University High School was founded in 1857, making it the oldest laboratory school and among the oldest high schools in the United States. University High School, most commonly known as U-High, is located in Normal, IL. It is a laboratory school, designed by Illinois State University. U-High is used for research and teacher-training by ISU students. The current enrollment is about 600 students. In order to enroll at U-High, one must complete an application, write an essay, and be accepted. It is a very competitive school, and students no longer just "get in" because they have siblings who already go/went there. University High School is very unique and culturally diverse, accepting a large range of students. U-High is very well known for its success in sports and academics and offers many extra curricular activities which students are encouraged to participate in. It is a very technologically advanced school, with every student in possession of a netbook. The mascot is the Pioneer and the school colors are green and gold.


The current principal Mrs. Andrea Markert. She used to be a Biology and Chemistry teacher at U-High until she accepted the position as Dean of Students at Metcalf, however she returned as Assistant Principal in 2012. Steve Evans is the new Assistant Principal at University High School. He worked at University High School as a Biology teacher before accepting the job as Assistant Principal of U-High.

The superintendent is Dr. Jeff Hill, former Principal of University High School.

Linda Witte is the office manager. She is in charge of keeping attendance and handing out detentions for skipping classes. If you stay on her good side, she will sometimes let you slide by. Being her office assistant really helps you to be in good standing with her. She is an expert in identifying fake notes, forged signatures, and phony parental calls—so don't even try kids. Linda has even been known to call parents to make sure that it was really them who wrote the note or made a phone call.

Kelly Whiting also helps out in the main office. She is usually a little more lenient than Linda. Kelly is very sweet and has a good sense of humor.


There is one teacher in particular that most students tend to get along with very well. Brad Dearing is one of the best teachers at U-high. Not only does he teach his courses very well, he also informs the students on current events which is extremely important. His classes have a tradition of cookouts. The students will provide food that can be cooked out during class which is normally towards the end of the semester. It is a great way that the students can relax during a stressful week of finals. If the class is lucky enough he will bring some of his delicious eggs that he gets from his farm. 


U-High is known nationally as being one of the best golfing schools in the country. U-High is also known for its basketball program, which was home to coach Cal Hubbard. The girls' basketball team of 2007-2008 was just as strong, winning intercity, which they had not done in many years. The swimming, cross country, wrestling, football, and soccer teams as well as many more are also highly competitive in the IHSA. While not technically sports, U-High’s chess, speech, math, and WYSE teams are highly competitive. The math team received 7th place in 2007 and 9th place in 2008 for class 2A. For chess, in 2008 they scored 5-2 to win first in their class with an impressive win fourth round against number 1 seed Niles North. U-High’s WYSE team garnered 2nd place in their division. In 2009 the chess team went 6-1 to earn 6th place in the Illinois high school chess tournament. The Speech Team in 2009 took the Regional and Sectional Championship in both Regionals and Sectionals.

The men’s swim team at U-high has a history of great teams. Coached by Michelle Meyers. In 2014 the team made history. The men’s 2014 team won state and were the first down state team to ever win the state meet. Swimmer Jake Miller had an outstanding state meet breaking the 200-yard IM record with a time of 1 minute, 48.01 seconds. He also won the 500 freestyle and broke a school record in the process with a time of, 4 minutes, 28.36 seconds. Not only did he win both of these events, he also anchored the 200 freestyle relay which went on to win with a time of, 1:23.84. 


Besides being known as an academic and athletic school U-High is also known for offering a large variety of extra-curricular activities and clubs that students can participate in. Things ranging from theater and dance to speech and math team. U-High offers many diverse clubs and are happy to make new ones if students want to. All that is needed to start a club is a teacher sponsor, purpose of club, a place to meet, and of course members. The club has to be run past the assistant principle to make sure that it is appropriate and just like that a new club is made. Making or being part of a club or activity is a great way to learn about the school and meet new people who have similar interests. Some clubs or activities can help get scholarships, some offer scholarships, and can look great on a job or college resume. Students of U-High are given the challenge and often boast about being a part of sports, clubs and activities, and being able to keep up with their social life and academics. Granted, it is not an easy life, but it is a life many students of U-High are happy to take on because they have fun and know that it is worth it to them and the teachers and staff happily support students to be able to successfully juggle all those things and make them all work. Many clubs and activities do fundraisers during the week that can range from bake sales to open poetry slams in the library. There is almost some sort of sport or activity fundraiser happening or something fun going on somewhere in the school. The librarians have also tried to make the library a much more fun place by allowing musical students to play music, allow creative writers to present their works of art, and show movies after school for students. These clubs not only allow students to meet new people, but the clubs allow for freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors to all mix together as one group instead of being divided by their classes and allows for friends to be made in any class or grade which brings the school community together as a whole. In regards to the competitive clubs such as speech and math (only naming a few) it is also nice for the younger classes to gain experience from their older peers instead of only depending on their coach or sponsors to teach them everything.

U-High Traditions

As one of the oldest high schools in Illinois, U-High has many established traditions and rituals. One of the most important of these is Class Night, an event which takes place in late May, usually the evening of the awards ceremony and the Senior Brunch. Class Night features a mix of student-produced films, bands, and the Moving Up of Classes. In this ceremony, the seniors vacate their seats as a symbol of their departure from U-High and each class moves up to take the seats that they will occupy in the next year. The freshmen are welcomed into the U-High community, and the Lamp of Knowledge is passed from the departing seniors to the rising seniors. Class Night is always followed by a dance, which is usually fairly well attended.

The other tradition that U-high is mainly known for is open-campus. It is the only high school in town which allows its students to freely explore the town and go out to lunch during free time. This is a privilege, which also accompanies a lot of responsibility. Students are expected to return to their classes on time from open lunch, and tardiness is not acceptable. Recently, vice principal Stephen Wilder has threatened to remove the open campus policy if students do not shape up their behavior. This would be a detrimental loss to all of its students.

The Clarionette

The Clarionette is a student-produced and published newspaper that appears electronically on the University High School’s web page. The Clarionette is typically headed by two editors and a few student copy editors as well along with teacher Amy Reiman. The students who contribute to the Clarionette are students who are enrolled in the Journalism class offered at University High School. Journalism students are required to write articles for the Clarionette and can choose to write a news story, feature story, sports story, or an opinion piece. The students in journalism are referred to as reporters and their job is to go out and look for things happening at University High School or in the community. Not only do the students run and produce the Clarionette, they also create University High School’s yearbook every year. A select few students attend yearbook camp before the school year begins in order to get ideas for the new yearbook. During the school year the reporters come up with ideas for yearbook stories and take pictures to go along with the stories. When the stories are written and the pictures are in the computer, the student editors use a special program to create insert everything in the yearbook.

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