Central Campus Overview

JT Central Name/Mascot: Steelmen

JT Central Traditional March: “March of the Steelmen” Composed by Charles S. Belsterling, Vice President of the United States Steel Company, and dedicated to the JTHS band in March of 1937.

JT Central School Colors: Blue and Gold
JT Central Newspaper: JTC Journal
JT Central Yearbook: “The J”



Joliet High, we’re always loyal,
To thee we’ll e’re be true,
With a battle cry of “Onward,”
We will fight for Gold and Blue.
Rah! Rah!
Joliet High is on to battle,
We’ll conquer ev’ry foe,
We have a fighting spirit
On to vict’ry we will go!
Go Central


The Steelmen

They were “The Prison City Boys” before they were Steelmen! That’s how the teams were known in the early years prior to the famed statue’s arrival in 1935. The Steelman statue stands leaning forward into the future and is dear to the hearts of many alumni. The eight bas-reliefs that accompanied the Steelman to the school represent astronomy, botany, chemistry, geology, mathematics, medicine, physics and zoology.

In the fall of 1993, the campuses of JT Central and JT West shared a sports program as Steelmen when the teams were combined due to District 204 budget constraints. The team mascot and colors had to be determined for each school. A compromise made the Steelman the official mascot as opposed to the Tiger and the colors of both campuses, blue, black, and gold were combined as the sports teams’ colors. Even though the teams were combined as one beginning in 1992, each campus stayed true to their own mascots and colors. By the school year of 2010-2011, the cross-town rivalry once again featured two separate teams known as the West Tigers and the Steelmen from Central.

High School Band Program

Along with academics, JT perfected a music program, which by the late 1920s was known as the best in the nation.

The JTHS Band was organized in December of 1912. 

In 1924, the band was invited to St. Louis as the official band of the 40th district Rotary convention.

Under McAllister’s baton, the band went on to win state championships in 1924, 1925, and 1926 followed by the national championships in 1926, 1927, and 1928.

One of the greatest honors the Joliet band had ever received was at the third National Band Contest held in its hometown in May 1928. 

The band members were victorious taking national titles again in 1931, 1933, 1935, 1938, and 1940. The band was renowned for winning all regional contests up to 1964 at which time JT split into three campuses.

Bruce Houseknecht was chosen Director of the Band in the fall of 1945. A position he held until his retirement in 1969 following the transition from JT to JT Central. His successor was Ted Lega who led the band for 33 years retiring in 2002. Mr. Mike Fiske became the fourth band director in its 90 years. The JT Central band continues its winning ways. The fifth band director now is Donald Stinson.

The Band has a record unequalled by any other school organization in the country. This can be proven by the many trophies and awards possessed by the champions. And the title of “Grand Champions” is one the band has grown accustomed to receiving. The band celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Along with an award-winning Band program JT Central offers an outstanding orchestra and choirs. 


In September of 1964, JTHS opened its doors to students for the first time as JT Central.

The ROTC was organized in 1917 at the peak of WWI and was the idea of three Joliet high school students after visiting the ROTC program at Wendell Philips High School in Chicago. Through the years, the high school’s ROTC cadets have received ratings of excellence along with many other honors rendering themselves invaluable to the school and to the community. Cadet-sponsored activities over the years have included military balls, dinner dances, Christmas fundraising campaigns for the Salvation Army and other campaigns to benefit the needy families in the community. JT Central cadets continue to serve the community and country.

From the sports pages…. Over 100 hundred years ago, football was only an inter-class activity. In 1902, the school board hired Coach Wilson S. Kline to build a JT team. Coach Kline selected 25 promising boys from the school and trained them in the sport. The first game in JT’s football history was against Aurora played in Joliet. JT won 12-0.

JT Central offers a wide variety of sports for its students. Among the girls’ sports are cross country, track and field, golf, basketball, volleyball, softball, tennis, badminton, swimming, bowling and gymnastics. Boys’ sports include baseball, basketball, football, tennis, volleyball, golf, soccer, track and field, cross country, swimming, hockey and wrestling.

The cheerleaders always personify the “Steel Spirit.” The poms Squad once known as the Steeljammers is now the Steelpaws. Both the cheerleading squads and the poms bring high recognition, awards, trophies and ribbons to JT Central for their exceptional routines.