Today we know Waubonise Valley High School as one to build championship sports teams, award winning academic programs and a bridge between communities.
But in 1975, when the school opened, the situation was very different.
“When I came to Waubonsie Valley, there were about 400 kids, grades 6-12, it was Waubonsie Valley Junior-Senior High School. We had no junior highs or middle schools to speak of. We still had students that took time off in the fall and time off in the spring for farming. There were a lot of farms in the area at that time, there were some subdivisions but it certainly wasn’t like it is now, it’s pretty landlocked pretty close, it was very much a farming community,” said Kathy Birkett, Teacher and Superintendent from 1979 to 2014.
Just as the city was different 40 years ago, so was the school. Built as an open-concept design, there were few walls to separate classes.
Quickly though, that design became too much for the thriving city that made classrooms crowded.
“I saw a lot of changes, we weren’t just that farm community anymore, we were becoming a bigger player even in the conference athletically as well as academically, much more of a force to be reckoned with,” said Birkett.
The school’s music department has been recognized multiple times as a Grammy Award Winning School, while the teachers constantly top the list for educators of the year.
“I think the students here, they love the aspect of being a part of the original valley and being a part of the older school, having those deep connections,” said Jason Stipp, Principal of Waubonsie Valley High School.
Even areas of the school that once went unnoticed began gaining ground out of the classroom and on the field.
“We were the smallest school for a long, long time and quite frankly, we didn’t have feeder programs for most of our sports. And then B.J. Luke came in, really at the growth part of our community, with revitalization for the kids and from that point forward I think we’ve continued to be really one of those names that at least everybody knows Waubonsie Valley,” said Howard Crouse, Principal and Superintendent 1981-2007.
While the names, and faces may have changed throughout the school’s 40 years, the history that holds this school together remains constant and continues to lead students to success for generations to come.
“You’re a Warrior for life,” said Stipp.
Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.
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