Simeon Career Academy

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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 1,319 (2017)[2]
Campus type Urban
Color(s)      Blue
Athletics conference Chicago Public League
Team name Wolverines
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools[3]
Yearbook Simeon[4][5]

Neal F. Simeon Career Academy (formerly known as Westcott Vocational High School, Neal F. Simeon Vocational High School, Neal F. Simeon Career Technical Academy)(commonly known simply as Simeon) is a public 4–year vocational high school located in the Chatham area 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. He was valedictorian of his high school and a star athlete in college, B.S. Mechanical Engineering.[6] The Simeon school opened in 1949. In the 1980s Simeon student athletes, boy and girl teams bolstered in part by notable coaching, began winning city, regional and state championships. The school and community endured the 1984 tragedy of its nationally rated star basketball player being shot and killed. Simeon dedicated its new gymnasium in 1987. A totally new main school building was opened in 2003.


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. With a new gymnasium completed in 1987, Simeon still operated in the Kroger building's limited conditions until a new building was completed and opened 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.[7]

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.[8] 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. As the IIT light heavyweight boxing champion he 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.[9]

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.[10]

Career and Technical Education[edit]

The Career Academy designation at the Chicago Public Schools is “a college-preparatory curriculum and career–focused education in different fields at each school.”[11]

Key Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Simeon are, Accounting, Architecture, Auto Tech, Auto Body, Barbering, Carpentry, Cosmetology, CISCO (computer) Networking, Culinary Arts, Electricity,[12] Teaching, Web Design, and Welding. Each program provides the opportunity for students to gain direct knowledge and most earn industry-recognized certifications or college credit.[13]

Ratings for Simeon reported by the CPS
Performance Rating: level 1
SAT Average: 889
Graduation Rate: 85.2%
College Enrollment: 61.7%
Boundary Grades Served: No Boundary
Grades Served: 9-12[14]

Benji 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 city and state basketball championships was shot on the eve of his senior season opener (November 20, 1984). He died the following day.[15] The 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.[16] 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 Simeon alumni who wore that number at the University of Illinois in honor of Wilson. In 2012 the Simeon team began wearing sneakers on the court with Wilson’s name and number 25 on them.[17] A 30 for 30 documentary film about Benji was released in 2012 by ESPN.


Simeon competes in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). Simeon is well known in the Chicago area as a high school sports powerhouse.[18][19] The school sport teams are nicknamed Wolverines. Student-Athletes 2013, Simeon is the first Chicago public school to win four consecutive basketball state titles, and the second statewide. All team seniors are off to college. “I think what our team has shown is there’s excellence in the hood. You can be smart, you can be cool, you can be an athlete,” - Sheldon D. House, Simeon principal.[20]

Baseball 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 also has eight second place seasons. Led by the only African-American member of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame "trendsetter" Leroy Franklin, baseball was the first city championship in any sport for the Wolverines. More Simeon alumna have been selected in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, than any other high school in the state. After 35 years of coaching Simeon baseball, Leroy Franklin retired in 2016.[21][22]

Football The late Alvin Scott[23] is the second winningest H.S. football coach in the Chicago Public League. Scott, coached Simeon, from 1972 through 2004. During that time the Wolverines had 262 wins against 130 losses.[24] The Wolverines “blue machine” were Chicago Public League champs in 1983, 1986, 2000, 2003 and 2009.[25] Simeon has represented Chicago Public League football in the Chicago Prep Bowl for the years 1983, 1986, 2000, 2003, 2009, 2011, and 2012 while winning the Bowl[26] in 2013, 2016 and 2017.[27]

Volleyball The girls' volleyball team were Class AA and public league champions in 1985–86, 1997–98, and 1998–99.

Wrestling Simeon won the 2002 Chicago Public Schools Wrestling Championship.[28]

Basketball The Simeon girls' basketball team were Class AA and regional champions four times 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07.

Simeon won the IHSA Class AA state boys' basketball championships three times; 1983–84, 2005–06 (with Derrick Rose), and 2006–07(with Derrick Rose). They also won the Class 4A championship four times; 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, and 2012–13 (which tied Manual High School for the longest Illinois state championship title run). Simeon's boys' basketball team was ranked first in the United States in ESPN H.S.'s 2011 preseason rankings.[29] Led by Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn, they won the 2012 bucket Illinois Class 4A championship by defeating Proviso East High School.[30] In 2013, Parker led them to another state championship when they defeated Stevenson High School.[31] The late Bob Hambric, 1939-2009 coached boys’ basketball at Simeon for 24 years. Never having a losing season, in 1984 he coached the team to its first city and state championships.[32]

