OPRF High School
201 N. Scoville Avenue


United States
Coordinates41°53′25″N 87°47′20″W / 41.8903°N 87.7888°W / 41.8903; -87.7888Coordinates: 41°53′25″N 87°47′20″W / 41.8903°N 87.7888°W / 41.8903; -87.7888
TypePublic Secondary School
(Those things that are best)
Opened1871 (1871)
School districtOak Park and River Forest High School District 200
SuperintendentJoylynn Pruitt-Adams [1]
CEEB code143–245
Staff241.85 (FTE)[2]
Enrollment3,399 (2018–19)[2]
Student to teacher ratio14.05[2]
Color(s)  burnt orange
  navy blue
SongWe're loyal to you Oak Park High
Athletics conferenceWest Suburban Conference

Oak Park and River Forest High School, or OPRF, is a public four-year high school located in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. It is the only school of Oak Park and River Forest District 200.

Founded in 1871, the current school building opened in 1907.


Main article: History of Oak Park and River Forest High School


School crest

The school's crest is a shield divided into three sections.[12] The top left section depicts an acorn cradled in the leaves of an oak tree.[12] The bottom section consists of horizontal wavy lines, suggesting a flowing river, while the right section depicts a group of three trees which represents a park or forest (thus incorporating the town names "oak park and river forest").[12] The top left section is separated from the other two sections by a wide divider inscribed with the school's motto ΤΑ Γ'ΑΡΙΣΤΑ (Those things that are best).[12] The crest has been a symbol of the school since 1908.[12]

Scholarship Cup

In lieu of having a valedictorian, the high school presents the Scholarship Cup. The Scholarship Cup is an award presented to the graduating seniors who have the highest weighted GPA in their graduating class, after the seventh semester of enrollment (though transfer students remain eligible for the award, provided they have been in attendance for five semesters prior to the Cup being awarded.[13]


In 2008, OPRF had an average composite ACT score of 24.5, and graduated 94.3% of its senior class.[7]

The following Advanced Placement courses are offered (not complete list):

Course Notes Course Notes
Economics one class covering Microeconomics & Macroeconomics[14] English Language and Composition [15]
Art History [16] English Literature and Composition [15]
Studio Art [16] Music Theory [16]
American History [17] Government [17]
European History [17] Psychology [17]
Statistics [18] Calculus separate courses in AB & BC[18]
Computer Science AB[18] Environmental Science [19]
Chemistry [19] Biology [19]
Physics C[19] French [20]
Italian [20] Spanish [20]
Government [17] Government [17]

Student life

The arts

The school sponsors a number of organizations related to studying or performing in the arts.

OPRF has been listed six times on Newsweek's top 1500 American public schools, as measured by the Challenge Index.[21] In 2009, the school was ranked #549.[21] In previous years, the school was ranked No. 554 (2003), No. 590 (2005), No. 501 (2006), No. 688 (2007), and No. 379 (2008).[21]

On October 31, 1907, the school's orchestra was founded. While more common today, Oak Park was one of the first schools to offer credit toward graduation based on student performance in the orchestra.[22][23]

Among the school's music and song groups are a gospel choir, two jazz bands, a jazz combo, a marching band & color guard, and a pep band.[24] The school also has three choirs during the school day, a Treble Choir, Chorale, and A Cappella Choir, which is considered the highest level. The school also has three small audition-only groups that are student run and include 5–6 members each. These are Take 5 (boys only), Six Chicks (girls only), and No Strings (girls only). There are also medium-sized groups that are school sponsored, a Madrigals group and Noteworthy, a show choir.[24] It also has a concert band, symphonic band, wind symphony, wind ensemble, two concert orchestras, and a symphony orchestra.

The school supports a dance team in addition to a drill team and an orchesis group.[24]

The school supports a total of eleven stage productions each year including four in the "Little Theatre," four in the black box "Studio 200" space, a summer and winter musical and a one act festival.[24] In support of these, the school not only sponsors a stage crew group for students, but a theatrical makeup group as well as a props group which locates for purchase, repairs, and maintains props for the various productions.[24] Student performers who excel in their performance may be inducted into the school's chapter of the International Thespian Society.[24] The Studio 200 group supports students interested in gaining experience in all aspects of theatrical production from acting and directing to publicity and the technical arts.[24]

Among the plastic arts the school supports an overarching arts club in addition to a photography club and wheel throwing club which emphasizes pottery.[24]

In the realm of public speaking, the school has both a debate and a forensics team which competes in the individual events state series sponsored by the IHSA.[24]

The school also has an annual literary and arts publication, The Crest, which has been active since 1893 and displays student-submitted art and poetry and is published and distributed to students toward the end of every school year. It is one of the oldest high school literary journals in the country.

