GlenBard High School History
By Geri Beck Dicks ‘53
For the Multi Year Reunion – February, 2003
1862 – Danby School established on Duane Street. First School in Glen Ellyn.
1894 ~ First high school established. One of the rooms was devoted to a “course of advanced study.” This was to be a forerunner of Glenbard West. No funds were available to keep it in session, so it was discontinued after 1 year, graduating 1 class. Finally, Wheaton organized her high school and Glen Ellyn students were sent there on a tuition basis.
1909 ~ Hawthorne and Forest Glen Schools were built.
1915 ~ When Wheaton raised the tuition rates in the fall of 1915, Glen Ellyn residents, through their grammer school board of education, again established as a 2 year school. It was held on second floor of the DuPage County Bank Building (Walgreen’s). Arthur M. Holtzman a graduate of North Central College at Naperville and Miss Erin McMechan were the two teachers.
~ The new school’s football team played its first game with Wheaton’s second string team on November 19. The result was a 20-6 defeat for Glen Ellyn.
1916 ~ The high school was extended to a 4 year high school. A third floor was added to the bank building and the following September, seventeen members of the senior class who had been attending Wheaton High School began their senior year in Glen Ellyn.
1917 ~ The first class was graduated on June 7, 1917. At this time the faculty numbered five teachers and Mr. Holtzman as principal.
1918 ~ Mr. Holtzman, principaql resigned in May to enter military service. He suggest that the board select Fred L. Biester as the new principal. Mr. Biester, a native of Belvidere, Illinois was a graduate of North Central College at Naperville.
1919 ~ In April, state authorities awarded the high school full accrediting.
~ The high school district bought 25 acres on Honeysuckle Hill for $8,000 from Charles R. Raymond. The land had a 500-foot frontage on Cresecent Blvd and included all of the Hill and Lake Ellyn. The high school district turned Lake Ellyn over to the Park District.
~ The school received title to the property in November and on November 7, high school boys who volunteered for the job, began to chop down trees and clear away the growth.
1920 ~ Main Street School was built.
1921 ~ Lombard voted to annex their district to Glen Ellyn, resulting in the name Glenbard Township High School – District #87.
1922 ~ The South end of Lake Ellyn was filled in for a football field and track field.
1923 ~ The building was designed to fit the location by Coolidge and Hodgson, the architects who also planned Chicago’s Art Institute and Public Library.
~ First classes were held on April 19 and the dedication was held on May 15
~ The high school building was built to hold 600 students.
1925 ~ Additions were made to Wagner School and Hawthorne School.
1927 ~ A new addition to Glenbard HS opened.
1928 ~ Glenbard graduated 83 seniors
~ The cornerstone of Ben Franklin School was laid. The original school had opened in 1920 in a portable building at Hill & Taylor. Florence Kroeger was the first principal and served over 29 years.
~ The enrollment at Glenbard HS was 622.
1929 ~ The Junior High School was built.
~ Glenbard had 26 teachers.
1931 ~ The first class with over 100 students graduated (128)
1935 ~ The first class with over 200 students graduated (214)
1937 ~ Fred Biester became President of the Illinois Education Association.
1938 ~ The heavy weight basketball team took sectional honors in March.
~ The A Capella choir, directed by Raymond Carr won first in the sight-reading contest.
~ Glenbard had 40 teachers, 220 seniors and 1123 students.
~ An addition to Glenbard was approved.
~ Solo and Ensemble units competed at Champaign in the National Band contest and returned with 4 – 1st place and 4 – 2nd place awards.
~ Robert MacLeod, ’34, football player at Dartmouth, placed 4th in the Heisman Trophy running. He was later drafted by the former NFL team, the Brooklyn Dodgers but was traded to the Chicago Bears and played for George Halas. WW II ended his football career and he became a fighter pilot for the Marines, serving 5 years in the South Pacific.
