ROGERS PARK — Sullivan High School's new job center, which opens Tuesday, would help students find jobs and stay off the streets, officials said.
"We've made a lot of progress this year, and today is another step of that process," said Principal Chad Adams, who on Monday morning welcomed district leaders and politicians to the school of nearly 600 students at 6631 N. Bosworth Ave.
The center, a collaboration between Chicago Public Schools and Evanston's Youth Job Center, will host workshops during the week to teach job skills, such as resume writing and interviewing. The project is funded by the center.
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said student employment could be part of the solution to the neighborhood's crime problem.
"The culture's being changed here at Sullivan, and it's being changed for the better," he said. "Not only does this provide useful skills but it also provides our youth with a positive outlook — something to strive for."
He said it's "not just policing" that'll stop the violence, such as the shooting of bystander Wil Lewis, which he witnessed just down the street in July. It's also about giving kids "a reason to achieve" and "stay off the streets," he said.
Adams, who joined Sullivan last year, said that even though the school has improved it is still the worst-performing high school on the North Side.
Sullivan, which has been on academic probation for nine years, also has a reputation for gang activity. But Adams said the culture is improving and suspensions are down 73 percent and arrests at the school are down 85 percent.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Sullivan High alum, also were at the school Monday to celebrate the job center's opening.
"It is so exciting," she said. "Ever since Chad Adams walked in the door, amazing things have been happening."
She said her next project for her alma mater would be to convince "my buddy Rahm to spend $5 million on a new roof" for the neighborhood high school.
"I believe in Sullivan High School," she said. "We're gong to see Sullivan High School as a level-1 school."
Thelma Redmond will lead the center, which is called "The Outpost," and will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
"I'm so excited I can't keep my feet on the ground," she said on Monday. "If we can dream it, we can do it."
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