Crystal Lake Central celebrates homecoming

School’s 100th anniversary is this year

Crystal Lake Central H.S. alumni couple "Ray and JoAnn" class of '57 join the 100 year anniversary homecoming day parade on Saturday, Sep. 16, 2023 in Crystal Lake. The parade began at the high school and made its way through downtown Crystal Lake.

Mary Ann Hidding graduated from Crystal Lake Central in 1968 and participated in Saturday’s Homecoming parade at the school.

Her roots at Crystal Lake Central run deep.

“My kids went here, my in-laws went here,” Hidding said.

Hidding added that she taught English at Crystal Lake Central for five years, and some of her favorite memories included participating in the theater program.

When she taught at Central, she said she was the thespian sponsor.

“I paid it forward,” Hidding said.

This week, Crystal Lake Central celebrated its centennial, and Saturday’s festivities included a parade, school tours and a football game.

Hidding and her classmates were celebrating their 55th reunion this weekend, and some of the classmates planned to go to the football game after the parade.

The class of 1968′s float had a tractor pulling a bed with hay bales on it, featuring a walker with what classmates said was the 1967-68 football record of 0-7-1.

The Illinois High School Association record book has a slightly more flattering entry for that season, listing Crystal Lake Central as having a 1-6-1 record in the 1967-68 school year.

“We can’t remember who we tied,” classmate Cathy Boubelik Sheley said.

As the Class of 1968 planned their reunion, they were planning it for homecoming week, but originally didn’t realize it was Central’s centennial, said Hidding.

“Then we found out it was the centennial,” Hidding said.

The Class of 1968 wasn’t the only class with floats in the parade.

The classes of 1972, 1974, 1977 and 1975 and others had floats.

The 1946 homecoming queen also was in the parade.

Saturday’s parade featured sports teams, clubs and other groups from the high school in addition to the alumni floats, but some of the participants with the high school floats wore alumni t-shirts.

Floats and participants were decked out in the school’s color scheme of orange and black, and some of the music choices made references to the school’s Tiger mascot.

The police car leading the parade blared “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor and one of the choir groups sang “Roar” by Katy Perry toward the end of the parade route.

It’s fun to get together.”

—  Mary Ann Hidding, Crystal Lake Central graduate

But members of the class of 1968 celebrating their reunion enjoyed the chance to reminisce with their classmates and friends.

“We have about 40 classmates who attended,” Hidding said, adding the class numbered about 295. “It’s fun to get together.”