ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — People celebrated their high school building’s 100th anniversary.
To mark the occasion, the district held an open house. It brought back memories and a sense of pride for everyone stopping by.
“I think it’s really neat that the school’s been around for a hundred years,” says senior Angela Rojas.
With a school expansion, academic success, and athletic achievements, there are several things which made Arcola alumni proud during the high school’s centennial celebration.
“It makes me happy that this is where I grew up and it’s been around for so long. It’s in a strong community and it’s just still around,” says Rojas.
“I came from a one-room schoolhouse and it was quite an experience,” says Class of 1943’s Marjorie Gardner.
It’s not just the building which has changed over the years.
“Every student has a computer. That’s a dramatic change, but for the most part it’s the same because that same commitment was always there in terms of giving the kids everything they needed to do well.” says alumna Gail Kalinich.
The people helping the students do well are the teachers.
“The teachers here at Arcola High School really treat you like their own. They really care for you. They help you with anything that you need really,” states Rojas.
Long history and the teachers aren’t all making Arcola different.
“What sets Arcola apart is that Arcola is always about being innovating and moving towards the future, but at the same time, they really respect tradition and respect the accomplishments of the past,” says Superintendent Tom Mulligan.
One accomplishment happened during Kalinich’s high school years. Her class was one of the first to have girls’ sports teams.
“Anyone that knows anything about Arcola knows that we have amazing girls’ sports teams. In fact, the gymnasium in Arcola is named for the female coach of the women’s basketball program. I don’t think you’ll find many schools in this state where that’s the case,” states Kalinich
“You want your kids to really understand what a great community this is, so they want to stay and raise their family here,” states Mulligan.
To prepare for the event, Arcola students researched the town’s history and the accomplishments of alumni.
They laid out memorabilia items dating back to the late 1800’s and interviewed alumni for a documentary.