember!

Staff, Alumni, Community Members, and Supporters of West Aurora

SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 2019 @ 6:00PM

PIPERS BANQUETS

1295 BUTTERFIELD RD

BLACK TIE OPTIONAL

$75 PER TICKET

(Includes dinner, open bar, and dancing)

GET YOUR TICKETS BEFORE THEY ARE SOLD OUT!

Call Erica Kegarise for any questions @ 630.301.5517

September, 1868: Concurrent with the arrival of Frank Haven Hall as superintendent of School District 129, the first high school classes were held on the third floor of Old Stone School (the site of the current Todd Early Childhood Center). At that time, lower grades were taught on the first floor of the building.  

June, 1870: The first west side high school class, comprised of 5 students, graduated.

June, 1884: Fire destroyed the Old Stone School building. It was quickly rebuilt on the same site and was renamed Oak Street School. The high school was located on the second floor.

November 18, 1893: The first football game between East and West Aurora was played on Hurd’s Island. The rivalry has continued over the years, becoming the oldest high school football rivalry in the state. On October 12, 2018, the 126th game was played. 

September 1906:  In response to overcrowding, a separate facility for high school students was constructed on the corner of Galena and Blackhawk streets. Including the principal, the new school had 7 teachers. Courses offered were English, Science, History, Drawing, Mathematics, Latin and Commercial.

1920-1940: As the city grew on the west side, so did the mission and offerings of the high school. The West High Band formed in 1920. Appreciation of culture and the arts flourished, attested to by the commission, in the 1930s, of a massive WPA mural tracing the history of alphabetic writing from antiquity to modern times. In the late 1930s, the curriculum was organized into 4 general divisions: college preparatory, commercial, vocational and general.

  •  In 1936, West students voted to adopt the nickname “Blackhawk” for all athletic teams, in honor of the much-admired Native American Sac and Fox tribal leader who had lived in northern Illinois more than 100 years earlier.

September, 1953: Due to post-World War II growth on the city’s west side, a new high school was built on farmland just north of New York Street at LeGrande, which surrounded the athletic field constructed in 1926. This is the site of the present school. The initial enrollment of the 10th, 11th and 12th grades was around 600.  Within the former high school building on Blackhawk Street, West Aurora Junior High School was created for grades 7, 8 and 9 (in 1958 it was re-named Benjamin Franklin Junior High School). 

1960'sMajor additions to the high school were made in 1961 and 1966. They included the auditorium, classrooms and a field house.

1977-1981: To handle the anticipated enrollment growth in the district, an additional campus for the high school and Franklin Junior High School was built on farmland just west of Randall Road at Sullivan Road. However, the population growth did not materialize, due to an economic recession, and the high school students were re-integrated into the 1953 building on New York Street.  The North Campus building was later sold to the State of Illinois and become the Illinois Math and Science Academy.

1997-2004: The high school continued to grow and achieve in many academic, arts and athletic arenas. As a result, major additions to the building and facilities took place following successful referenda in 1997 and 2004. Classrooms, administrative offices, a new library, a field house, an expanded cafeteria, and music rooms were added. The school embraced social diversity as one of its greatest strengths and added a multitude of clubs and programs to capitalize on that. West High athletic teams achieved many conferences, regional and state honors, and numerous individual athletes became state finalists. The team highlight was winning the boy's state basketball championship in 2000. 

April, 2015: The District 129 community overwhelmingly approved an $84 million bond referendum that benefitted virtually every school in the district. To improve the learning environment for the roughly 3,700 students at the high school, classrooms were updated, the Veterans Fieldhouse was built, and state of the art geothermal heating and cooling was installed throughout. West Aurora is now one of the largest high schools under one roof in the state of Illinois. 

 

2018-19: West Aurora High School celebrates its 150th anniversary with great pride in the achievements of its students, faculty, and administration, and with great appreciation to the community for continued support of academic excellence in the Aurora area.  

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CONTACT:

 

Erica Kegarise

Assistant Principal, West Aurora High

O: 630.301.5517

ekegarise@sd129.org