Vernon Hills High School

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Coordinates: 42°13′41″N 87°57′3″W / 42.22806°N 87.95083°W / 42.22806; -87.95083 (Vernon Hills High School)

Vernon Hills High School
VHHS Crest.png
145 Lakeview Parkway
Vernon Hills, Illinois 60061
United States
School type Public secondary
Motto Excellence Is Our Standard
Established 1999 (freshmen only)
2000 (all grades)
School district CHS District 128
Principal Jon Guilliame
Faculty 111
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,361
Campus type Suburban
Color(s)      Royal blue
Mascot Cody the Cougar
Nickname Cougars
Newspaper The Scratching Post
Yearbook Continuum

Vernon Hills High School, or VHHS, is a public four-year high school located in Vernon Hills, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. It is part of Community High School District 128, which also includes Libertyville High School. The school is a blue ribbon of excellence school.


Following the successful passage of a $48.5 million bond referendum in 1997, construction on the school began. The doors opened on September 7, 1999 for all freshmen in District 128. Construction continued for the next year, upon which the school opened for all grades in August 2000. The school was formally dedicated on April 9, 2000. The first graduating class was that of 2002. The Cougar mascot was chosen following a poll of the freshmen and sophomore students attending the new school in August 2000.


In 2012, Vernon Hills had a mean composite ACT score of 25.4.[1] The average class size is 20.3.[2] Vernon Hills has made Adequate Yearly Progress on the Prairie State Achievements Examination, a state test part of the No Child Left Behind Act.[2]

The faculty consists of 111 teachers, of whom 97 hold a master's degree or beyond.[3]

In 2009, Newsweek released a list of the best high schools in America. Vernon Hills High School was ranked 638th nationwide and 14th statewide.[4]

In 2015, Vernon Hills was ranked as the 517th school nationwide, and 19th statewide according to U.S. News & World Report. This was good enough to earn VHHS a Silver Medal of Excellence.[5]


In 2015, the school had 36% minority enrollment. To break this down, the high school had 17% Asian, 2% Black, and 14% Hispanic Enrollment.[5]


Vernon Hills competes in the Central Suburban League. Its mascot is the Cougar.

Vernon Hills offers 31 Varsity Sports, 16 of which are male and 15 of which are female. The school has an on site pool for aquatics, as well as a baseball field and a football field, both of which were recently covered in field turf, allowing for optimal usage.[6]

The VHHS football team has been solid especially for a relatively small school compared to local competition such as Stevenson High School. They typically have qualified for the state playoffs, or at least been close to qualifying. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, the team featured two future college stars: DaVaris Daniels, who went on to play for Notre Dame, and Evan Spencer, who went on to play for Ohio State. The team came close to making the state finals their senior year, losing to Kaneland in the Quarterfinals. This 2010 team shut out their opponents 310-0 to start off their season before a loss to Lake Forest.[7]

The boys' bowling team has also been successful, placing 3rd in the state during the 2005–06 season. They have since won Sectionals in both 2008 and 2009 and placed 2nd in the state during the 2010–11 and 2011–12 season.[8][9]

The 2007–08 Pom Pons team won a state championship in the TEAMDance Illinois Class AA Open Dance category.[10] They defended their state title with additional wins in 2009, 2010, and 2011 for a total of 5 state titles.[11]

The boys' volleyball team has been very successful within the North Suburban (Prairie) Conference. They have earned five conference championships, in 2003, 2008, 2009 (when they finished 10–0 in conference play), 2010 and co-champion 2011. They were the first team of any sport at VHHS to become back-to-back conference champions.[12]

In the 2007 season the varsity baseball team won in the Sectional semifinals but lost in the Sectional finals against the Lake Forest High School Scouts.[citation needed]

In the 2009 season the bass fishing team of Mike Seal and Brandon Wolff qualified for the state championship during the IHSA bass fishing inaugural season.

In the 2010 and 2012 season the Girls' Track and Field team won their IHSA AA Sectional.[13]

In the 2011–2012 and 2012-13 seasons, the Girls' Basketball team finished second in State.

