Did you know that Waukegan High School was once divided into two separate schools–not buildings?
The two schools had their own separate things going on!
HERE’S A LITTLE HISTORY:
According to Waukegan Public School District 60 (WPS), Waukegan High School was established in 1870. It was originally named Central High School. In 1889, the school burned down and was rebuilt the following year. By 1908, the school was so crowded with students that the township decided to build another building in September 1910, which would be the building located on the corner of Jackson and Glen Rock. The building is currently the district’s Alternative/Optional Education Center.
Waukegan High School served its town and ever-growing population through the early 1970’s, according to the Illinois High School Glory Days. It was in 1975 when the decision was made to create a second high school. In 1976, the high school officially split into two seperate four year high schools.
The original Waukegan High School building was renamed Waukegan East High School. Each school wanted to represent its own symbol, standing alone with the students and staff that attended the school. This school was the home of the Bulldogs. Waukegan East also had its own school colors which were purple and gold. Even the school song was totally different.
Waukegan East’s school song was called “Hail Waukegan Hail”.
Waukegan High, Waukegan High
You lead in noble thought
The truth that’s taught within your walls
Will never come to naught
We’ll win in every contest
In athletics we be bold
March onward, oh, Waukegan
Hail the purple and the gold
Waukegan Hail, oh, honored school
Your worth can ne’er be told
From mantled walls of Ivy clad
‘Neath the purple and the gold
Our high school song is somewhat like this today, with a few minor changes here and there.
The second high school was named Waukegan West High School. It was built in 1975, on Brookside Avenue. Waukegan West was the home of the Raiders. Its school colors were green and gold.
The school song Waukegan West sang was called “Cheers, Cheers for Waukegan West”.
We are the green and we are the gold
We are the Raiders, we are the bold!
We will conquer, we will win
We know we we’ll never, ever give in
We have the teamwork
We have the speed
We know we’ll always step out and lead!
We are Raiders tried and true
Waukegan West we love you!
“Fight, Raiders, Fight!”
“Waukegan West school song was the best. We kept it short and simple but fun. Waukegan East didn’t have anything on us!” shouted Danell Young, of the Waukegan West Class of 1987. She was just so excited to discuss her past experiences at Waukegan West High School. She talked about how she danced on the pom pom team and cheered for the Waukegan West Raiders. Danell Young always sang the school song during those times, so she knew it very well!
Both schools had their own sports programs which actually competed against each other: Bulldogs vs. Raiders, in a literal cross-town rivalry. The Homecoming football game was played East against West in 1976, with East winning 20-0. Waukegan East and Waukegan West even had separate graduations. For the next 15 years, these high schools served the high school-aged children of Waukegan .
The late 1980’s brought talk of reuniting the two high schools back into one. And in 1990, it all became a reality. The Waukegan West Raiders and Waukegan East Bulldogs combined in the fall of 1990. The last separate graduation was held for the class of 1991, and by 1992, the schools were one single high school again.
Waukegan High School became the home of the Bulldogs again, but this time an eye patch was added to Bulldog to commemorate the Raiders, according to WPS. Since the only color both schools shared was gold, the new school colors became purple, green and gold, according to WPS.
Another former student, Lisa Grigsby of the Waukegan West Class of 1986, said angrily, “I wish they just would have made the mascot ‘Raidogs,’ which is combination of the Bulldogs and Raiders. It just wasn’t fair how the school excluded Waukegan West from that, like we never existed.”
Today, our school is again two separate campuses. But wouldn’t it be cool if it could go back to how Waukegan East and Waukegan West were?! It could actually make our school more interesting and exciting. What do you think?