Text Box: History of
Deerfield High School


    Text Box: cd

Deerfield High we sing to you
Of loyalty so true,
And through the years 
our mem’ries dear
Return and linger here.
May honor thine forever be; 
Our praise to thee we bring.
Our faith, our pride, in thee abide
To Deerfield High we sing.









    The early part of this chronology is largely based on The History of Deerfield High School, by Theodor Repsholdt, archived at DHS.  Images come from OYAD, Deerprints and, where noted, personal archives.  Later portions of the chronology are incomplete but will be updated shortly.  There are several links to oral histories collected through a Local History Initiative funded by the District 113 Foundation and archived at DHS.


    Census reports the population of Deerfield at 1852 residents.

     Vertical Scroll: DID YOU KNOW?  
There were four possible names for what was 
initially called “School X”?  
They were 
Bannockburn High School, Deerfield High School, Highland Park High School and Westfield High School.  The Board sent the question to area residents in the District newsletter “Highlights,” and the rest is history.

    A delegation from Deerfield, with Harry Wing as a spokesman, presented reasons why the Board of Education should consider plans for the erection of a high school in the Village of Deerfield.


    Census reports the population of Deerfield at 2278 residents.


    Board member Frank Conley was authorized to negotiate for 50-60 acres of the 160 Petersen tract along north Waukegan Road.


    Population of Deerfield rose to 7609 residents.


    The Board of Education resolved to build a school in Deerfield to house 1200 immediately and 2000 ultimately.  In May, voters approve a bond issue for $4,250,000 to build a high school in town, by a vote of 3097 to 2004.  In June, Harlan Philippi, guidance director at HPHS, was designated principal of the new school.


    Mic.gifLois and David Marks had one of their early dates at the school’s dedication.  David worked as an architect with Loebl, Schlossman and Bennett.  A few years later, they decided to make Deerfield their home.  They will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary along with DHS, the high school of their children and grandchildren.   Listen to a part of their story here, and be sure to check the full story at dhsoralhistory.podomatic.com. 

    DHS50thWebsiteMarks 003.jpgDHS50thWebsiteMarks 002.jpgDHS50thWebsiteMarks 004.jpg

    The design for the school by Loebl, Schlossman and Bennett began to be realized when Joseph J. Duffy Co. contracted to build the school.  By the fall, most of the concrete had been poured and structural steel erected.


      Text Box: ●●●
“I was privileged to start at Deerfield High School in 1960. We opened the doors to a faculty of 29 and a couple of clerks and a head custodian. There is an excitement that you get by opening a school that you can never recapture and most teachers never have the opportunity to do, to start a new school with a new tradition, a newspaper—What’s My Name? was the name of the high school paper in the beginning. It had no name. It had no athletic record. Everything was new, and that was kind of fun!”                      — Theodor Repsholdt



    first Deerprints.jpg

    First meeting of the PTO.

    Village of Bannockburn cedes the high school property to the Village of Deerfield.

    DHS becomes member of the IHSA.

    Opening day at Deerfield High School on September 6, with Class of 1963 and Class of 1964 constituting the student body—about 490 strong.  There were 32 Faculty members.

    Dedication Ceremony held December 11.

    A student-faculty basketball game was held.  Government Day, a tradition started at HPHS, saw DHS students running the local government for one day, under the guidance of the Village Manger.


    boy feature.jpg

    Student population reached 868.

    Girl feature.jpgfirst Deerprints.jpg



    Student population reached 1275.

    Senior Privilege introduced for the first graduating class.

    Our Year At Deerfield (OYAD) chosen for the title of the DHS yearbook.

    Other “firsts”: school musical Brigadoon, prom, graduation (in the auditorium)

    In 1963 (spring or fall), the PTO sponsored a variety show, known as The Band Aid, because its proceeds would fund the band uniforms.  Faculty members Anita Gorr and Paul Adams, both in tutus, performed a ballet number in the show.  The marching band ended the event with “Seventy-Six Trombones.”


    warrior day.jpg

    Student population reached 1484.

