Thornridge History

Thornridge High School, Dolton, Illinois

When the doors of Thornridge opened on February 2, 1960, only 1,025 Freshman, Sophomores and Juniors with 50 Faculty entered the school with brightly painted walls and modern equipment. These students had moved from shared and cramped quarters at Thornton High School and found a spacious school that would eventually house 3000 when all the buildings were completed. Thornridge was the second school in District 205 and the property was purchased after District 205 voters had approved a referendum. A bond issue was then approved in 1957 to begin construction.

"C" building would not be built until 1964 and so the school, built on what had once been onion fields, was basically "U" shaped and had windows that did not initially open. The auditorium was distinctive and Thornridge quickly became known as the school with the round building. Without "C" building, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Speech and English were all housed in the 2nd floor of "B" Building. Traveling from the 2nd floor of "B" Building to "D" Building often meant using the fire escape and walking through sawdust or mud of the unfinished grounds. However landscaping, permanent paths and enclosed breezeways eventually came and gave the school a finished appearance.

Later when it was discovered that the air circulation system did not function properly, A/C was installed. Thornridge also took on a slightly new look when most of the windows were removed for energy conservation purposes. Enrollment soared through the growth period of the 60's to a record 5269 students in 1970.Thornridge was forced to implement split shifts in 1968 to accommodate the increasing student population. District 205 soon saw the need for a third school and Thornwood was completed in 1971. In 1967, boundaries in the district were changed and Thornridge became integrated with the first African American teacher when Mr. Pershing Broome was hired in 1964 as a student counselor. Boundaries were soon re-drawn after Thornwood opened and the 70's saw a steady decline to an enrollment of 2070 in 1985, Thornridge's 25th anniversary.

The educational philosophy of Excellence in Education, was established from the beginning and the pride in Thornridge's sports and activities began to take shape. However, an identity needed to be established and SCOT (Student Council of Thornridge) was formed. From there the Thornridge mascot, the Falcon, a Scottish hunting bird was established. In fact an actual Falcon was used for some years. In 1963, Wing Ding, the caricature of the Falcon was born and for years has been featured in cartoon strips in the Bagpipe (student newspaper) and on the athletic field by a student mascot.

In keeping with the Scottish theme, the schools newspaper was named the Bagpipe and the Yearbook was named the Piper (a Bagpipe player). The school song was written in 1960 by Mr. John Pierce, the choral teacher at the time. Thornridge is one of the few schools in the area that can boast of an original school song, not one taken from a college fight song. Students can visit the Wall of Fame on the first floor of "D" building to see those classmates who have contributed to our rich history as well as those students, past and present, who have achieved Academic Excellence, Sports recognition and fame.