Springfield Lanphier High School


The past is something that will always be there to push me forward. In my youth, my family struggled over many obstacles. My father was an alcoholic and got pulled over one too many times and was sent to prison.

This I Believe: Where is Home?

Feb 22, 2018

I believe that being “homeless” is a choice. Yes, that is honestly what I believe but let me explain. 

UI Extension

It's not the opponent you expect to face on the field.

Eric Mason, an 18-year-old Lanphier graduate, was recognized by the Illinois State Fair for overcoming incredible odds to become a high achiever.
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

After 163 years, the Illinois State Fair is always adding traditions. New this year is the Hometown Hero Award, recognizing people who "perform selfless acts, overcome incredible odds and reach milestone achievements."

The inaugural winner is a teenager Eric Mason.

Eric just graduated from Springfield's Lanphier High School. And on Saturday, he left to begin college at Stanford University. That means he won't be around to partake in the glory, like joining the Grand Marshal to lead the Illinois State Fair Parade on Thursday, that comes along with being the "hometown hero."

Thanks to all who took the time to participate in the NPR Illinois Advisory Convening.  K-12 funding was the main topic the group discussed.  Listen to the unedited, raw audio to hear how it progressed.  It has been posted in two parts to make file size manageable.  View the slide show of the participants above.

The Cleveland Cavaliers changed tactics again, attacking small-ball Golden State Warriors lineups with size, but got the same result in Tuesday's Game 6 of the NBA Finals as in the previous two games: Within two points at the half, they wore down as the game went on, and lost 105-97.

This I Believe: Unique Flavors

Feb 24, 2015
Kanisha Granderson headshot
Rachel Lattimore / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

I believe in ice cream. Different flavors, different colors and smells. Some taste good and some not so good. The happiness you get when you find the flavor you like. The first bite and joy. I loved the flavor Jamoca. It was my favorite. Its coffee taste, brown color and smell - so deeply good. I wanted to try something new. I tried butter pecan. It was the new best. Its vanilla coating, walnuts on top and inside. I had switched. Like the click of a light switch but I wasn’t always so comfortable or confident about trying new things.

This I Believe: Pickled Hysteria

Feb 20, 2015
Brett Palmer headshot
Rachel Lattimore / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

On a frigid January evening, I, along with other members of my church, decided to donate time to serving a hot meal to people planning to spend their night sleeping on a childlike cot in a warm, temperature controlled Salvation Army homeless shelter. I have no idea what to expect on a night like this. 

Springfield Author Has "North-End Pride"

Jan 14, 2015
Rachel Otwell/WUIS

North-End Pride: The Story of Lanphier High School, Its People and Community. That's the title of a newly released book that takes a first-of-its-kind look at an area of Springfield that's not always on the top of the list when it comes to what makes Springfield residents proud of their city. But the book's author, Ken Mitchell, was born and raised there with people he describes as "salt of the earth." He started the book as a memoir about his high school days and it quickly morphed into a deeper history. Mitchell joined us for this interview: 

Student Brings Gun To Lanphier High School

Aug 26, 2014

There will be heightened security at Lanphier High School Wednesday after a student brought a gun to class on Tuesday afternoon. The weapon was apprehended without incident and the 16 year old male student was arrested. Police say he allegedly had the gun for protection and at no point displayed or threatened to use it. Superintendent Jennifer Gill says there will be more police officers at the high school in the coming few days:

This I Believe: 26 Letters

Feb 28, 2014
Amelia Paries at the microphone
Dan LaGrasso / NPR Illinois

From the moment we're born, we're bombarded with an endless array of words. Long, short, pretty, ugly—but all meaningless. Until we’re taught to read and write. But, even before then, we have to learn the alphabet. It's amazing, truly, how many ways those 26 little letters can be manipulated; the seemingly endless combinations that make up the language we know and take for granted. 

