Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson recently joined families, staff and alumni from Chicago Vocational Career Academy, formerly known as Chicago Vocational High School, to celebrate 75 years of excellence in education. Highlights included the renaming of the school’s auditorium in honor of the late Bernie Mac, a former CVCA student, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel declaring December 15, 2016 to be CVCA Day in the city of Chicago.

The anniversary event also featured the largest Hall of Fame induction ceremony in the history of the school. With help from the Southeast Calumet Heights Homeowners Association, the CVS Alumni Association, and the CVS Hall of Fame committee, CVCA principal Douglas Maclin selected 39 of the school’s most accomplished alumni to join the Hall of Fame. These included Dr. Cecil Lucy, President of Chicago State University; Circuit Court Judge Bonita Coleman; Cook County Commissioner 1st District Richard R. Boykin; and CVCA’s own Assistant Principal, Dr. Latasha Taylor, all of whom have distinguished themselves professionally and made their alma mater proud.

The Hall of Fame gala was held in the CVCA lunchroom, which was transformed into a beautiful backdrop by the school’s Horticulture students. The menu was created by CVCA’s award-winning culinary team, which regularly wins competitions and entrepreneurial opportunities based on their finely honed skills. In addition to the honorees, the gala was attended by students, staff, and members of the CVCA community, who have been made to feel welcome and valued at this neighborhood school.

CVCA is an example of resilience within CPS, having been in existence for three quarters of a century, and having recently moved from 15 years on probation to within striking distance of Level 1 status. This is proof of what can happen when all stakeholders, including alumni, come together to advance the legacy of their school.