    Robert Benson appointed principal after Harlan Philippi leaves for Boston University.

    “Firsts”: Warrior Weekend, complete with pep rally, floats, bonfire and dance; football and basketball victories; State champion athletes (wrestler Ted Parker and swimmer Bruce Jacobsen); graduation moved to the Exhibition Gym.

    JFK Award established by the Class of ’64 to honor the memory of the recently assassinated president.  


    Text Box: ««««««««««
The JFK Award, established in 1964, honors “one who has personal courage, an instinctive confidence in and love of his fellow man, the capacity to forgive, the capacity to see beauty and humor in everyday life; one who has demonstrated a strong courage of conviction and a capacity to stand alone, if necessary, to promote a just cause.”

    Student population reached 1723.

    A referendum to approve a bond issue for the expansion of both district schools passed. 

    Mic.gifListen to Barbara Harris recall how her husband Fred and she came to live in Deerfield and eventually coach the DHS football team, raising three children, Jeff, Rick and Susan, all who are DHS alumni.  Their family’s history parallels the history of the school and town. 


    Student population reached 1883.

    Text Box: District Handbook for Parents (1965)
The general appearance of students usually is a reflection of their attitudes toward school.  Frequently, proper dress can do much to instill in students a good attitude toward school.  Boys should avoid extreme hair styles, work jeans, sweat shirts, and heavy boots.  Girls look best for school in skirts and blouses and sweaters, or in simple dresses.  They too should avoid extreme hair styling and make up.


    OYAD 64 Paul Adams.jpg

    Student population reached 2105.

    Construction work on the expansion of DHS included conversion of G-hall English and I-hall Math classrooms into science laboratories; expansion of Counseling into I-hall, conversion of C-100 into a health classroom, and enlarging the PE locker room space; new construction included an expanded Library, PE gyms, new classrooms for English east of F-hall, and math classrooms in Q-hall, and a new cafeteria nd bus lobby.  E114 and E116 became Team Teaching rooms, and a closed-circuit TV system was put into the math rooms, PE gymnastics and dance areas. 

    Football team goes undefeated for the season.

    In June, the first graduation is held at Ravinia.


    Student population reached 2301.

    Senior English classes begin to use a college model, with large group meetings in E114 and E116 and twice-weekly seminars of 10-12 students.  Sociology, Humanities, Contemporary US History and Man and His Changing Society would make use of a similar model in the coming years.


    Gentle Wed.jpg

    Student population reached 2458.

    The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case Tinker v. Des Moines Board of Education and rules that Constitutional protections do not end at the school house door.  Students began to test the District’s dress code.  Early in 1968, Paul Hamer refused to have his hair cut to meet the administrators’ expectations.  Hamer was suspended, but the Board changed policy and began to allow more <![if !vml]>Mic.gif<![endif]>freedom in student appearance.  By 1969, beards, slacks and jeans adorned faculty and students alike.

    Listen to Rick Weil tell the story of a Free Speech walkout by students protesting the revocation of Gentle Wednesday.



    Student population reached 2504.

    The attendance area boundary changed to allow students living in the area west of Highway 41 but east of Deerfield to choose either high school in the district.  The Board continues to extend that policy on a year-to-year basis.

    The first Special Education teacher was employed by DHS. 

    A Senior Option program began, providing eight semester seniors with three choices: to graduate at the end of seventh semester, to continue taking their regular program, or to continue taking only two classes and P. E., leaving school early to work, take course work at local colleges, or do volunteer work in the social services.

    On March 11, 1970, a new student organization—Youth for Environmental Salvation (YES)—held an all-school teach-in on environmental issues, with special classes, films, lectures and discussions rather than regular classes on that day.


    Student population reached 2544.  Some students must share lockers.

    Board established its first procedures for dealing with drug abuse. 

    Smoking in bathrooms and in North Trails became a disciplinary issue, as did graffiti along the fence on Waukegan Road. 

    Students interested in politics created a Critical Issues forum and attended programs dealing with Vietnam and the 1972 Presidential campaigns.