1939 ~ The Glenbard band grew from 18 members to nearly 100, under the direction of Orth Baer. Band members won 92 medals at the district, state and national contests.
~ Raymond Carr directed the vocal, piano and orchestra. The Chorister won the National title at Anderson, Indiana
~ The Tennis Team was conference champions.
~ Teacher – Martha Pinney retired.
1940 ~ Glenbard was host to 1200 – 1500 students in competition, sponsored by the Illinois School of Music Association.
~ At the National Music Contest in Springfield, a vocal contestant captured the title and the band won high honors.
1941 ~ The graduating class presented a donation toward financing a school library.
1942 ~ Teachers – Helen Allen, Priscilla Baker, Cornelia Barth, Henry Booher and Ruth Ann Horr retired.
~ The Glenbard chorus sang on WMAQ.
1943 ~ Teacher – Frances Crause retired.
1945 ~ Teacher Pauline Beatty retired.
~ Cpl. Harold Baker was guest of honor at a celebration for liberated prisoners of war. He had been in the Bataan Death March and spent 4 years as a prisoner in the Philippines and Japan.
~ Howard Whitway ’46 won the Illinois National High School Golf Championship.
No one from Glenbard had done it before or has done it since.
1946 ~ The Glenbard Golf Team won 1st place in the Conference Tournament. A one-time occurrence.
1947 ~ The Varsity Basketball team won the DeKalb Tournament.
1948 ~ Teacher – Bea Mae Warth retired.
1949 ~ Teacher – Wesley Gronewald was honored for 25 years of service.
1950 ~ Teacher – Arthur Repke retired.
1952 ~ Glenbard bands had the highest rating in their history.
~ Teacher – Mary Moore retired.
1953 ~ Part of the Grimshaw property at 610 Crescent Blvd., was sold to Glenbard for $19,000. The Biester gym was built on this site.
~ A new addition and landscaping was completed at the cost of $900,000. The school now had 50 classrooms, 3 labs, 10 music practice rooms, a library, a cafeteria and 2 modern shops.
~ Orth Baer was honored for 26 years of service.
1955 ~ The boundaries of Glenbard High School were changed when the voters of Bloomingdale Elementary District #13 voted to de-annex from District #87 and to annex to the North DuPage High School District #108.
~ The Freshman/Sophomore basketball team won the Western Suburban Conference.
~ Fred Biester became President of the Executive Committee of the National Federation of High School Athletics Association.
~ Teacher – Hazel Hegner retired.
1957 ~ Glenbard graduated 365 seniors.
1958 ~ Teachers – Rachel Whitfield and Ruth McMahon retired.
~ Glenbard bands celebrated their 30th anniversary. George Wall, the present director announced Mr. Baer as a special guest conductor.
~ Fred L. Biester, Glenbard District #87 Superintendent, received the honorary degree of Doctor of Education from North Central College. Beloit College awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Law. The district honored him by naming the new Glenbard Gymnasium – THE BIESTER GYM and it was dedicated, December 7.
1959 ~ Teachers – Blanche Aust, Mary Swinney and Evelyn Kittlesby retired.
~ Fred L. Biester was appointed Superintendent of Glenbard High School District #87. Previously he had acted as both Superintendent and Principal. David Miller became Glenbard’s principal.
~ For only the second time in the history of Glenbard, the Cross County team qualified to go to the state meet. They finished in second place
~ Glenbard graduated over 400 seniors.
1960 ~ Teacher – Eleanor Alexander retired.
~ Glenbard East was dedicated on September 18.
1961 ~ Teacher – Raymond Carr retired
~ Glenbard won the District Track Meet. Eleven boys qualified for the State Meet. The Cross Country team won the first state championship in the school’s history and had gone undefeated in everyone of its meets. In the past 3 years, coach C. A. R. Johnson has a state championship and two second place awards.
~ Glenbard had 6 National Merit Scholars among the 551 graduates.
