Simeon Career Academy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Simeon Career Academy
8147 S. Vincennes Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60620
United States
Coordinates 41°44′45″N 87°38′05″W / 41.7457°N 87.6348°W / 41.7457; -87.6348Coordinates: 41°44′45″N 87°38′05″W / 41.7457°N 87.6348°W / 41.7457; -87.6348
School type Public Secondary Vocational
Opened 1949
School district Chicago Public Schools
CEEB code 141380[1]
Principal Sheldon D. House
Grades 912
Gender Coed
Enrollment 1,365 (2015–16)[2]
Campus type Urban
Color(s)      Blue
Athletics conference Chicago Public League
Team name Wolverines
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools[3]

Neal F. Simeon Career Academy (formerly known as Neal F. Simeon Vocational High School, Neal F. Simeon Career Technical Academy) is a public 4–year vocational high school located in the Chatham neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Simeon is a part of the Chicago Public Schools district. The school is named for African-American educator and administrator Neal Ferdinand Simeon.[4] Simeon opened in 1949.


Simeon was founded in 1949, as Westcott Vocational High School in a building located at 8023 S. Normal Avenue, where it operated until the Kroger company donated a vacant warehouse (located at 8235 S. Vincennes Avenue) to the Chicago Public Schools in 1963. The school was renamed Neal F. Simeon Vocational High School in September 1964. The school's name changed from "Vocational High School" to "Career Technical Academy" in September 1998. Simeon operated in the Kroger building amidst conditions until a new building was built and opened for students in September 2003. When the new building opened, the school's address changed to 8147 S. Vincennes Avenue. In 2003, Simeon's name changed to its current name.[5]

Neal Ferdinand Simeon[edit]

Neal Ferdinand Simeon was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 30, 1916 and was of Creole descent. His family was from New Orleans where his father made a living as a cigar maker. He had two sisters and three brothers; Lillian, Ethel, Omer, Albert and Leo. Neal F. Simeon married Helen and to this union was born daughter Sharon A. Simeon.[6] Simeon went on to graduate from Wendell Phillips High School in Chicago, IL in 1934 where he was football captain and valedictorian. Mr. Simeon won an academic scholarship to Northwestern University, but instead enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) where he starred in track and boxing. While an undergrad, he was the IIT light heavyweight boxing champion and competed in the Golden Gloves. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT in 1938 and was elected to Pi Tau Sigma, an honorary Mechanical Engineering fraternity.

His career as an educator began when he became a teacher at Wendell Phillips Evening High School. A short time later, he became a full-time machine shop teacher at Dunbar Vocational High School where he successively served as Administrator, Placement Counselor, Assistant Principal, and as Director of Special Projects in Vocational Education. His last position was as Director of Vocational Education and Guidance Centers for the Chicago Board of Education. He was then the highest paid African American employee at the Board.[7]

In 1962, Neal F. Simeon was called upon by President Kennedy to represent the United States at the International Trade Fair in Lagos, Nigeria. He was given a special leave of absence to supervise the educational and training aspects of the United States Exhibit of New Tools, New Skills, and New Markets. Mr. Simeon’s interest in the vocational training of Chicago’s youth was evident to all who observed his tireless devotion to his work. He was vitally concerned with the special problems in the area of vocational education. He was eminently qualified to assume the directorship of such a dynamic program of preparing the city’s youth for the forthcoming manpower requirements of our changing economy. At the age of 46, Neal F. Simeon died on August 28, 1963 at Wesley Memorial hospital in Chicago, Illinois. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[8]

Ben Wilson[edit]

The school is well known for Benjamin "Benji" Wilson, a 17–year old star basketball player (then recognized as the top high school basketball player in the nation) who led the Wolverines to their first state basketball championship and was shot on the eve of his senior season opener (November 20, 1984), and died the following day. The following day after his murder, then Chicago Mayor Harold Washington spoke to grieving students, denouncing gun violence in the city and promising a new gymnasium for the school, to be named in Wilson's honor. The gymnasium was completed in August 1987. Afterwards, Ben Wilson's number 25 jersey was traditionally worn by Simeon's best player, until it was retired. The last to wear it was Derrick Rose.[9] Rose moved on to become one of the nation's top point guards in 2007 and eventually an NBA All-Star and league MVP for the Chicago Bulls. Nick Anderson, Deon Thomas and Calvin Brock are among the Simeon alumni who wore that number at the University of Illinois in honor of Wilson.


Simeon competes in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The school sport teams are nicknamed Wolverines. The boys' baseball team were Class AA and public league champions seven times (1982–83, 1984–85, 1989–90, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2002–03 and 2003–04). Simeon girls' basketball team were Class AA and regional champions four times (2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07). The girls' volleyball team were Class AA and public league champions in 1985–86, 1997–98, and 1998–99.

Boys' Basketball[edit]

Simeon is well known in the Chicago area as a high school sports powerhouse, winning the IHSA Class AA state boys' basketball championships three times; 1983–84, 2005–06, and 2006–07. They also won the Class 4A championship four times; 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13 (which tied Peoria Manual for the longest Illinois state championship title run). Simeon's boys' basketball team was ranked first in the United States in ESPN HS's 2011 preseason rankings.[10] Led by Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn, they won the 2012 bucket Illinois Class 4A championship by defeating Proviso East High School.[11] In 2013, Parker led them to another state championship when they defeated Stevenson High School.[12]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "High School Code Search". College Board. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Chicago Public Schools: Simeon". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Institution Summary for Simeon Vocational High School". AdvancED profile. North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Neal F. Simeon Bio". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Our School History". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Neal F. Simeon Bio". 
  7. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Neal F. Simeon Bio". 
  8. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Neal F. Simeon Bio". 
  9. ^ "Simeon Career Academy retires No. 25 worn by Ben Wilson and Derrick Rose". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Simeon tops ESPN national ranking". October 19, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ Simeon's Dynasty continues with third straight 4A title
  12. ^ Boys hoops 4A final: Four certain: Simeon wins 4th straight state title
  13. ^ "Lazeric Jones Biography". Retrieved July 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]