Friday, April 30, 2010

School Highlights

Armani Parker, 6th grade, Louis Armstrong Elementary School, 5345 W. Congress Pkwy., is congratulated by Asst. Principal Dr. Tracey Garfield and Math & Technology Coordinator David Abed for winning 1st Place in the Area 3 Academic Olympics Math Contest. He is competing for the City Championship at UIC on May 18. (Photo by Brad)
Bill Weeks (left), Service Learning Coach, and Principal Jim Schwartz of Al Raby High School, 3545 W. Fulton Blvd., congratulate senior Idessa Butler for winning 3rd Place in the annual Chicago Heroes In The Hood competition. Idessa founded the Roots & Shoots chapter at Al Raby and organized an 11th District Youth CAPS group. She is attending the University of Illinois-Urbana in the fall. (Photo by Isaac Jones)


This week marks the end of Chicago Academy student Jason Torres' internship with the VOICE.  GOOD LUCK JASON, and thanks for your hard work!

Feature story and photos by Jason Torres
Chicago Academy High School is the former Wright College campus at 3400 N. Austin Blvd. It shares the building with Chicago Academy Elementary School. Both institutions are Chicago Public Schools operated by the Academy for Urban School Leadership.

“To provide a supportive college preparatory environment for students and a collaborative mentoring experience for aspiring teachers” is the mission of local high school, Chicago Academy, an Academy for Urban School Leadership institution. AUSL “strives to improve student achievement in under-performing schools,” says Executive Director Dr. Donald Feinstein. The Academy for Urban School Leadership currently manages 14 Chicago Public Schools comprising approximately 8,000 students, with four additional schools being added in the fall of 2010.
    Located on 3400 North Austin Avenue, Chicago Academy High School is located in the former Wright College building, which it shares with the Chicago Academy Elementary School. Approximately 500 students attend Chicago Academy High School. “The school is in its 6th year and opened under Brian Sims,” relates current Principal Erin Clarkin. “It is a small high school focused on college prep and training teachers.”
    Chicago Academy takes a different and more trusting approach than traditional public high schools. “Chicago Academy High School has a safe environment,” declares Clarkin. The school does not require uniforms and does not force students to walk through metal detectors every day. Chicago Academy requires 26 credits to graduate, instead of the 24 that other Chicago Public High Schools require. “I knew the school would be different, it would have a different learning environment,” says Art Teacher David McKoski, who is an original staff member since the school opened in 2004.
    Chicago Academy takes pride in their teachers. “We have eight nationally certified teachers, with an average of eight years’ experience,” notes Principal Clarkin. The school also offers a resident teacher program, which trains young teachers to become full-time AUSL instructors. “This program is an invaluable way to introduce new teachers to the profession,” explains Resident English Teacher Bradford Capozzi.
    By having ninety-minute class blocks, students benefit from having more time to learn. They make sure that students are “college-read and work-ready after high school,” notes Feinstein. Every day, classes start at 8:00 AM and end between 2:45 and 3:20 PM, depending on the day. Lunch usually starts around noon, and is served to all students in one period. Monday is the only day that consists of 45-minute class periods. Tuesdays and Thursdays have class periods one through four, and Wednesdays and Fridays have class periods five through seven, with community-building time.
    Student conduct is considered very important and is strictly enforced. “Little things are a big deal,” says Ms Clarkin. “We do not tolerate lateness or talking back to adults.” Like every high school, detentions are given out and must be served at lunch. In-school suspensions have been replaced with three-hour after-school detentions.
    The CAHS Cougars take pride in their sports. The school offers boys and girls sports for all four seasons, including football, boys and girls soccer, girls softball, boys and girls basketball, baseball, and volleyball. “Sports have grown, observes senior student athlete Maggie Sumara. “They weren’t the best, but they are better now. The coaching staff is committed and push us because they know we can handle it.”
    Chicago Academy is a very dedicated school filled with people who love what they do and who want to give the best education possible. The school has not been in existence for very long, but is making a lot of progress and is becoming a solid high school. “It’s still new and still growing,” says McKoski. For information on course offerings and admission requirements, call 773/534-0146.
Jason Torres is a senior who attended all four years at Chicago Academy High School. He prepared this story as a Senior Intern at THE VOICE Newspapers. He will be attending North Park College in Chicago in the fall.
The coach gives the next play to the Chicago Academy Cougars football team.
Chicago Academy High School provides a full slate of competitive athletics for boys and girls throughout the year, including baseball & softball.
The Cougars boys basketball team competes as a varsity sport at CAHS.