This I Believe: Independence Creates Happiness

Feb 19, 2014
Stepanie Dunn headshot
Dan LoGrasso / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

In middle school I asked  myself a lot of questions. Why do I have multiple teachers? Why is my body changing so much? Why do I feel attraction to all these boys? One thing I thought I knew was love; I loved my family so I completely understood what love was and what it took to love someone for life, right? In eighth grade I started “dating” Joe. It was the stereotypical boyfriend/girlfriend, middle school relationship. Our parents drove us to and from our houses watching movies, playing video games, and going to the park to kick a soccer ball around.

Coaches in Illinois are required by state law to remove from a game or practice any athlete suspected of suffering a concussion.

But responding quickly after a hard hit isn't enough for a former football player from the Chicago area who now advocates nationwide to prevent injury to still-developing brains.

In the latest report from the WUIS Health Desk, Peter Gray reports on a push for Illinois to follow the NFL and other states in limiting days of full contact football practice.

Renay DeFrees - Lanphier High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


Scared.  Utterly terrified.  That is the only way I can describe how I felt when I was told my father was going to die. I was eight years old when my father was diagnosed with cancer. That was November 18th, 2002. A few weeks passed and everyone held their breath. On December 16th we were told the cancer was terminal. The carcinoma had metastasized and had already spread throughout his whole body. The doctors did not expect him to make it through the week. “It is time to say goodbye”, they said.


Feb 23, 2012
Travis Lascody - Lanphier High School
Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues


I believe that what you look like does not define who you are as a person, whether you have tattoos, piercings, or a crazy hairstyle. You should not be judged for how you look, but on what you do. The doctor that performs your next surgery could be covered in tattoos underneath his scrubs. My sophomore year of high school I decided to dread my hair, knowing that to many people it would be frowned upon.

Creating Your Own Unique Path

Mar 13, 2009
Ryan Cookson - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

For many people, going into high school is a defining moment. Will you be a jock, a studyholic, a partier? The choices are everywhere. For me, this was definitely the case. Which path would I choose? Would that path be the one that made me the happiest? I went into high school with that mind set, and it took quite a while for me to find the answer.

A Smile Can Save a Life

Mar 12, 2009
Hannah Alzugaray - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I was in the seventh grade the first time I contemplated suicide.

From the outside, and by all superficial accounts, really I’ve lead a pretty easy life. I have two caring parents and two caring step-parents, a nice roof over my head, food on the table each night, and a good group of friends. I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm, and even in elementary school, I was considered “the smart kid” by my peers. None of that changed the fact that I wanted to kill myself.


Mar 10, 2009
Meyasha Clemons - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

What do I believe in? The answer is the strength within a woman. I have been blessed to witness the personification of "strength" throughout my life, as I watched and learned from my mother, Sharon Deon Williams. My mother gave birth to me on October 9th, 1991, when she was but a child herself. Yet, she filled her heart with not only love, patience and understanding, but with focus and persistence.

Second Chances

Mar 9, 2009
Dylan Sanders - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe that the greatest gift is willing to accept reality and allow for a second chance when times get tough. Everyone makes mistakes – usually hurting the people that they love the most. Nobody is perfect and it’s hard to understand the difference a second chance will make. Sometimes you have to accept reality for what it is worth and give a second chance, even when you don’t want to. This is what I believe.

An Unlikely Hero

Feb 22, 2008
Alfred Brown - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

When most of us think of a hero, we tend to think of superman rescuing some innocent woman from danger or a heroic firefighter saving someone from a catastrophic fire. You don't have to be a firefighter to be considered a hero. I believe a hero lies within us all. I feel this way because my life was forever changed by the actions of one fearless girl.

The Power of Forgiveness

Feb 15, 2008
Sasha Elmore - Lanphier High School
WUIS/Illinois Issues

I believe forgiveness is very important. In too many instances, people hold grudges and the inability to forgive ruins their relationships. I believe in saying "Forgive and Never Forget." You can remember the things that somebody did and know that they affected you without severing all ties with that person. From forgiveness we can learn and grow as individuals.