Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2007-04 > 1176169886

From: Nan Brennan <>
Subject: [IRISH-IN-CHICAGO] More on Westcott Vocational-Simeon History
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2007 20:51:26 -0500

Our school, originally known as Westcott Vocational High School, was
established in September of 1949 at 8023 South Normal Avenue,
Chicago, Illinois. The Westcott building on Normal Avenue was
occupied by the Calumet High School until 1926. From 1927 to 1933, it
was known as the Westcott Junior High in honor of Oliver Spink
Westcott. With the elimination of the Junior Highs in Chicago, the
building became a branch of Calumet High School remaining as such
until 1942. During the years of World War II (1942-1946), the United
States Navy set up a training center in the Chicago Vocational High
School building at 2100 East 87th Street, and that high school was
relocated to the Westcott building. Chicago Vocational High School
occupied the building until June of 1946, leaving it to move back
into their own building on 87th Street after the Navy withdrew.

In September of 1946, the Westcott Continuation School took over the
building. It continued as such until 1948, when a small group of
vocational high school students were admitted. Due to an ever-
increasing vocational high school membership, the Continuation school
department was moved from the Westcott building and was known as the
Princeton Branch of Westcott Vocational High School. In 1962 the
Princeton Girls were moved into Westcott Vocational High School and
the boys into the Tilden building.

In 1963, the Kroger Company donated its warehouse at 8235 South
Vincennes Avenue to the Board of Education for the cost of $1.00, and
after renovation of the third floor, the Westcott Vocational High
School and Girls Continuation School moved there in December of 1963.
In September of 1964, the name of the high school was changed to Neal
F. Simeon Vocational High School, honoring Neal F. Simeon.

Simeon grew in enrollment; it became known as one of the best-run
schools in Chicago. Tragedy and national notoriety occurred with the
passing of student Ben Wilson in November of 1984. The student body
was deeply affected by the loss of the superior basketball player,
and Mayor Harold Washington visited the school promising a new
physical education building. The Ben Wilson Gymnasium opened in 1989.


The school name was changed from Simeon Vocational High School in
September of 1998 to Simeon Career Technical Academy. In 2003, the
name changed to Simeon Career Academy to make way for a brand new
school building. The address was changed from 8235 S. Vincennes Ave.
to 8147 S. Vincennes Ave."

On June 26, 2005, a retirement celebration was held at the school for
retiring Principal John E. Everett. Mr. Everett was principal of
Simeon from 1994 to 2005. During that ceremony, Chicago’s Mayor
Richard M. Daley renamed Vincennes Avenue between 80th and 83rd to
John Everett Drive. Also, on June 26, 2005, there was a dedication of
the new gymnasium in honor of the late Coach Alvin R. Scott, Sr., who
was the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach of Simeon. The
gymnasium was named the “Alvin R. Scott Sr. Athletic Center”.

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