Maine West High School

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Maine West High School
1755 South Wolf Road
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
United States
Coordinates 42°01′16″N 87°54′25″W / 42.021°N 87.907°W / 42.021; -87.907Coordinates: 42°01′16″N 87°54′25″W / 42.021°N 87.907°W / 42.021; -87.907
School type public, secondary
Opened 1959
School district Maine Twp. H.S. 207
NCES District ID 1724090[1]
Superintendent Ken Wallace[2]
NCES School ID 172409005032[1]
Principal Audrey J. Haugan[3]
Teaching staff 169.76 (FTE)[1]
Grades 9-12[1]
Gender coed
Enrollment 2310[4] (2011-12)
Average class size 22
Student to teacher ratio 18.6:1[1]
Campus type suburban[1]
Color(s)      Columbia blue
Athletics conference Central Suburban League[5]
Team name Warriors[5]
Average ACT scores (2010-11) 21.4[6]
Publication West Words[7]
Newspaper Westerner
Yearbook Legend
TV/radio station WMTH

Maine West High School, also known as Maine West or MWHS, is a public four-year high school located in Des Plaines, Illinois, a north suburb of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. It is part of Maine Township High School District 207, which also includes Maine East High School and Maine South High School. Maine Township High School West serves most of Des Plaines and a portion of Rosemont.[4]


In 1957, with the population of the district predicted to rise, the school district leadership purchased 73 acres (300,000 m2) of land which had been the location of two truck farms.[8]

While the school was designed to be home to 3,000 students, there was concern about the environment being too large. Thus, the school's design was made with a central core, and three classroom wings, each of which would be its own separate school.[8][9]

While opened in time for the start of the 1959–60 school year, the school was formally dedicated on November 8, 1959.[10]

In 1974, Maine West won a contest to have KISS play at their school. On November 2, 1974, Kiss played in Maine West's auditorium.[citation needed]

On October 31, 1980, five days before the 1980 presidential election, Ronald Reagan appeared at Maine West with actors Cesar Romero and Robert Conrad, giving a 30-minute address to the students and other invited guests.[11]

Campus grounds[edit]

Lobby of the main entrance. The doors on either side of the trophy case lead to the student cafeteria. Beneath the mural on the second floor are the doors which lead to the auditorium.

The floor plan could be compared to a cross, with a rotunda at the center, and several wings extending outward from the rotunda like branches of a cross.

The rotunda, is circled by a corridor on the first and second floor. A staircase connecting the two floors of the rotunda is found in the lobby of the main entrance. In the middle of the first floor is the student cafeteria. On the outside of the first floor rotunda are offices (including the main office) and the faculty cafeteria. The center of the upper floor of the rotunda contains the auditorium.

The main wings of the school, all accessible from the rotunda, are lettered "A", "B", "C", and "E". Each of these wings has two floors containing classrooms, storerooms, and department offices, and ends in a gymnasium. E-wing was the first addition made to the school, and ends in the large spectator gym which is used for many interscholastic contests and school assemblies.[12]

Between C-wing and E-wing is a driveway for bus arrival and departure, called the bus concourse. Across the driveway is the entrance to D-wing the only wing not directly connected to the rotunda.

On the ground floor, between B-wing and C-wing is L-wing, most of which is used for the Tech Center and the Little Theater. This is the shortest of the wings extending from the rotunda. The Teacher Resource Center and the principal's conference room are located in this wing as well. Located directly above L wing on the second floor is the school library, the Learning Resource Center (LRC), which is connected to the Tech Center via staircase.

The most recent addition was H-wing, which is a small passage connecting the first floors of B-wing and C-wing. It has an "L" shape as it wraps around the far end of L-wing. The wing includes additional laboratories, classrooms, storage, and a multipurpose meeting room.

There are four computer labs for student use: the LRC, the Think Tank (located in A-wing), Tutor U (a tutoring center located in the back of the LRC), and the Tech Center.

The basement level of the school, currently a fitness center (nicknamed "The Pit"), was designed to be used as a fallout shelter capable of protecting 1,000 people in the event of a nuclear incident. Additionally, under each of the small gyms, there are crawl spaces which were filled with boxes of crackers, boxes of lemon drops, and also bottles of water that was meant to hold the students if a nuclear attack were to happen. Today, these spaces are used for storage.