~ Principal David Miller resigned. John Sheahan became the new Principal.
1962 ~ Teachers – Wesley Gronewald, Gladys and William Kronsagen and Ralph Magor retired.
~ Assistant Principal, Ruth McLean retired.
~ A special tribute was given to Raymond Carr for his long service.
~ Fred L. Biester died on March 19.
1963 ~ Teacher – Clyde DeWalt retired.
~ District 87 passed a referendum for minor additions and remodeling for Glenbard West.
~ 9,662 diplomas had been awarded since 1917.
~ Glenbard West earned 6 Superiors and 17 Esc4ellent ratings at the State Music Contest.
~ Glenbard District #87 purchased a site north of Carol Stream for the 3rd High School, which would be known as Glenbard North.
1964 ~ Teachers – Clara Diers, Delpha Patterson and Jane Rathje retired.
~ Glenbard District #87 purchased 44 acres at Park Blvd. and Butterfield Road for Glenbard South.
1965 ~ Teacher and Counselor – Orth Baer retired
~ Teachers – Olene Bergslien, Harold Corrigan, Ruth Ely, Henry Firley, Marie Schuck and Reno Kietzman retired. Band Director George Wall also retired.
~ Leonard Smith became the new Glenbard West band director.
~ Glenbard West Track Team took first place at the District Track Meet.
~ Glenbard West golfers won first in the West Suburban Conference.
~ Former Teacher – Mary Swinney died.
~ Joy Chambers Murphy “50 and husband Dennis Murphy ’49 began foster care of newborn babies. Already the parents of 3 children, through the years they cared for 63 newborns.
1966 ~ Teachers – Lawrence Burnett and Marie Frazier retired.
~ Glenbard West’s sophomore Football Team tied for 1st place in the West Suburban Conference and the Varsity Football team became Conference Champions.
~ The Jaycees named Dr. Dean W. Stoakes, Glenbard Superintendent Citizen of the Year.
~ John F. Scull was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for heroism. The Republic of Vietnam later awarded him the Military Order of Merit and the Gallantry Cross with Palms.
1967 ~ Glenbard West & Glenbard East tied for 1st place in the DuPage County Track meet.
~ Teacher – Elizabeth Snow retired.
1968 ~ Glenbard North opened in August, north of Carol Stream
~ Glenbard West Wrestlers placed 1st and their Basket Ball team won the regional Basket Ball tournament.
~ For the first time since 1939 Glenbard West won the West Suburban Conference Football Championship
~ Teacher – Gertrude Leffingwell retired.
1969 ~ Glenbard West Football Team was undefeated, again winning the West Suburban Conference Championship.
~ The Baseball team won the Conference Championship and 2nd place in the State Summer Championship.
~ The Golf Team and Track Team tied for 1st in Conference play.
~ Former teacher Ralph Magor died
1970 ~ Teachers – Edyth Sinden and George Haas retired.
~ In January an old home on Duane Street was remodeled and decorated for a Student Union for Glenbard West students. In September arson fire destroyed it. Three students were charged with criminal damage to the property.
~ Raymond Carr died.
~ Kent Wilken ’55, starts a business, KENTEC MEDICAL, that specializes in products for neo natal units. Today the company, located in Irvine, CA distributes throughout the US.
1971 ~ Teachers – Marian Hake and John Sheahan retired
~ Glenbard West won the Illinois High School Association Basketball regional tournament and the Junior Varsity Team took 1st place in wrestling. The Sophomore Football Team won the West Suburban Conference Championship.
~ Glenbard West graduated 615 seniors and announced they would have to operate on double shifts due to overcrowding.
1972 ~ Teachers – Jim Cook and Eleanor Dowling retired.
~ Biester Gym was closed because of structure failure in the roof area. Repairs costing over $150,000 were made.
~ Glenbard West Radio Station WGHS began its fourth year by asking for $1500 for equipment and operating expenses.
