Roz Varon visits her alma mater

Friday, September 23, 2005

ABC 7's traffic and transportation reporter Roz Varon visited her alma mater, Maine East in Park Ridge, as part of a special Friday series called "School Days."

Other famous former students include Harrison Ford, class of 1960; Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Jami Gertz, class of 1983; and yes even Hugh Brannun who use to play Mr. Green Jeans on Captain Kangaroo (class of 1927).

Roz is biting the bullet and letting her viewers know that she hailed from the class of 1975. Some of her old teachers are still around today -- student adviser David Barker helped Roz run the student assemblies. She went on to become a member of ABC 7's morning news team, David became school principal.

Roz and the ABC Morning team will also pay a visit to the student body at East Aurora High School in Aurora.

Maine East History

    1. The current building was built in 1929, and saw its first full year of use for the 1929-30 school year. It is not only the oldest of the three high schools in the school district, but is one of the oldest public high schools in continuous use in suburban Chicago.

    2. Even though the building has seen several expansions and renovations, much of the original facade and artwork is still intact. Many local residents and alumni refer to the building as "Old Maine".

    3. Maine East was formerly known just as "Maine Township High School", and was housed in a smaller building in Des Plaines from 1902 until students moved into the current building in 1929.

    4. During the Great Depression most of the staff taught without financial compensation, as the district could not afford to meet salaries. In lieu, local merchants provided necessities to the staff free of charge.

    5. The school's original swimming pool is no longer in use, as the area around the pool is covered with many irreplaceable decorative mosaics that could be damaged with further exposure to water and chemicals.

    6. The school has a firing range in the basement that was in use when the school opened, as training with firearms was considered essential for young men in the wake of World War I. Though today used for storage, it is believed to be one of the few non-military academies to have a firing range still on the premises.

    7. In 1936, Maine East's band director, Alexander Harley, along with his wife Frances, founded "Maine Music Masters" as a way of honoring musicians in the school band. The idea spread, and in 1952, the chapters at individual high schools were incorporated as "Modern Music Masters". In 1983, it was renamed Tri-M Music Honor Society. Today, it is the largest international honor society in music education.


    1. The population of Maine East in 2005 is approximately 2200 students, and ethnically diverse with about 70% of students living in a home where English is not the native language.

    2. Over 50 different languages are spoken by students as their primary language.

    3. This diverse population makes for interesting after school activities, such as a high school cricket club that is one of the few in existence at a Midwestern high school.

Notable Alumni

    Name Class of Accomplishment
  • Hugh Brannum 1927 Played Mr. Green Jeans on Captain Kangaroo
  • Philip Tone 1940 Former U.S. Dist Court & U.S. Court of appeals judge
  • Stanton Cook 1943 Former Chicago Tribune Publisher and former Chairmen of the Chicago Cubs
  • David Stahl 1952 Deputy Mayor of Chicago
  • Gordon Fornell 1954 Headed Strategic Air Command of North America
  • Karen Black 1957 Oscar Nominee for "5 Easy Pieces"
  • James & John Hager 1959 Performers on "Hee-Haw"
  • Harrison Ford 1960 Hollywood leading man
  • Stephen Smith 1962 Played on Minnesota Viking's in Super Bowl IV
  • Carrie Snodgrass 1963 Oscar Nominee for "Diary of a Mad Housewife"
  • Hillary Rodham-Clinton 1965 Unitee States Senator and former first lady
  • Steve Goodman 1968 Folk singer of note
  • Richard Koz 1970 T.V. personality best known for his rols as "Son of Svengoolie"
  • Janice Klich 1971 Cardiovascular thoracic surgeon on call when the president is in town.
  • Douglas Montgomery 1972 Concert Pianist
  • Mark Hempel 1975 Cartoonist and author
  • Roz Varon 1975 You know who you are
  • Jami Gertz 1983 Hollywood actress

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