Sorento High School

The History of Sorento High School

Sorento (population 601) is located in southeastern in Illinios about 35 miles northeast of St. Louis.  This puts Sorento in the northwestern corner of Bond County.  The main roadways leading to and from Sorento are Country Roads of Sorento Avenue and New Douglas Road.  Sorento was fortunate enough early in its development to be located at the intersection of two major railroad lines, the Norfolk & Western and the At & St railroads.  A branch of the Dry Fork Creek flows just to the west of Sorento.

This brief history of the town of Sorento was found and submitted by Mark Jurenga as found in a Greenville High School yearbook of 1972:

“Sorento was established in a wooded section called Pleasant Prairie in August of 1882. The coal mining town grew rapidly, reaching a population peak of 1,500 by 1913. The Sorento mine closed down two years later.”

With the closing of the Panama mine in the early 1930’s, population in the area further declined, leaving Sorento with approximately 700 population.”

The year 1935 gave birth to the school’s first yearbook, the Sho-La-Hi, a mimeograph publication dedicated to Louis A. Bledsoe, superintendent of the high school…in 1948 the yearbook took the name of the basketball team, the Greyhound.”

A very brief, but quality history of the school system in town was found on the following web page:  The page is actually about the Greenville High School history however there are excerpts about Sorento and Pocohantas during the reading.

Gerry Halpin sent us the following information regarding Sorento’s high school history:

“This information is summarized from a local history booklet titled “Sorento Centennial – 1882-1982″‘, an excerpt of which was forwarded to me by Dale Eccles of Panama, IL.

Sorento had a high school from 1900 to 1954.  There were actually TWO periods of a 4-year high school.  These were 1914-1923 and 1937-1939.  Enrollment from 1900 through 1926 was 40 students or less.  The largest enrollment was about 100 students for the 4-year school in the 1937-39 period. Students from Walshville, to the north in Montgomery County, rode the CB & Q “local” trains back and forth each day to attend Sorento High.

The 1925 addition to the building was actually an auditorium, not a gym.  It was used for basketball games, although “totally unsuited” for this purpose.  A new gym was built by the WPA in 1937.”

Sorento today still has a grade school for the Greenville (Bond County) district in a newer building.  The folks of Sorento did maintain control of their grade school for grades PK – 8 and have done so through this day.  The original Sorento School building was razed in 1968.

Sorento High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                         1900

Years SHS was 4-year HS:   1913-1923 and 1937-1939 (all other years was a 3-year HS)

Year closed:                           1954

Annexed to:                            Bond County Community Unit #2 High School (Greenville)

Sorento HS team nickname:   the “Greyhounds”

Sorento HS team colors:         Scarlet & Gray

School Fight Song:                 unavailable


Sorento High School, in spite of being for most of its life a three-year high school, did compete in boys sports.  Boys basketball and track was offered as well as, we believe, baseball. There is only one mention of Sorento High in athletics on the IHSA website ( and that is in the sport of basketball.  If you have any further information on the athletic accomplishments of Sorento High please drop us a line at

Boys Basketball

The Sorento High School boys basketball team won a District title during the 1938-39 school year.  This was one of only two years in which the school was a four-year high school.  Unfortunately the team record and coach’s name of this and other great Sorento High School teams are not available.

1925-26        4th Place – District Tourney

                     1st Round Beat Panama 34 – 10

                     According to Greenville HS Yearbook of 1926:

                    “Sorento easily put Panama out of the running by the score of 34-10.

Sorento exhibited some nice teamwork during the struggle and this

with Panama’s fight and spirit made it an interesting game.”

2nd Round defeated Pocohontas 13 – 12

“”The great upset of the tournament came when Sorento eliminated

the strong Pocahontas five, which had drawn a bye in the first

round. The dope was all against Sorento, but they defeated Poca

by one point, 13-12. It was a fight from start to finish, both teams

playing good basketball and Sorento holding the lead with their

defense. This victory placed Sorento in the semi-finals.”

Semi-Final  —  Lost to Greenville 41 – 12

3rd Place Game  —   Lost to Effingham 19 – 8

 “Sorento’s Cruthis was named to the 2nd team all-district tourney

team as was Henderson.”

                      “The fast Effingham five won the consolation game from Sorento 19

to 8, giving them third place. There was little excitement as the

spectators were waiting for the results of the championship game.

Sorento had a fine defense, but their weakness in advancing the

ball lost the game for them. Effingham used the criss-cross

method of passing to good effect. Although Sorento took an early

lead, they were unable to hold it so that by the time the game was

over, Effingham had forged far ahead.”

1938-39        District Champions

Notable Alumni

**From Patrick Bailey:

Esther Snyder (formerly Johnson, and co-founder of In-N-Out Burger) attending Sorento High School for 3 years, then graduating from Greenville High School in 1937.  The information is in the book “In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-The-Counter Look At The Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All The Rules” by Stacy Perman (ISBN: 978-0-06-134671-2).  It has some really interesting information about Ms. Snyder’s time at those schools.”

Need Your Assistance

If you have ANY further information about Sorento High School and its historic past, please send it to us via e-mail.  Athletic accomplishments, as well as overall high school information is being sought.  Photos and information can be sent 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: