Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Leo High School Website - Get Another Perspective on Inner City Young Men

MCG, D, and Me - President Dan McGrath, Sophomore Leader Darnell Harris and a Really Good-looking Middle Aged Gent With More Chins Than a Chinese Phone-book. BTW - Darnell* never looked happier.

Another two police officers were shot in West Garfield. God Bless the Officers and their Families. Every time we open the papers there are photos of chalk lines, yellow police-line tape, and the dead-eyes in the mug shots of the arrested.

The prose is not much better or uplifting. Englewood, Gresham,Roseland, Lawndale, Brainerd, Grand Crossing, Garfield, Back of the Yards, and Chatham are proper nouns as familiar in Winnetka, Wilmette, Highland Park, Burr Ridge, and Barrington because they are the place names for the other people who have the problems.

I work in Gresham five to six days a week at Leo High School. Last Thursday, Leo President Dan McGrath and I bid God Speed to the Varsity Football Team as they set off for Rantoul, Illinois and camp. Hakim Chapman ( 2012 and Captain) and me are old pals. He is one splendid young man - he can go sideline -to -sideline without so much as moving his head and put a definitive end to a well-crafted and executed play by another Catholic League rival, as middle line backer. In classroom, Hakim is all business and makes sure his less engaged fellows understand why they are in a Leo classroom.

Hakim assured Dan McGrath and me that all the guys could be counted upon to stick to tasks and represent Leo in a manner that would make Ike Mahoney, Whitey Cronin, Horsey O'Neill, Jimmy Arneberg, Bob Hanlon and Bob Foster proud.

Dan McGrath told Hakim, "You always do." They do.

Football Coach, Admissions Director, and Father Flanagan Mentor Mike Holmes called the brawny stalwarts together with the coaches -they said the Our Father and asked God's blessing for safety on this trip, for our families and all Leo Men.

Mike is married to the lovely Hon. Pat Holmes an Illinois judge and legal wizard. Mike is the mentor anyone would want for a child. Mike is the Fatherly Mother Hen of Leo Men. There can be no doubt that Mike Holmes admonishes the Young Lions to be good men and God's men.

Hefting shoulder pads covered with Orange Black practice jerseys, helmets, equipment bags, water jugs and bookbags the Leo Lions boarded the yellow buses. Yesterday, before the blast furnace that is Leo High School in the summer got too much for me, I chatted with a couple of the returned football campers doing sprints on the turf practice field between Sangamon and Morgan Streets on the south side of 79th Street. How was camp?

" We were busy all the time, but it was good. Holmes had us real busy."

Did you have any fun?

" Hickey, it was football camp! Please."

Mike Holmes pulled up and gave me the Cliffs Notes Version and I was on my way home to some AC. The boys were sprinting.

Leo High School is a Catholic high school. It is not a Charter School. Leo High School maintains its Catholic Faith, Identity, and Traditions though nearly all of the young guys it serves are non-Catholic and a few happen to be Muslim. That is what marks Leo men - Facta Non Verba. Deeds Not Words. They come to school here and pay tuition and work. The Leo Alumni support the costs of tuition that too many families can not meet.

Catholic Schools are tuition and fund-raising driven operations. Leo High School is unique among other Catholic high schools in Chicago. The Alumni support comes largely from white middle aged and older Catholics and it is heavy. This year alone, President for Institutional Advancement Dan McGrath raised more than $ 800,000 over and above tuition payments in his first year ob the job and identified two major sources for future help. All of this in a lousy economy and the St. Sabina flap hurt us as well. Neverteless, Dan's work is a great beginning to an old story - Leo Commitment and Courage.

One of Dan's crowning achievements, along with restoring the legendary school newspaper The Oriole under the direction of editor Marcus Pass 2004, is the Leo Website.

Mary and Peggy Burke are the wizards behind this wonderful website. Thanks girls!

If your soul is abused by the news of shootings, thug-mobs and excuses, give your yourself a treat and click my post title to the new Leo Website.

The eyes of young men from Englewood, Gresham,Roseland, Lawndale, Brainerd, Grand Crossing, Garfield, Back of the Yards, and Chatham who attend Leo High School are bright with hope, self-assurance and a Catholic -based moral center.

Well done, Dan McGrath! God Bless All Leo Men! Smile D!

* Come on over to Leo High School at 7901 South Sangamon - You should see the smile on Darnell Harris' Student of Month Picture; it is much less giddy than the above.

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