The school has one of the oldest continuous high school television news programs in the country, Newscene which was founded in 1982. The television program won a Cable ACE in 1983 for innovative programing for Extra-Help an early live interactive program. Today the school's high-definition television studio hosts numerous productions, including the award-winning weekly newsmagazine show Newscene Live, airing throughout the metro area on Comcast Cable.[citation needed]

In January 2018 a docuseries entitled America to Me premiered at the Sundance film festival. Director Steve James and his team followed several OPRF students throughout the 2015–2016 school year in order to explore the relationship between race and education.[25]

Activities and clubs

OPRF offers over 60 clubs and activities ranging from athletic and artistic to competitive academic, cultural, and social awareness (an entire list can be found here [1]).

Among the clubs which are affiliates or chapters of notable national organizations are: ASPIRA, Best Buddies, Business Professionals of America, Cum Laude Society, and Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).[24]

There is an intramural program which sponsors both competitive round robin and free play competitions in basketball, badminton, ultimate frisbee, dodgeball, and flag football.[26]

The following non-athletic teams have won their respective IHSA sponsored state competition or tournament:[27]


OPRF competes in the West Suburban Conference. The school is also a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), which governs most sports and competitive activities. The school's teams are stylized as the Huskies.

The school sponsors interscholastic teams for young men and women in: basketball cross country, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and water polo.[28] Young men may compete in baseball, golf, football, and wrestling, while women may compete in badminton, cheerleading, gymnastics, and softball.[28] While not sponsored by the IHSA, the school also sponsors teams for young men and women in lacrosse, in addition to a field hockey and drill team for young women.[28] While not sponsored by the school, there is an ice hockey team affiliated with the school.[29]

By school policy, athletes must maintain a "D" average (1.0 GPA) in order to compete and practice.[26] If in any week, an athlete has any cumulative grade in any course that is not a minimum of a "D", that student is required to attend an academic support program for a minimum of 10 minutes the following week.[26] Any athlete finishing two consecutive quarters of study with a failing grade are ineligible for athletic participation.[26]

The following teams have won their respective IHSA sponsored state championship tournament or meet:[27]

In the school's early history, there were semi-annual "field days" in which students competed for various prizes (medals, cups, sporting equipment, cakes) in events such as the hammer throw, three-legged race, sack race, and obstacle course.[30] In the absence of regularly scheduled interscholastic meets, the Cook County High School Athletic Union hosted an annual field day which would involve top athletes from the county schools.[31]

From 1900 to 1913, Oak Park was a member of the Cook County League. In 1913, the schools outside of Chicago were expelled, and formed the Suburban League, which would eventually splinter off into several smaller leagues, one of which was the West Suburban Conference.[32]

Before made illegal by the IHSA, Oak Park, on at least one occasion, played games against college teams, such as a baseball game on April 4, 1900 when Oak Park lost to Northwestern University (then known as the Purple), 1–27.[33]

In 1927, the school constructed a 219 ft x 128 ft (67 m x 39 m) fieldhouse at a cost of $750,000. The fieldhouse contained four inside gymnasiums, two swimming pools, an indoor track, and seating for 1,000 people. The facility not only helped Oak Park to build a champion track program, but also helped other area schools promote indoor track and field as a sport.[34]

Through the end of the 2008–09 school year, the boys track & field program holds state records for state championships, top 3 finishes, and top ten finishes.[35] Starting in 1930, the school hosted the "Oak Park Relays", a track & field competition that grew into the largest in the Midwest, with nearly 1,500 athletes from 63 school competing in 1960.[36][37] In 1963, the field was 1,340 athletes from 77 schools, and was now the largest high school indoor track meet in the United States.[38][39] By 1964, the field rose to over 1,900 athletes from 95 schools.[40] Despite the school's successes in track & field, the school did not have an outdoor track, and by 1998, the indoor cinder track was no longer in competitive condition.[41] The school entered into a partnership with Fenwick High School and Concordia University to construct a new outdoor track on the campus of the university.[41]

The OPRF lacrosse program is one of the three oldest high school programs in the state of Illinois.[42]

While water polo would not be sponsored by the IHSA until 2002, Oak Park High School sponsored a team at least as early 1901, playing a match against the Armour Institute (later renamed the Illinois Institute of Technology).[43]

In 1905, in the wake of a student being killed in a football game, Oak Park's (and several other schools') school board voted to cancel the remainder of the season, and ban football from the school.[44][45][46] In 1907, football was restored in Cook County, however Oak Park refused to rejoin the league.[47] Instead, Oak Park competed as an independent team.[48]

From 1904 to 1906, Danny Roberts was the state champion among the roughly 300 girls teams in the state.[49] In 1907, the Illinois State High School Athletic Association (previous name of the IHSA), banned all girls from participating in the game because "roughness is not foreign to the game, and that the exercise in public is immodest and not altogether ladylike." [50] Oak Park was thus denied a fourth state title.

