Maine East High School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Maine Township High School East)
Jump to: navigation, search
Maine East High School
2601 West Dempster Street
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068
United States
Coordinates 42°02′17″N 87°51′29″W / 42.038°N 87.858°W / 42.038; -87.858Coordinates: 42°02′17″N 87°51′29″W / 42.038°N 87.858°W / 42.038; -87.858
School type public, secondary
Founded 1902
Opened 1929
Status open
School district Maine Twp. H.S. 207
NCES District ID 1724090[1]
Superintendent Dr. Ken Wallace[2]
NCES School ID 172409005030[1]
Principal Michael Pressler[3]
Teaching staff 153.68 (FTE)[1]
Grades 9-12[1]
Gender coed
Enrollment 2,042 (2016-17)
Student to teacher ratio 12.74:1[1]
Campus size 0.08 sq miles
Area 48.21 acres
Campus type suburban[1]
Color(s)      Royal Blue
Slogan Respectful, Responsible, Ready
Song Alma Mater
Athletics conference Central Suburban League[4]
Average ACT scores (2010-11) 20.8[5]
Publication Edge
Newspaper Pioneer
Yearbook Lens
TV/radio station WMTH
The main entrance to Maine East has not changed since it was built in 1929.

Maine East High School, or Maine East, and officially Maine Township High School East, is a public four-year high school located at the corner of Dempster Street and Potter Road in Park Ridge, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, in the United States. It is part of Maine Township High School District 207, which also includes Maine South High School and Maine West High School.

Maine East is best known today for the diversity of its student body. Students attending Maine East hail from several dozen nations on each continent besides Antarctica.

The building itself, constructed in the 1920s, is noted for its distinct Art Deco style.


Maine East was known as Maine Township High School when it was built in 1929 as a replacement for the original Maine Township High School, which itself had been built in 1902. Until 1959, when Maine West High School was built, it was the sole school in the district. The school was built with an indoor rifle shooting range and swimming pool. Over the years, the shooting range was closed and the swimming pool closed with a larger modern pool opened in a new section of the building.

In the early 1920s, Maine Township became the first high school in Illinois to teach courses in automotive repair and telegraphy.[6]

During the Great Depression most of the staff taught without financial compensation, as the district could not afford to meet salaries. As thanks, local merchants provided necessities to the staff free of charge.

In 1936, Maine East's band director, Alexander Harley, along with his wife Frances, founded Maine Music Masters as a way of honoring musicians in the school band. The idea spread, and in 1952, the chapters at individual high schools were incorporated as Modern Music Masters. In 1983, it was renamed Tri-M Music Honor Society. Today, it is the largest international honor society in music education.[7]

In December 1959, student-operated radio station WMTH-FM went on the air. The first broadcast was of a basketball game in the school fieldhouse. The sportscaster students were Harrison Ford and Marshal Seese. Harrison went on to become a major movie star and Marshall went on to be a weather-caster at The Weather Channel.

For a short amount of time, in 1958–1959, there were so many students enrolled in the school (approximately 7,000) that the school day was split into two parts so that half of the population attended in the morning and half in the afternoon. The largest graduating class was the Class of 1970 with just under 1100 students, just prior to the opening of Maine North High School. Prior to that, graduating classes of about 1,000 students were in 1959, just prior to Maine West High School opening, and the Class of 1964, just prior Maine South High School opening. When Maine North High School closed in 1981, a majority of the students from that school were sent to Maine East, with the remainder being sent to Maine West High School and Glenbrook South High School.[citation needed]

Building and grounds[edit]

The Powell Library at UCLA. This building's architecture inspired the design of Maine East HS.

The architecture of the original building was inspired by the architecture of the Powell Library Building at UCLA. The original building was "L" shaped, with a long wing running east–west, parallel to Potter Road. A shorter wing runs north–south, parallel to Dempster Street, with both wings meeting at "the tower" where the main entrance is located. Each of the wings is three stories tall.

The tower is six stories tall, though the higher floors are not in use today because of fire hazard (there is only one narrow staircase granting access to these floors). The fourth floor contains the new heating and air-conditioning systems. The "tower" originally housed the art and music rooms, but since 1960 houses the broadcasting transmitter for WMTH 90.5 FM, the student-operated radio station. Following World War II and up into the late 1960s aviation classes were given with the use of a Link Trainer installed in the tower. The sixth floor also has a balcony on the outside from which there is a distant view, on some days, of the Chicago skyline.

