Lisa Black of the Chicago Tribune visited Leo High School before the Christmas break and witnessed what I have been blessed to see every day - a school that matters to the students it serves. Leo High School's eighty plus years of service to Church, city and country matters, because the focus is always on the young men who come here to learn.
Leo has been home to legendary teachers like Brothers Finch, O'Keefe, Birmingham and Coogan of the Irish Christian Brothers ( 1926-1990) and lay men and women like Jimmy Arenberg, Bill Hession, Bob Foster, Bob Swazt, Tom Joyce, George Cummings, Nancy Finn, Jay Standring, Jack Fitzgerald, Tom O'Malley, Aurora Latifi and Mike Holmes. There are hundreds of others, but I feel safe in saying the people listed are legends. A legend is someone who comes to work for the sake of other people.
Lisa Black spent a great deal of time in the halls of Leo where the unfiltered opinion of young men rings the truth of the old school's motto - Facta Non Verba. Leo High School, from days of Bob Foster's leadership, never puts on a dog and pony show for visitors, much less for the probitive eyes and clear hearing of a professional news reporter. In the words of President Dan McGrath, "Leo is what it is." Leo is a home thick with family. Dan is the Patriarch, Mike Holmes the protective older brother, Aurora Latifi the matriarchal Lion Queen, Board Member and boxing Coach Mike Joyce The Consigliere and Leo's Director of Development, the proud but crazy uncle who sleeps on the fold-out couch. Well, I do get here early. Our students spend the happiest hours of their days here at school. I open the doors for many of them hours before the start of the class day.
Into this close-knit family stepped a pretty little girl at the end of last July. Kimberly Hickey is all of 5' tall and weighs-in at a romping stomping 100 lbs, after a George Foreman All You Can Eat breakfast. Miss Hickey teaches math and coaches boxing with Mike Joyce. Read Lisa Black's story about a legend in the works.
Lisa Black's wonderful story of Leo's Miss Hickey will appear in the Chicago SundayTribune print edition in the Chicagoland section ( Dec. 29,2013).