OPRF was, with DePaul University, one of two sites for men's and women basketball games during the 1959 Pan American Games.[51]

In 1961, the pool at OPRF was used for the annual Canadian-American Invitational Swim meet. Among those competing at the school were Tom Stock, Ted Stickles, and Joan Spillane.[52]

Notable alumni

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Letters and journalism

Fine and performing arts




Notable staff


  1. ^ "New OPRF superintendent already feels at home".
  2. ^ a b c "Oak Park & River Forest High Sch". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  3. ^ "District Staff Directory". Oak Park and River Forest District 200. Archived from the original on March 24, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  4. ^ "Building Administrative directory for OPRFHS". Oak Park and River Forest High School. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  5. ^ "All Staff Directory". Oak Park and River Forest High School. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  6. ^ OPRF Academic Catalog (PDF). Oak Park and River Forest High School. 2009. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 5, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Class of 2008 Illinois School Report Card" (PDF). Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 20, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  8. ^ "Loyalty song (lyrics)". Oak Park and River Forest High School. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
  9. ^ Nicholas, Dorothea (December 8, 1960). "Oak Park School Utilizes Wasted Space: Structures Now Valued at 9 Million WASTED SPACE IS UTILIZED AT HIGH SCHOOL Oak Park Unit Looks Like New Structure". Chicago Tribune. pp. W1. ProQuest 182754212. Much of the school's tradition stems from its motto appearing throughout the building in ancient Greek and meaning "those things that are best".[dead link]
  10. ^ "School information for Oak Park and River Forest High School". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  11. ^ Banas, Casey (January 8, 1979). "Tradition runs deep at two top area high schools :109-year-old Oak Park is a model of a comprehensive high school". Chicago Tribune. p. 6. ProQuest 171812670.[dead link]
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  13. ^ OPRF Academic Catalog (PDF). Oak Park and River Forest High School. 2009. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 2, 2009.
  14. ^ OPRF Academic Catalog (PDF). Oak Park and River Forest High School. 2009. p. 33. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 2, 2009.
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  22. ^ "ORCHESTRA A REGULAR COURSE: Pupils at Oak Park High School to Get Credit if They Win Places on Musical Organization". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 1, 1907. p. 3. ProQuest 173349357.[dead link]
  23. ^ "MUSIC UPLIFT IN OAK PARK: High School Pupils to Learn to Play Orchestral Instruments". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 2, 1907. p. 2. ProQuest 173344523.[dead link]
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  28. ^ a b c "OPRFHS list of athletic teams". Oak Park and River Forest High School Athletic Department. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  29. ^ "Club Sports (non-school sponsored) at OPRFHS". Oak Park and River Forest High School. Archived from the original on March 23, 2009. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  30. ^ "FIELD DAY FOR OAK PARK: Events at the Semi-Annual Meeting of the Athletic Association". Chicago Daily Tribune. October 26, 1890. ProQuest 174445279. The Athletic Association of the Oak Park High School held its third semi-annual field-day yesterday ...[dead link]
  31. ^ "High School Field Day. Field Day at Lake Forest. General Sporting Notes". Chicago Daily Tribune. June 14, 1891. ProQuest 174590822. The third annual field day exercises of the CCHSAU were held yesterday ...[dead link]
  32. ^ "CHICAGO "PREPS" BREAK UP LEAGUE: New Organization Will Be Formed with Suburban Athletes NO CHANGE UNTIL FALL". Chicago Daily Tribune. May 22, 1913. p. 12. ProQuest 173727067.[dead link]
  33. ^ "COLLEGIANS DEFEAT SCHOOL LADS: Maroons defeated West Division and Purple Players Rout Oak Park". Chicago Daily Tribune. April 5, 1900.