Exelon Employees Teach Peaceful Conflict Resolution
 Exelon employee volunteers conduct a peace-themed teambuilding workshop on nonviolent conflict resolution with Frederick Douglass High School students. (Photo by Brad)
More than 60 Frederick Douglass High School students marched for an end to the violence sweeping Chicago. The police commander was absent & no elected officials took part. (Photo by Brad)
Frederick Douglass students demonstrate for peace and an end to violence on Chicago Avenue outside the store where their classmate Danny Gilmore was recently shot on his way to school. (Photo by Brad)
After a day of workshops emphasizing tolerance and peaceful conflict resolution, Frederick Douglass Academy students take to the streets spreading their message to end the violence plaguing Chicago. (Photo by Brad)
Frederick Douglass students urge motorists to honk their horns in support of peace & against violence. (Photo by Brad)


Rep. LaShawn K. Ford speaks with participants in his Education & Job training EXPO about the importance of preparing for careers by graduating from high school and attending college or vocational training. (Photo by Brad)
Job Corps staff & students let EXPO participants know how rewarding and fun it is learning a trade at the Paul Simon Center, 32nd & Kedzie. (Photo by Brad)
Antoinette Golden, Statewide Manager of the Illinois Dept. of Employment Security’s Hire the Future program advises a job seeker on services available from the state. (Photo by Brad)
The bleachers in the Christ The King gym are packed with people waiting to sign up for summer jobs and to learn about education & job training opportunities available to prepare West Siders for employment. (Photo by Brad)
It was a mob scene as young West Siders wait to be assisted in applying for Youth Ready Chicago summer jobs. (Photo by Brad)
Malcolm X College President Ghingo Brooks explains the credit, noncredit, adult education, and career path course offerings available on the main campus and West Side Learning Center. (Photo by Brad)
Brian Moore of THE VOICE Newspapers helps 350 teenagers sign up online for Youth Ready Chicago summer jobs. He will track the applications to ensure that West Siders get hired. (Photo by Brad)
Father Christopher Devlin, welcomes the 400 participants to Christ The King College Prep High School, host for the Education & Job Training EXPO.
A staff member provides information on state financial aid for college. (Photo by Brad)
An Army recruiter discusses job training & college opportunities available by enlisting in the service. (Photo by Brad)
Staff members of Malcolm X College answer questions from prospective students during the EXPO. (Photo by Brad)
Antoinette Golden, State Manager of the Illinois Dept. of Employment Security’s Hire the Future program leads a workshop on locating financial aid for college online and how to access the state’s employment resources. (Photo by Brad)
Job Corps students discuss the free Pharmacy Tech training program available at the Paul Simon Job Corps Center, 32nd & Kedzie. (Photo by Brad)
Staff members of Introspect Youth Services sign up prospects for Upward Bound & college exploration workshops. (Photo by Brad)

I Can Break The Chains.