    Student population at 2493.

    A DHS cast won first place in a state one act play competition, under the direction of Irene Kramsky.

    Students sought and gained representation on the Board of Education, with Mark Bole serving as the first student representative.  The student representative could participate in discussion, question administrative reports and place items on the agenda.

    YES efforts led to the end of the Homecoming bonfire.

    Seniors began the tradition of Senior Teaching Day.



    Listen to Gayle Luehr reflect on changes in girls’ athletics at DHS over her 33-year career.



    Conflicting reports on Enrollment: one report suggested it peaked at 2542; another report lists enrollment at 2463.

    Miss Sally Sharkey became the first teacher representative to the Board of Education.

    Girls interscholastic athletics, under the aegis of the IHSA, began in 1972-73. 

    A snow-fence enclosure, adjacent to the east windows of the cafeteria, became the designated smoking area for students, who could only enter if they had a parental approval pass.  The unofficial name of the location was the “O.K. Corral.”  In later years, the pass system was abandoned, the area was blacktopped and a yellow line was painted to designate the territorial limits of the student smokers.


    Mic.gifListen to Brian Cole talk about DHS Football in the 1970s.

    Student population at 2452.

    DHS Football won the CSL Championship, beginning a streak of winning seasons over the coming years.

    Powder Puff football was first played during Warrior Weekend.


    Student population at 2424.

    DHS Football reached the state play-offs.


    Student population at 2455.

    DHS Football won the State 5A Championship.

    Girls Field Hockey finished 3rd in State.


    Student population at 2392.

    DHS Cross Country Teams, coached by Len Kisellus, won the State Championship.

    Board president Nancy Brandt led the District to a successful referendum vote, supporting a bond issue which, along with rising property values, put the school district in a comfortable income position.


    Student population at 2290.

    Theodor Repsholdt became acting principal, securing the permanent position the following school year.

    DHS Cross Country Teams repeated their victory in the State Championship, earning the team the title National Champions.  Three runners—Keith Hampton, Tom Stevens, and Todd McCallister—were named to the All-State team, with alternates Mark McCallister and Dane Rutstein.  The cover of OYAD reflected pride in this team with cover art portraying a distance runner.

    Lyn Chisolm and Sue Schopf won the state badminton doubles championship.


    Student population at 2201.

    Mic.gifListen to Lori James talk about the Homecoming parade, pep rally, the Spirit Jug and Powder Puff football game.


    Student population at 2064.

    In May, the Board approved a Freshman Advisory system for each school. 

    Deerfield police department and a cluster of concerned parents met with school administrators to plan a community-wide drug awareness program.  This effort spawned the Deerfield Citizens for Drug Awareness (DCDA), which would go on to host a speaker on drug and alcohol use/abuse at the high school each subsequent year. 


    Three primary needs seemed to determine the course of Deerfield High School in its third decade:  (1) coping with its transformation from a large to a much smaller high school, (2) refocusing its curriculum and instructional efforts to increase student achievement, and (3) combating adolescent use and abuse of drugs and alcohol.

    In March, the function of a computer coordinator was established. 

    In the spring, an Illinois State Board of Education inspecting team cited both DHS and HPHS for failure to meet the 300 minute per day classroom assignment of its students.  After rejecting a proposal to establish 55 minute periods, the school period was lengthened to 42 minutes, following a first period of 48 minutes, and students were encouraged to enroll in six and even seven classes as an alternative to study hall as they registered for the next school year.



    Listen to Dr. Brian Cole talk about cliques at DHS (M-hallers, smokers, jocks), the no-tolerance policy for alcohol abuse, and the production of West Side Story.                                                                                       

    Students revived the American Field Service club.  DHS also hosted AFS Day, which included ten foreign exchange students attending high schools in surrounding towns.

    Computer Club began upon inspiration from the introduction of new computers in the Math Department.

    “Preppie” and “Punk” were two styles that emerged at DHS.