  34. ^ Pruter, Robert. "The Development of Indoor Track and Field". Illinois High School Association. Retrieved June 26, 2011. Perennial track and field power Oak Park took the lead among Chicago area high schools in supporting indoor track and field by building a spectacular $750,000 field house in late 1927. The Chicago Herald & Examiner earlier in the year reported about the impending structure: "The field house will contain four inside gymnasiums and one outdoor on the roof, two swimming pools and eventually an auditorium to seat 1,000 people. It will be built in units, which when completed, will serve a maximum of 5,000 students...The field house will measure 219 feet by 128 feet. Among other features it will contain a running track ten feet wide. It will allow 300 boys and 300 girls to take their physical training at one time."
  35. ^ "Table of Titles – Boys Track & Field". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  36. ^ Leo, Ralph (April 2, 1959). "Record 1,222 Athletes Await 29th Oak Park Relays, Midwest's, Biggest: 51 Schools Eye Heavy Action Saturday". Chicago Tribune. pp. S11. ProQuest 182327437.[dead link]
  37. ^ Leo, Ralph (March 31, 1960). "Record 1,490 Athletes from 63 Schools Await Oak Park Relays This Saturday: Midwest's Biggest Prep Meet Gains Spotlight". Chicago Tribune. pp. N12. ProQuest 182463717.[dead link]
  38. ^ "Phillips tops record field at oak park". Chicago Tribune. March 28, 1963. pp. S12. ProQuest 182625367.[dead link]
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  41. ^ a b Sherlock, Barbara (October 22, 1998). "3 diverse schools run together in unusual deal for a modern track". Chicago Tribune. p. 4. ProQuest 418694061.[dead link]
  42. ^ Hall, Tom (April 13, 1975). "Lacrosse Lives :Now that the U.S. has captured its second world championship, this grand old game seems destined to go on about as obscurely as before. Professional leagues die quickly; nobody comes to watch". Chicago Tribune. pp. G54. ProQuest 171305776. Lake Forest College has a team .... and four high schools have teams: New Triers East and West, Evanston, and Oak Park ...[dead link]
  43. ^ "Ready for game show: animals at coliseum for private exhibition". Chicago Daily Tribune. February 26, 1901. p. 3. ProQuest 173014397. The Oak Park High School and Armour Institute water polo teams will also meet in contest.[dead link]
  44. ^ "BOY KILLED AT FOOTBALL: Vernon Wise, 17 Years Old, Fatally Hurt in Game. EXPIRES TWO HOURS LATER. Victim the Favorite of Oak Park High School "Second." Four Crippled Early in Game Favorite in School and Village. Savage Playing from the Start. Doctor's Efforts Are Futtle. Team Likely to Be Disbanded. Lineup of the Team. Six Other Football". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 4, 1905. ProQuest 173246424.[dead link]
  45. ^ "FATALITY DOOMS FOOTBALL GAMES: Mass meeting of Oak Park High School Students and Faculty Will Abolish the Sport. EDUCATION BOARD TO ACT. Principals Condemn Brutality on the Gridiron and Would Substitute Less Perilons Pastime. Inquest Over Football Victim. Plea by Heartbroken Father. Whole Village Is Aroused. Substitute Games Proposed. Supt. Cooley to Investigate. Mayor Dunne Urges Discipline. Capt. Pruner to Be Arraigned. Opposed to Brutal Sports. Minister Favors Calling Halt. Denounced by Local Paper". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 5, 1905. ProQuest 173231999.[dead link]
  46. ^ "SCHOOL TRUSTEES FIGHT FOOTBALL :Board of Education Would Like to End Game as It Now Is Played. QUIT'S SPORT FOR SEASON. Oak Park Eleven Cancels Schedule, Following the Death of Vernon Wise. Oak Park Abandons Game. Copley Outlines Position. Principal Loomis Defends Boys. Trustees Are Against Game". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 7, 1905. ProQuest 173238151.[dead link]
  47. ^ "ONLY THREE TEAMS ENTER: Fate of High School Football League Depends on Crane". Chicago Daily Tribune. September 24, 1907. p. 7. ProQuest 173399620.[dead link]
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  49. ^ "BARS GIRLS FROM BASKETBALL: Illinois State High School A. A. Rules Against Sport". Chicago Daily Tribune. November 3, 1907. pp. c3. ProQuest 173345949.[dead link]
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  52. ^ "Two World Champs in Swim Meet". Chicago Tribune. January 6, 1961. pp. C3. ProQuest 182796515.[dead link]
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  58. ^ "Find 'cornball' 1st play by Hemingway". Chicago Tribune. May 15, 1978. pp. D6. ProQuest 171696806. Baker cautioned, however, that Musselman – a high school chum of Hemingway in Oak PArk who became a successful screenwriter in Hollywood – probably wrote more of the play than Hemingway.[dead link]
  59. ^ a b c d e f McCarey, Deb (December 9, 2008). "Stage left, right & center – At age 40, OPRF's three theater stages are still going strong". Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest. Retrieved July 30, 2009. Movie and stage veteran Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio first acted on the Little Theater stage at OPRF; Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, performed in plays and wrote original comedy skits for the speech team. Television actress Felicity LaFortune, irreverent comedian Kathy Griffin, and Comedy Central Reno 911's Tom Lennon, started their careers here, as did prima ballerina Helene Alexopoulos who leapt from OPRF to the New York City Ballet.
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  61. ^ "Mason Gamble". Mason Gamble. Archived from the original on August 31, 2006. Retrieved August 19, 2009. After attending Oak Park River Forest High School, where he was a member of the football team and captain of the track team as a state-qualifying pole-vaulter, he became a National Merit Scholar Finalist
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  76. ^ Peterson, Carolyn (June 2007). "Chad Trujillo: Trailblazing in the Outer Solar System" (PDF). Hilo, HI: Gemini Focus – Newsletter of the Gemini Observatory. pp. 52–54. Retrieved July 30, 2009. Chad has given talks at Sonoma State University in California, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Hawai'i, as well as at Oak Park River Forest High school (which he attended) ...
  77. ^ Hersh, Philip (April 22, 2012). "Coleman earns spot on U.S. Olympic team: Wins Greco-Roman 132-pound class at trials". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  78. ^ Berkowitz, Steve (February 17, 1993). "Nation's Scoring Leader Is Short Guy". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
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  81. ^ "Billy Martin wins, faces Borg today". Chicago Tribune. December 27, 1972. pp. B2. ProQuest 170314043. Martin ... who moved to California after his freshman year at Oak Park-River Forest High School, will face Borg, the 1972 Wimbledon Junior champion ...[dead link]
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  85. ^ Tagge, George (January 17, 1960). "Otto Kerner: He Steps on No One's Toes: Candidate for Governor Is Confident". Chicago Tribune. p. 5. ProQuest 182431870. Kerner attended Oak Park High school, got his A. B. degree at Brown university ...[dead link]
  86. ^ Clark, William (February 5, 1961). "Believes McDonald Drive In Future Lies in Shift to Chain: Drive-In Franchise Firm Discusses Shift to Chain". Chicago Tribune. pp. A9 & 11. ProQuest 182811308. Kroc, who left Oak Park High school to enlist, underage, in World War I as an ambulance driver ...[dead link]
  87. ^ "SILJANDER, Mark Deli - Biographical Information".
  88. ^ Koziol, Ronald; Rowley, Storer (April 6, 1980). "$22 million FALN terror case bail set :$22 million bond for 11 FALN terror suspects". Chicago Tribune. p. 1. ProQuest 170143528. Torres, an Oak Park-River Forest High School graduate and son of a Congregational minister, has been in hiding since a November 1978 raid on his Chicago apartment, then dubbed a "virtual bomb factory".[dead link]
  89. ^ Walter, Eckersall (October 7, 1925). "Thistlethwaite Rose from Obscurity to Coach at N. U.". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 30. ProQuest 180687698. In 1913, when Robert Zuppke left Oak Park High school to take over the coaching of football teams at Illinois, Thistlethwaite was engaged by officials of the suburban school. Glenn remained at Oak Park from 1913 to 1922.[dead link]
  90. ^ "Wood, Oak Park Coach, Gets Olympic Soccer Post". Chicago Daily Tribune. April 10, 1952. pp. D2. ProQuest 178246920.[dead link]
  91. ^ Woodruff, Harvey T. (October 29, 1937). "MEET THE BOB ZUPPKE OF 1913—ILLINOIS' NEW FOOTBALL COACH". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 29. ProQuest 181947387. Last fall Oak Park went east to play the Everett [Mass.] ... Oak Park's "Ghee Haw", Flea Flicker", and "Flying Dutchman" plays were a revelation to the effete cast and Everett was beaten ...[dead link]
  92. ^ "Robert Zuppke biography". Wisconsin Center District Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2009.
  93. ^ "Illinois Football Chicago Spring Game Set for April 11 – Illini head to Oak Park-River Forest, home of Robert Zuppke" (Press release). University of Illinois Athletics. March 31, 2009. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2009. Zuppke claimed two national championships at the high school before taking the reins at Illinois in 1913. He is credited with inventing the screen pass and the "flea flicker" at OPRF before bringing those plays with him to Illinois.

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