Princeton High School (Illinois)

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Princeton High School
Princeton, Illinois
United States
Coordinates 41°22′28″N 89°27′34″W / 41.3744°N 89.4595°W / 41.3744; -89.4595Coordinates: 41°22′28″N 89°27′34″W / 41.3744°N 89.4595°W / 41.3744; -89.4595
Type Public
Established 1867
Locale District #500
Superintendent Kirk Haring
Principal Andy Berlinski
Faculty 41 [2]
Grades 9-12
Number of students 673 [1]
School color(s) Blue and White
Athletics Click to see
Mascot Tiger
Campus Rural

Princeton High School (officially Princeton Township High School) is a high school located at 103 S. Euclid Ave in Princeton, Illinois. It is the oldest township high school in Illinois. It generally has an attendance of 600 or more students.


Princeton High School was founded in 1867 and graduated its first class in 1869. The school was started as a boarding school and taught subjects as English, mathematics, history, and the sciences. The school was enlarged in both 1894 and 1908 in order to accommodate for increases in attendance. The school was completely destroyed by fire on December 15, 1924. Plans were then drawn up to build a new school, but in the mean time classes were held in City Hall, the Post Office, and the Christian and Mission Covenant Churches in Princeton. The new school opened its doors on September 27, 1926. The building, 350 feet (110 m) long and 100 feet (30 m) wide, contained twenty classrooms; an auditorium seating 1,100; a library; a science lecture room; chemistry, physics and botanical laboratories; and a gymnasium. The building is still in use today, though several additions and remodelings have taken place since then.

The first addition was built in 1958 and contained a new English classroom, an art room, industrial arts classroom and shop, agriculture classroom and shop, cafeteria-study hall, and a new gymnasium. The main building was also remodeled which provided for the expansion of the speech-English accommodations, expansion of the business education space, and a new library. In 1970 another new addition was constructed at the south end of the campus to make room for the growing student population. The new addition is commonly known as the English Building, and, as its name suggests, it houses English classrooms. The building was originally intended to be temporarily used for a few years but is still in use today. In the spring of 1985 another addition began. Cherrie Science Addition was started which connected the 1926 building and the 1958 addition. The new facility was completed in 1986. It houses science, special education, and drama rooms. It also made the entire school handicap accessible.

Two major projects were undertaken during the 1990s. Due to changes in IHSA rules, Princeton needed a new all-weather track to replace the old cinder track. The auditorium had also fallen into disrepair and needed to be renovated. An all weather track was completed on Bryant Field and was dedicated as the Frank and Marion Rathje Track in 1997 for their generous contributions to the effort. Mr. Rathje was a banker in the Chicago area like his father, Frank C. Rathje. The Princeton High School Foundation raised over 1 million dollars to renovate the auditorium. The new Sally Skinner Council Auditorium was dedicated in November 1999. Both projects were majorly funded by members of the community. In 2003 several classrooms were renovated. In the fall of 2004, Princeton High School began what turned into a somewhat controversial new addition to the school.[3]

The school received a large grant from the Illinois State Board of Education to add on more classrooms and a new library. The controversy occurred mostly because of the timing of the addition. The addition was being built at a time when the school was struggling financially and was forced to make cuts in both faculty and classes. Enrollment was also declining so an addition did not seem practical. Many students and faculty members were frustrated that the funds were being put toward the addition instead of keeping teachers and classes. However, there was nothing the school board could do about it, because the State Board had allotted the funds solely for the purpose of building expansion.


Princeton operates under what is known as the Block scheduling system, specifically the four-block system. The school operates using A/B days, alternating classes every other day. There are four, 75 minute classes per day with 5-10 minute passing periods between each class. The school year is divided into 2 semesters that each last approximately eighteen weeks. Princeton uses an unweighted 4.0 point grading scale.[4]

65% of 11th graders at Princeton met or exceeded standards on the reading portion of the Prairie State Achievement Exam in 2006, 7% higher than the statewide average of 58%. 54% met or exceeded standards in the Math portion which was equivalent to the statewide average. 58% met or exceeded standards in science.[5]

In the 2004-2005 school year, the average class size was 18 students. The attendance rate was 93.6%, the graduation rate was 99.3% and the dropout rate was 1%.[6]

In the 2006-2007 school year, the average class size was 27 students. Classes must have a minimum of 15 students enrolled before it is allowed to be placed on the daily class schedule.

Independent study coursework is available by arrangement through the guidance office for students wanting to make up missing credits or to work ahead. College level independent study classes are also available in the same manner. There are costs to parents who want their children to take coursework in this manner.

AP courses offered at Princeton include American History and European History. Princeton offers German and Spanish as foreign languages.

