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Urbana Exchange Club UHS Student of the Month

December 18th, 2014

Congratulations to Cecilia Brown, UHS class of 2015, on being honored with the Urbana Exchange Club UHS Student of the Month for December.  Cecilia and her parents attended a recent Exchange Club luncheon where she was presented with a certificate of achievement from the group.

Thank you to the men and women of the Urbana Exchange Club for their continued support of our students!



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Urbana High School to perform at State Theatre Festival, armed with strong character development and vocals

December 17th, 2014

Urbana High School’s production of Little Women: The Musical has been selected to perform at the Illinois High School Theatre Festival, January 8-10, 2015. It is the second time in two years that UHS Theatre has earned this honor.

While the Theatre Festival is not open to the public, a benefit performance will be staged in the UHS Cobb Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday, January 6 at 7:00 pm. All proceeds will help defray the costs associated with taking the show to the festival.

UHS Director of Theatre Tim Broeker referred to the show, written by Alan Knee, as a “best kept secret of Broadway.”

“This adaption brings the classic story to life with some of the most colorful and beautiful
orchestrations and lyrics,” Broeker said. The music is challenging, he added, but the level of vocal talent currently in his theatre program made this the year “to pull off the show.”

With a cast of only 11, the production doesn’t lean on large ensemble numbers for momentum and energy. Instead, strong vocals and character development carry the show, stirring real emotion. UHS Senior Caitlin Elliott, who plays the lead role as Jo March, said that when the show ran in early November, real tears were shed on stage and in the audience.

“We go through such a range of emotion in this show—sometimes we would come off the stage from a scene crying,” Elliott said, pointing to “the beauty of the writing” and the cast’s character development work as keys to that emotion.

“We had the luxury of a small cast, which allowed us to devote a lot of time to character
development—there are so many strong character personalities in the show,” she said. “It was also important to really examine each of the relationships between the characters. The energy on stage makes up for not having a huge ensemble.”

Other contributions to the success of the show, Broeker said, include the minimalist scene
design, the decision to put the 15-member orchestra on the stage behind a scrim, and the use of projection to guide the audience through the story’s timeline, and to enhance Jo’s role as a writer. A stage and technical crew of 30+ students make everything come together.

In producing Little Women: The Musical, Broeker was assisted by vocal director Cullyn Murphy, technical director Breanna Morton, and orchestra conductor Darren Hicks.

The Illinois High School Theatre Festival, produced by the Illinois Theatre Association, is the largest and oldest non-competitive high school theatre festival in the world. More than 4,000 students from 150 schools, as well as teachers, university representatives, exhibitors and volunteers, come together to put on over 25 different high school productions and over 150 workshops. In addition to Urbana High School, downstate Illinois will be represented at the 2015 festival by Centennial High School and St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

For more information and to schedule interviews with student actors, contact Tim Broeker: tbroeker@usd116.org or 217.722.0690.



UHS Students among those named 2015-16 State Scholars by ISAC

December 13th, 2014

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has named the 2015-16 State Scholars and a number of UHS students have made the list!  These students are being recognized for their outstanding academic achievement.

Urbana Sr High School
Brown, Cecilia
Carroll, Corwin
Carroll, Katherine
Coffman-Mackey, Elizabeth
Cunningham, Michael
Dietrich, Claire
Elliott, Caitlin
Fouke, Kaitlyn
Headtke, Madeline
Heinricher, Jacob
Hilsheimer, Victoria
Hogan, Joshua
Hutchinson, Emily
Lafond-Hyman, Hanna
Lambeth, Benjamin
Lee, Keith
Mortensen, Ellen
Mujingamulunda, Glodie
Norato, Paula
Obrien, Lucy
Richmond, Jacob
Rodriguez, Michael
Romito, Nicholas
Ross, Margaret
Shih, Yen-Ching
Slaughter, Alison
Wachtel, Josef
Walsh-Hendricks, Neil
Wright, Jack
Xu, Yue

More information can be found on the ISAC 2015-16 State Scholars page on the ISAC web site.



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UHS VCR & Honors Choir 2014 Holiday Tour

December 6th, 2014

UHS students and members of the A Cappella Ensemble, Vocal Chords Required (VCR) and the Honors Choir group spent Thursday, December 4 traveling around Urbana.  There mission was to bring a little winter cheer to our Tiger Community members at several nursing and retirement homes.  Their tour also included stops at the Urbana Adult Education Center and the WCIA studios to film a performance for ciLiving.

VCR is a group that meets prior to the start of the school day.  Along with the Honors Choir, their Holiday Tour set-list consisted of traditional holiday songs such as Deck the Halls, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and Sleigh Ride, along with some contemporary songs with unique arrangements specifically for a cappella groups.  One song, Oceans, was arranged by teacher and Choir Director Torance Douse specifically for this group.

WCIA’s ciLiving performance can be found here: Holiday Songs with Urbana High School’s VCR.

The pictures below are from the group’s performance for the Urbana Exchange Club at the Clark Lindsey retirement home.  After the performance, the Club gifted the group with an unexpected monetary donation, for which the group is very grateful.



