Christine's Senior Picture

Even in contrast with other Uni Alum’s, Christine’s relationship with Uni is extremely distinct. Her ties to the institution stem back to when she was only 9 years old, due to her father not only teaching Math at Uni but also writing/co-writing the Math Textbooks for UICSM (University of Illinois Committee on School Mathematics), which was used by Uni’s curriculum. As a student, Christine performed in Big Show once, and was further involved with sets for other plays and musicals. Since then, her connection to Uni has been ever-present, from being involved in community service and working for the UICSM as a student to heading different Alumni celebrations (including her class reunions) and events even now. 

Christine's professional career ties back to her time at Uni. As a Junior and a Senior, she didn’t have all that much time for extracurriculars, as her free time was spent with the University of Illinois, working with children diagnosed with Autism. Her introduction to the field came through Uni very directly, specifically through her Social Studies teacher, Ella Lepert, who referred her to the University program. Inspired by the work she did with the University and the lack of support for children with disabilities, Christine attended Illinois State University and became certified as a school teacher in all core subjects along with all Special Education areas. Post-graduation, Christine stuck with the education theme, beginning her 35-year career teaching junior high and then high school special education in Champaign Unit #4 schools. She also later earned her Master's Degree from UIUC in Education Administration. Since then, she and her husband, Thomas, have raised two children who still remain in the area.

Currently, Christine is retired from her career in education but remains busy as ever. In 2015, she helped found the Uni High Alumni Association. Furthermore, she has also long been a part of the Uni High Advancement Committee and more recently joined the Uni High Century Celebration Committee. Back home in Philo, Christine is also on the Library Board and the Village Board Planning Commission. Moreover, Christine and Thomas have been involved in real estate as both realtors and owning/managing several properties they have owned.


Interview with Christine Payne

Club Membership

Freshman Girls Chorus, Mixed Chorus, STAG, Big Show, UJHS

Fun Facts

  • The jersey in the photograph above is a real Uni High Basketball Practice Jersey from the late '60s.
  • Christine (Szabo) Payne's class, the class of 1971, was amidst what was at the time the longest losing streak in Illinois State Boys Basketball history. 

Senior Quote

"Live for friendship, live for love."