McHenry High School Honors Three Distinguished New Grads When School Goes Back


As part of the annual tradition of reunion at McHenry High School, three graduates were honored on October 1 as Distinguished Alumni for their contributions to their profession and to the community at large.

Dr Michael Thornton and Robert A. Jessup are Distinguished Graduates of 2021, and Bill Hobson is Distinguished Graduate of 2020, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All three received plaques and were honored in Friday’s homecoming soccer game at McHenry’s McCracken Field. They were also honored at a special MCHS Alumni Association event to celebrate the new alumni association.

Distinguished graduates are nominated in the spring and a committee of the McHenry High School Educational Foundation selects the recipients. Photos and plaques of all distinguished graduates are displayed in the buildings of McHenry High School.

“We are delighted to add these three distinguished graduates to our long list of McHenry High School graduates who have excelled in their careers and in service to their community,” said Carl Vallianatos, Assistant Superintendent for Learning and L innovation for the McHenry Community School District 156..

“We are very proud of their accomplishments.

Read on to learn more about why each distinguished graduate was selected. To see all of the distinguished graduates and learn more about the program, visit the District 156 website.

• Bill Hobson graduated from the Old West Campus in 1992 and continued his education at Northern Illinois University. During his professional career at McHenry, he served as Deputy City Administrator and Director of Parks and Recreation, and he helped plan and develop the McHenry Recreation Center and the McHenry Riverwalk. Hobson has spent many hours, both career and as a volunteer, helping out at community events and service organizations.

• Dr. Michael Thornton graduated from the Old West Campus in 1974 and went on to earn a BS in Biology from Wheaton College. He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois in 1982. As a physician, Thornton worked as a family physician in Sycamore, Ill., And was medical director of DeKalb County Hospital as well as the DeKalb County Health Department, and Chief of Staff of Kishwaukee Hospital in 1997. He was the 2010 recipient of the Kishwaukee Health System Acclamed Physician Award. He has been on numerous mission trips to provide medical care in other parts of the world and has volunteered as an auxiliary physician for Sycamore High School for 29 years. He has delivered over 800 babies in the DeKalb / Sycamore area.

• Robert A. Jessup graduated from the Old East Campus in 1987 and studied Business at the University of Valparaiso. Jessup joined the family business, Jessup Manufacturing, in 1993. He bought the business in 2001 and under his leadership the business has grown from its humble beginnings with one employee in 1956 to over 115 employees in 195,000 feet squares of manufacturing space. Formerly a manufacturer of piping and attachments for leather gloves, today Jessup has grown into a global manufacturer, specializing in adhesive coated films. Additionally, the company emphasizes the importance of community service, with Jessup being a member of various professional organizations and community development groups.


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