Farragut Career Academy
|Farragut Career Academy|
|2345 S. Christiana Avenue
Chicago, Illinois, 60615
|School type||Public Secondary|
|School district||Chicago Public Schools|
|Athletics conference||Chicago Public League|
|Accreditation||North Central Association of Colleges and Schools|
Farragut Career Academy High School is a public 4–year high school located in the Little Village neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. As a career academy, Farragut emphasizes a curriculum that combines academic instruction with work-study experiences and vocational training. In addition to Education-To-Careers clusters, Farragut is also home to the General Patton JROTC program which functions as a school-within-a-school. The school is named for David Farragut, a naval hero of the American Civil War who later was named the first admiral in the United States Navy.
The original Farragut School opened its doors on September 4, 1894, as a new primary school. It was located on Spaulding Ave near 23rd Street in the South Lawndale neighborhood. Its 16 rooms were designed to accommodate up to 900 students. The Chicago Board of Education named the school after Civil War naval hero Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and appointed George R. Plumb to be Principal. On the first day of school, Farragut enrolled about 500 students in grades 1–4. Those 500 students were among 175,000 students enrolled in Chicago's 200 schools in a year that saw a 15% increase in enrollment.
In its early years, Farragut served as a primary school for thousands of neighborhood students. Two years after opening Farragut, Principal Plumb officiated at a ceremony to dedicate an oil portrait of Admiral Farragut. This portrait was presented to the school by the Farragut Post 602 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) on June 26, 1896. The dedication ceremony included speeches by representatives of the Chicago Board of Education and the Grand Army of the Republic and the singing of “patriotic songs” by Farragut students. The portrait of Admiral Farragut still hangs in Farragut's south building. Principal Plumb was dismissed from Farragut in 1901 and was replaced by Mary E. Baker.
In the early years of the 20th century, the population of Chicago's southwest side continued to grow, and overcrowding at Farragut became a problem. To ease this overcrowding, the Chicago Board of Education approved $150,000 to build a sixteen room addition and assembly hall for Farragut. At the forefront of the construction effort was Farragut Principal Henry C. Cox, who had taken over from Mary Baker in 1904. Principal Cox believed that the primary reason Farragut students did not complete their high school education was a lack of facilities in the area that could accommodate them. The addition opened its doors as a high school at Spaulding and 24th streets on September 7, 1909 with Frank L. Morse as Principal. The original building continued to operate as a primary school.
One of the greatest challenges to keeping high school students in school during this time was the fact that many teenagers worked in factories around Chicago to supplement family income. In 1909, Principal Morse created a plan that would allow students to continue to work and go to school and still receive their income. In cooperation with such employers as the Chicago Malleable Iron Company, the International Harvester Company, and the Kimball Piano Company, students would alternate weeks between work and school. These students would be enrolled in a special vocational curriculum designed to improve their “industrial education.” Boys between the ages of 14 and 16 would be enrolled in the program and would receive their full weekly salary while in school.
Young women were also part of the vocational education plan for Farragut, although with a different focus. Classes for girls fell under the category of “domestic sciences” and included beginning and advanced sewing, food study and cooking, sanitation and hygiene in the home, and history of industry. As the vocational programs increased in popularity, Farragut expanded quickly and in 1914, most were transferred to the new Harrison Technical High School at 24th St and Marshall Blvd. With space now available, Farragut opened its doors as a community center two nights a week. Classrooms were made available for organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls. In addition, adult education classes were organized to teach sewing, millinery, cooking, and typing. In addition, English language classes were offered free of charge to neighborhood residents. Young people and adults could also participate in sports, music, and art.
In 1924, Farragut underwent another restructuring. The Chicago School Board created a new program that converted several schools into junior high schools housing grades seven and eight. The move was designed to ease overcrowding by reducing some schools from grades K-8 to K-6 and moving the older students to new schools. In September, 1925, 7th and 8th grade students from the Farragut, Burns, Spry, and McCormick schools attended classes at Farragut Junior High School with Isabella Dolton as Principal. Students at Farragut in grades K-2 stayed in the original building, operating as an extension of the Burns school with the remaining students in grades 3–6 moved to the neighboring schools.
