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Anniversary Gala on February 25 as Hillcrest Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Then & Now

Hillcrest High School, the third school built in Bremen High School District 228, opened its doors on February 6, 1967 with a student enrollment of 693 freshmen and sophomores and 37 staff members.  The Class of 1969 was the first graduating class, honoring 200 students.


Now, 50 years later in 2017, Hillcrest HS has a student enrollment of 1,192 and 140 teachers and support staff members.  In May 2017, the Board of Education will honor approximately 250 students graduating as the Class of 2017.


Celebrating 50 Years at Hillcrest High School; You’re Invited

On Saturday, February 25, 2017 a 50th Anniversary Gala will be held at Hillcrest High School.  Community members, families and staff as well as former students and staff are invited to attend.


The Gala begins at 6pm and will end at 10pm.  This fun-filled evening will include live entertainment including Sa’Rayah, a finalist from The Voice, as well as food, dancing to music from Hillcrest’s 50 year history, building tours, a photo booth, raffles, reminiscing, camaraderie, and fellowship.  Hawks wear and yearbooks will also be available for purchase.


Principal Simms had this to say, "I am excited to celebrate Hillcrest High School’s 50th Anniversary. Hillcrest High School has a rich history and tradition in the south suburbs. This celebration is our opportunity to acknowledge and honor former staff and students, as well as the school's legacy. More importantly, as we pay homage to those who came before us, laying the foundation for five decades, we also celebrate what the future holds for our students, our school, and our communities."


Tickets to this memorable event are $30 and include a 50th Anniversary Commemorative Cookbook with recipes from Hillcrest staff members.  All proceeds from the evening will benefit scholarships for students.  To purchase a ticket or for more information, contact the office of Principal Renee Simms at (708) 647-4801 or go to the event page at Event Brite.


Ahhh, the Memories

Many happy memories have taken place in the halls of Hillcrest High School over the past 50 years.  Students were and still are referred to as The Hawks (the school’s mascot), school colors are Columbia blue, navy blue and white, the yearbook is The Talon, the school newspaper is The Pinion and the literary magazine is The Flight.  Students and alums alike still proudly sing the school song:


Fight on team for Hillcrest’s name;

Carry her on to greater fame.

Fight on Hawks; we know you’re best.

Victory’s assured over all the rest!

Loyal to you we’ll always be.

Our Alma Mater, Hail to the.

Blue and white forever.

We’ll fight to see another Hillcrest victory!


Current and former students refer to Hillcrest High School as “The Hill.”  The school was named after two of its communities – Country Club Hills and Hazel Crest.


Who could forget visits by President Bill Clinton or Senator Barack Obama, or when the 1967 snowstorm hit, radio personality Clark Weber (WJJD) visited the school, peace sign posters lining the hallways, gum art poster boards were created, the murmur room, the Betty Crocker contest, and when the Hawks were named the WLS Football Team of the Week.


Graduates can be proud of the education they received at Hillcrest High School.  They have done well.  In fact, some graduate names stand out to many of us.  They include:  Danny Clark, Class of 1995, NFL Player for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans and New York Giants; Marquice Cole, Class of 2002, NFL Player for the New York Jets, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos; Brady Dougan, Class of 1977, Former President of World Bank; Cory McPherrin, Class of 1973, Anchor at Fox 32’s Good Day Chicago; Leonard Richard, Class of 1991, Hollywood Stunt Man; Jason Robertson, Class of 1989, Drafted by the New York Yankees; Dennie Shupryt-Knoop, Class of 1973, Volleyball Player in the Women’s Professional Beach Circuit; Baku Talbert, Class of 1995, Attorney to Venus and Serena Williams; and Cassandra Walker-Simmons, Class of 1984, Author & News Anchor in Minneapolis.


Another great accomplishment for Hillcrest High School are the number of graduates who have ‘come home’ to work for Bremen District 228 schools.  They are:  Jamilah Adebesen Mason (2003), Teacher; Kimiko Chambers Broome (1993), Teacher; DeShawn Dockery (2008), Paraprofessional; Justin Edgecombe (1993), Paraprofessional; Cynthia Goodwin (2004), Permanent Substitute Teacher; Tamara Hill Pryer (1992), School Nurse; Stacy Lavin Faulkner (1986), Teacher; Nikita Odom (2004), Counselor; Herb Offord (2010); Camille Scott-Offord (2010), Paraprofessional; Janet Stachyra McGrath (1975); Melinda Taylor (2003); Morgan Weaver (2010), Student Assistant; Lisa Wunar (1985), Athletic Director; and Michael Young (2010), Student Assistant.


Since the school opened, 9 principals served Hillcrest High School.  They include:  William Reeves 1965-1967, Robert Heinrich 1967-1968, Lee Cox 1968-1973, Edward Roberts 1973-1986, James Riordan 1986-1987, James Peoples 1987-1992, Gwendolyn Lee 1992-1994, Patricia Welch 1994-2007, and Renee Simms 2007-Present.


With so many memories to celebrate, be sure to mark your calendar and buy your ticket for the February 25th Hillcrest High School 50th Anniversary Gala.  For additional information or questions, contact Principal Simms at (708) 647-4801.