 Can I break the chains of poverty,
and the boundaries that have been set on my life?
 Can I break the chains,
of gang related deaths in my community?
 Can I break the chains
of babies, being the Mothers of babies?
Can I break the chains of phoney dreams
of making it out, with the help
of the drug trade?
Can I break the chains,
of no male role models in our homes?
 Can I break the chains
of depending on the government for my next meal?
 Can I break the chains,
that the Judical system has placed on our communities?
 Can I break the chains of spending the rest of my life behind bars?
 Can I break the chains of going to my friends funerals, instead of their graduations?
 Can I break the chains of hurting the people who love me the most?
 Can I break the chains of being awakened by the sound of gunfire all times of the night?
Can I break the chains of living in rodent infested places?
Can I break the chains of having someone else dictate my life?
Can I break the chains?
Yes I Can!                                               Written By: Simply Q

Poems 4/28/10 Part 2

I Plead Guilty

I plead guilty Your Honor
Guilty of being a victim
of racial profiling
When I drive through certain neighborhoods,
I know I’ll be pulled over
The crime: Driving While Black
I plead guilty Your Honor       
For falling prey to the stereotypical profile
of a young black male:
Gang affiliated –
My gang is my family.
They my ride or die homies

Patrice Morrison

The Beat

Walking up the street
You hear a beat,
a beat no one can stop
cause the spot is hot
not as the sun
but as the gun
there's nowhere to run
feels as if you were on a hit list,
one thing you can be
innocent or not
doesn't matter
you just got shot!

-Melvinna Dotson

Let Me Be Me

God has made each one of us
unique in our own way.
So, if I don't look like you,
live in a certain neighborhood,
Or dress in a glamorous way.
Let me be me.

Who gives you the right to dictate?
Whats the norm or standard
for an individual?
Sometimes we judge others
when the bible clearly states,
"Judge not and you won't be judged."
We try to put people in our "box" of
what we expect and how they should be.
Oh what a pressure it is to expect
others to live up to our expectations.
What a waste!

Because every individual
in their differences has something
to offer or contribute.
So, don't put me in a box or prejudge me.
I'm allowed to be my own individual
Let me be me.

-Miranda Stidhum
A.K.A. Anointed Queen

I got woke up late,
to a man in my room.
Only six years old,
so I never assumed.
I cried out for help but no one came.
I screamed and hollered my mother's name.
I couldn't imagine what he would do.
He took my innocence and then he was through.
My mothers boyfriend,
and she acted like she never knew!
She even kept him there knowing I was afraid.
I never wanted to speak his name.
Often wished I didn't have to see his face,.
Just prayed for God to take me away from this place.
Knowing one day I would fight back,
But how could I be strong when no one has my back?
How could I stand up when all I wanna do is cry?
How could my momma live this lie?
Now I'm grown and all alone,
I never want a man in my home.
One thing though, I'll never forget his face,
But I won't be scared again because God knows his faith.

Carla Allen


The LaFollette Park Community Baseball Program is currently holding open registration for kids ages 5-18 for a full season of play. LaFollette Park, 1333 North Laramie Avenue, is also holding try-outs for its travel league for kids ages 9-10, 11-12, 13-15, and 16-18. Don’t miss out on a wonderful season of baseball fun. See Coach James at the park or call 773/355-7749 or 773/287-0541.
    The LaFollette Park baseball program also needs volunteer baseball coaches and referees. Call Coach James to apply at 773/355-7749 or 773/287-0541.


The Chicago West Community Music Center is presenting its first Scholarship Concert featuring N2oon on Friday, April 30, 6:30 PM, at the Columbus Park Refectory, 5701 West Jackson Boulevard. Tickets are $10 at the door and all proceeds support the Chicago West Community Music Center Scholarship Fund for graduating high school music students. The public is invited to attend this event.

This Week's Poems: 4/28/10

When I tell you about my life and the place where I was born in this city,
Which is Cabrini Green, I'm not asking for your praise nor your pity,

When I tell you that a pen and paper got me through some tumultuous times
in my life,
I am not expecting a gasp or a raised eyebrow,
I am not looking for a standing ovation nor a bow,

When some people smugly state that they have the right to live,
I state boldly that I live to write.
I am not asking for a look of astonishment,
Your approval is not my plight.

