Stevenson's Death Changed Course Plotted for School

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 15, 1997 | Go to article overview

Stevenson's Death Changed Course Plotted for School


Byline: Wallace & Smith

If Adlai E. Stevenson II had not died when he did, chances are Stevenson High School graduates might be wearing lapel pins shaped like trees.

Just three months before the school was set to open in 1965, its attendance region unexpectedly broke off from the Ela-Vernon district to start its own school system. Therefore, the pressure was on to name the school hastily and, by one account, it was going to be called Tamarack High, a reference to the trees on the property.

Then the former Illinois governor and unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate met his untimely demise. He was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations at the time.

Hence, Stevenson seemed to be an appropriate name for the school, on Route 22 in what was then Prairie View and is now Lincolnshire, because Stevenson lived a short distance away on St. Mary's Road and he used to vote at Half Day Community Church.

In developing traditions for the new school, the idea of a "Stevenson Shoe" lapel pin was created by former guidance counselor David McCartney, said Mary Francis, a retired Stevenson teacher who was employed at the when it opened.

The shoe with a hole in the sole was a symbol used in Stevenson's 1952 presidential campaign after an Associated Press photographer captured the image of him sitting with his legs crossed and the shoe sole with a hole exposed.

In the first year of school at Stevenson, faculty as well as 1966 graduates were given the pins, Francis said.

"We used to wear them with a great deal of pride," she recalled.

The pins, depicting the hole and the graduating year, are the same today as they were 31 years ago, with one exception.

A card explaining the history of Stevenson and the "Stevenson Shoe" is attached to each pin so graduates know he was more than just a name.

* * *

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