The towns of Forrest (population 1,225), Strawn (population 104), and Wing (population approximately 75) are all located in eastern Illinois in the southeastern portion of Livingston County. All three towns are connnected by two common modes of transportation, Illinois Route 47 and the Norfolk & Western Railroad. The nearest town of note might be Bloomington located 30 – 35 miles southwest of the three towns.
It is known that the towns of Forrest and Strawn supported their own high schools for at least five decades. We believe that Wing supported its own high school as well. It was in 1949 that the 3 communities decided to consolidate their educational entities. The new school district was called Forrest-Strawn-Wing School District. The high school was located in Forrest.
The effort of the “new” school and its supporters lasted for approximately 35 years. In the late 1980s new talks arose as to the consolidation of Forrest-Strawn-Wing HS, Chatsworth HS, and nearby Fairbury-Cropsey High School. Forrest-Strawn-Wing and Fairbury-Cropsey consolidated at the end of the 1984-85 school year, forming the Prairie Central School District. The high school for Prairie Central is located in Fairbury with the new F-S-W school building becoming the Prairie Central Upper Elementary School at the beginning of the 1985-86 school session.
Forrest-Strawn-Wing High School Quick Facts
Year became Forrest-Strawn-Wing: 1949
Year closed: 1985
School Yearbook: the “Tupek”
Team nickname: the “Eskimos”
School colors: Red & Black
School Fight Song: “Loyal and True”
Words provided by Kelly Hamrin
LOYAL AND TRUE
We’re loyal and true
We pledge allegience to you
This is our motto
We are one for all
And all for alma mater
Here’s to our school
Long and proud may she rule
Forevermore you will find us
Always loyal and true
The Jr High Fight Song:
The red and black of Forrest will fall in line
We’re gonna win this game another time
And for this dear old school we love so well
We’re gonna yell & yell & yell & yell & yell
We’re gonna fight fight fight forevermore
We’re gonna win this game and then some more
We’re gonna roll old “opponent team” on the floor
out the door rah rah rah
Hey Cheeree cheerah cheeroh oh oh
Jr Eskimos go go go
The Forrest-Strawn-Wing Eskimos competed in many different sports. These included boys and girls basketball, boys and girls track, football, and girls volleyball. The Eskimos also recorded success in Speech competition. It is possible baseball and softball were offered at one time as well. For many years the Eskimos competed in the now-defunct Vermillion Valley Conference. In the 1980s the teams competed in the Sangamon Valley Conference.
Forrest-Strawn-Wing High School Mascot
The F-S-W grid iron boys had some real nice seasons in the late 1970s. Two teams from that era made it to the State Class 1A football playoffs. This is all that is known about the football program. Robert Cotter was the head coach of these two teams. Unfortunately the records and coaches names of other great teams are not available at this time. Please forward us this information if you have access to it so we can share it on this site.
Some of the better F-S-W Eskimoe records are listed below…thank you to Tom Sikorski for providing them.
1950 6 – 3 Coach Guy Gardner
1954 5 – 4 Coach Glenn Pickett
1955 5 – 2 – 2 Coach Glenn Pickett
1956 6 – 3 Coach Arnold Stahl
1957 5 – 4 Coach Arnold Stahl
1960 5 – 4 Coach Homer Barry
1964 8 – 1 Vermillion Valley Conference Champions Coach Dick Versace
1969 8 – 0 Vermillion Valley Conference Champions Coach Lew Reed
1975 8 – 2 Class 1A Playoff Qualifier Coach Bob Cotter
Lost to Princeville in 1st Round 40 – 8
Forest-Strawn-Wing Football Team 1975
Submitted by Richard Savage (From IHSA State Playoff Program)
1979 7 – 3 Vermillion Valley Conference Champions Coach Bob Cotter
Class 1A Playoff Qualifier
Lost to Argenta-Oreana in 1st Round 17 – 8
Players of note were All-Conference performers
(QB) Brad Crane, (RB) Paul Brown,
(RB) Dave Doran, (FB) Chris Crutcher
and many all-around athletes as support.
Vermilion Valley Conference Champions
1979 Playoff Qualifier – 1979-80 School Year
1982 6 – 3 Coach Dale Haab
1983 6 – 3 Coach Dale Haab
F-S-W last fielded a football team in 1984.