When I lose my way sometimes and make bad choices,
No longer do I beat up on myself and give into the voices --that say:
Oh, her reaction is indicative of her upbringing...blazay, skippy,
que sera sera...
Do you know who you are?

By Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee

I'm Not A
Piece of Meat

Why are you trying to visualize me with no clothes?
When you know nothing about me.
It's more to the eye then what you see.
Do you know who I am?
I'm not like all the rest.
I am a child of the King.
I'm not my big hips, big legs.
Smooth skin and dark brown eyes.
I am a Godly woman with a soul.
So if you see me walking down the street,
the grocery store, or a shopping mall,
Don't look at me as if I'm a piece of meat.

-Miranda Stidhum A.K.A. Anointed Queen

(Part Two)
*continued from last week’s issue
Love Ain't What It Used To Be

Did i make love out to be too sweet?
Did I leave out the tricks and exaggerate the treats?
Did i expect a dream and refuse to expect reality?
Was it you or me?
Love...ain't what it used to be.
Even with the stress,
Baby daddies and baby mamas,
Miscommunication and other drama,
The lies, the cheating,
Mistrust prevails,
Hurt souls cry out from heartache,
        What's left to exhale?
The remaining breath which holds your last bit of strength is held on to,
For if released you may pass out.
Rewind, bring it back.
For if released you may move on to find new strength to bring genuine love back,
Cause this bullsh** of today,
May be a four letter word beginning with the letter L,
But it ain't love,
    Cause love...
        Ain't what it used to be.

            -Ya girl, Lyrique

Take Time
Take time to think...
IT is the source of power.
Take time to play...
It is the secret
of perpetual youth.
Take time to read...
It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to pray...
IT is the greatest power
on Earth.
Take time to love
and be loved...
It is the road to happiness.
Take time to laugh...
It is the music of the soul.
Take time to give...
IT is too short a day
to be selfish.
Take time to work...
IT is the price of success.
Take time to do charity...
It is the key to heaven.
-Audrey J. Williams

Three Things
God will meet you
at the point of your needs.
Things in life that is once gone and never come back,
times, words and opportunity.
Things that can destroy a person: anger pride,
and no forgiveness.
Things that you should never lose: hope peace and honesty.
Things that are most valuable: love family and kindness.
Things that are never certain: Fortune, success and dreams.
Life is a big mystery that only God knows for certain.
We are all here
by three things:
his hand, his grace,
and his mercy.
By KG.

WEST SIDE VOICES: Letters to the Editor


    I would like to take the opportunity to respond to some of the comments that have been made in response to the call made by State Rep. John Fritchey and myself for Governor Quinn to work with Mayor Daley and Chicago Police Superintendent Weis to deploy the Illinois National Guard in an effort to combat the crime and violence that plagues our city streets. Lost in all of the media reports was the brave presence at the press conference of Willie Williams, Sr., who lost his own son to gun violence 4 years ago. The Williams family and 113 families throughout Chicago just this year grieve the loss of family members. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! As we approach the warmer summer months, I look forward to joining the efforts of Governor Quinn and Mayor Daley to come up with a plan for safer communities.
    Crime decreases property values, discourages people from establishing businesses, and hurts existing businesses, breeding violence. We recognize the need for greater educational and job opportunities, especially for workers in construction, road building, and other trades. I authored legislation which was signed into law that creates a microloan program for those who were formerly incarcerated to start their own businesses. I ask others to join me to pass additional legislation that I wrote that will attempt to increase the chance that formerly incarcerated will have a chance to be interviewed for jobs, and a plan to reduce the unemployment rate in these affected areas through the African-American Employment Plan Act. We must work for these changes in society at the same time we work to decrease the crime and violence.
    We have heard from many, many people who want a different strategy in dealing with crime. They would welcome a National Guard presence that is respectful and would work with the community to increase safety in our most violence-prone neighborhoods.
    We are not talking about tanks in the streets, bayonets fixed, or AK-47s on every corner. The National Guard has worked in similar roles in communities throughout the world and this would be no different. The Illinois National Guard is already committed to improving our communities, including the hosting of YOUTH EXPO in June at the Armory on the South Side. We are asking for the Guard to help at another level, as an auxiliary to the Chicago Police Department.
    The Chicago Police Department is working hard, but the Mayor and the Police Superintendent have said that help is needed. We think that deploying the Guard is a good option that that should be used to save lives. If there are other options that can be shown to achieve the same goal, we should look closely at those options. But, for the sake of the Williams family and hundreds of families throughout Chicago, we do not have the option of doing nothing. As the father to a beautiful six-year-old daughter, an uncle to elementary school nephews and nieces, and as a son to a senior citizen mom who has worked all of her life, all living in Austin, I am pleading for help for our communities.

