|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: http://www.greenvilleusa.org/akeith/graduation.htm. 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