Thornton Township High School
Thornton Township High School, often simply referred to as Thornton is a public high school founded in 1899, located in Harvey, one of the south suburbs of the city of Chicago, Illinois, USA. The school is one of three administered by Thornton Township High Schools District 205. It is occasionally confused with the two other similarly named schools in the district, Thornridge High School and Thornwood High School.
|Thornton Township High School|
15001 S. Broadway
|School type||Public high school|
|School district||Thornton Twp. HS 205|
|Superintendent||Nathaniel Cunningham Jr.|
|Teaching staff||137.00 (FTE)|
|Student to teacher ratio||12.69|
|School color(s)||Purple and White |
|Athletics conference||Southland Athletic Conference|
|Communities served||Harvey, South Holland, Phoenix, Riverdale, Dixmoor, Markham, Blue Island|
The site for Thornton Township High School was decided by a special election on May 28, 1898, where Harvey was selected over Dolton by a 1,504 to 1,123 vote, with the estimate of the school's cost being $40,000. Oscar L. Murray was the architect of the building whose cost by October 1898 was $35,000, and was planned that included physical and biological laboratories, a library, gymnasium, a 280-seat assembly room, bicycle and lunch rooms.
By May 1899, the plans had been firmed up to include a two-story structure with basement, with an interior to be finished in red oak. Heat would be provided by steam, with electric fans and an automated clock and signal system. The main floor assembly room was expanded to seat 700. Construction was set to begin in June, with completion in October. The original building was located at 154th Street and Columbia Avenue.
In 1913, Thornton was one of nine schools, and the only south suburban school, invited to found what became the Suburban League, which mostly consisted of schools like Thornton which had formerly been members of the Cook County High School League.
In 1928, 16-year-old Betty Robinson (between her junior and senior years at the school) not only won the very first Olympic gold medal awarded to a woman in the 100 meters (at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam), but set a world record which stood for four years.
During World War II, like many high schools, Thornton made changes to accommodate the war effort. Evening classes for adults started in 1942 to begin training people for necessary war jobs. By 1943, the school was open for 87 hours each week, and had been converted almost exclusively to wartime training.
Additions were made to the building in 1912 (costing $140,000), 1927 ($345,000) and 1937 ($300,000). A third floor was added in 1948. In 1949, a new physical education facility was added, including a natatorium, wrestling rooms, locker facilities and class rooms for health classes, in addition to two gymnasia, one of which could seat 3,500 for basketball games. The new gymnasium was dedicated in April 1950.
Thornton's sports teams, which are referred to as the Wildcats, compete in the Southland Athletic Conference, though for many years competed in the now defunct South Inter-Conference Association (SICA). The teams also compete in state championship series sponsored by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The school colors are purple and white.
The school sponsors interscholastic athletic teams for boys and girls in basketball, soccer, track and field and cross country. Boys may also compete in baseball, American football, swimming and diving and wrestling. Girls may compete in cheerleading, softball and volleyball.
The following athletic teams have won their respective IHSA sponsored state tournament:
- Basketball (boys') – 1932–33, 1965–66
- Football – 1990–91
- Wrestling – 1953–54, 1954–55, 1958–59
Thornton Township High School is known for its award-winning speech team. The following groups advanced to the State Finals competition, sponsored by the IHSA, and were crowned champions.
- Jim Ard was an NBA player and member of the 1976 NBA Champion Boston Celtics, sixth overall pick of 1970 NBA draft.
- Lloyd Batts was a basketball player for the University of Cincinnati who played one season with the ABA Virginia Squires.
- Michael Boatman is an actor and writer, known for starring roles in the television series Spin City and Arliss.
- Lou Boudreau was a Major League Baseball shortstop and manager, elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1970. A copy of his Hall of Fame plaque hangs in Thornton's "Boudreau Room". He also led Thornton's basketball team to three state championships in the 1930s.
- Steve Coutchie quarterbacked the undefeated national champion 1923 Illinois Fighting Illini football team.
- The Dells is a primarily R & B musical group formed in 1952 that was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and known for the song "Oh, What a Night".
- Suzzanne Douglas – actress
- Tom Dreesen is a comedian, entertainer and public speaker, best remembered for his appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show With David Letterman, and as an opening act for Frank Sinatra.
- Melvin Ely is a professional basketball player who played for the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans.
- Mustapha Farrakhan Jr. is a professional basketball player who played for the University of Virginia and is a member of Nation of Islam.
- Lupe Fiasco (Wasalu Muhammad Jaco) is a Grammy Award-winning rapper.
- Terry Fox (class of 1953) was an MLB pitcher (1960-66) for the Milwaukee Braves and Detroit Tigers.
- Barry Gardner was an NFL linebacker (1999–2005), and member of the Philadelphia Eagles team that appeared in Super Bowl XXXIX.
- Jack Golden is an NFL linebacker who was a member of two teams which appeared in the Super Bowl; the 2000 New York Giants and 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Napoleon Harris was an NFL linebacker (2002–2009) for the Minnesota Vikings and later a member of the Illinois Senate.
- Bill Hayes is an actor and singer, best remembered for his role in the soap opera Days of Our Lives.
- LaRoyce Hawkins, spoken word artist, stand-up comic and actor, currently[when?] starring on NBC's Chicago P.D..
- Rod Higgins played in the NBA for 13 years before becoming an executive with the Charlotte Bobcats.
- Norman J. Kansfield, president of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, 1993–2005.
- Ira McDowell (class of 2019) is the most decorated Speech team member in IHSA history and the first to win back-to-back State championships in IHSA Speech Humorous Duet Acting.