    In the summer before the school year began, the Board adopted policy #6450 on use of drugs and alcohol, providing for mandatory suspension of any student who either used or distributed drugs or alcohol during school hours, on school property, or attended any school activity under the influence of drugs and alcohol.


    In August, Booster Club members Jack Daley and Alan Meyers proposed that the Board and the Club jointly fund the construction of an all-weather outdoor track.  The track would be ready by 1984.

    In February, the Board negotiated the sale of the third high school site located between Baxter Labs and Thorngate Country Club on Sanders Road.


    The Early Bird program began, with upperclassmen volunteering to serve from 7:40 to 8:20 a.m. as tutors.

    Concerns about academic honesty were raised by students and staff.  After extensive committee work in both schools, an academic honesty policy was created and approved by the Board. 

    A Shakespeare Festival was held.

    Mike Morrison won the #1 Boys Singles Tennis crown, a feat he would repeat each year while at DHS. 


    In October, First Lady Nancy Reagan met with members of DCDA and DHS students to discuss the presidential campaign and prevention of drug use/abuse.  Mic.gif

    Glenn Hartwick was hired to develop a district-wide substance abuse program. 

    Listen to John Motzko talk about drug use at DHS and Nancy Reagan.

    The first Senior Boat Party was held.


    Listen to John Motzko talk about Reagan’s DHS landing.

    President Ronald Reagan’s helicopter landed at DHS, allowing the president to Mic.gifproceed to Sara Lee, where he gave a speech.

    DHS Golfer Brett Packee won State for the second year in a row.  Listen to coach Fred Dickman discuss the DHS Golf Team from the time he began coaching it in 1975 until today.


    The English Department added Power Reading and Study Strategies to its offerings for students.

    DHS topped the state of Illinois in ACT scores with an average of 22.6.         

    Mic.gifListen to Gayle Luehr retell a story about Chicago Bear Walter Payton, likely from the 1987 strike year, when the team practiced at DHS.






    Mic.gifListen to John Motzko talk about Bike Club, DASA and playing basketball with the Chicago Bulls.

    John Scornavacco was named principal at DHS.  Like his predecessors Philippi, Benson and Repsholdt, Scornavacco began his professional career at HPHS.  As a member of the HPHS Class of 1959, he was the first graduate of that school to hold a principalship in the District.  Among his new initiatives, Scornavacco began hosting breakfasts with students as a way to hear their voices.

    Music began to be broadcast in the hallways during passing periods.  On the soundtrack: Genesis, Boston, U2 and classical music.  Students were invited to drop off cassettes at the front office.  

    The school underwent some renovations, including new windows with blinds between the panes. The Attendance and Deans offices were moved to their current location opposite the Auditorium to make access easier for students.

    Other “firsts”:  Deerprints began to switch to computer-based publishing.  Bike Club and DASA began as new student clubs.  The English Department began offering a Great Books course and AP Junior English.

    All-State Warrior Athletes:  Lindsay Knapp—Football (and All-American), Becky Bruch—Swimming (and two Olympic trial cuts), Laurie Gold—Gymnastics, Joel Meadow—Soccer (goalkeeper)

    DHS Average ACT score jumped to 23.3.




    Text Box: Listen to David Hirsch tell the story of the formation of First Class and its impact on the DHS community.

    Enrollment dropped to 1280 students.

    Improvements made to DHS included replacing the original tables in the student cafeteria with the two-table hexagonal shapes still in use in 2010.  In the North Café, carpet, benches and a television playing MTV continuously helped to create a relaxation space for kids dubbed the Student Union.

    In an effort to make DHS a smoke-free school, the entering class was prohibited from using the smoking area, and upperclassmen were again required to have parental permission.

    A committee of teachers began to discuss school climate.  Eventually, this work would lead to the formation of the First Class program. 

    Under the direction of its new Band Director Dan Brame, the Marching Band hosted its first annual Bandorama concert.

    Following the Laurie Dann incident in Winnetka, school security increased.


    Boys’ Golf reached the State Finals.

    New clubs:  Earthworks— the student organization focusing on the environment, and Peer Helping—a program in which students help students.

