Panama High School “Speed Boys”

Panama High School Building
A picture containing text, building, white, government building

Description automatically generated
Courtesy of Dale Eccles & Gerry Halpin

The History of Panama High School

Panama (population 323) is located in southwestern Illinois about 40 miles northeast of East St. Louis.  Panama is located on the Bond County – Montgomery County borderline.  The main drag through town is Panama/Donnellson Avenue which connects to Illinois Route 127 about two miles to the east.  The Norfolk & Western Railroad runs by the southeast edge of town.  Bearcat Creek flows to the east of the village.

The town of Panama was officially incorporated in 1906.  It is likely a high schoiol was established in the early 1900s. The high school in Panama was well supported and successful for about five decades.  It was in the early 1950s that several surrounding communities agreed to consolidate their efforts into one district.  This occurred in 1954 when the school districts of Panama, IrvingCoffeen, Butler, Donnellson, Taylor Springs, and Schram City all joined Hillsboro to create the Hillsboro Community School District.

It is not known what has become of the Panama School building. It is not even for sure if the building is still in use or still standing.  If you have this information please forward it to us via e-mail at

For more excellent information on the town of Panama and its history check out .  Webmaster Dale Eccles has put together some incredible history and photos that combine to make a great tribute to this town’s glorious mining past.

Panama High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                     late 1800s / early 1900s

Year closed:                      1954

Consolidated to:                 Hillsboro Community High School

School nickname:              “Speed Boys”

School colors:                   Orange & Black

School Fight Song:            unavailable

Panama High School Basketball Team of 1948
A group of people posing for a photo

Description automatically generated
Courtesy of Dale Eccles


Panama High School must have had some great rivalries with the schools listed above.  Donnellson and Sorento are both within 3 miles of Panama and probably provided for some GREAT rivalries each year.  It is known that Panama offered basketball and baseball. It is believed that track & field was also offered.  If you have any further information on the Panama High School athletic program please drop us a line.

Boys Basketball

The Panama High School boys basketball team had some excellent years of competing in their area.  The boys won a total of three District Titles.   The only mention of the Panama on the IHSA web site ( is in boys basketball.  Unfortunately only the years when the titles were won are listed. We are searching for the records and coach’s names of these and other great Panama High School teams.

1937-38       District Champions

1941-42       District Champions

1943-44       District Champions

***Through research conducted by Mark Jurenga we learned that Panama High School squared off with the mighty Collinsville Kahoks one time.

*Collinsville is #2 in IHSA history in wins with 1,939 after the 2006-2007 season.


Edwardsville District

Semifinal- Collinsville 19 Panama 15

Do You Have More Information …

…you can provide regarding the many great accomplishments of Panama High School?  How about the missing information such as school colors, nickname, fight song, coaches names, ect.??  We are especially interested in a photo of the original high school building. Items and information can be e-mailed to us at  You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: