Highland Park High School (Highland Park, Illinois)

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Highland Park High School
Highland Park High School (Highland Park, Illinois) (crest).jpg
433 Vine Avenue


Coordinates42°11′36″N 87°48′06″W / 42.19343°N 87.80158°W / 42.19343; -87.80158Coordinates: 42°11′36″N 87°48′06″W / 42.19343°N 87.80158°W / 42.19343; -87.80158
School districtTownship High School District 113
SuperintendentBenjamin Martindale & Linda Yonke interim co-superintendents
CEEB code142275
PrincipalDeborah Finn
Teaching staff145.50 (FTE)
Enrollment2,040[1] (2016-17)
Student to teacher ratio10.63
Campus sizelarge
School colour(s)     Blue
Athletics conferenceCentral Suburban League
Team nameGiants
YearbookLittle Giant
Highland Park High School (Highland Park, Illinois), USA - June 2014.jpg

Highland Park High School (HPHS) is a public four-year high school located in Highland Park, Illinois, a North Shore suburb of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. It is part of Township High School District 113. Prior to the 1949–50 school year, the school was known as Deerfield-Shields High School.


For a period of approximately fourteen years following Highland Park High School's establishment in 1886, classes were held in the rooms over the Brand Brothers paint shop in downtown Highland Park. It has occupied the present site on Vine Avenue since 1900. Over the course of time, however, several additions have been constructed. In 2000, HPHS and its sister school, Deerfield High School underwent a two-year, $75 million renovation and expansion project. HPHS received several new additions and renovations with 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2) renovated and 77,000 square feet (7,200 m2) added. The additions and renovations were designed by Legat Architects and executed by VACALA Construction, Inc.[10]


In 2013, Highland Park had an average composite ACT score of 25.2, and graduated 90.5% of its senior class. Highland Park has not made Adequate Yearly Progress on the Prairie State Achievement Examination, a state test part of the No Child Left Behind Act.[11]

Highland Park High School has a number of non native-English speaking students and a relatively diverse student population of 80% white, 15% Hispanic, 3% Asian and 2% African American.[12]

Student life[edit]


School Sports logo

Highland Park competes in the Central Suburban League and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) which governs most of the sports and competitive activities in the state. Its mascot is the Giants.

The school sponsors interscholastic sports teams for young men and women in basketball, cross country, gymnastics, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, wrestling and water polo. Young men may also compete in baseball, golf, football, and Scholastic wrestling. Women may compete in softball. While not sponsored by the IHSA, the school also sponsors teams for men and women in lacrosse in addition to an ice hockey team for men. Highland Park also sponsors a joint fencing team with Deerfield High School for men and women.[13]

The following teams have won their respective IHSA sponsored state championship tournament:[14]

  • Cross country (Boys): State Champions (1961–62)
  • Golf (Boys): State Champions (1939–40, 1947–48, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1958–59)
  • Tennis (Boys): State Champions (1972–73)


Highland Park offers 64 clubs, activities, and intramurals for students.[15] Among these activities are chapters or affiliates of several nationally notable organizations: Amnesty International, Congressional Debate, DECA, FIRST Tech Challenge, Key Club, and Model UN.[16]

The repertoire of the drama department includes two plays and one musical each year in addition to an all original student musical called STUNTS, which is entirely directed, choreographed, produced by students, and a "Short Play" festival, directed entirely by students. Past performances include renditions of Metamorphoses, Cats, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Laramie Project, Les Misérables, Fiddler on the Roof, Urinetown, Beauty and the Beast, and Evita. During the 2005–2006 and 2011–2012 school years, the play On Stars Not Falling (written by one of Highland Park's acting teachers) was selected to be performed at the Illinois High School Theatre Festival.

Focus on the Arts is a biennial event that brings artists to Highland Park High School to share their passion with its students. Over three days, world-renowned artists come to the high school to showcase their talents and encourage students to explore the arts themselves. The mediums of music, visual arts, dance, creative writing, media and theater are represented. Presentations on sports media, improvisation theater, and creative writing are particularly popular. Students at Highland Park High School program their own schedule so they attend activities they wish to attend. Three regularly scheduled academic classes occur for each day that is missed for Focus events. Focus is funded from a variety of resources including but not limited to grants, private donations, and allowances. All events are free to the students, faculty, staff, and the community at large.[citation needed]

In 2005, Focus celebrated its 20th biennial. In celebration, the Highland Park High School Chorus and Orchestra collaborated with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to perform opera choruses for the opening night celebration, which was conducted by Duain Wolfe, Director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus.[citation needed]

The following competitive teams have won their respective IHSA sponsored state championship tournament:[14]

  • Drama: State Champions (1977–78)
  • Group Interpretation: State Champions (1979–80)

The following clubs have scored championships in non-IHSA sanctioned events:

  • Congressional Debate: 1st Place Harvard National Congress (2006, 2009)[17]
  • Wind Symphony: Gold Medal Young Prague International Music Festival (2012)[18]


Each year students at HPHS mobilize to support a charity that they vote to support for all of February. This month-long event is known as "Charity Drive" and is orchestrated by the Charity Drive Committee, one of the subdivisions of the school-wide political Student Senate. Recent charities have included Children's Neuroblastoma, Cancer Foundation (2006), Hope for Huntingtons (2007), CURED (2008), and Foundation for Retinal Research (2009). The school regularly raises more than $100,000, including $247,000 raised in 2008 and $165,000 in 2009. An anonymous benefactor matched the donations of the school in 2008 and 2009.

In media[edit]

In 1983, Harvard sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot wrote The Good High School: Portraits of Character and Culture, which delved into the culture of American high schools as it related to the development of ethical conduct. Highland Park High School was one of two suburban schools profiled, in the chapter titled Highland Park High School: Hierarchies, Ambition, and Stress.[19] While praising the school for its high academic achievement, Lawrence-Lightfoot noted that ideas like ethics and character were not emphasized as a part of the day-to-day working of the school. This point is brought up in a profile of HPHS alum Stephen Glass in Handbook of Frauds, Scams, and Swindles: Failures of Ethics in Leadership, in which Lawrence-Lightfoot's profile of the school is summed up as:

(Lawrence-Lightfoot) was impressed with the school's stunning academic programs, but noted that values such as character and morality were sometimes little more than brushstrokes against the relentlessness of achievement.[20]

During the 1999–2000 school year, Fox Television crews "invaded" the high school after it was selected by documentary filmmaker R. J. Cutler to be the setting for his new reality television series. His intent was to accurately portray the intricacies of the lives of a handful of typical high school students. Two crews covered up to eight students each. From August to June, they shot three weeks out of every month, wherever the "cast" led them. That included their homes, on dates, and to parties. Cutler recalls:

There were plenty of situations where it was necessary to exercise our discretion as grown-ups and human beings, but our principal objective was to observe and tell the truth as much as possible. I think we did that...but you always develop a personal relationship with your subjects. You do try to keep on a certain side of the line.

The end product was American High, the critically acclaimed but poorly rated television series that lasted only four episodes on the Fox Network. The show was subsequently picked up by PBS, and the remaining ten episodes were finally aired. The show went on to win an Emmy Award in 2001 for Outstanding Nonfiction Program.[21]

Girls basketball controversy[edit]

The school made national news in May 2010 when administrators denied a girls' basketball team's trip to Arizona, ostensibly out of concern for the safety of the students was infringed by the recently passed Arizona SB1070 anti-illegal immigration law. Some parents have responded that the students were being used as political pawns and called it a "knee-jerk reaction". Critics cited further as evidence that the incident was politically motivated the statement by the assistant superintendent that the trip to Arizona would not be "in agreement with the school system's values and beliefs."[22] American Openings, a Tucson-based company has offered to bring the girls to Arizona, all expenses paid, to play in spite of the maneuver.[23] On national TV, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin challenged: "Them are fightin’ words when you say a girl can’t play in the basketball tournament … for political reasons … so we’re going to see about that."[24] While the team cancelled the trip, it was rescheduled for the girls to go to Disney world for another tournament.

Notable people[edit]

Academia and letters[edit]

The arts[edit]






  1. ^ "Highland Park High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  2. ^ http://www.dist113.org/Sup.asp
  3. ^ "Home". dist113.org. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  4. ^ "Home". dist113.org. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  5. ^ http://www.dist113.org/public/HPHSRC.pdf
  6. ^ "Page Not Found". ihsa.org. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  7. ^ "Home". dist113.org. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  8. ^ "Highland Park High School in HIGHLAND PARK, IL - Best High Schools - US News". usnews.com. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for Highland Park High School". ed.gov. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "ACROSS THE NATION". asumag.com. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  11. ^ "2013 Illinois School Report Card for HPHS; accessed December 21, 2013" (PDF). isbe.net. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  12. ^ "Student Teacher Ratio Highland Park High School - Highland Park, Illinois - IL". greatschools.net. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  13. ^ "Home". dist113.org. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c "Page Not Found". ihsa.org. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  15. ^ "Home". dist113.org. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  16. ^ "Home". dist113.org. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  17. ^ Harvard Debate Tournament; accessed January 1, 2010
  18. ^ Gibson, Gloria (April 12, 2012). "HPHS Band Awarded Gold". TribLocal. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  19. ^ Lawrence-Lightfoot, Sara; The Good High School: Portraits of Character and Culture, 1983; p. 121; accessed May 10, 2009
  20. ^ a b Matulich, Serge (ed) and Currie, David M. (ed); Handbook of Frauds, Scams, and Swindles: Failures of Ethics in Leadership; CRC Press; pp. 10–11; accessed May 10, 2009
  21. ^ "PBS - American High: Behind the Scenes". pbs.org. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  22. ^ "Parents: School trip to AZ canceled over politics". WLS-TV. May 13, 2010. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  23. ^ "Arizona company: We'll pay for them to play". Chicago Tribune. May 15, 2010.
  24. ^ "Sarah Palin: 'Fightin' words' when Highland Park cancels team's trip to Ariz. tournament". Chicago Sun-Times. May 12, 2010. Archived from the original on May 16, 2010.
  25. ^ a b c Henkle, Doug. "Highland Park High School (IL), Class of 1959". Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g "Distinguished Alumni - All Items". dist113.org. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  27. ^ "Astronaut Bio: John Grunsfeld (02/2012)". Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  28. ^ Michael Addison. "Highland Park High School (IL), Class of 1959 (Official Website)". Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  29. ^ Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Vol. 50, No. 294, p.119 Author: Walter S. Adams
  30. ^ Wilson, James J.J. (August 31, 2012). "Sci-fi group honors Highland Park High alum". Highland Park News. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  31. ^ "From Highland Park to 'House of Cards'". Chicago Tribune.
  32. ^ "Brett Gelman, Writer, Comedian, and Actor". Gothamist. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016.
  33. ^ https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0505152/
  34. ^ "From Highland Park to Washington". Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  35. ^ Sadin, Steve (March 17, 2019). "Paul Adams, legendary Deerfield football coach, dies at 82". Deerfield Review. Pioneer Press. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  36. ^ Jerry Wainwright biography; depaulbluedemons.com; accessed July 16, 2009
  37. ^ "USATODAY.com - DePaul hires Richmond coach Jerry Wainwright". usatoday.com. Retrieved March 20, 2015.

External links[edit]