- Lamar McGriggs (class of 1986) played linebacker for the New York Giants and in the Canadian Football League.
- Antwaan Randle El was an NFL wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins who played for the Steelers' championship team in Super Bowl XL; currently a television sports commentator
- Don Robertson is a former MLB outfielder (Chicago Cubs)
- Betty Robinson (class of 1929) is a two–time Olympic gold medalist; she won the first gold medal in the women's 100 meter dash at the 1928 Summer Olympics. She held the world record in the 100 meters for 4 years. Her Olympic gold medal is housed at the school.
- Shelby Steele is an author, columnist and filmmaker.
- Dick Steere was a guard in the National Football League.
- Tai Streets is a former NFL wide receiver (1999–2004) who played for the University of Michigan's 1997 national championship team.
- John Sullivan played shortstop for the Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns in six Major League Baseball seasons during the 1940s.
- Willie Taylor- singer
- Danitra Vance was an Obie Award–winning actress, perhaps best known for her time performing on Saturday Night Live, where she was the first African-American woman to be a regular cast member.
- Melvin Van Peebles is a director, producer, actor and writer (Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song).
- Tracy Webster (class of 1991) is a basketball assistant coach at the University of California at Berkeley who was interim head coach for DePaul in 2010.
- Steven Whitehurst is an award-winning author, poet, essayist and educator.
- Thornton Township H.S. District 205 District Administration; accessed August 19, 2019
- Administration, Thornton H.S. homepage; accessed October 18, 2010 Archived July 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- "Thornton Township High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
- "Thornton High School profile, ihsa.org; accessed November 24, 2008". Ihsa.org. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Class of 2007 school report card, p. 1; accessed November 24, 2008[dead link]
- Harvey Wins School Site, May 29, 1898, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 3; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Trustees Oblige Supt. Andrews, October 22, 1898, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 5; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Thornton Township High School, Harvey, Ill., May 28, 1899, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 10; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Harvey School Bonds Sold, July 9, 1899, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 8; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Preps To Form New League, May 24, 1913, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. 14; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Shirer, William, Chicago Girl Breaks World's 100 Meter Record, August 1, 1928, Chicago Daily Tribune; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Thornton Night Classes Enroll 452 in War Study, September 6, 1942, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. SW3; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Thornton High School Adapts Studies To War, February 28, 1943, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. SW2; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Thornton High Asks $300,000 To Build Annex, September 27, 1936, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. SW2; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Thornton Board To Rush School Addition Plans, February 7, 1937, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. SW2; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Start Building Thornton Twp. High Addition, April 11, 1948, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. SW7; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Tell details of Harvey's School Gym, December 5, 1948, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. SW 1; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Thornton Twp High Gymnasium contract Let To Contractor, January 9, 1949, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. SW 11; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- Thornton High To Dedicate $350,000 Gym, April 30, 1950, Chicago Daily Tribune, p. SW 11; accessed ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849–1986); November 26, 2008
- "Season summaries for Thornton Township HS, ihsa.org; accessed November 26, 2008". Ihsa.org. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "Thornton Pride Stays With You". Suntimes.com. April 11, 2007. Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "Lloyd Batts stats and bio". Basketball-reference.com. May 9, 1951. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Bell, Taylor (August 25, 2010). "Visiting the Boudreau Room". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
The curious thing about Thornton is that, despite the decades of tradition and legacy of great coaches and athletes ... any other athletic facility is named in honor of any of them...Lou Boudreau, Jack Lipe, Tiny Huddlestun, Betty Robinson ... There is a copy of Boudreau's plaque that hangs in baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and Betty Robinson's gold medal from the 1924 Olympics ... In May 2010, the school added a Thornton Wall of Fame in the main building that honors some of the great athletes and student leaders of the past—Boudreau, Robinson, comedian Tom Dreesen, actors Bill Hayes, Michael Boatman and Melvin Van Peebles, industrialist Dan Ustian and athletes Tai Streets, Melvin Ely, Napoleon Harris and Antwaan Randle El.[permanent dead link]
- "Hayes, Neil, 'Lou Boudreau: Let's play two'". Suntimes.com. November 23, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2011.[dead link]
- "1974 Thornton Township High School Yearbook (Harvey, Illinois)". Classmates.com. 1974. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
- "Fruchter, Alexander, 'Hip To Be Square'". Soundslam.com. Archived from the original on January 8, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "Barry Gardner bio & stats". Databasefootball.com. December 13, 1976. Archived from the original on May 28, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "Jack Golden stats and bio". Databasefootball.com. January 28, 1977. Archived from the original on November 22, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Tamm, Kirii (March 28, 1957). "Babe is Pleased Thornton Hasn't Forgotten Her Feats". The Thorntonite. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- Zabell, Martin (September 27, 1992). "Racing Back Through Time: First Female Gold Medalist Comes Home". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
- "Obie-winning Actress Danitra Vance, 35", Chicago Tribune, August 23, 1994, retrieved November 19, 2010,
Once described as a cross between Laurie Anderson and Little Richard, Ms. Vance appeared in feature films and in 1985 became the first black woman to join the regular cast of "Saturday Night Live," where she stayed for a year ... At Thornton High School, she auditioned for a play but failed to win a part. Nonetheless, she got up during the performance and acted anyway and became the star of the show ...
- About the Author. Editorial Review for Words From an Unchained Mind. ASIN 1564110141.
Steven Whitehurst was born into a single-parent family in Chicago on March 3, 1967. After spending his early years living in housing projects on the city's southside, his family moved to Harvey, Illinois. In Harvey, Steven graduated from Thornton Township High School in 1984.CS1 maint: ASIN uses ISBN (link)