ABLA Homes Update

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The 9th annual ABLA Family Fun Day was held recently at Addams Park, 15th Street and Loomis Avenue (aka Deverra Beverly Street). The event was sponsored by ABLA’s Local Advisory Council and was an official part of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Neighborhood Summer Festivals.

The beautiful, warm and sunny weather helped make it a well-received occasion. Thousands of ABLA residents from 2 to 92 years old came out and enjoyed. First-class entertainment was provided:

The CHA Ambassador Choir’s inspirational up-tempo songs had the crowd in a hand clapping, sing-along mood. The CHA Safe Summer Tour featured spectacular multi-talented youths from ABLA and other developments singing R&B and rap, performing amazing feats of gymnastics and well-choreographed dance steps. Rappin’ Tate, the emcee of the show, did an excellent job of keeping the crowd pumped up.

A surprise came when a young man named Enrico gave an exceptional impersonation of superstar Michael Jackson, which left the residents screaming for more.

Free food was served to satisfy every discerning palate by summer food site workers from CHA’s Resident Organizations Department. Give-aways from Community Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS) and West Side Future programs were very useful as well as balloon art by Coco the Clown, ice-cream treats and on-site registration for Head Start at the Eisenberg Boys and Girls Club.

To culminate the festivities, a free raffle was held for the youths and adults. Bicycles, TVs, VCRs, portable radios, electric fans and various other gifts were all given away. The music kept the crowd delighted as they existed in the park. It truly was an ABLA Family Day.

SCHOOL CLOSING

As a member of the class of 1974 of Joseph Medill School, reporting this story brought back many memories. On Aug. 25, when school doors open and another exciting school year begins, there will be one less school within the ABLA community.

The Joseph Medill Intermediate and Upper Grade Center, 1326 W. 14th Place, closed its doors due to declining enrollment. Medill had the capacity to hold at least 1,300 students but over the years the number of students has dwindled down to a little over 200. The remaining students will have the option of attending Thomas Jefferson School, 1522 W. Filmore St., Jacob A. Riis School, 1018 S. Lytle Ave., or John M. Smyth School, 1059 W. 13th St.

Medill has quite an esteemed and well established history dating back to 1895, when it first opened as a high school. The school was named after the late Joseph Medill (1823-1899), a very scholarly man.

Medill held many important positions within his life. He was a practicing attorney at age 23, backed Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, served as a member of the Illinois Constitutional Convention and U.S. Civil Service Commission. More locally, he was mayor of Chicago and editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Medill believed that hard work, determination and education were the keys to success.

Due to expanding population, Medill became a grammar school in 1946. In 1959, the Medill name was stamped on a new primary school.

The teachers and other staff members traditionally kept up the dedication to hard work that make up the true “Medill Spirit.” Medill continued to graduate many students who themselves became successful in their chosen careers.

The Joseph Medill building will continue on in a new function serving as a Chicago Board of Education Central Office Annex, which will house a payroll satellite and training center for its employees starting in October.

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