    Sculptor Sharon Halford began her tenure as artist-in-residence.  Halford’s sculptures are inspired by nature.  Touching the Spirit is featured in the small courtyard at the start of I-hall.

    Black History Month was officially recognized at DHS, with students organizing various programs aimed at educating and changing student attitudes.


    The old metal shop and auto shop classrooms were converted into the studio theater and physics technology labs, respectively.

    The first Assault Control Tactics class for women.

    WERCS-Plus opened to further assist students with reading and study skills across the curriculum, with teacher tutors from science, social studies and other areas.

    The Deerprints  and OYAD publication centers were created.


    Firsts:  Fiber optic cables installed at DHS.  The Company class began.  The Library began computer-based check-out of books.  The PERC (weight training room) was built.  Lockers were painted gray.  Display cases were added to the front lobby to showcase student activities.

    Paul Adams celebrated his 200th victory as coach of the DHS football team, with a 30-0 win over rival Maine East.  After 35 years of coaching football, including 25 as head coach, Adams was inducted into the IHSA Hall of Fame. 

    DHS set up an AIDS committee to educate students about the disease.


    Fiber optic system allowed for the installation of a closed-circuit TV network, featuring a TV in every classroom with a central command for all visual programming requests.

    Sports happenings:  Steve Pappas was hired to be the head basketball coach and English teacher.  Art Edstrom was awarded the Illinois Swimming Hall of Fame Award and the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches of America Outstanding Service Award. Varsity Club was revived.  Paul Adams announced his retirement.  DHS hosted its first Special Olympics.

    The Homecoming Pep Rally was interrupted by a walk-out by the Junior Class.

    The childcare center, now known as Deer Park, opened for district 113 and 109 staff.  Child Development classes benefitted from this addition.

    Masterpiece Theater began under the direction of Anita Goldberg, Kate Severns and David Hirsch.  Later it would be renamed StageWrite.

    Mic.gifListen to David Hirsch talk about the first StageWrite and its evolution over the years.                                                                   

    Alumni Day program began, sponsored by the CCRC.

    School Chest raised a record $24,000.


    Principal John Scornavacco and other staff traveled to Washington, D.C., to receive the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award from President Bill Clinton.  DHS was especially cited for the climate of the school, given the First Class program, and its academic excellence.  DHS celebrated with the entire student body, Board members and public officials at an assembly on November 2.

    An audio- and video-equipped Language Listening Lab opened in E100.

    Sports:  James Harrington became the head football coach.  On January 7, DHS hosted its first “Pack the Place” with Boys Swimming, Boys and Girls Basketball, Boys Wrestling, and Girls Gymnastics.  Attendees could trade canned goods for tickets.  A dance followed, with proceeds from the $4 ticket going to Haven House.  A coed water polo team began play at DHS.

    Comfortable furniture and a compact disc jukebox were added to the Student Union (the part of today’s Café nearest the back lobby), making it a more relaxing and attractive space for students.  In a Deerprints article, one student suggested Macintosh and PC computers be added—an idea quite ahead of its time.

    The Staff Development Committee worked with community member and educator Dr. Sherman Beverly to plan ways in which to bring more cultural diversity into the DHS curriculum.

    In April, the “open” hallways policy began, allowing students to pass through hallways during class periods without a pass, except during the last five minutes of each period.

    DHS became one of five pilot schools chosen by the NAMES Foundation to host the AIDS Quilt.







    Mic.gifListen to Michael Clack, Tech Director, discuss the art of technical theater

    Physical changes:  The driving range was converted to a parking lot, and separate sections of all lots were demarcated for staff, student and ride-share parking; later in the year, Governor Edgar cut the Ride-Share program.  Picnic tables were installed at the courtyard.  DHS, HPHS and the Administration Building all were connected to the internet.