La Shawn K. Ford
State Representative-8th District
5104 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60651

I want to correct an article in THE GARFIELD-LAWNDALE VOICE (Vol. 6 #15, April 21) regarding the struggle to get Black men & women hired as workers and subcontractors on the Marshall High School construction site.
    I and members of the coalition participating in the struggle sincerely appreciate the exposure your people gave us. It is so important for the community to know what we are doing and why we are doing it.
    After reading the article several times, it became clear to me that I owe Alderman Smith of the 28th Ward an apology and an explanation regarding that article. The quotes attributed to Luster Jackson were not stated by me. The interview was with a Rev. Stinson and others. Rev Stinson, who came into our midst to assist us of his own volition has used me to attempt to damage Alderman Smith politically. He cannot honestly say he has heard me speak disparagingly of Ald. Smith.
    On the contrary, I spoke to Rev. Stinson and our group of the hard work of the Alderman in bringing Black subcontractors and white general contractors and developers together. I do not know why the quotes in the article were attributed to me. Perhaps it was designed to damage Alderman Smith politically and hurt our struggle for jobs and justice at the same time. I hereby declare that none of the quotes in that article were by me.
    It is clear to me that the Reverend who allegedly quoted me has begun the Aldermanic political campaign.

Luster Jackson, President
Concerned Citizens of East Garfield Park

Editor’s Note: In this article, we attributed statements to a Rev. Dwayne Hightower. The quotes are by a man presenting a business card bearing the name of Mr. Hightower, but we have since learned that Dwayne Hightower is a staff member of the City of Chicago Public Building Commission. We have spoken with Mr. Hightower who assures us he was not at the Marshall High School construction site and did not make the statements attributed to him in the article. We regret this error and apologize for any confusion it has caused.


    Celebrate this Mother’s Day by doing something you have never done by making a commitment to yourself and to your family to be a better parent to your children than your parents were to you be talking to your teenaged sons and daughters about responsible sex and abstinence.
    Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are not just about being the “Greatest Mom or Dad.” It’s about teaching your kids how to be responsible parents, too.
    The social and economic hardships felt by single parent households throughout this country are devastating to urban communities – where a sense of hopelessness and a lack of self-worth are prevalent among teenage mothers faced with the challenge of raising their children alone.
    All too often, grandparents are forced to assume the role of parenting their grandchildren. And, when the children grow up, they internalize feelings of abandonment from both teenage parents – which puts them at risk for continuing the cycle of having sex at an early age.
    As mothers and fathers, you responsibilities don’t stop with providing food, clothing, shelter, and a twelfth-grade education to your children, but they include teaching your children about responsible sex and abstinence – and how they can be the “World’s Greatest Mom or Dad!”

William J. Booker
Illinois Council on
Responsible Fatherhood Chicago

SISTERHOUSE: The Effect of Alcohol on Women

By Glenance Green

    Did you know that alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States of America? According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, about 7 to 12 percent of women in the United States abuse alcohol. This statistic has become such an alarming trend because women tend to develop a dependency to alcohol more quickly than men.

