The history of Cherry Valley High School
Cherry Valley, Illinois (population 3,042) is located just southeast of Rockford along US 20. Cherry Valley is a historic village based on its small-town setting, architecure and its brick-like main street (State Street). All of which are upkept even with the village’s expansion toward the city limits of Rockford; Cherryvalle Mall is located within the village limits despite being known as a Rockford landmark. The Illinois Central and Union Pacific railroads pass through town.
Cherry Valley and Newburg, a northern settlement since absorbed by Cherry Valey, were founded in 1835. Newburg’s gristmill made that burg a candidate for rail traffic, but the tracks went through Cherry Valley instead. The first school was built in Cherry Valley in 1848. A newer school was built in 1868. A high school was formed nearly 20 years later with two graduates, Lillian Sanborn and Nellie Hartman, earning diplomas in 1889. As time went on, the school was reduced to a three-year high school and down to two years by 1941.
Encouraging Cherry Valley students to complete their education at Rockford High School after the three or to years, it as decided that all Cherry Valley-aged high school students attend Rockford for high school in 1941, thus ending high school education in Cherry Valley.
The school, since rebuilt, has since been absorbed by Rockford Public School District 225 and is still in use as an elementary school.
There is evidence that Cherry Valley had basketball, but may have had a baseball team as well. More information is needed on Cherry Valley High School athletics.
The Cherry Valley High School boys team of 1945-46 were a very unique squad. The players were certainly above average, having a winning record and winning games against four-year high schools when they were but a two-year institution. What made them unique was that they had a female head coach, something that was VERY uncommon for that era. A newspaper article was published in the Macomb Daily Journal on February 18, 1946 outlining the details of this situation. Beau Spencer discovered this unique information while researching microfilm. The entire story is reprinted below:
HIGH SCHOOL TEAM HAS WOMAN COACH
Cherry Valley, IL. — February 18, AP
A young lady just eight months out of college and recently married is taking a basketball team into the District Tournament at Monroe Center next week — and she’s the coach.
That’s probably the last thing Doris Johnson ever had on her mind as she majored in education at the University of Iowa, from which she was graduated in June.
Now she says she’ll make the best of it, hopes her Cherry Valley team, which has won 12 of 16 games this season, can get a chance in the Regional meet at West Rockford.
“I didn’t know I was getting a coaching job and a teaching position too, when I came here,” Mrs. Johnson, the former Doris Cederstrom said. “But I enjoy trying to help the boys, they work hard, they keep in condition and play to win.”
However Mrs. Johnson, who was married last week to Earl Johnson, recently returned war veteran, didn’t have much choice in the matter of coaching.– if Cherry Vale was to have a basketball team. A two-year high school with 20 girls and 25 boys, there wasn’t a man among the six faculty members. And the school wanted to be represented on the basketball court.
So virtually she was drafted for the job.
“While basketball is my favorite sport, I admittedly lack proper qualifications to coach.as far as experiences is concerned,” she says.
Members of the squad dispute that statement. The players say she “knows her stuff”, quickly spots the opponents weaknesses, and “keeps us from getting the jitters when the going gets tough.” They give her all the credit for their 12 – 4 record this season — many of their wins being against three and four-year high schools. .
Now their looking forward to meeting Kingston in the first game of the District tournament.
Seeking More Information