Glenbard East High School opened in September 1959 with a student body of 525 students and 28 staff members. In the week prior to the school's opening, a tornado or microburst hit the school, causing significant damage. The east wall of the Tower section of the building was sucked out and fell through the roof of the then-unnamed auditorium. The classroom wing was unaffected, but the start of school was postponed for two weeks. When choosing team names during the first semester the school was open, the "Tornadoes" was one of three final choices; the other two were the "Apaches" and the winner, the "RAMS"—shown in caps as an acronym for Right Attitude Means Success. Given the school's location in "the Lilac Village," proposed school colors of lilac (purple, really) and white were not selected; instead the student body chose red, black and white. The first principal was William Rider.
The approximate enrollment for the 2008/2009 school year was 2700 students and 180 staff members.
Prior to the opening of Glenbard East in 1959, Lombard students in High School District No. 87 attended Glenbard West in Glen Ellyn. In Glenbard East's first year, school activities and sports were contained in the Glenbard West yearbook, the Pinnacle, in a special section. The first Glenbard East yearbook was the 1961 edition, and named the Aries. The yearbook staff, Aries, works year round to produce the Glenbard East High School yearbook.
In its first few years, Glenbard East competed in the Interim Conference, comprising mostly newly built suburban schools. Other schools in the conference were Willowbrook in Villa Park, Niles West in Skokie, Morton West in Berwyn, among others. The name of the conference implied that it was a temporary arrangement, which it was.
The school celebrated its 50th anniversary in October 2009, with a display of memorabilia and special recognition to athletes of the 50 years during a rainy halftime celebration during a home football game Oct. 2.
In 2011, The Washington Post named Glenbard East one of the top public high schools in Illinois in its high school challenge.Two students were arrested for written threats on the bathroom stalls. Two Students were accused of writing two separate graffiti threats at the school. The words "Kill Kill Kill" and the date September 30 was written on the wall. Both students were arrested, but might be punished.
Former student held on five hundred thousand dollar bond for threatening violence at Glenbard East. Michael Santoro, 19 was charged with disorderly conduct for planning to attack East.
In 2007, the Mock Trial team won the Illinois State Mock Trial Competition. The team went on to compete at Nationals in Dallas, Texas, placing 18th overall.
In 1984 the band program was awarded The Sudler Flag of Honor, an award presented annually to band programs which have demonstrated a high standard of excellence over a period of years. This award can be received only once under the same director.
The Glenbard East Symphonic Band has participated in the prestigious University of Illinois's Superstate Festival for 20 consecutive years in a row. The band was named honor band in 2003.
The entire music program has been awarded not one but two Grammys stemming from having an exceptional orchestral and choral program as well as band program.
The Glenbard East speech team hosts the "comfy classic" in partnership with Glenbard North and has sent many of its members to higher level competitions.
Glenbard East competes in the Upstate Eight Conference (UEC). Glenbard East is also a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), which governs most interscholastic sports and competitive activities in Illinois. The teams are stylized as the Rams.
The following teams have finished in the top four of their respective IHSA sponsored state tournament or meet:Baseball (boys):
State Finals 2nd place (1976–1977) Regionals (1977-1978; 2001-2002) Sectionals (2002-2003) Regionals (2004-2005)Cross Country (boys):
State Finals 4th place (1964–1965) State Finals 3rd place (1965–1966) State Qualifiers (1969-1970; 1988-1989)Football:
State Qualifiers (1999–2000)Gymnastics (boys):
District (1971-1972) State Qualifiers (1984–1985; 1985–1986) State Finals 2nd place (1986–1987; 1987–1988; State Qualifiers (1988–1989) State Finals (1989–1990)Tennis (boys):
District (1969-1970; 1971-1972; 1977-1978)Volleyball (boys):
Regionals (2004-2005) State Finals 3rd place (2005–2006) Regionals (2006-2007) State Qualifiers (2007-2008) Regionals (2008-2009; 2010-2011; 2011–2012)Track & Field (boys):
District (1965-1966; 1968-1969; 1970-1971; 1971-1972; 1974-1975; 1976-1977)Basketball (boys):
State Qualifiers (1963-1964) Regionals (1964-1965; 1968-1969; 1970-1971; 1975-1976; 1977-1978; 1978-1979; 1987-1988; 1989-1990; 2004–2005; 2005-2006; 2006-2007; 2009–2010) State Finals 3rd place (2010–2011) Regionals (2012-2013)Golf (boys):
State Qualifiers (1962-1963; 1971-1972; 1976-1977) Regionals (1988-1989)Soccer (boys):
In addition, while a member of the Des Plaines Valley Conference prior to the establishment of State football playoffs, the 1965 football team went undefeated and won the conference championship. That same team boasted a 28-1-4 record for its four years at GE.Competitive Cheerleading:
State Qualifiers (2005-2006; 2006-2007; 2007–2008; 2008-2009)
State Finalists (2014-2015 - 10th)Badminton (girls):
Sectionals (1982-1983; 2005-2006; 2007–2008; 2008-2009; 2009-2010; 2010–2011; 2011-2012; 2012-2013)Basketball (girls):
State Qualifiers (2010-2011; 2011-2012; 2012–2013)Cross Country (girls)
State Qualifiers (1999-2000; 2001-2002)Soccer (girls):
Regionals (1989-1990; 2002-2003) Tennis (girls): Sectionals (1992-1993)Volleyball (girls):
Regionals (1982-1983; 1986-1987; 1988-1989; 1989-1990) State Qualifiers (1990-1991) Regionals (1991-1992; 1992-1993; 1995-1996) Sectionals (1996-1997) Regionals (2003-2004; 2008-2009; 2014–2015)Jim Avila, also known as Jim Simon at GEHS, is a notable local (Chicago) & national reporter with ABC News now covering White House news and still on the 20/20 TV news program.
Joanna Krupa is a model and actress (Superstars, Dancing With The Stars).
David Orr is the clerk of Cook County and was Interim Mayor of Chicago after the death of Harold Washington.
Mary Doria Russell is an award–winning author, primarily known for her works of science fiction (The Sparrow, Children of God). At least one character from Dreamers of the Day is named in honor of a former teacher from Glenbard East.
Dan Tani (class of 1979) is a NASA Astronaut
Timothy Zahn (class of 1969) is a Hugo Award–winning science fiction author, whose most famous works may be those set in the Star Wars expanded universe.
Marc Miller (class of 1965) is an award–winning game designer and science-fiction author.