Perry High School “Pioneers”

Perry High School
Perry, Illinois

The History of Perry High School

Perry is located in western Illinois in north-central Pike County.  The town and its population of 437 settled on Il. Rt. 107 approximately 40 miles west-north-west of Jacksonville. Information is needed as to the origin and history of the town.

A brief history of Perry High School was sent to us by Perry High School alum Lori Berquist (Class of 1975).  The history was provided by Lori’s mother, Gwen Woods, a 1938 graduate of Perry High:

     “Perry High School graduated its first class in 1879 with seven girls earning their diplomas. Perry was a three year school and remained a 3-yr. course until 1911, which was the first class to graduate from the 4-yr. high school.  The school had a boys’ basketball team beginning in 1909, until the school merged with Griggsville in 1995.  There was also a girls’ team about the same time,
but it was not interscholastic.  The girl’s uniform of the time was black bloomers and white middies!  Games were played on an outdoor court, in M.H. Browning’s
barn (you have a picture of it already on the 
Chambersburg page) or in an upstairs lodge hall (Arcana Hall), or “away.”  A regulation floor was laid in a converted church which we called the Colisseum, in about 1929.
The building pictured on the Perry page of your sight was built in 1930, after the original two story building burned in January of that year.  A gymnasium was included in the “new” building, “as large as Pittsfield’s.” (Pittsfield being the “county seat”)  An addition was built and put in use about 1980. It included a larger gym, as well as classrooms.  This newer addition, as well as the 1930’s building are in use today as the Griggsville-Perry Middle School. A well-kept baseball diamond next to the school is used by jr. high and high school baseball teams.

     Besides many successful sports teams, PHS also had many students who competed successfully in IHSA events in speech and music. The band program began in the 1930’s, and continued to the end.  There was always active participation in drama, chorus, FFA and FHA.  Over the years PHS graduates have become teachers (over 90 of them), college professors, doctors, dentists, lawyers, authors, fashion designers and other distinguished positions.”

Perry High School existed successfully for many years until a consolidation effort with nearby Griggsville was realized.  This effort took place in 1995.

The former Perry High School building pictured above now serves as the grade school (Grades 5 – 8) for the Griggsville – Perry School District.

The Perry High School Alumni Association holds an annual meeting and banquet on the last Saturday of May (Memorial Day weekend)at the school building.

Perry High School Quick Facts

Year opened:             1879

Year closed:              1995

School nickname:      the “Pioneers”

School colors:           Blue & White

School Fight Song:    “Cheer for Perry High School”

Cheers for our high school,
Perry will win.
Perry forever, Perry will win,

Rah, Rah, Rah!


                                 You do your best boys,

                                 We’ll do the rest boys.
Three cheers for victory.


                                 RAH! RAH! RAH!


Perry High School had some great successes at many levels. IHSA hardware was won in Boy’s Basketball, Girl’s Volleyball, and Girl’s Softball.  If you have information regarding other PHS teams which have had successful seasons but may not have brought home IHSA hardware, or if you have information on the teams listed below, please e-mail or write us a note.  The successful teams according to the IHSA web site are listed below.

Boy’s Basketball

1942-43         N.R.A.        Regional Champions            Coach’s names unavailable

1943-44         N.R.A.        Regional Champions            

1951-52         N.R.A.        Regional Champions

1966-67         N.R.A.        District Champions               Coach Fred Witham

One of the best players that graced the hardwood for Perry High School was Rhett Lipcaman, who played during the 1970s. His 50 points scored in a game against Chandlersvile is a school record.

Girl’s Softball

1984-85         N.R.A.        Regional Champions             Coach’s name unavailable

Boys Track & Field

One Pioneer trackster brought home some State recognition for his track team.  His success came at the end of the Perry High School history.  Joel Dougherty placed in the top eight of the Pole Vault competition his sophomore, junior, and senior years!  His accomplishments are listed below.

1992-93         Joel Dougherty      Pole Vault           7TH Place

1993-94         Joel Dougherty      Pole Vault           8TH Place

1994-95         Joel Dougherty      Pole Vault           4TH Place

Girls Track & Field

One Lady Pioneer also brought home some IHSA hardware.  Cari Kunzeman was a speedster who placed in the top eight in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes!

1992-93    Cari Kunzeman          100 Meter Dash          6TH Place

                                                          200 Meter Dash          6TH Place

Girl’s Volleyball

1985-86         N.R.A.        Regional Champions             Coach’s name unavailable

Great Coach

*Fred Witham – basketball – 1950s through 1960s

*Dick McGrew – Started his basketball coaching career at Perry and went on to accumulate a record of 368-164 with other stops at Peotone and Zion-Benton.


More information and memories from Lori Berquist (Class of 1975):

     “I graduated from Perry High School in 1975, in a class of 16–8 boys and 8 girls.  Interscholastic girls’ sports teams began while I was in high school–softball first, then volleyball and basketball.  My Mom was the initial coach for the girls’ teams–because she knew that we should have the opportunity! I remember we had to put our own numbers on our uniforms with blue tape!  The PHS gym (at that time) was small, as you find in many old high school buildings, with a stage on one side, and bleachers and a balcony on the other side.  Great fun to watch basketball games from the balcony!

     Returning to Perry in the late 1980’s, I found myself on the school board in 1991.  So, I was on the board when we made the difficult decision to annex our school to the Griggsville district in 1995.  (HS enrollment at that time was around 30) It has been a successful consolidation, and has given our kids more opportunities.  However, I know that I, and many others got a good education, as well as many wonderful opportunities and memories at Perry High School!”


We are sure that Lori’s sentiments are echoed by all who walked the halls of Perry High.


We Are Seeking Further Information

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Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  Il.   60631

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