F-S-W Football Bleachers & Pressbox
Courtesy of Richard Soseman
F-S-W Goal Post &Blocking Sled
Photo Taken By Richard Soseman
ALL-STATE FOOTBALL PLAYERS:
Halfback Greg Dempsey and tackle Phil Knauer were named as members of the Illinois Little (small schools) All-State football team in 1964. Dempsey was named as part of the Chicago America Team and Knauer as a member of the Chicago Tribune Team. Dempsey followed this up returning for his senior season in 1965 and earned another spot on the Little All-State Football Team.
F-S-W Eskimos – 1956 Vermilion Valley Conf. Champs
Photo Courtesy of David Crouch
The boys basketball team at Forrest-Stawn-Wing also had some good seasons. Only four of these seasons are listed on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org). The Eskimos won two Regional titles during their existence. Two other seasons are listed from the early 1960s. If you have ingformation on other great teams please pass it on to us.
The website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores” lists Forrest HS as continuing to compete through the 1958-59 season. On the page for scores from 1959 the school is listed as Forrest-Strawn-Wing High School. Here are the scores for Forrest for the 1956-57 seasons and later as they are available.
1955-56 Fairbury Regional Tourney – 2nd Place Coach’s name & record needed.
Vermilion Valley Conf. Champs!
Beat Colfax Octavia 58-36
Beat Chenoa 49-44
Title game – Lost to Normal 66-56
1956-57 Regional Champions!! Coach’s name & record needed
Normal Regional Tourney
Beat El Paso 68-54
Beat Normal 77-51
Title Game – Beat Fairbury 79-60
Decatur Sectional Tourney
Lost to Warrensburg-Latham 76-68
Warrensburg-Latham lost title game
1957-58 Fairbury Regional Tourney – 2nd Place Coach’s name & record needed.
1977-78 – through closing of school – Postseason scores, records, & coaches names needed.
The Lady Eskimos got a later start than the boys , however they matched them in Regional titles won. The girls brought home two Regional titles in the mid 1980s.
1983-84 Regional Champions
1984-85 Regional Champions
Girls Basketball – 1983-84
Girls Basketball 1984-85
Regional Champions (Note: Only 6 Players!)
One Eskimo thinclad earned a medal at the IHSA State Track Meet. His excellent accomplishment is listed below.
1960-61 Jack Honegger Discus STATE CHAMPION!!!!!
(Jack’s winning distance at that time was one of the top
throws in IHSA history – over 166 feet!)
(remember, this was in a one-class system, great job JACK!)
Girls Track & Field
The girls track & field program for F-S-W officially began in the spring of 1974. F-S-W’s Tami Steidinger and three other girls went out for track that spring however there was no girls’ squad. Tami ran with the boys in a relay in one official meet making her the first female athlete in the area to compete in track. The spring of 1975 welcomed 10 girls to the newly formed F-S-W girls track program under the guidance of Coach Donald Collins.
Two students won medals in the IHSA sponsored Speech Competition.
1982-83 Tracy Muir Humor Duet 5TH Place
Brendan Schrof Humor Duet 5TH Place
The Illinois Theatre Festival is the largest, non-competetive high school theatre festival in the world. It was organized in 1976 by teachers from the Chicago suburbs. This festival is still going strong as they perform at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and Illinois State University every other January. F-S-WHS particiated in this festival from 1979 to 1985.
Memories from Ruth Ellen (Duckworth) Davis:
“I came across your newsletter while looking for someone who used to teach 2nd grade at the Wing Elementary School in the mid sixties.
My dad, Brad Duckworth, was the band director at FSW from 1965 – 1968. I attended 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade at Wing. Unfortunately, my dad passed away in November of 2009, so my memories are from a child’s perspective.”
A young Dick Versace got his start in small town Illinois, right there at Forrest-Strawn-Wing High School. Coach Versace coached the 1964-65 football team to an 8 – 1 record and a Vermilion Valley Conference Championship. As his former player, Greg Dempsey mentions:
“Dick Versace went on to coach Bradley University, the Indiana Pacers, and is now general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves.”
Searching For More Information
If you have ANY information to add (and there is a lot!) to the Forrest-Strawn-Wing High School lore please send it to us. There is a lot of unanswered questions regarding the history of the school and the many great teams which are not mentioned on the IHSA web site. We are also searching for a photo of the F-S-W high school building. You can e-mail items to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to us at: