Lerna High School "Bull Dogs"

Closed High Schools Alumni Apparel
IN THE BEGINNING - Where Closed High Schools Consolidated To
*Ctry. Schools-Wtsde. Cty.
*Schools That Start With "A"
*Schools That Start With "B"
*Schools That Start With "C"
*Carpntrsvlle Irving Crown
*Cherry High School
Chicago Flower Vocational HS
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*Schools That Start With "D"
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*Schools That Start With... "I"
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Jewett High School
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Kankakee Westview HS
*Schools That Start With "L"
*Lerna High School
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*Mason City High School
*MazonVeronaKinsman HS
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*Tamms Community HS
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*Venice High School
*Vermont High School
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*Waterman High School
*Wilmette Maria Imm. Acad
*Schools That Start With.. "X"
*Schools That Start With.. "Y"
Yale High School
*Schools That Start With.. "Z"

Lerna High School Building from 1946 Yearbook
Submitted by Tim Naab

Lerna High School Building - 1949
Submitted by Tim Naab

The History of Lerna High School
Lerna (population 322) is located in eastern Illinois about six miles southwest of Charleston.  This places Lerna in the southwest portion of Coles County.  The town is located on County Highway 9 just east of County Highway 19.  Interstate Highway 57 looms about 3 miles to the west.  The Eastern Illinois Railroad angles through town to the northeast, cutting through the center of Lerna.  The town was platted in 1882.
We only know about the former high school in Lerna from a newspaper article published in the Journal Gazette and Times Courier of Mattoon and Charleston.  The article can be viewed at the web address of http://www.jg-tc.com/articles/1998/04/08/news/news-76247.txt.  In regards to Lerna High School the article states:
"The 63 school districts in eastern Coles County were replaced on July 1, 1948, by one school district with 23 attendance centers.

Lerna's school was maintained as an attendance center but its high school students were sent to Charleston.

Ralph Closson of Mattoon was principal at Lerna High School in 1948. He said Lerna's sophomores and juniors were exceptional at sports and academics that year, so many people hated to see them sent to another school.

"I think the students were better off being in a big school like Charleston," Closson said.

Closson said Charleston was able to offer the high school students more academic and extracurricular choices than were available at Lerna.

The University of Illinois' College of Education conducted a survey of the new district shortly after it was created.

Music and physical education classes were added to the curriculum of the remaining schools after consolidation, the survey reported, and health service was also extended to each school.

However, Closson said Lerna's high school students still needed a lot of time to adjust to their new school environment.

"It was a big change for students from a high school where all the students had individual attention," Closson said.

Story said she saw many new faces at Lincoln Elementary School after consolidation but she noted that the students from each rural school stuck together.

"It was a close-knit group," Story said. "In a small school you will find that."

Consolidation may have cost Lerna its high school students but it brought the school more classroom space, Closson said.

Closson said Lerna's school had four classrooms on the second floor for its high school students and four classrooms for its other students on the first floor, with two grades to each classroom, before consolidation.

After consolidation, Lerna's school put the seventh and eighth graders on the second floor and spread out the other grades on the first floor. Lerna's school also turned a vacant classroom into a lunch room, Closson said."
Randy Vaultonburg tells us the original Lerna High School building stayed in use as a grade school until 1968.  The school was soon after torn down and houses built on the school grounds.    
Lerna High School Quick Facts
Year opened:                       late 1800s
Year closed:                       1948
Consolidated to:                  Charleston School DIstrict
First team nickname:           "Blue Devils"
Eventual team nickname:     "Bull Dogs"
Lerna HS team colors:         Blue & Gold
School Fight Song:              unavailable
The Lerna High School boys competed in basketball and quite likely track and baseball. School fight song, team records, and coach's names are all items we are in need of.  There is no mention of Lerna High School on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org).
The boys basketball team competed in the annual IHSA postseason tournament. We located some scores involving the "Bulldogs" on a website titled "Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores." Season records and coaches' names of these and other Lerna High School basketball teams are needed.

Lerna HS Basketball Team 1926-27
Submitted by Caryl Vickers-Taylor

Photo Above
From Brock Childress regarding the photo above:
"The boy on the far left is my father Kenneth Harold Childress (also spelled Childers)."

1933-34          Matoon District Tournament                Coach's name & record needed
                      1st Rd lost to Oakland 32-17
                      Oakland lost in 2nd round.
1934-35          Matoon District Tournament                Coach's name & record needed
                      1st Rd lost to Oakland 34-7
                      Oakland lost in 2nd round.
1935-36 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1936-37 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1937-38 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1938-39          Matoon Regional Tournament             Coach's name & record needed
                      1st Rd lost to Sullivan 37-22
                      Sullivan lost in semi-final round.
1939-40 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1940-41 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1941-42 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1942-43 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1943-44 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1944-45          Ashmore District Tournament             Coach's name & record needed
                      1st Rd Beat Westfield 41-36
                      Semi-final lost to Oakland 32-22
                      Oakland lost in title game.
1945-46          Kansas District Tournament                Coach's name & record needed
                      1st Rd lost to Redmon 54-31
                      Redmon lost in title game.
1946-47 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed. 
1947-48 Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
                 (Final season as Lerna High School.)

Lerna Grade School Basketball Team Circa 1940s
Submitted by Tim Naab (left click on photo for larger view)

**From Tim Naab:
Regarding the above basketball team photo:
Back row:  Teacher Les Drumm
Middle row, left to right Keith Bruell, Gerald Foot, Dale Thompson, Charles Jackson, Bud Evans
Front row, left to right; Joe Thompson, Fred Sampson
Cheerleaders, left to right: Velma Jenkins, Peggy Jo Morgan
It is likely that Lerna High School offered music, clubs, dances, plays, and other such extra-curricular activities.  We are interested in information on these activities as well.
The 1933 Lerna High School play program shown below was submitted M. Tait. The program was locatd in a 1923 Atlas purchased in Los Angeles, California!

Lerna High School Play Program 1933
Submitted by M. Tait

From Randy Vaultonburg:
"My mother graduated from Lerna High School in 1948,the last year it was a high school. I went to the same school building the last year it was a grade school,1968. It was torn down and three houses were built on the property where the school once stood. The school colours were blue and gold and the basketball team at one point was called the Lerna "Blue Devils". If I remember correctly there was an issue with the devil part and the name was subsequently changed to the "Bull Dogs". There is no longer a grade school in Lerna at all and the "new" building is used for an alternative education group called "Bridges"."

Lerna School Children - 1920
Courtesy of Caryl Vickers-Taylor

Lerna HS Students 1927
Submitted by Brock Childress

**Regarding the photo above from Brock Childress:
"On the back of the picture there are six names.  On the front row left to right is Reed, Donald Barger, Lloyd Barger, Merl Stiner, Donald Sampson, and Kenneth Childres.
I have been on a journey tracking down my dad's (Kenneth Childres) past.  As it turns out my dad's side of the family have a long history in the Lerna, Trilla, Johnstown area.  His family's last name was Childers long ago.  Looking at census data is incredible seeing the different spelling of last names.  My last name was spelled Childress, Childres, Childers, Childus.  That is what I have found so far.  My dad joined the navy prior to WW II.  He came back from the navy and attended Eastern Illinois University.  Dad was quite a basketball player.  He played basketball at EIU but did not graduate.  He later moved to Paris where he, my mom, and I lived.  Dad worked for Edgar Electric Coop his entire working career.  He was well liked in Paris and had many friends.   I am attaching a picture of the Lerna High School students.  It seems the back of the school was their favorite place to take pictures. I'm not sure of the year."

If You Have ANY Information...
...on the former Lerna High School of Coles County we hope you will take the time to share it with us.  We would like to share the memories of this school before the information is possibly lost forever.  We are especially interested in a photo of the original high school building.  You can e-mail us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net or write to us via real mail at: 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.   60631