The History of Joy High School
The village of Joy, Illinois is located in the near northwestern part of the state on Il. Rt. 17 approximately
7.5 miles east of the Mississippi River. The town and its population of 373 residents is located in the middle-western
portion of Mercer County, approximately 30 miles (as the crow flies) southwest of the Quad Cities.
George Carpenter provides the following information regarding the history of Joy:
"A post office was established in the area in 1848 in the home of George Scott and named High Point.
The village was laid out in 1848 and the railroad established a station there that same year. In 1870 the post office
was moved into the village and the name was changed from High Point to Joy." (Source - "The History of Mercer County,
A program from the 55th Class Reunion of the Joy High School Class of 1951 (held July 16, 2006) had the
following history of Joy High School written on it. This program, too, was submitted by George Carpenter:
"The village of Joy was laid out in 1869 and a one-room school house was built that smae year on the site
of today's Joy Park. School was held from September to March with a vacation during corn-picking time. It reopened in
April for a 3-month summer term. It was not unusual for some of the students to be 21 years old. Only the basic subjects
In 1896 a two-story brick building was built in the Joy Park location. The first floor was used as
a grade school and a high school was located on the second floor. An addition was built on the north side of the building
There were four graduates in the first Commencement Exercise in 1899 and six graduates in 1900. There
were no graduates in 1901-03 or in 1909. The largest class had 37 students graduate in 1956. There were 26
students in the last graduating class of Joy High School in 1960.
A new high school was built on the north edge of Joy in 1936-37. Students were relocated from the
second floor of the high school in Joy Park to the new facility during the Christmas Vacation in 1937.
There was a total of 870 students who graduated from Joy High School which included the last graduating
class of May, 1960. The District was then reorganized and became the Westmer School District beginning in the fall
The original Joy High School doubled as a church until a new building was built in 1877. It is
known that in 1960 a consolidation effort between the schools and communities of western Mercer County, including New Boston and Keithsburg, took place. Joy was included in this effort and was fortunate to land the high school in their town.
Joy Westmer High School currently serves the high school students of that area.
Joy High School Quick Facts
Year opened: early 1900s
Year closed: 1960
Consolidated to: Westmer School District (Joy)
School nickname: the "Bulldogs"
School colors: Maroon & Dark Green
School Fight Song: "Cheer, Cheer for Old Joy High School"
Notre Dame University Fight Song Tune
The boys at Joy were truly able to compete. During the 1920s and early 1930s Joy track athletes brought
home 8 state medals. During the 1950s the boy's basketball team won three Regional titles and three District titles.
Further information is being sought regarding these and other athletics offered at the school. The successful seasons
and athletes are listed below. Football information was researched and provided to us by Tom Sikorski.
1952-53 N.R.A. Regional Champions
Coach's names unavailable
1953-54 N.R.A. Regional Champions
1954-55 N.R.A. Regional Champions
1957-58 N.R.A. District Champions
1958-59 N.R.A. District Champions
1959-60 N.R.A. District Champions
Boy's Track and Field
1915 L. Bridgeford 220 Yard Hurdles
Pole Vault 3rd Place
High Jump 3rd Place
220 Yard Hurdles 2nd Place
1931 Walgren 220 Yard
Hurdles 5th Place
1952 6-0 Valley Conference Champs
Coach Robert Jackson
1953 5-1 Valley Conference Champs
Coach Robert Jackson
1954 4-3 Coach
Joy moved to the bigger Corn Belt conference in 1955 and struggled. The last year JHS fielded
a team was 1959. In 1960 Joy HS consolidated with Keithsburg and New Boston to form Joy-Westmer.
From our good friend George Carpenter:
As I reminisce thru the high schools on the Glory Days site, my mind pictures classmates
meeting, dating and marrying their high school sweethearts. What a wonderful place to meet a partner to share the rest
of your life with. Such was the case with me. In the summer after my sophomore year at Joy High School I met a pretty
brown eyed farm girl at a small skating rink in the country who would be a junior at Reynolds High School in the fall.
Because my 1931 Model A Ford Coupe could only travel between mud puddles due to a
leaky radiator, I was pretty much without wheels in the winter. When school was out in the spring and things thawed out, we
continued our courtship and, as luck would have it, my family moved into the Reynolds district and we became classmates our
senior year. We graduated together in the Class of 51 and were married the next January.
When I came home from overseas
after my tour of duty, I saw my son for the first time. He was 9 months old and born just 3 days before our first anniversary.
Like many GIs at the time, it was a struggle to find affordable housing. Things finally came together and we began to work
toward the American Dream.
Because of our commitment to each other and our faith, we made it happen. Now after
56 years of marriage and having traveled to many places in the world, we look back and rejoice in the choices we have made.
If I met my wife today, she would be my only choice. Life is good.
So, since I see lots of space at the bottom
of every page of each high school, I think how great it would be if we could share some of our life experiences with students
who married their classmates.