Cooley Vocational High School

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Cooley Vocational High School
1225 N. Sedgwick Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60610
United States
Coordinates 41°54′19″N 87°38′17″W / 41.9053°N 87.6381°W / 41.9053; -87.6381Coordinates: 41°54′19″N 87°38′17″W / 41.9053°N 87.6381°W / 41.9053; -87.6381
School type Public Secondary Vocational
Opened 1958
Status Demolished
Closed 1979
School district Chicago Public Schools
Grades 712
Gender Coed
Campus type Urban
Color(s)      Orange
Athletics conference Chicago Public League
Team name Comets
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Yearbook Comets' Trails[1]

Edwin Gilbert Cooley Vocational High School (known as Cooley High and Cooley Vocational High School and Upper Grade Center) was a public 4–year vocational high school and upper grade center located in the Old Town neighborhood on the Near North Side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It was part of the Chicago Public Schools district. About 90 percent of its student population were residents of Cabrini–Green, a Chicago Housing Authority public housing project that was located adjacent to the school. It was named after Chicago Public Schools superintendent Edwin Gilbert Cooley (1857–1905). The school was in use from 1958 until 1979.[citation needed]


The location was occupied by Lane Technical High School in the 1930s. In 1940, the building was occupied by Washburne Trade School. In 1958, Washburne moved, leaving the building vacant. At that time Cabrini-Green's population had reached about 15,000 residents. In order to provide education for the residents' children, Cooley opened for the 1958–1959 school year. During the first years of the school, it was largely populated by whites. By 1973, the school was predominately African-American. In 1975, the Board of Education decided to phase out Cooley due to its low academic performance and the poor condition of the building. The school was closed after the 1978–1979 school year. It was consolidated into Near North Career Metropolitan High School in September 1979.


Cooley competed in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and was a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The school's sport teams were known as the Comets.

In popular culture[edit]


Cooley was the subject of the film Cooley High (1975), written by Eric Monte, an alumnus of the real-life Cooley High who based the film on his experiences attending the school and growing up in Cabrini-Green.


Cooley High was also mentioned in songs by rappers such as Nas[which?] and the Wu-Tang Clan.[which?]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "1962 Cooley High School (Chicago, Illinois)". Classmates. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Rev. Marvin Yancy Dies Of Heart Attack In Chicago". Jet Magazine. April 8, 1985. 

External links[edit]