In 2008, Maine West had an average composite ACT score of 21.7, and graduated 92.9% of its senior class. Maine West has not made Adequate Yearly Progress on the Prairie State Achievements Examination, which with the ACT comprise the assessment tools used to fulfill the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. While the overall school did achieve their AYP, two student subgroups did not meet minimal requirements in reading.

In 2002, Maine West was the only school in District 207 and one of only 50 nationwide to receive U.S. News & World Report's Award as an "Outstanding High School." The school was recognized in the local media and with a plaque. This award recognizes schools where performance of students exiting compared to entering high schools exceeds expectations. In 2008, District 207 applied for and received nearly $1,000,000 from the Department of Education through the Teaching American History grant for U.S. History. All three schools and seven partner districts participate in the program coordinated at Maine West and the Chicago Metro History Education Center. The Teaching American History Grant was extended and received funding for two additional years in August, 2011.

The school offers 16 Advanced Placement courses: English Language, English Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics (C), Calculus (BC), U.S. History, Statistics, Computer Science (AB), Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, European History, Micro/Macro Economics, Music Theory, Psychology, and Studio Art.[13]

The school offers the opportunity to study five foreign languages: French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish.[13] As of 2010, Maine West does not offer Chinese on campus, but a student has the option to take the class at Maine South in the morning if they would so choose to do so.


Maine West competes in the Central Suburban League. They also compete in state championship series tournaments sponsored by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).

The school sponsors interscholastic competition for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, fencing, track & field, volleyball, water polo. Men also may compete in baseball, football and wrestling. Women may compete in badminton, gymnastics, and softball.[14]

The following teams won their respective IHSA sponsored state championship tournament or meet:[15]

  • Badminton (girls): 1982–83
  • Baseball: 1962–63
  • Basketball (girls): 1987–88

Of special note are the 65 consecutive wins by the girls basketball team which encompassed the entire 1987–88 season, and lasted until February 13, 1989. As of 2010, this remains the record (including State Series playoff games) for girls teams in Illinois, and second among boys and girls basketball teams in the state.[16][17]

The IHSA also recognizes that Maine West is the caretaker of all records posted by the now closed Maine North High School, though that school did not finish high enough in any sport or activity to warrant mention.[15]

While not sponsored by the IHSA, Maine West is one of fewer than ten schools in Illinois to compete in varsity fencing. Maine West competes in the Great Lakes High School Fencing Conference which also includes teams from Wisconsin and Indiana. The Maine West girls team won the Conference Championship each year from 1981 through 1986. The boys won the Conference Title in 1989.[18]

Lacrosse is also being added to the list of sports offered at Maine West.[citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Maine West High School". Statistical abstract. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). October 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Ken Wallace - Superintendent". Maine Township High School District 207. 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Staff Directory (Administration)". Maine West High School. 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b >"Maine West High School" (PDF). 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Des Plaines (Maine West)". School information. Illinois High School Association (IHSA). 21 August 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "2010 Illinois School Report Card - Maine West High School". Statistical abstract. Chicago Tribune. 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "West Words Literary Magazine". Maine West High School. 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "''Lux et Veritas: presenting a new concept in education'' Dedication program for Maine West High School, 1959, p. 5; accessed 3 Aug, 2008". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  9. ^ "''Lux et Veritas: presenting a new concept in education'' Dedication program for Maine West High School, 1959, p. 9; accessed 3 Aug, 2008". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  10. ^ "''Lux et Veritas: presenting a new concept in education'' Dedication program for Maine West High School, 1959, p. 1; accessed 3 Aug, 2008". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  11. ^ "pictures and yearbook excerpts of Ronald Reagan's visit to Maine West". 1980-10-31. Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  12. ^ "E-wing construction". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  13. ^ a b "Maine West 2012-13 Profile (retrieved December 2012)" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  14. ^ Maine West interscholastic sports teams Archived June 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ a b "Maine West Athletic Records at". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  16. ^ "Girls Basketball Records at". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  17. ^ "Boys Basketball records at". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  18. ^ Great Lakes High School Fencing Conference History Archived August 30, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ "James Kahn's Random House page". Retrieved 2014-07-27. 
  20. ^ James Kahn's page at
  21. ^ Reynolds, Dave (18 October 2010). "Where Are They Now? Jim Lindeman". Peoria Journal Star (Peoria, IL, USA). Retrieved 12 July 2011. Lindeman, a shortstop-third baseman, was in Dewey Kalmer’s second recruiting class at Bradley in 1980, plucked from Maine West in suburban Chicago. 

External links[edit]