~ Former teacher Clara Diers died.
1973 ~ Teachers – C.A.R. Johnson and Caecilie Pieper retired.
~ Former teacher Henry Firley died.
~ Glenbard South dedicated
~ An all weather running track was installed at Glenbard West at a cost of $250,000.
~ The football field was raised, adding 25,000 cubic yards of dirt.
~ Glenbard West won the West Suburban Basketball Championship.
1974 ~ Teachers – Leonard Smith and Jane Hill retired.
1975 ~ Vandals cause $30,000 damage to Glenbard West.
~ District $87 sued the 3M Company for $250,000 for the failure of the special track surface, which had been installed at the Glenbard West athletic field. The surface had not lived up to what was promised. In 1978 the District won $187,000 from the supplier.
~ A proposal to construct an indoor swimming pool on the west side of Biester Gym was defeated 2 – 1.
~ The 4 Glenbard High Schools had 8500 students.
1976 ~ Teacher – William Campbell retired.
~ Former teacher Blanche Aust died.
1977 ~ Teachers – Margaret Arnold, Virginia Osborn, Doris Parr, Bernice Pond and Genevieve Thompson retired.
~ Glenbard West’s newspaper – GLENBARD received the George Gallup Award. Forty-two high schools nationwide received the award.
1978 ~ Teachers – Faye Homrighous, Virginia Gannon, Helen McConnell, and Virginia Sliker retired.
~Glenbard West Concert Choir, under the direction of Richard Whitecotton, appeared on WTTW.
1979 ~ Teachers Dorothy Poling and John Horst retired.
~ District #87 adopted a religion policy that instituted silent meditation instead of spoken prayers during school or school affiliated activities.
~ An open house was held at Glenbard West to show the recently remodeled library. The library contained 23,000 books and 150 periodicals.
~ Glenbard West Football team won the West Suburban Conference Championship.
~ Glenbard West had its first boy’s soccer team.
1980 ~ Teachers – Eleanor Arlen and Mary White retired.
~ Former teacher – Wesley Gronewald died.
~ Hoke Smith ’49 became the tenth president of Towson University, Towson, MD> Under his leadership he strengthened the curriculum and standards. Dr. Smith holds a PH.D in political science.
~ Glenbard West won the West Suburban Basketball Championship
~ Glenbard West Girls Cross Country Team took 2nd place in the State Meet.
~ Actor/Director Ted Wass ’70 was the MC for the 10th Anniversary Class Reunion. Ted starred on the TV series SOAP as well as many other TV shows.
~ Teachers – Juanita Anderson and William Johnson retired.
1981 ~ Former Assistant Principal Ruth McLean died
~ Carol Clemeau ’53, former editor of the GLENBARD won the Scribner Crime Novel Award. She was a professor at the College of William & Mary.
~ Teachers – David Billings, Mary Brinkman, Charles Brittan, Donald Pond and Catherine Stewart retired.
Glenbard West Volleyball Team won the State Tournament.
~ Former Band Director Orth Baer died.
1982 ~ Teachers – Eugene DeClark, Jean Devaud, Jan Seidler and Assistant Principal Glen Flansburg retired.
~ Glenbard West Band was selected to play at the Peach Bowl Football Game in Atlanta, Georgia.
1983 ~ Teachers Paul Yeager and Richard Trauscht retired.
~ Former teacher Ruth McMahon died.
~ Glenbard West was used for a location in the movie LUCAS
1985 ~ Former teachers George Dekan and Arthur Repke died.
1986 ~ Teachers – A. Dennis Rudolph and Delores Shue retired.
~ Robert (Bobby) Rahal ’71 won the Indianapolis 500 race.
1987 ~ Teacher Edward Dlugopolski retired
1988 ~ Teacher William Duchon retired.
~ Cal Potts ’37 published the first issue of the GRAYBARD, a newsletter for the “older and graying” alumni.
