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The 2019–2020 Social Studies Laboratory course combined traditional classroom practices with a largely project-based pedagogy to facilitate a better understanding of historical concepts. After the first few weeks, the students began working in small groups on a history harvest project that lasted the remainder of the semester. This course was taught in collaboration with Dr. Kathy Oberdeck’s HIST 358 course, “History Harvest: Collaborative Public Digital History.” Uni students digitized materials in the Uni archive before hosting their own History Harvest during the Alumni Agora Days. At the end of the semester, the students completed a project in which they researched the urban landscape that surrounds Uni High, detailing its change over the past century.


History Harvest

History Harvest is a student-centered and community-based project that democratizes and opens historical inquiry to the public. At the 2019 Alumni Agora Days, Dr. Wilson’s Social Studies Laboratory class hosted a history harvest of Uni High artifacts. The students encouraged community members to bring their historical artifacts and share their reflections on Uni High history. The students then digitized the artifacts and put them online for to share with the Uni High community. The project is meant to preserve the historic memory of Uni High and provide a means of interacting with our collective institutional history.


Coloring Book

Coloring Book

When Director of Development, Marilyn Uppah-Bant, saw Harvard University's very own coloring book, she was inspired to make one for Uni. She put the order together and asked Uni art teacher, Ms. Evans, for an alum that might be interested in illustrating the book. Ms. Evans recommended Helen Miller, class of 2002. Evans described Miller as a “very good artist.” When the illustrations and accompanying information were completed, the book was published in the Spring of 2007.

The Coloring Book itself highlights the remarkable community of Uni. Some Uni alumni the coloring book mentions include George Will, Iris Chang, Dr. Francine “Penny” Patterson, and Frederick Marx as well as Nobel Prize winners Hamilton O. Smith, Philip W. Anderson, and James Tobin. The Coloring Book also discusses some of the history behind the doors of Uni.

What we don’t know exactly is who the book was made for, how it was distributed, the years it was worked on, or the process for deciding which alums to include. Given that the book was made within the Uni community, we assume that the book was intended for members of the Uni community.


English Assignment

English Assignment

This is an English assignment from Miss Schuske, who taught class in the 1960s. It includes songs from popular artists of the time like “Macarthur Park” by Jimmy Webb, “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles, “Long Time Gone” by Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” by Simon and Garfunkel, “The Windmills of Your Mind” by Alan Bergman and Michael Legrand, and “Spinning Wheel” by Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Each song features lyrics about how life is changing for the worse and reflects the general outlook of the public during this time of counterculture, civil rights, antiwar, etc. movements—all of which had themes regarding the decreasing quality of life. Students were asked to break down the imagery, word choice, and pronouns of each of the excerpts provided in order to come up with an overall meaning for the song—not unlike activities current Uni High students are asked to do in Freshman and Sophomore English with songs and poems. However, it appears that this was uncommon for the time, as lyrics weren’t as accessible or even considered poems by most people.



Madrigals Emails

Listen to Track 1

Listen to Track 2

Uni High’s first official Madrigal group was formed in 1948. The group originally included twelve student singers, though additional singers were added throughout the years, and the current Madrigal group includes seventeen students. The Madrigals have always been a special part of Uni due to traditions stretching back to the 1960s. Uni’s Winter Party traditionally includes a “surprise” performance from the Madrigals after they lead students through the halls with singing and candles. There also used to be a formal Madrigal dinner that included fancy foods—like an actual stuffed boar’s head. The Madrigals began wearing Elizabethan style costumes in the early 1970s, and today’s group still performs in period attire.

This CD is from Uni’s 1967–1968 Madrigals. They are singing an arrangement of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and other beloved songs, accompanied by Uni grad Marie Chow, class of 1969. At the time, Marcia Swengel Powell was the Madrigals director. She took the group to an Illinois state contest, and they toured across the state in 1970. Uni madrigals have continued singing together and they still perform several times a year, especially during the Christmas season. Their current director, Richard Murphy, organized a Madrigals reunion in 2017 that included previous members from as early as the 1950s. Most singers still remembered the classic songs they had rehearsed and performed decades earlier.