As of 2015, the Girls' Swim and Dive team have been Prairie Division champs (16 years).

A complete list of notable state finishes can be found under State Competition Placements, below.

The Scratching Post[edit]

The school newspaper runs as a class during the school year, and is traditionally advised by an English teacher. The newspaper releases on a monthly basis, with several sections dedicated to school news, sports, reviews, and editorials.


Vernon Hills High School offers more than thirty student organizations, including:[14]

Fine Arts[edit]


Vernon Hills High School's Backlight Theatre Company presents two plays, a musical, a freshman-sophomore play, and student-directed one acts each year. Recent productions include the following:[15]



Vernon Hills High School offers a variety of musical ensembles for its students to perform in. These include the following:

  • 3 Symphonic Bands
  • 3 Orchestras
  • 3 Choirs
  • 2 Jazz Bands
  • Jazz Strings
  • Pep band

The Symphony Orchestra has been invited to play at the international Midwest Clinic and the MENC National Conference. The Wind Ensemble has performed in New York City and at Walt Disney World's Epcot in Florida. The Vernon Hills High School Band was also the Superstate Honors Band for the AA division in 2010.

State Competitions[edit]

The VHHS music department has always performed very well at the IHSA state competition, placing 4th in its class in its first year of existence. VHHS has placed within the top three schools in the state every year since 2004, and as of 2009 has placed first in the state in Class A for three consecutive years.[16] The complete record of notable music department state finishes can be found under State Competition Placements, below.

In 2006, 2009 and 2011, the VHHS Wind Ensemble was selected as the Class AA Honor Band at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign-sponsored Superstate band competition, recognizing the VHHS Wind Ensemble as one of the top high school concert bands in Illinois.[17]

FBLA and DECA[edit]

VHHS also sponsors two award-winning business clubs. FBLA sent five students to compete in the National Competition in Anaheim in the summer of 2009. FBLA has had students place in the top 10 of Accounting at the National level for two straight years (2008, 2009). DECA sent 13 state winners to the International Competition in Orlando. VHHS's DECA Financial Analysis team, which consisted of two freshmen, Sean Hogan and Jake Dinkel, placed 7th at the International Competition out of the over 150 teams competing in 2007. In 2014 Juniors Naren Akurati and Alexander Lao placed first in nationals with their PSA[18] Also, one of DECA's written events by senior Cody Meltzer placed 8th at the competition in 2007.[18]

Math Team[edit]

The Math Team earned VHHS its first state championship when it won first place in its division at the 2001 ICTM State Math Competition. The team took 3rd place at the 2007 competition, where its freshmen and junior teams each took home 2nd place for written competition.[citation needed]

The Math Team earned a state championship in division 3AA at the 2008 ICTM State Math Competition, where all 13 VHHS teams placed within the top six in the state. Moya Chen placed first on the Algebra I test and VHHS took first place with its Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II teams. Also taking first place honors were the Frosh/Soph 8-person team and the Relay team of David Kim, Brynan Qiu, Parin Kadakia, and Paul Juhn.[19]

At the 2009 ICTM State Math Competition, VHHS Math Team, led by captain Liza Xu who eventually got admitted into Massachusetts Institute of Technology, once again took first place in division 3AA. The Junior/Senior relay team of Max Candocia, Nishant Nangia, Parin Kadakia, and Bryan Maldonado took first place.

In 2010, VHHS Math Team placed 3rd, after a strong performance from the Calculator Team of Rachel Wells, David Kim, Andrew Tung, Udit Nangia, and Parin Kadakia. Additionally, Sean Hogan placed 1st in the state for the pre-calculus competition. Last, but not least, Kenny Shavel, placed 3rd in the oral competition, being the first Vernon Hills oralist to place in the top five.[20]