~ A computer firm, co-founded by Jim Pehta ’65 was sold to Pitney Bowes. Jim’s company focused on developing specialized programs for the US Postal Service work sharing programs. His was the first firm to develop the technology to provide an accurate Zip+4 code and later bar code, for any address in the USA. His company followed with a number of other software programs. The biggest was a program that attached carrier route numbers to address labels. (Now used by over 5,000 major catalogue mailers and magazines.) Since the sale of his company he has been involved as an advisor to the US Postal Service and the National Postal Museum of the Smithsonian.
1989 ~ Teachers – Naida Patterson, Lowell Sims and Richard Stark and Stan Yohe ’48 retired.
1990 ~ Teachers – Marylynn Hemmis, Betty Page and George Paslaski retired.
~ George Wall, former Band Director died.
1991 ~ Dick Nordmeyer, Glenbard West faculty member was elected to the Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
~ Glenbard West and the lives of several students were featured in the Fox movie for TV – YEARBOOK.
~ Dr. Robert Elliott, former Principal of Glenbard West dies.
~ Joe Carlton ’46 published his first novel “OLD FOOL”, using Glen Ellyn as a setting.
1992 ~ A referendum to purchase a site for a 5th Glenbard High School was defeated.
~ Retired teacher Marie Frazier died.
~ Major General Dr. Robert Buethe, Jr. ’56 was Deputy Surgeon General of the US Air Force and headed the MASH units during Desert Storm in Kuwait.
~ The first Glenbard Multi Year Reunion took place at the River Palms Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nevada. The late Bill “Wees” Davis ‘38 chaired it. The reunion was attended by 265 alumni from 20 states and Puerto Rico.
1994 ~ Glenbard west hired 25 new staff members.
~ Glenbard West marching Band participated in the New Years Day Parade in London, England. They also performed a concert with other musical groups at Wembley Grand Hall.
~ Nancy Reno ’81 received world ranking as a beach volleyball player.
~ The second Glenbard Multi Year Reunion took place in Laughlin, Nevada. Cal Potts ’37 took over and organized it after Bill “Wees” Davis ’36 died. 178 alumni attended it from 23 states, including Alaska and Hawaii.
1995 ~ James Covert, Glenbard West Football Coach, resigned after 19 successful years.
1996 ~ Randall Wells, ’60 wrote a book ALONG THE WACCAMAW, A YANKEE DISCOVERS A HOME BY THE RIVER. About one third of the book was about his days growing up in Glen Ellyn.
1997 ~ James Covert, retired Glenbard West Football Coach was inducted into the Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
~ Glenbard holds its 3rd Multi Year Reunion in Laughlin Nevada. Cal Potts ’37 again chaired the event.
~ Joe Carlton ’46 has his latest book published – AS THE BACKS GO TEARING BY. It’s the story of Glenbard’s football teams from the 1920’s – 1959.
1998 ~ Ted Eselgroth ’62 sets up a Glen Ellyn website, including a Glenbard Reunion site.
1999 ~ Former teachers Jane Rathje ’29, Gladys Kronsagen, Marguerite Dye Shue and girls PE teacher
Eleanor Lock Arlen ’39 died.
2000 ~ Cal Potts ’37 retired as GrayBard editor after publishing 52 issues over 12 years.
~ John Adduci ’91 won $125,000 on the TV show WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE.
~ Former teachers Roberta Porter and Helen McConnell died.
~ Gerald (Gerry) Perkins ’40 received the first Studs Terkel Humanities Award.
~ Harvey Diederich ’38 was named to the list of the “100 Most Influential Men in the Growth of Las Vegas.” The list also included Steve Wynn, Frank Sinatra, Del Webb, Elvis Presley, Liberace, Howard Hughes and “Bugsy” Siegel.
~ Glenbard holds its 4th Multi Year Reunion in Laughlin, NV – 306 alumni, spouses and friends attended from 22 states, Puerto Rico and British Columbia. Charlie Rosenthal ’36 took over as Chairman.
