District History
District History

Serving the Communities of Frankfort, Frankfort Square, Manhattan, Mokena, New Lenox and sections of Tinley Park and Joliet

Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 was organized in 1951 by the voters residing in the ninety-square-mile area. Prior to 1951, this area did not have a local high school district. The absence of a high school created considerable inconvenience for the citizens of the communities in the district.

In order to start the new high school district, the newly elected Board of Education: Albert H. Krusemark, Jr. president, J. Earl Robinson, secretary, James A. Dixon, Lester Case, George Bovee, Raymond Reiter and Lawrence Kohl, employed the University of Illinois, Bureau of Field Services, to make a comprehensive study of the community and its educational requirements. The study was conducted with the assistance of many local citizens’ committees. The final report resulted in a book entitled, “A School for Tomorrow.” This book was used extensively by the Board of Education, administration, faculty and architects for the original planning and continued development of Lincoln-Way.

In June 1952, another election provided for the approval and construction of the present seventy-acre campus located on Route 30 and Schoolhouse Road in New Lenox. Construction started in March 1953 and Lincoln-Way opened its doors to an enrollment of 290 students for the first time on September 7, 1954. The original bond issue was in the amount of $1, 200,000 (One Million Two Hundred Thousand dollars). Mrs. Florence Pittman was unanimously declared the winner of a contest to select an appropriate name for the school. The Board of Education officially adopted the name “Lincoln-Way.” The charter members of the student body voted red and black as their school’s colors. Words for the school song were written by Mr. Robert Taylor and Mrs. Betty Tryon, and set to the melody of the University of Chicago pep song. Bond issues for additions to the original building were approved in 1957, 1960, 1962, and 1969. The 1969 bond issue approved a ninth grade building that was built north of the main building. The north building opened in 1971, accommodating 700 students.

The Board of Education purchased a site in 1966, located on Highway 45 and Colorado in Frankfort Township. In 1973, a 49-acre site was purchased south of New Lenox in anticipation of future population growth at the corner of Cedar and Laraway. A scholarship for Lincoln-Way graduates who resided in New Lenox was provided by Carolyn Bentley. In December 1974, the voters passed a $4,985,000 bond issue to develop a new freshman-sophomore building on the Frankfort site. Construction began in the summer of 1975, and the school opened in the fall of 1977. Site purchases and building programs have been an essential part of Lincoln-Way’s history due to continuous population growth.

In 1991 the Board of Education in partnership with the Village of Frankfort and the Will County Forest Preserve purchased the L-shaped 24-acre Werner Farm just north and west of the Lincoln-Way East campus property.

In November 1992, voters approved a building bond measure of $ 27,000,000 to double the size of the East Campus in Frankfort to accommodate growth. Added facilities included a 42 classroom academic wing, a field house, fine arts auditorium and music classrooms to the East Campus. A field house was added to the Central Campus. The expansion was completed in March 1995. In the fall of 1995, Lincoln-Way students began the school year in a 2-2 configuration. All freshmen and sophomores attended Lincoln-Way East campus; all juniors and seniors attended the Lincoln-Way Central campus.

In 1993 the Board of Education purchased 80 acres on Smith Road (west of Schoolhouse) in Manhattan Township for a future high school site.

Starting with the 1996 school year, students from the Cherry Hill section of New Lenox Township attended Lincoln-Way High School. Also in 1996, the Lincoln-Way District 210 Board of Education purchased an additional 76 acres for a future high school at 191st & Harlem Avenue in Tinley Park.

Annexation of Jackson Township in 1999 added the entire Manhattan Elementary District 114 to Lincoln-Way High School District 210. The current school district boundaries encompass 105 square miles.

In 1998, citizens of Lincoln-Way District 210 approved a $60,000,000 building bond referendum to split the existing high school 2-2 configuration into two separate four- year high schools. Voters approved adding: an academic wing with 50 classrooms to each campus; a fine arts auditorium and music classrooms to Lincoln-Way Central; and building a swimming pool at each campus. To make room for all the additions at the Central campus, the athletic facilities were moved off site to the 49-acres at Cedar and Laraway.