    Firsts:  Linda Hanson began her tenure as Superintendent of District 113.  An Athletic Code was initiated.  GIMA hosted Mr. DHS during School Chest, with winner Tom Zelski.  A winter pep rally for winter sports was hosted, in conjunction with an assembly celebrating School Chest.  Two iguanas were introduced to the ecosystem of the Vivarium.  Dance Troupe was selected to go to the State Dance Festival Showcase.  DHS staff participated in Take Our Daughters to Work Day.  AP English classes begin open enrollment, reversing a policy of application-based enrollment.

    All State thespians:  Amber Skalski, Sarah Lappin, Sara Solheim.

    The DECA team from DHS won the State Championship.

    In March, DHS students in CARE participated in an exchange program with Steinmetz High School students.  All participating students were part of a year-long discussion group sponsored by Facing History and Ourselves. 

    An outdoor concert in the courtyard, dubbed “Ravinia Night” featured DHS bands, with proceeds going to school publications.

    Sports:  The DHS Hockey Team celebrated its 20th season by making it to the State Semi-Finals.  The Boys Tennis team won the State championship.

    Due to reconstruction project at Ravinia, graduation was held at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena, whose floor was carpeted for the occasion.



    Mic.gifListen to John Motzko remember when the first Mac was brought into DHS and when computers finally came into wider use during this year.




    Mic.gifListen to Bob Zima talk about the Outdoor Adventure class.



    Mic.gifListen to Bob Zima discuss drug abuse at DHS and his advice to students.

    Building changes:  Short bookcases helped to create separate class spaces for the Library.  WDHS studio gained a makeover.  To help with their increase reliance on new technology, staff got a dedicated computer lab (the FRAT) next to the Library.  A Science lab for classes was installed at J103.

    The Tree Sculpture honoring Deerfield Scholars was installed in the front hall.

    Sports:  The outdoor track was rebuilt with new, resilient and lower-impact materials. Table tennis began as an intramural sport.  Junior Ryan Hogan broke Tim Hanson’s school record of 1001 career points in basketball, averaging 27 points per game.  The Girls Varsity Badminton Doubles Team went undefeated, winning the State Doubles Championship Title.

    CBS news featured a story of First Class.

    Firsts:  Deerprints began publishing an article on a “Worthy Warrior,” which designated one excellent athlete who sustained at least a B average.  DHS joined HPHS in a Job Shadowing Program, matching students with local businesses.  A climbing wall was built in the Intramural Gym for the Outdoor Adventure Class.  Teachers began using email for communication and in their curricula.  Spring Fine Arts Exhibition showcased local artists and student art.

    Results from a drug survey revealed shocking statistics to the community:  66% of freshmen, 83% of sophomores, 88% of juniors and 93% of seniors had used alcohol; 21% of freshmen, 42% of sophomores, 60% of juniors and 74% of seniors reported having been drunk;  17% of freshmen, 30% of sophomores, 41% of juniors and 59% of seniors had tried or regularly used marijuana.

    Honors:  All ten competitors from DECA won State competitions.  Freshman Chris Hirata and Junior Paul Novak won medals at the State Engineering Competition.  The Board of Education was awarded the National School Board Association and Kennedy Center Award.  The Model United Nations team earned “best delegation.” Deerprints earned the Golden Eagle Award from NISPA. 






    Mic.gifEugene Chung, remembering how he was hired, explains how he knew that DHS was an incredibly special place.  Listen here.


    Jon Crawford began his tenure as principal of Deerfield High School.






    2002 Suzan Hebson began her first term as principal of Deerfield High School.

    2002-2003 Completion of the Legat Associates’s design for the R- and X-hall additions and the subsequent reconfiguring of departments and other spaces around the building:  Math, Science and much of World Languages moved to X, computer labs were installed into G and D, English occupied the part of E parallel to their G109 classroom, Counseling expanded into I, Social Studies took the west end of Q, and Special Education filled areas near the intersection of E and Q.  In R-hall, new spaces for the Orchestra, Chorus and Studio Theater joined new art classrooms and practice rooms.

    2005 Al Fleming became principal of Deerfield High School.

    2007 Suzan Hebson returned to DHS for her second term as principal.

    2009 Audris Griffith began her tenure as principal of Deerfield High School.