By 1928, the continuing problem of school overcrowding led to the construction of an addition to the Farragut building. The plans included a south and west section of the building that effectively doubled its size. That year, Peter B. Ritzma became Principal following Isabella Dolton's election as Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the district. Farragut operated as a junior high school until the Chicago School Board decided to scrap the program and convert the junior high schools in the city to senior high schools in 1933. Farragut's attendance boundaries extended north to 16th Street and as far south as the Illinois and Michigan Canal.
Vocational training returned to Farragut in 1935 following the establishment of the Emergency Education Program (EEP). The EEP was created under the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). In the early years of the Great Depression, thousands of teachers found themselves unemployed and seeking relief. Harry Hopkins, director of FERA, realized that there was an opportunity to not only return teachers to work but to also provide educational programs to other unemployed workers. Under the EEP, Farragut began offering adult evening classes free of charge. Unemployed adults could attend classes in typing, dictaphone, shorthand (advanced and beginning), sewing, millwork, and printing.
Mid-20th century to present
In the post-World War II period the school demographics changed as more African-Americans moved into the surrounding neighborhoods, which had been previously populated with European immigrants and Jews; the student body and teaching staff became increasingly African-American. In 1950 the community around Farragut was 91.2% white and 8.6% black; this became 64.4% black and 35.3% white by 1960. Many black students residing in North Lawndale attended Farragut since North Lawndale did not have its own senior high school. By 1968 Farragut's student body was about 90% black, and the school was overcrowded since North Lawndale also fed into the school.
By 1968-1969 the "New Breed" and other groups of African-American students demanded that the school hire black teachers and administrators and that it fire Joseph Carroll, the principal of the school. Elizabeth Anders, author of "Everybody run Farragut," a 1971 work, stated that the school administration, then dominated by White Americans, were not prepared for the change in demographics and that some teachers had no interest in serving black students; by 1971, according to Anders, discord among teachers and students and problems with gangs occurred by 1971. Around that time period some Hispanic and White students had accused groups of black students of harrassment.
In June 2006 CPS accused principal Edward Guerra, scheduled to retire from CPS and begin working at Waukegan High School, with changing grades of soccer players and asking teachers to not say anything about it.
On June 8, 2010 Kanye West performed a private concert for the students of Farragut Career Academy for winning the third annual "Stay in School" contest. They competed against six other schools: Manley, Harlan, Clemente, Marshall, Julian and Robeson. Their goal was to have the best overall improved attendance, grades, and behavior.
Student and teacher demographics
Farragut's student body was 80.1% black in 1963 and 91% black by 1968. 43.3% of Farragut teachers were black in 1968.
Athletics and student life
At Farragut, students are able to compete in many different sports and competitive activities.
In 1995 Thornton Township High School under coach Rocky Hill defeated Farragut 46-43 in the class AA quarterfinals while Farragut had player Kevin Garnett. In addition to Garnett, who joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) after high school, star basketball player Ronnie Fields was also a student at Farragut.
- Otis Armstrong (1968), former National Football League running back
- Tony Brown (1978), former NBA basketball player and current interim head coach for the Brooklyn Nets
- Lorenzo Clemons, actor
- Michael Dunigan, basketball player for the Oregon Ducks
- Ronnie Fields, basketball player
- Kevin Garnett (1995), NBA player for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, and Brooklyn Nets.
- Mack Herron, former NFL and CFL running back
- Kim Novak (1950), actress
- Sonny Parker (1972), former NBA basketball player for the Golden State Warriors.
- Pat Sajak (1964), host of the game show Wheel of Fortune
- Beverly Shaffer, recording artist of "Where Will You Be Boy" 1965.
- Joe Soto (1977), radio personality (102.7 FM WVAZ Chicago)
- Ernie Terrell (1957), former heavyweight champion boxer
- Michael Wright, University of Arizona basketball player
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- "High School Star Kevin Garnett Makes Himself Eligible For NBA Draft." Jet. Johnson Publishing Company, May 29, 1995. Vol. 88, No. 3. ISSN 0021-5996. p. 30.
- Carroll, Jeff. "High School Legends series: Farragut's Ronnie Fields: Unbroken." Chicago Tribune. January 2, 2015. Retrieved on December 24, 2015.
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