In the fall of 2001, Lincoln-Way High School split into two four-year schools, named Lincoln-Way Central High School and Lincoln-Way East High School. Lincoln-Way Central, as the first Lincoln-Way high school, kept the Knights as the mascot and the colors red and black. Lincoln-Way Central continued the tradition of the Lincoln-Way Loyalty Song written by Robert Taylor and Betty Tryon in 1954. Lincoln-Way East High School students voted the Griffin as its mascot with colors cobalt blue, black and white. The Lincoln-Way East Loyalty Song was written by Janine K. Valkema, Lincoln-Way East Music Department Chair and sung to the melody of Oskee Wow Wow from the University of Illinois. The song was first played in May 2001 during a Board of Education meeting held at the East campus. Students attended Lincoln-Way Central from Manhattan Elementary School District 114, New Lenox Elementary School District 122, and a small section of Union School District 81. Students attended Lincoln-Way East from Frankfort Elementary School District 157C, Mokena Elementary School District 159, and Summit Hill Elementary School District 161.

In January of 2002, Lincoln-Way High School District 210 purchased 100 acres at the corner of Illinois Highway and Gougar Road in New Lenox Township. The Board of Education purchased an additional 90 acres at Harlem and Vollmer Roads in Frankfort Township in July 2004, to provide for the tremendous growth in the eastern portion of District 210.

On March 21, 2006, Lincoln-Way District 210 voters approved a $225,000,000 building bond referendum to approve building two four-year high schools with capacity of 2,500 students each. Each high school would include 103 classrooms, a field house, fine arts auditorium and classrooms, and swimming pool. Considerable life-safety enhancements and air conditioning were added to both Lincoln-Way East and Lincoln-Way Central. The construction projects were provided with no increase or new money beyond what taxpayers were currently paying in the bond and interest fund.

In 2007, the Board of Education purchased a 100-acre site in Manhattan Township at Smith Road east of Cherry Hill Road in anticipation of future growth.

Lincoln-Way North opened in August of 2008 and is located on the west side of Harlem Avenue and Vollmer (extended) in Frankfort Township. Lincoln-Way North students chose the Phoenix as their mascot and voted the colors of gold, black and white. The Lincoln-Way North Loyalty Song lyrics were written by Bert Johnson, Lincoln-Way North Music Department Chair. The music is based on “The Victors March” by Louis Elbel, University of Michigan’s fight song. The North Loyalty Song was first played at the school dedication ceremony August 3, 2008. Attending Lincoln-Way North are students from the Summit Hill Elementary School District 161.

The Board of Education in 2008 sold the 49 acres at Cedar and Laraway for $4, 600,000 and used that money to finance the construction of an underground water vault and site construction of new athletic fields and facilities at the Central High School.

The fourth high school, Lincoln-Way West, opened in August 2009 and is located at Gougar Road and Illinois Highway in New Lenox Township. Lincoln-Way West students chose the Warrior as their mascot, with colors orange, black and white. The Lincoln-Way West Loyalty Song lyrics were written by Steve Nedzel, Lincoln-Way West Music Department Chair and Band Director. The music is based on Auburn University’s “War Eagle” by Robert Allen. The song was first played at the opening dedication on August 2, 2009. Attending Lincoln-Way West are students from the Liberty Junior High boundaries, District 122 and Union School District 81 that reside in the Lincoln-Way 210 District boundaries.

As of the 2009-2010 school year, students attending Lincoln-Way Central are from Manhattan Elementary School District 114, and Martino Junior High boundaries in the New Lenox Elementary School District that reside in the Lincoln-Way 210 District boundaries.

In 2011, Lincoln-Way High School District 210 recognized its 60th anniversary and celebrated the first graduation ceremonies of all four high schools: Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way North and Lincoln-Way West.

In the 62 years of Lincoln-Way High School District 210 existence, five superintendents have embraced the traditions and values of student achievement and fiscal responsibility as set by the Boards of Education. Five superintendents that have been privileged to serve the Lincoln-Way community are:

Mr. A. Hunter Chapman

Mr. Joseph Kruzich

Mr. Lee F. Rosenquist

Dr. Lawrence A. Wyllie

Dr. R. Scott Tingley

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