|Maine East High School|
Main entrance of Maine East
2601 West Dempster Street
|School type||Public, secondary|
|School district||Maine Township High School District 207|
|NCES District ID||1724090|
|Superintendent||Dr. Ken Wallace|
|NCES School ID||172409005030|
|Teaching staff||153.68 (FTE)|
|Student to teacher ratio||12.74:1|
|Campus size||0.08 sq miles|
|Slogan||Respectful, Responsible, Ready|
|Athletics conference||Central Suburban League|
Maine East High School, or Maine East, and officially Maine Township High School East, is a public four-year high school located at the corner of Dempster Street and Potter Road in Park Ridge, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, in the United States. It is part of Maine Township High School District 207, which also includes Maine South High School and Maine West High School.
Maine East is best known today for the diversity of its student body with from several dozen countries on every continent besides Antarctica.
The building itself, constructed in the 1920s, is noted for its distinct Art Deco style.
Maine East was known as Maine Township High School when it was built in 1929 as a replacement for the original Maine Township High School, which itself had been built in 1902. Until 1959, when Maine West High School was built, it was the only school in the district. The school was built with an indoor rifle shooting range and a swimming pool. Over the years, the shooting range was closed and the swimming pool closed with a larger modern pool opened in a new section of the building.
During the Great Depression, most of the staff taught without financial compensation, as the district could not afford to meet salaries. As thanks, local merchants provided necessities to the staff free of charge.
In 1936, Maine East's band director, Alexander Harley, along with his wife Frances, founded Maine Music Masters as a way of honoring musicians in the school band. The idea spread and, in 1952, the chapters at individual high schools were incorporated as Modern Music Masters. In 1983, it was renamed Tri-M Music Honor Society. Today, it is the largest international honor society in music education.
In December 1959, the student-operated radio station WMTH-FM went on the air. The first broadcast was of a basketball game in the school fieldhouse. The sportscaster students were Harrison Ford and Marshal Seese. Ford went on to become a major movie star and Marshall went on to be a weather-caster at The Weather Channel.
For a short amount of time, in 1958-1959, there were so many students enrolled in the school (approximately 7,000) that the school day was split into two parts so that half of the population attended in the morning and half in the afternoon. The largest graduating class was the class of 1970 with just under 1,100 students, just before the opening of Maine North High School. Prior to that, graduating classes of about 1,000 students were in 1959, just before Maine West High School opened, and the Class of 1964, just before Maine South High School opened. When Maine North High School closed in 1981, a majority of the students from that school were sent to Maine East, with the remainder being sent to Maine West High School and Glenbrook South High School.
The architecture of the original building was inspired by the architecture of the Powell Library Building at UCLA. The original building was "L"-shaped, with a long wing running north-south, parallel to Potter Road. A shorter wing runs east-west, parallel to Dempster Street, with both wings meeting at "the tower" where the main entrance is located. Each of the wings is three stories tall.
The tower is six stories tall, though the higher floors are not in use today because of fire hazard (there is only one narrow staircase granting access to these floors). The fourth floor contains the new heating and air-conditioning systems. The "tower" originally housed the art and music rooms, but since 1960 houses the broadcasting transmitter for WMTH 90.5 FM, the student-operated radio station. Following World War II and up into the late 1960s aviation classes were given with the use of a Link Trainer installed in the tower. The sixth floor also has a balcony on the outside from which there is a distant view, on some days, of the Chicago skyline.
The school has two swimming pools. The newer one is used for physical education classes, and by the interscholastic water polo and swimming and diving teams. The original natatorium, located in the basement, has been shut down due to the need for financially unfeasible repairs, but is kept for its irreplaceable decorative mosaics, which could be damaged with further exposure to water and chemicals.
The school also has a firing range in the basement that was in use when the school opened, as training with firearms was considered essential for young men in the wake of World War I. The firing range was also used for World War II because many people wanted to join the military. Though today used for storage, it is believed to be one of the few non-military academies to still have a usable firing range on the premises.
Starting in 1988, the school's ecology club began a clean-up and restoration of a small section of the property which was native savanna. In addition to general clean-up, students began annual buck thorn cutting days. In addition to some endangered species, trees as old as 200 years were identified.
The school offers 18 Advanced Placement courses: English language, English literature, biology, environmental science, chemistry, physics (C), calculus (AB & BC), statistics, computer science (AB), Spanish language, Spanish literature, U.S. history, European history, government and politics, economics, music theory and studio art.
Maine East High School is active in United States policy debate and hosts a tournament with regional significance to Great Lakes-region high school debaters, as those advancing far enough receive a bid to attend the national Tournament of Champions.
Maine East High School is also home to the Park Ridge Rotary Interact Club, founded in 2013. The Interact Club boasts a large amount of student involvement and has led major fundraising and community service initiatives. The Interact Club has conducted service projects on the local and international level. Its initiatives have received coverage by numerous media outlets. Its motto is "Service Above Self" and it allows students to develop leadership skills through service.
Maine East has competed in the Central Suburban League since 1972. Before then, the school competed in the West Suburban Conference. The school also competes in state championship tournament series sponsored by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA).
The school sponsors interscholastic teams for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball and water polo. There are men's teams in baseball, American football and wrestling, while women may compete in badminton, cheerleading and softball.
The following teams were placed in the top four of the IHSA] sponsored State Championship Tournament of their respective sport. These also include IHSA recognized finishes by Maine Township High School prior to 1960:
`In comics you're either rich or you're a cult figure,`` explains artist Marc Hempel, creator of ``Gregory,`` the story of a psychotic boy and a pet rat ... Hempel, 35, was born in Evanston and grew up in Park Ridge where he attended Maine East High School.