Simeon boys are the 2016-17 Chicago Public League Basketball champs. The 68-64 win over far South Side rival Morgan Park High School is their eight-city championship.[33] The Simeon boys’ basketball team starts season ranked number one in Chicagoland.[34] Simeon was victorious the third straight time as Chicago public league boys’ basketball champs, with its 69-59 win over Orr Academy (2016-2017 State Class 2A champs) in the 2018 city title game. The last boys’ basketball CPL three-peat was in 1961.[35]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "High School Code Search". College Board. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Illinois Report Card 2016-2017". Illinois State Board of Education. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  3. ^ "Institution Summary for Simeon Vocational High School". AdvancED profile. North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ Online. "Year Book 1998 Simeon Career Academy". Simeon Career Academy. Retrieved 5 March 2018. 
  5. ^ Online. "Year Book 2003 Simeon Career Academy". Simeon Career Academy. Retrieved 5 March 2018. 
  6. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Neal F. Simeon Bio". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Our School History". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Neal F. Simeon Bio". 
  9. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Neal F. Simeon Bio". 
  10. ^ "Simeon Career Academy: Neal F. Simeon Bio". 
  11. ^ "Career Academy". Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved 22 February 2018. 
  12. ^ Watson, Andrea V. "Simeon's Electricity Program Reinstated". Chicago Defender. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  13. ^ "Career & Technical Education Department (CTE)". Simeon Career Academy. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  14. ^ "SIMEON HS". Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved 22 February 2018. 
  15. ^ Hale, Mike (22 October 2012). "A Rising Star, Extinguished, in 1980s Chicago". The New York Times Company. Retrieved 10 October 2017. 
  16. ^ "Simeon Career Academy retires No. 25 worn by Ben Wilson and Derrick Rose". Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  17. ^ Berkes, Peter. "Simeon wears Ben Wilson shoes to honor fallen legend". Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
  18. ^ This list celebrates the schools that, over the years, produced a large number of professional athletes in a wide range of sports.Janovitz, Scott. "Powerhouse High Schools That Keep Making Pros". Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  19. ^ "Simeon Excelling At Football, Too". CBS. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  20. ^ Tucker, Dorothy. "Simeon Champs Excel At Academics, Too". CBS Broadcasting, Inc. Retrieved 29 November 2017. 
  21. ^ Moore, Evan F. "Leroy Franklin, Longtime Simeon H.S. Baseball Coach, To Retire". DNAInfo. Archived from the original on November 9, 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2017. 
  22. ^ Doster, Adam. "The man who transformed high school baseball on the south side". Sun-Times Media, LLC. Retrieved 5 November 2017. 
  23. ^ Hutson, Wendell. "Former Simeon Football Coach Alvin Scott Featured in Documentary". DNA info. Archived from the original on December 5, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2017. 
  24. ^ "IHSA Boys Football All-Time Coaching Records". Illinois High School Association. Retrieved 4 December 2017. 
  25. ^ "Memorial Resolution Alvin R. Scott" (PDF). Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved 6 January 2018. 
  26. ^ Reaven, Steve. "Simeon halts Catholic League reign with OT victory". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  27. ^ "Chicago_Prep_Bowl_Champions_1927_through_ 2017" (PDF). Chicago Catholic H.S. League. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 29 November 2017. …a game pitting the Catholic League champs against the Public League champs, a 'Prep Bowl' city championship... 
  28. ^ "Board Resolution Simeon High School" (PDF). Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  29. ^ "Simeon tops ESPN national ranking". October 19, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  30. ^ Simeon's Dynasty continues with third straight 4A title[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ Boys hoops 4A final: Four certain: Simeon wins 4th straight state title
  32. ^ Jensen, Trevor (22 August 2009). "Bob Hambric, 1939-2009: Winning Simeon basketball coach". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2 April 2018. 
  33. ^ Phillips, Scott. "Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship". Comcast SportsNet Chicago, LLC. Retrieved 3 November 2017. 
  34. ^ Clark, Mike. "Chicago-area high school boys basketball rankings — Dec. 4". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 December 2017. 
  35. ^ O'Brien, Michael. "Simeon beats Orr, completes city title three-peat". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 19 February 2018. 
  36. ^ Sakamoto, Bob (26 March 2004). "2004 Chicago Tribune All-State Team (H.S. basketball)". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 December 2017. First team - Calvin Brock, Simeon 6-6 senior forward - the Public League's best all-around player 
  37. ^ "Lazeric Jones Biography". Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  38. ^ Chicago Tribune staff. "Simeon alum Corey Ray steals home in one of weekend's top plays". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 November 2017. 

External links[edit]