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Hinsdale Central reflects on 'Best Schools' ranking

HINSDALE – Bill Walsh joined the staff of Hinsdale Central High School because he wanted more out of his experience in the public school system.

“My old school was, you went about your day and taught your kids,” said Walsh, assistant principal for operations at Hinsdale Central. “This is a place that pushes you as a teacher, administrator and as a student. I think that’s what I wanted out of my career and why I chose Hinsdale Central.”

The choice to come to Hinsdale Central not only has paid off for Walsh, but also for the rest of the faculty and students. Because of their efforts, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked Hinsdale Central High School as No. 8 on the newest “Best High Schools in Illinois” list.

The ranking places Hinsdale Central in the top 10, ahead of some other schools usually credited for superior academics, such as New Trier Township and Lane Technical high schools.

“We have the formula for success because we have parents that are involved, educated and care about the schools,” said Superintendent Nicholas Wahl. “We have the students who have high expectations for themselves and expect a rigorous curriculum.”

No one was surprised by the ranking, and that included Principal Michael McGrory, who said one of the main reasons for the school’s success is the faculty.

“I think what puts us in the best position is you have to have great teachers,” McGrory said.

Wahl said parents also are a critical part of the school’s success. Maria Pierce of Hinsdale, a member of the PTO, has two kids who graduated from Hinsdale Central, both now in college, and a junior at Central.

“Their ability to get into college from here is great,” Pierce said. “There are a lot of programs in extracurriculars and athletics and in the music department that are just wonderful.”

With the new ranking, Pierce hopes the school could do a little better on its school spirit. She suggested painting the lockers a bright red to display a “cohesive spirit that runs through the school.”

“People have to live in this building for eight to 12 hours a day, and I think having a unified looking building will be a little thing that makes a big difference,” she said.

Linda Burke of Hinsdale also is mother to two Hinsdale Central alumni.

“I thought this school had something for everyone,” Burke said. “One of my sons is now a music teacher, and the other is a doctor. They both got a terrific education, and they both had activities as well as great courses.”

District 86 school board member Ed Corcoran, also a Hinsdale Central alumnus, said the ranking is a testament to the students, parents and teachers. Some of Corcoran’s fondest memories of his alma mater include his time on the swim team and winning the state championship his senior year.

Nationally, Hinsdale Central ranked 289th on the Best High Schools list this year. For the full list, click here.

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