New Math

Max Beberman

The document above is a Time magazine article from January 22, 1965, describing Max Beberman’s perspective on issues the “old” and New Math faced. This article was brought to us by a Uni alum, Douglas R. Bader, during our 2019 History Harvest. He recalls the article in Time magazine being a memorable event. The boy in the photo raising his hand is Sherwin Gooch, and the girl next to him is Blair Lee—both subbies in the year the pictures were taken.

Max Beberman was born in New York on August 20, 1925 and was one of the founders of New Math. He taught math at Uni High and was part of the U of I math faculty from 1950 to 1971. He was the head of the University of Illinois Committee on School Mathematics, which focused on restructuring high school math curricula and helping to develop New Math.

In this article, Max Beberman describes the challenges that New Math faces. They boil down a few points:

  1. The main challenge to New Math faced was the lack of experienced teachers who had both the exposure to advanced math and teaching skills to describe concepts in sufficient detail.

  2. The effects of the old system continually held back New Math. Many students hadn’t developed computational or logical skills due to the “old system” drilling in memorization and failing to teach critical thinking.

Max Beberman thought new math was “here to stay.” Unfortunately, after he died, the program faded away, likely due to the points he outlined above. However, there are still New Math materials and a legacy for modern math education. Small aspects of the New Math’s teaching style linger on in individual teacher’s teaching styles or in select math textbooks. Although New Math was not a successful attempt at making a national math curriculum, the idea of a national math curriculum lingers on in the influence of standardized math tests. In addition, New Math introduced the concept of discussing more difficult math problems in high school, which is a trend that continues today with the addition of Calculus as a high school course. Finally, the failure of New Math serves as a reminder that it’s essential for curriculum reform to start with training high school teachers.


Sports Banquet

Sports Banquet

This is the Sports Banquet Schedule for the 1969–70 school year. There were only four teams that year: basketball, cross country, track and field, and cheerleading—with cheerleading being the only girls’ sport. Terrapin, the swimming team, disappeared after 1965, while Orchesis, the synchronized dance team, disappeared after 1964. These most likely disappeared due to declining membership, however many seniors in 1970 had been on the teams earlier in their careers. The Girls Athletic Association also disappeared in 1968 “because of a lack of response” after it had provided new gym equipment the previous year.

New girls’ sports teams did not appear until around a decade later. Polly Steeyk became the first girl to run Cross Country by running on the boys’ team in the 1974–1975 school year. The next girl to run would be Jane Gladney, in the 1977–1978 year, and in the 1978–1979 year, there were four girls running. That same year, the Girls’ Basketball team was created, followed by an official Girls’ XC team a year later.

In the 1970 yearbook, neither track nor cheerleading have any information about their seasons. Basketball and cross country, however, do have notes about their seasons. Basketball did not have a good season, with varsity winning zero games and junior varsity squeaking out a single win against Mansfield. Cross Country had a winning 7–3 dual meet season, with decent performances at a number of invitational meets as well. Uni did not qualify for the state meet—however, nor had they since the 1967–1968 season, and they would not again until the 1980s. Runner Tod Satterthwaite would go on to be Cross Country team captain in 1971, placing eighty-seventh at the state meet in Peoria.

According to the News-Gazette article, “Uni High’s Never-Say-Die Illineks Beautiful, Even In Losing Finale,” Uni’s performance against Bellflower, with Uni losing 85–68, led coach Chuck Davis to say, “When I came here the boys couldn’t play defense at all. We just don’t have any outshooting or ball-handling, and if we run up against a zone or press that’s it”. The 2/27/70 article, written by Stan Hieronymus, pointed out “Uni has had only one winning season in the past 25, but this is the first winless one ever.” When player Dick Broudy was asked how he felt about Uni’s position as a perpetual underdog, he answered, “I’m not sure if Uni will ever have the personnel to win a lot of games. But I’m glad I go here because I get to play. I don’t think I would play much at Central or Centennial.” The article concludes by saying, “So the Uni high tradition continues. A tradition that has included barefoot player; a season that more letterman managers returned than letterman basketball players; and a player who scored three baskets one season for the other teams on opening tips. Add one long haired 33-point scorer who plays just to be playing.”

The University of Illinois in the Cold War Era 1945–1975: Women's Athletics at the University of Illinois