History of Goreville Schools
Prior to 1928, the Goreville area had several elementary schools. Some of those schools were Parrish Ridge, Burklow, Webb Town, Dunn Town, Regent, Cana, Wolf Creek, Walkerville, and Sunny Side. In 1928 a two story building was erected in town (at the same location the school now stands) that caused the other schools to close. This building became known as the Goreville Grade School. A gymnasium and two classrooms were added to the structure in 1949. The gym is still in use today and was named the Ray Gymnasium in January 1999 in honor of Pete and Ned Ray (long-time coaches for the Goreville Grade School).
Many of the Goreville citizens were resistant to having a high school in the community. When high school classes began, they were held in the old Presbyterian Church. By 1928 a high school building had been erected and a community center had been built. Ballgames and graduations were held in the community center since the school did not have a gymnasium. The high school was condemned due to unsafe walls and a new building was erected in 1939. Students were attending their fourth semester at this building when it burned earlier in the year 1941. It has been rumored that the cause of the fire was arson and was the result of angry citizens that opposed the additional taxation brought about by the schools construction. The high school had seven rooms and six teachers at the time of the fire. The students were moved to some vacant concrete block buildings that were intended for use by a business. By April, the grade school was dismissed for the summer months and the high school students then took over the grade school building for the remainder of the 1941 school term. From 1941 until the Fall of 1947 the high school students attended school in the community building (where the motorcycle shop is now located).
By 1947 another new high school was ready to attend. It was built in the same location as the first high school. Students attended this building until an additional was added to the grade school that was completed by the fall of 1970. The old high school was sold to a boat factory, but the building burned in 1972 and the lot where it stood is still vacant. With the beginning of construction for the high school in 1969, the two story grade school rooms that had been erected in 1928 were torn down. In their place, new classrooms were built that became the Jr. High section of the school.
Goreville's schools were now starting growth in student numbers. With the beginning of the 1970-71 school year, Goreville High School and Goreville Grade School shared the same roof. In 1977 the high school gym, the band room (which is now the weight room), and five classrooms were added. The cafeteria was also remodeled. In 1985 the school's office was remodeled, teacher restrooms and the three classrooms on the north side of the building were added. The Goreville High School and Goreville Grade School formed a Unit District in 1987. The 1986-1987 school year had the largest graduating class of that time at 43.
Due to the increase in student population, the 1992-93 school year brought about the detached classrooms that are located south of the school. In 1994, the second detached building was added to the east of the school to open a new Pre-Kindergarten program. The 1997-98 school year saw the opening of a new media center and science lab. In 2001, a new High School wing was added, with new offices, band room, and eight new classrooms including a full service 24 computer station business classroom. A new cafeteria was constructed in 2004 which resulted in a new elementary computer lab being built in part of the old cafeteria and a gym renovation project in 2007 added 600 more seats to the high school gymnasium and completely restored the elementary gym. The latest addition is a new Early Learning Center for Pre-K children that replaced the 1994 temporary classroom building on the east side.
BLACKCAT MASCOT RECEIVES HONORABLE MENTION
The Goreville Blackcat mascot name has received national attention in a new book authored by Fred Willman of Naperville, IL!!! In the book titled "Why Mascots Have Tales", Willman studied all of the mascot names and how they were derived. He then developed a "Hall of Fame" list of unique Illinois mascot names. Our Blackcats were listed as Honorable Mention due to the uniqueness of the name as only 7 schools in the entire United States had "Blackcats" as a mascot.