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UHS Social Justice Class presents at UIUC

November 21st, 2014

Eight students from the Urbana High School Social Justice class visited the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for a field trip on November 18th.  The students were invited to present their social justice work to an undergraduate class taught by Dr. Yoon Pak on the Social Foundations of Education. They presented the social justice class overview and objectives, as well as the findings of their youth participatory action research at UHS.  The below pictures are from their presentation on campus.

After the presentation, the UHS students toured and networked with students and university employees, the LGBT Resource Center, The Diversity Ed Project at the Campus YMCA, La Casa Cultural Latina, and the Bruce B. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center.  Additionally, the students met with faculty and administrators from the College of Education and students from the Minority Association of Future Educators (MAFE).

The trip was planned and led by Dr. Anjalé Welton, UIUC, graduate student at UIUC Tiffany Harris, UHS Minority Enrichment Program Coordinator Rashidah Salaam, and Dr. Joseph Wiemelt, Director of Equity & Student Learning, USD #116.



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UHS Celebrating 100 Years of Excellence with Tours & Cake

November 21st, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the first day of student instruction at Urbana High School.

The celebration will include cake on Monday for all students and staff courtesy of Ararmark Foods.  Starting at 6:00pm, there will be a short informational meeting with UHS building tours open to the public from 6:15pm to 7:30pm.  The meeting and tours will be led by UHS Principal Matt Stark and USD #116 Superintendent Don Owen and will give a historical background for the building, as well as a look at it’s current use.

Brief Early History of Urbana High School:

The high school was conceived by famed architect, and Urbana graduate, Joseph Royer and built upon land donated by former Congressman from Illinois (both House and Senate), W.B. McKinley.  The tudor styled building began construction in October of 1913 (cornerstone laid) with the promise of a fall 1914 opening.  The actual opening of the school was pushed back by numerous events, including construction delays. When school started in the fall of 1914, students continued to attend Thornburn High School until the current building was opened on November 24.  Additions and major renovations were made to the school and surrounding complex in 1916, 1955, 1965, 1977, 1986, and 2011-12, including Cobb Memorial Auditorium and McKinley Field Athletic Complex.

A quote taken from the October 26, 1914 News-Gazette, “In 1914: Unless something unforeseen occurs the new high school for Urbana will be ready for occupancy by next Monday. The school represents an investment of about $160,000 and has been backed by taxpayers to the limit. It is on five acres, half of which was donated by former Congressman W.B. McKinley for athletic purposes. The building has been constructed so that it can be doubled at any time by building to the east. Hundreds of people called on the building yesterday, but were disappointed to find it locked.”  (http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2014-10-26/area-history-oct-26-2014.html)

The building is currently home to approximately 1,200 students, faculty, and staff.  Facilities include academic space incorporating the latest technology and old-school learning tools, world class athletics fields, a school-based health clinic, historical auditorium used for school and community theatre and musical performances, and diverse, extra-curricular spaces used by USD #116’s award-winning students.



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Results for the UHS Math Team at the Rose-Hulman Competition

November 14th, 2014

The Urbana High School (UHS) Math Team took three individual awards and one team award when they competed in the 48th Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Mathematics Contest on Saturday, November 8, 2014. This annual event, held on the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Terre Haute, Indiana campus, is one of the Midwest’s largest academic contests.

Out of 470 students from thirty competing schools from several states, UHS’s Anna Lubienski placed 9th in the Freshman competition. YeFan Shi placed 10th and Henry Ando placed 6th in the Junior competition. Overall, the UHS Juniors (Henry Ando, YeFan Shi, Haoxiang Li, and Hanyu Zhang) placed 3rd.  All students took the same twenty-problem, one-hour test; however, they only competed against other students within their age group. Read the rest of this entry »



2014 Homecoming Parade

October 7th, 2014

*Update* & now with video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7rE5muy2kY

The 2014 Homecoming Parade had a little bit of everything – Marching Band, walking Principal and Superintendent, Corvettes, antique MTD bus, and lots of students celebrating what makes UHS great: namely our students!  Below are pictures from the beginning of the parade.



Location change for Boys Soccer games vs. University High

October 4th, 2014

Urbana – The Saturday, October 4, 2014 Urbana High School boys soccer games vs. University High School will now be played at Urbana.  UHS McKinley Athletic complex will host the games previously scheduled at the University High location on the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus.  The JV game will start at 10am, with the Varsity game starting directly after.

Urbana High School is celebrating their 100th anniversary.  The Joseph Royer-designed building saw its first students in November of 1914.  Urbana School District #116 is a unit district located in east central Illinois. Our outstanding schools in an outstanding community comprise of an early childhood school, six neighborhood elementary schools, a middle school, a high school, and an adult education center.  To discover more about our award winning schools and students, please visit www.usd116.org. You can find us on Facebook at Urbana School District #116 or follow us on Twitter: @Urbana116.



UHS Commencement Twitter Chat

May 23rd, 2014

On Thursday, May 22, Principal Stark and Superintendent Owen participated in a Twitter Chat to answer questions and discuss 2014 Commencement.  Follow the “more” link to the Twitter chat, which is Storified for ease of reading Read the rest of this entry »



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US News Bronze 2012 US News 2010
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