Athletics & Extra Curricular Activities[edit]

The school colors of Princeton High School are officially blue and gray, though over the last several years various uniforms have generally been blue and white. Some teams tried to introduce black into their uniforms, but the school's booster club threatened to cut funding if the teams did not go back to blue and white.

From 1939-2011, Princeton's athletic teams competed as members of the North Central Illinois Conference. However, with the dissolution of the NCIC after the 2010-2011 school year, the Tigers were left without a conference affiliation, as Princeton was the only school from the NCIC to fail to secure an invitation from another conference. As of the 2014 school year Princeton High School is in the Three Rivers Conference.

Princeton's main rival for many years has been former NCIC conference-mate Hall High School from nearby Spring Valley. The rivalry is probably the most intense when the two schools meet in football; it is uncertain as yet what impact the end of the NCIC will have on the relationship between the two schools. A more recent rivalry has developed with nearby Bureau Valley High School, which was just formed in 1995. Many heated battles have taken place between the two teams in basketball. They have met for several intense Regional and Sectional final games, however their rivalry does not extend to football because the two teams are in different conferences and different IHSA classes. Another rivalry is between Princeton and Kewanee High School. Despite the fact that the teams compete annually for a traveling trophy in football, this rivalry is much less intense than those with Hall and Bureau Valley.

One of Princeton's school song, "Princeton Loyalty," was written by Princeton native and renowned organist Virgil Fox.[7] Princeton's fight song, "Let's Win This Game" is also used by Concord University.

Princeton High School offers the following interscholastic sports at the varsity level:

Boys Baseball
Boys and Girls Basketball
Boys and Girls Cross Country
Boys Football
Boys and Girls Golf
Boys and Girls Soccer
Girls Softball
Boys and Girls Tennis
Boys and Girls Track and Field
Girls Volleyball
Boys Wrestling[8]

Princeton has enjoyed some success on the state level of athletics competitions. The Girls Volleyball team won the state title in 1990. This is the only state championship Princeton has won. However Princeton has trophied in other sports at the state level as well:

1979 Boys Cross Country 2nd Place
1980 Boys Cross Country 2nd Place
1981 Boys Track and Field 3rd Place
1989 Boys Football 2nd Place[9]
2008 Girls Volleyball 4th Place

Extra Curricular Activities Include:

The Music and Theatre Departments have a full program that involve over 225 students each year on average. Concert Choir and Junior Varsity Choir are offered as regular classes. Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, and Technical Theater are also offered as regular classes.

The Fine Arts Department puts on the following activities each year: 1) Fall Choir Concert & Art Show 2) Fall Play 3) Madrigal Dinner Performance 4) Holiday Combined concert featuring Chamber Choir, Concert Choir and Band and Art Show 5) Winter Band Concert 6) Spring Choir Concert & Art Show 7) Spring Musical 8) Annual Ice Cream Social featuring multiple vocal and instrumental music group performances.

The Vocal and Instrumental Music Departments also have student participants for the NCIC, IMEA and IHSA solo and ensemble as well as group concert performances each year. Princeton High Schools Concert Choir performed at the 2014 Illinois Music Educators Conference, as one of three high school choirs performing. This was a big first for Princeton High School. The Music Department is currently under the direction of Mr. Brandon Crawford, a graduate of Vandercook College of Music in Chicago.

Other group extra curricular clubs and organizations include: 1) Student Council 2) First Class 3) National Honor Society 4) Scholastic Bowl (Varsity and Junior Varsity) 5) Yearbook Club 6) Food Club 7) German Club 8) Lifesavers 9) Big Brother-Big Sister 10) Games Club 11) Anime Club 12) Science club 13) Engineering Club

The Art department, while having no official club, has individual students compete in the NCIC Art competition each year.


According to the state board of education, in 2006 Princeton High School's student body was 97.2% Caucasian, 0.7% Hispanic, 0.9% African American, and 1.2% Asian. 21.5% of students were considered low-income and 0% were considered to be limited in English proficiency.[10]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Interactive Illinois Report Card - Princeton High School - About Students". Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  2. ^ "Interactive Illinois Report Card - Princeton High School - About Educators". Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  3. ^ "Princeton High School Student Handbook". Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  4. ^ "Princeton High School Student Handbook". Archived from the original on 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  5. ^ "Interactive Illinois Report Card - Princeton High School - Test Results". Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  6. ^ "Interactive Illinois Report Card - Princeton High School - About Students". Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  7. ^ As accredited on the score to Princeton Loyalty
  8. ^ "Princeton High School Student Handbook". Archived from the original on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  9. ^ "IHSA Season Summaries - Princeton High School". Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  10. ^ "Interactive Illinois Report Card - Princeton High School - About Students". Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  11. ^ "Joseph Ruklick". Retrieved December 3, 2012. 

External links[edit]