In 2014, VHHS Math Team became a state champions in division 3AA. Standouts in the individual competition included Aakash Setty and the Freshman team who took second place, and Justin Yim and the Senior team who finished third overall. The Sophomore team had Ally Spence and Aiden Kang finishing in the top ten. The Junior/Senior 8-Person team placed first in State, the Frosh/Soph 8-Person placed second, and Calculator team placed fourth. Junior/Senior 2 Person team of Justin Yim and Eric Zhang qualified for the playoff round and finished first in State. The Frosh-Soph relay team of Aparajitha Adiraju, Kishore Iyer, Ari Bard and Ryan Curtis finished in 2nd place.[21][22]


The Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering club at VHHS continues to be successful in their 1500 division. They have placed at the state level in many years past. A team of 14 students competes in the events of Math, Biology, Chemistry, English, and Physics, with each student taking two tests, and at least two students per each subject. The competition takes place at a regional, sectional, and state level. Regional and sectional levels are usually successful, and have resulted in first-place finishes. The team is coached by Joshua Ravenscraft, physics teacher, who has led the team for six years.[23] The WYSE team has placed within the top three schools in the state for seven of its eight years, and won its first state championship in 2009.[24] A complete record of state competitions can be found under State Competition Placements, below.

State Competition Placements[edit]

Activity 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
IHSA Boys Bowling 3rd 2nd 2nd
IHSA Music (Band, Choir, Orchestra) 4th 4th 24th 3rd 3rd 2nd 1st 1st 1st 2nd
Wind Ensemble (Superstate) 1st 1st 1st
ICTM Math 1st 4th 4th 5th 7th 7th 3rd 1st 1st 3rd 3rd 3rd 2nd 1st
IDTA Dance: Hip Hop 4th
IDTA Pom Pons: Dance 3rd 2nd 5th
JETS Engineering Challenge (Nationwide) 1st
Science Olympiad 3rd 2nd
TDI Dance: AA Open Dance 1st 1st 2nd
TDI Dance: AA Open Pom 2nd 2nd 1st
WYSE Academic Challenge 3rd 2nd 2nd 3rd 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st 5th 2nd 1st

Notable alumni[edit]


In 2015, the school became subject to controversy, when staff member and ex-NFL player Desmond Clark was arrested for disorderly conduct at the school. Clark was attempting the school's handling of racism directed towards his son, and the school called the police. Clark then protested this, saying that it was an additional sign of racism for the school to kick him out for simply attempting to defend his son from racism.[25]


  1. ^ Illinois School Report Card
  2. ^ a b Illinois School Report Card
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ The Complete List: 1,500 Top U.S. Schools
  5. ^ a b "Vernon Hills High School in VERNON HILLS, IL | Best High Schools | US News". Retrieved 2016-02-14. 
  6. ^ "Vernon Hills High School". Retrieved 2016-02-14. 
  7. ^ "Football | Vernon Hills stops Grant late to preserve shutout streak". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 2016-02-14. 
  8. ^ "IHSA Season Summaries". Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  9. ^ "State Series Information & Results". Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  10. ^ "TEAMDance Illinois State Championship" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  11. ^ "TEAMDance Illinois State Championship" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  12. ^ "Vernon Hills High School". Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  13. ^ "IHSA Girls Track & Field Results". Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  14. ^ "Student Organizations – Vernon Hills High School". Retrieved May 8, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Past Productions – Vernon Hills High School". Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ "IHSA Music Records Menu". Retrieved July 13, 2006. 
  17. ^ "Music Department – Band – Vernon Hills High School". Retrieved July 13, 2006. 
  18. ^ a b "2007 ICDC Entrepreneurship Participating-Independent Winners" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 20, 2008. Retrieved January 7, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Division 3AA – 2008 State Finals Results" (PDF). Retrieved January 7, 2009. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Division 3AA – 2014 State Finals Team Total Results". Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Bulletin-Tuesday, May 6, 2014". Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Ravenscraft – About Me – Vernon Hills High School". Retrieved March 13, 2010. 
  24. ^ WYSE Academic Challenge
  25. ^ "Ex-Bear Clark and wife face charges in Vernon Hills; say they're victims of racism - Chicago". Chicago. Retrieved 2016-02-14. 

External links[edit]