Living history 

CPS celebrates historic occasion with a variety of events.

January 16, 2009

Photo courtesy of Daniel Dancer,


It’s a weeklong celebration at Chicago Public Schools to honor the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. CPS is celebrating this historic occasion in a variety of ways both in Chicago and Washington, D.C.


Here’s a rundown of how CPS schools are celebrating.


A first-hand look at history

Students from several CPS high schools are attending the inauguration festivities for President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. next week.


Whitney Young’s JROTC will march in the official Inaugural Parade. The King College Prep Marching Band will play at the Presidential Inauguration Heritage Music Festival. And students from Payton College Prep will be in the gallery for the opening session of Congress on January 21. Other schools traveling to D.C. include Chicago Academy, Corliss, School of the Arts, and School of Entrepreneurship. Taft and Dunbar high school marching bands will also travel to Washington, as will students, from 16 CPS high schools, who participate in the Mikva Challenge, a civic leadership group for Chicago youth.


Another group of 20 students, from various Chicago public schools, who contributed essays to a locally produced book entitled, “Obama’s Hope,” will also travel to Washington. Students who contributed to the book hail from the following schools: Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, Michelle Clark Academic Prep, Curie Magnet High School, Arthur Dixon Elementary School, Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, DuSable Leadership Academy, Gage Park High School, Harper High School, Hyde Park High School, King College Prep, Lindblom Math & Science Academy, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams Prep School of Medicine, and Young Women’s Leadership Charter School.


Celebrations at home

Although many schools could not make the trip to Washington, D.C. they are still celebrating this historic occasion, and using it to teach valuable lessons about history.


Several schools are doing their own school-based events. Schools such as Hawthorne Scholastic Academy and Williams Prep are hosting inaugural balls. Other schools like LaSalle Language Academy, Gale Math & Science Academy, and Gallistel Language Academy are hosting inaugural watch parties.


Special projects

Eight hundred Southside CPS students from Alex Haley Elementary School and Wendell Smith Elementary School recently used mulch, driftwood, bottles, cans and snow to form a 150-foot tall, smiling portrait of President-Elect Barack Obama with the word “YES!” underneath (pictured above). The project was the end result of a five-day residency by nationally renowned aerial artist, Daniel Dancer, who produces similar “Art For the Sky” projects around the world.


Join us here throughout the school year as we feature special inauguration stories from around the district.