Memorial High School (Eau Claire, Wisconsin)
|Memorial High School|
|2225 Keith Street
Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 54701
|School district||Eau Claire Area School District|
|Superintendent||Mary Ann Hardebeck|
|Vice principal||Kurt Madsen, Sue Steffes, Trevor Kohlhepp|
|School colour(s)||Purple and white|
|Fight song||On Wisconsin|
|Athletics conference||Big Rivers Conference|
|Rival||North (Eau Claire) High School|
|Website||Memorial High School|
The largest of Eau Claire's four high schools, Memorial is built on a three-block campus with a student enrollment of 1737 and a staff of over 150. AP classes are offered in English, art, music, science, social sciences, and math. The school's mascot is Old Abe.
The standard for music excellence in the Eau Claire School District was set by Sarge Boyd back in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s when his bands won nearly every contest they entered. Many of his students went on to play in the Eau Claire Municipal Band, which he also directed. In recognition of his contributions to the school and the cultural development of the community, the bandshell in Owen Park was dedicated to him.
Memorial High School's band program consists of six concert bands and three jazz ensembles. The top concert band is the Old Abe Wind Ensemble, the next level down being the Memorial Concert Band. Membership in both is through auditions for grades 10–12. The two "Eagle Bands" are open to grades 10–12 without audition. Incoming freshmen are placed in frosh bands. The top jazz band, Jazz Ensemble 1, as well as Jazz Ensemble 2, are auditioned bands open to grades 10–12. A limited number of 10th graders, as well as incoming 9th graders are placed in Jazz Ensemble 3.
Memorial's Jazz Ensemble 1 has been selected five times as one of 15 finalists for the Essentially Ellington jazz competition in New York. In 2008 the ensemble received 147 of 150 points for its submitted recordings, which is a school record. The 2009 Jazz Ensemble 1 placed third at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition, and was named one of the best bands in the country. A notable Jazz performer from the school is Justin Vernon, the lead man of Bon Iver.
The MHS jazz program has performed with artists such as the Count Basie Orchestra, Ed Shaughnessy and The Tonight Show All-Stars, Geoff Keezer, the Art Blakey Jazz Messenger Legacy Band, Maynard Ferguson, Clark Terry, Phil Markowitz, DIVA, and the United States Air Force Notables Jazz Band.
Memorial also has three orchestras: Eagle Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and Old Abe Orchestra. The Orchestras hold an annual Italian Dinner fundraiser in February.
The Eagle Show Choir, an all girls show choir, is open to grades 9–12. Old Abe Show Choir, an advanced mixed show choir, is open to grades 9–12 for boys, and 10-12 for girls. Membership in Old Abe is through audition only. Old Abe has a long tradition of successful competition seasons. In 2012, Old Abe took home a Grand Championship at Locopalooza in Altoona, Wisconsin, and have consistently placed in finals throughout competitions in the midwest. They also host one of the largest show choir competitions in Wisconsin, "Winterfest", which takes place the first weekend in February. They are currently under the direction of Mr. Mark Lundin.
Memorial belongs to the Big Rivers Conference for athletics. It has teams in football, cross country, soccer, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, hockey, wrestling, dance, baseball, softball, and track.
The recently established Old Abe Athletic Hall of Fame highlights many of the great athletes throughout the history of Memorial High School.
Swimming and diving
Memorial girls' swimming and diving team's most recent accomplishments include the 2008 conference championship, sectional runner-up and placing 14th at the WIAA state competition, and the 2009 conference championship, sectional championship and placing 8th at the WIAA state competition. The women's team was undefeated in dual meets from 2007 up until 2014 where they were defeated in a dual meet against Hudson High School. The men's team has been undefeated in conference titles since 1993.
The Memorial High School boys' hockey team completed an undefeated season in 2007–2008, defeating Madison Edgewood 3 to 1 in the WIAA state hockey tournament championship game. Home ice for both the varsity and junior varsity teams is the Hobbs Municipal Ice Center. The boys team won the state division 1 tournament in 2013.
The Memorial High boys' cross country team took second place at the WIAA Division One Sectionals in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 2008, making its first appearance at the state tournament in Wisconsin Rapids since 2004. The girls' cross country team took second place at the WIAA Division One sectionals in 2009, qualifying for the state tournament. The Memorial High boys' team took second place at the WIAA Division One Sectionals in Tomah, Wisconsin, in 2011 to finish 16th at the WIAA state tournament in Wisconsin Rapids. At the 2013 state tournament the boys' team finished in 3rd place, only two point away from second place, the best the team has ever done in the program's history.
Memorial boys' tennis team, currently coached by Jim Litscher, has lost the Big Rivers Conference title only ten times from 1970 through 2014, winning its sectional meet 34 times. In 2014 they were defeated 6-1 in the final of the WIAA state tournament by Brookfield East, earning the award of state runner-up.
Homecoming election scandal
In the fall of 1992, the student elected as Homecoming Queen, who was five months pregnant at the time, was secretly denied the title by school officials, and the ballots were burned. An investigation by the superintendent found that the runner-up, who had been named the winner after the votes were counted, had actually lost by over 30 votes. The principal at the time resigned after the allegations were revealed, and other administrators were reprimanded.
- Larry Balow – former Wisconsin State Assemblyperson and current member of the Eau Claire City Council
- Donald I. "Sarge" Boyd – conductor of the Eau Claire Municipal Band (1934-1980) and award-winning faculty member (1929-1963)
- Jake Dowell – hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks and University of Wisconsin, Madison
- Ann Jones – writer, journalist, photographer, educator and civil rights activist
- Geoffrey Keezer – pianist
- Scott D. Legwold – U.S. National Guard general
- Paul Menard – NASCAR race car driver and son of local billionaire John Menard, owner of Menards
- Chuck Mencel – former basketball player for the Minneapolis Lakers
- Tom Poquette (1970) – Major League Baseball outfielder, 1973, 1976–1979, 1981–1982
- Justin Vernon – frontman for indie band Bon Iver
- Eau Claire School District. About our District
- Jazz at MHS
- Hall Of Fame
- BRC Winter Champions List
- Tom Poquette, Class of 1970 – Eau Claire (WI) Area School District.
- Tom Lawin (27 June 1969). "Municipal Band, Durable Local Institution". Eau Claire Leader-Daily Telegram.