The school has two swimming pools. The newer one is used for physical education classes, and by the interscholastic water polo and swimming & diving teams. The original natatorium, located in the basement, has been shut down due to the need for financially unfeasible repairs, but is kept for its irreplaceable decorative mosaics, which could be damaged with further exposure to water and chemicals.

The school also has a firing range in the basement that was in use when the school opened, as training with firearms was considered essential for young men in the wake of World War I.The firing range was also used for World War II because many people wanted to join the military. Though today used for storage, it is believed to be one of the few non-military academies to still have a usable firing range still on the premises.

On the football / track field there is a memorial for Maine East World War II alumni behind the stadium.

Starting in 1988, the school's ecology club began a cleanup and restoration of a small section of the property which was native savanna.[8] In addition to general cleanup. students began annual buck thorn cutting days.[8] In addition to some endangered species, trees as old as 200 years old were identified.[8]


Maine East is known statewide for its diversity. A large percentage of students are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. Maine East students collectively speak over 54 languages. In all, over 40 nations are represented, mostly from Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and Africa. The school's diversity also extends to religious belief. While Roman Catholic may make up the largest representation, the school has a considerable number of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Evangelical Christians, Protestants, Orthodox and Atheists. Despite the proximity of so many groups that are characterized as having animosity toward each other, Maine East has had virtually no incidents of hate crimes among its students.

This can best be shown in the number of ethnic clubs at the school which promote the cultures of various peoples, as well as giving students of similar background a chance to socialize. Among the clubs currently sponsored are clubs celebrating African-American culture, Assyrian, Chinese, Filipino, Hellenic (Greek), Korean, Mexican, Mongolian, Polish, Serbian, and Vietnamese. There is a South Asian Club which combines both Indian and Pakistani cultures, among others. There is also an all–encompassing International Club which celebrates all cultures and backgrounds.[9]

One of the biggest annual events at the school is the Cultural Diversity Celebration. Held on a Saturday in late winter, the clubs representing these and other aspects of culture present food, art, music, and other performances which represent the diversity of the school's students.

In 2008, 56 in Harmony was published by Laura Matzen, one of the school's art teachers. Part of the artist's master's degree, the book depicts the faces of students on a dark background, with projections of the flag of that student's nation of origin on their face. While attempts were made to depict all 57 nations of origin for the students in 2007, permission could not be secured to photograph one flag.[10]


The rear entrance of the original building. The brick pedestal at lower right is topped by a sundial, dedicated to the school's science department.

The school offers 18 Advanced Placement courses: English Language, English Literature, Biology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Physics (C), Calculus (AB & BC), Statistics, Computer Science (AB), Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, U.S. History, European History, Government and Politics, Economics[disambiguation needed], Music Theory, and Studio Art.[11]

Maine East has also been ranked in the top 1500 of America's public schools (based on the Challenge Index), as reported by Newsweek. In 2009, the school ranked #1192, in 2006, the school ranked #1181.[12]


Maine East High School is active in United States policy debate and hosts a tournament with regional significance to Great Lakes-region high school debaters, as those advancing far enough receive a bid to attend the national Tournament of Champions.[citation needed]

The following teams succeeded in placing in the top four of the IHSA sponsored State Championship Tournament of their respective competitive activity:[13]

  • Debate: State Champions (1971–72, 1979–80, 1980–81)
  • Scholastic Bowl: 4th (1994–95)
  • Speech Sweepstakes: 3rd (1971–72)

Maine East High School is also home to the Park Ridge Rotary Interact Club, founded in 2013. The Interact Club boasts a large amount of student involvement and has led major fundraising and community service initiatives. The Interact Club has conducted service projects on the local and international level. The Interact Club's initiatives have received coverage by numerous media outlets. The Interact Club holds the motto "Service Above Self" and allows students to develop leadership skills through service.[14]


Maine East has competed in the Central Suburban League since 1972. Prior to 1972 the school competed in the West Suburban Conference. The school also competes in state championship tournament series sponsored by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).