~ Reno Kietzman, former Glenbard teacher celebrated his 100th birthday.
2001 ~ Cable TV Station A&E announced they would make a TV movie of the long time friendship of Helen Meyers Clippinger, Mildred Patch Mulligan and Ann Bailey Prichard, all from the class of “18. Julia Roberts is scheduled to narrate the film, which is to be shown on December 2, 2002 at 9 PM EST.
~ Former teachers Reno Kietzman died at the age of 101 and Eleanor Dowling died in Florida at the age of 94.
2002 ~ David McQuillen ’84 made his national debut as a film maker on TV’s Sci Fi channel with a film called EXPOSURE.
~ Former Glenbard Teacher Elizabeth Snow celebrates her 90th birthday.
2003 ~ Glenbard holds its 5th Multi Year Reunion in Laughlin, NV – Charlie Rosenthal ’36 again was chairman, with help from Cal and Sue Makowski Phillips - (’50 and ’52).
The oldest class represented was ’27, the youngest ’65. Nineteen states were represented.
~ Retired Glenbard Teacher Elizabeth (Libby) Snow died.
~ The class of 1953 holds their 50 year reunion at the Holiday Inn, Carol Stream. It was attended by almost 200 alumni and spouses.
~ Cal Potts ’37 publisher of of the GRAYBARD, a newsletter for the “older and graying” alumni and chairman of the 1997 and 2000 Glenbard Multi Year Reunions passed away in Tucson, November 19.
2004 ~ Sam Bodman ’56 was named to be the Secretary of Energy, by President George W. Bush. Sam had been the Deputy Secretary of Commerce. He graduated in 1961 from Cornell University and in 1965 completed his ScD at MIT. For 6 years he served as an Associated Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT.
2006 ~ Glenbard holds its 6th Multi Year Reunion in Laughlin, NV – George Spears ’40 and Geri Beck Dicks ’53 chaired it. It was attended by over 200 alumni and spouses. coming from 20 states. The oldest class was 1934, represented by Helen Hoover DuRocher and the youngest class was 1969, represented by Mark Perrson, son of alumni Marian Potts Persson, ’40.
Listed below are either graduates or people who went to Glenbard.
In most cases I was unable to find the year of graduation or when they attended.
Much of this information came from the Internet.
Ralph Covert, Chicago based singer/songwriter has been writing songs since the age
Laurie Anderson '65 (?) is a performance artist, as well as musician, poet, writer
and visual artist. The Philadelphia Daily News says she is one of the most important
artists of the later 20th century
Sean Hayes - won the Screen Actors Build Award on March 10, 2002 for Outstanding
Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (WILL 7 GRACE)
Bill Ayers - one of the notorious sixties WEATHERMEN. At one time he was on the
FBI's 10 Most Wanted List
Larry Shue - Actor/Playwrite (died in a plane crash at the age of 39)
Gary Sinise -attended Glenbard his freshman year. Well known Actor and Director.
Won an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in FOREST GUMP
Ted Wass ’69 – became a Director and Actor in both movies and on TV. He appeared
as Danny in “Soap” and also appeared on the Johnny Carson show.
This information was taken from the book GLEN ELLYN, A VILLAGE REMEMBERED, THE GRAYBARD, an alumni newsletter no longer in publication, THE STORY OF AN OLD TOWN-GLEN ELLYN, by Ada Douglas Harmon, a history compiled and written by Fred Weiser, ’53, Jean McConochie, ’54 and Lois Schlacks, ’53, The INTERNET, various newspaper clippings and the contributions of alumni. Thanks to all for their help.
If anyone has corrections, changes or additions I can be reached at GranyGeri@aol.com
Geri Beck Dicks ‘53
If anyone would like a copy of this, please email me at GranyGeri@aol.com and I’ll be happy to send one.
Or – if you have something to add, please email the information to me.