    There are several biological factors that make women more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. An overwhelming factor is that women tend to weigh less than men because a woman’s body contains less water and more fatty tissue than a man’s (Harvard Mental Health Letter). This is instrumental to dependency because fat will retain alcohol while water dilutes it; therefore, the woman’s organs are more apt to sustain greater exposure.

    In addition, the Harvard Mental Health Letter describes the second biological factor making women more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol as women having lower levels
of enzymes that break alcohol down in the stomach and liver and as a result, women absorb more alcohol into the bloodstream.

    Over the decades, there have been a myriad of scientific studies of alcohol dependence in both men and women. One of the largest, most important studies was federally conducted by Combined Pharmacotherapies and Behavioral Interventions (COMBINE). This study concluded that drug therapy and a specialized behavioral therapy helped patients of both sexes abstain from drinking. This is imperative to the SISTERHOUSE community because we espouse a holistic approach to recovery and work with a variety of different human service agencies, medical service providers and other institutions to facilitate women’s access to the tools necessary for a successful recovery process.

To receive more information on SISTERHOUSE’s services for women and/or volunteer opportunities, please call 773/626-0525.


Community clean-ups are scheduled for Saturday, May 1 & 8, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM, beginning at Chicago Avenue & Mayfield. The plan is to clean and beautify the Chicago Avenue commercial strip. Rakes, brooms, shears, and garbage bags will be provided. There will be refreshments for volunteers. Everyone is invited to participate.


The annual Illinois Prevention Bowl is being held Thursday, May 13, 9:30-2:00 PM, at Soldier Field and The Prevention Partnership still has a few slots for West Side 7th & 8th graders to compete and represent their schools.
    Youth will test their knowledge in the areas of substance abuse, anger management, nutrition, economics & financial responsibility, self-esteem, communication, and social marketing.
    Each school is permitted a team of 4 students, with one alternate. There is no charge to participate and transportation to and from Soldier Field will be provided.
    MCs for this year’s Prevention Bowl are WMAQ-TV/Channel 5 News Anchorman Alex Perez and St. Louis Rams Defensive End Victor Adeyanju. The Prevention Bowl is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Community Health & Prevention, The Prevention Partnership, Inc., and Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC). Members of the Chicago Bears will be present to sign autographs.
    To register a school team, call Al Orsello at The Prevention Partnership, Inc., 773/378-4195, ext. 16.


State Representative LaShawn K. Ford (D-8) is hosting a Town Meeting on Monday, May 10, to discuss ideas for combating the escalating violence and explore his controversial proposal to use the Illinois National Guard as an assist to the Chicago Police. The Town Meeting is being held from 6:00-8:00 PM at Ronald McNair Elementary School, 4820 West Walton Street.
    On April 25, Rep. Ford and Rep. John Fritchey called upon Governor Pat Quinn to work with Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis on ways to deploy Illinois National Guard troops to assist the Chicago Police in preventing further violence in especially troubled areas of the city.
    Ford points out that 113 people have been killed in Chicago during the first four months of this year, the same number of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
    “The unfortunate reality is that we have another war that is just as deadly taking place right here in our own backyard,” Rep. Fritchey declares. “Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is. But, it is warranted when we are losing residents to violence at such an alarming rate.”
    Ford says, “We cannot accept it as a normal situation that someone is shot and killed in Chicago almost every day.” He says, “We need more help to combat violence in our communities, and we need to put together a comprehensive plan which includes the National Guard to secure the peace and to work respectfully to win the hears and minds of the citizens in the most violence-prone areas.”
    Noting that violence and crime also lead to a decrease in property values, discourages people from establishing businesses, and hurts existing businesses, Rep. Ford urges a comprehensive approach to violence prevention, including the improvement of educational and employment opportunities. “Increasing security by combating and preventing crime is only part of the solution,” Ford says.
    For more information, call Rep. Ford’s office at 773/378-5902 or visit