The school sponsors interscholastic teams for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and water polo. There are men's teams in baseball, football, and wrestling, while women may also compete in badminton, cheerleading, and softball.[15]

The following teams succeeded in placing in the top four of the IHSA sponsored State Championship Tournament of their respective sport. These also include IHSA recognized finishes by Maine Township High School prior to 1960:[16]

  • Baseball: State Champions (1957–58, 1958–59); 2nd (1948–49)
  • Cross Country (boys): State Champions (1970–71, 1979–80); 2nd place (1947–48); 3rd place (1950–51, 1969–70, 1971–72); 4th place (1955–56)
  • Golf (boys): 2nd place (1949–50)
  • Gymnastics (boys): State Champions (1978–79); 2nd place (1967–68, 1979–80); 3rd place (1966–67)
  • Gymnastics (girls): State Champions (1976–77); 2nd place (1979–80); 3rd place (1977–78); 4th place (1978–79 & 1980–81)
  • Soccer (boys): 2nd place (1975–76)
  • Swimming & Diving (boys): State Champions (1931–32, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1935–36, 1936–37); 3rd place (1937–38, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1953–54, 1954–1955, 1958–59); 4th place (1932–33, 1942–43)
  • Track & Field (boys): State Champions (1940–41, 1945–46); 2nd place (1930–31, 1936–37, 1943–44)
  • Wrestling: 2nd place (1969–70); 4th place (1972–73)

Notable alumni[edit]

Politics and government service[edit]

Melissa Bean, Congresswoman
Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State

Writing and journalism[edit]

The arts[edit]

Harrison Ford, actor




  1. ^ a b c d e f "Maine East High School". Statistical abstract. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). October 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Ken Wallace - Superintendent". Maine Township High School District 207. 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Principal's Newsletter". Maine East High School. 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Park Ridge (Maine East)". School information. Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 20 August 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "2010 Illinois School Report Card - Maine East High School". Statistical abstract. Chicago Tribune. 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Friedlund, Thomas (publishing consultant) (1999), Niles Centennial History, Walsworth Publishing 
  7. ^ History of Tri-M
  8. ^ a b c Cascio, Stefanie (25 October 1995). "KID ECOLOGISTS SAVE SAVANNA MAINE EAST HIGH SCHOOL CLUB WORKS 7 YEARS ON AREA". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. Retrieved 19 August 2009. 
  9. ^ List of non-athletic activities
  10. ^ Bertuca, Tony, Flag portraits capture Maine East's diversity, 21 August 2008, Park Ridge Herald Advocate; accessed 2 September 2008
  11. ^ Course offerings
  12. ^ The Top of the Class The complete list of the 1,500 top U.S. high schools; 8 June 2009; Newsweek; accessed 20 June 2009
  13. ^ Maine East Activity Records at
  14. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Maine East interscholastic sports
  16. ^ Maine East Athletic Records at
  17. ^ Melissa Bean's entry at Washington Post Congressional Database
  18. ^ Hillary Clinton's entry in the Congresspedia
  19. ^ "LIEUTENANT GENERAL GORDON E. FORNELL". biographic sketch. United States Air Force. 1988. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  20. ^ Maine East Alumni Assn
  21. ^ Maine East Alumni Assn
  22. ^ Albert, Judy Gumbo (2008-08-28). "The Battle of Chicago". counterpunch. Archived from the original on 2008-12-25. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  23. ^ Maine East Alumni Assn
  24. ^ Hermann, Brenda (14 December 1992), "Life In A Padded Cell: A Psychotic Boy With A Pet Rat Is Not The Usual Stuff Of Comics", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 21 August 2011, `In comics you're either rich or you're a cult figure,`` explains artist Marc Hempel, creator of ``Gregory,`` the story of a psychotic boy and a pet rat ... Hempel, 35, was born in Evanston and grew up in Park Ridge where he attended Maine East High School. 
  25. ^ Mclellan, Dennis (2008-04-30). "Charles Hillinger; wandering feature writer for The Times told stories of common, colorful people.". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  26. ^ Roy, Jessica (2008-05-02). "Reporter’s oeuvre stretched worldwide". Daily Bruin. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  27. ^ Married But Looking:
  28. ^ Pushcart Prize XXV:
  29. ^ Maine East Alumni Assn
  30. ^ Roz Varon: Live from Maine East
  31. ^ Maine East Alumni Assn
  32. ^ Yearbook photo of "Harry Ford" as a part of the first WMTH radio group
  33. ^ Grahnke, Lon; Settling down with `Sibs': Glenview's Jami Gertz finds happy home on TV; 1 October 1991; Chicago Sun-Times; accessed 20 June 2009
  34. ^ University of Chicago announcement of Clay Eals' tour for his Steve Goodman biography
  35. ^ Biography of Rich Koz at
  36. ^ Jensen, Trevor; Scott Mutter: 1944 - 2008: Photographer mixed images to great effect - Work included Wrigley Field lighted by fans, a forest with parquet floor; 13 March 2008; Chicago Tribune; accessed 20 June 2009
  37. ^ Maine East Alumni Assn
  38. ^ Stanton Cook speaks at Maine's 100th
  39. ^ Steve Smith stats & bio
  40. ^

External links[edit]