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Sullivan High School Hosts “Ribbon Cutting” Ceremony For New Ellen Glasser Global Center

Congresswoman Jan Schakowski speaks at Ellen Glasser Center ribbon cuttingCongresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Alderwoman Maria Hadden (49th) were among dignitaries attending Sullivan High School’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony commemorating the opening of its Ellen Glasser Global Center, Monday, June 17th. (pictured: Congresswoman Schakowsky, speaking at event.)

Formerly the school’s library, the tired and worn room with mismatched and older furniture served a vital purpose - as a center for the school’s burgeoning and diverse group of refugee and immigrant students. With over 40 countries represented by the student body, and 50 different languages spoken, the library served a vital purpose: to offer English Learning students a ‘safe space’ for small group work, to study or in which to socialize.

Sullivan High School Principal Chad Adams addresses attendeesA year ago, Sullivan’s Principal Chad Adams asked the new non profit group* Friends of Sullivan to raise funds and convert the library into a special Global Center - a dignified, restored room with new carpeting and modern adaptable furniture that would maximize comfort and learning experiences for the students.

(Friends of Sullivan is a group formed by engaged community members to support Sullivan and name possible funding for much needed opportunities and equity for its students.)

The entire FOS Board worked energetically to complete the room on schedule. With a few weeks to go, and seeing that they would complete their goal, the Board voted unanimously to dedicate the room in honor of the mother of Friend of Sullivan’s President Michael Glasser, Ellen Glasser, herself a refugee. Thus, its name: “The Ellen Glasser Global Center at Sullivan High School.”

By coincidence, the date of the Ribbon Cutting, June 17th, commemorated 31 years to the day that Ellen had passed away.

Pam Weston and Mike Glasser (children of Ellen Glasser)“This is a tremendous way to honor a wonderful woman,” said Ellen’s daughter, Pamela Weston, who spoke eloquently about her mother, and she expressed her confidence that Ellen’s message - coming from a young refugee high school student who, over seventy years ago, experienced similar hardships as a child - would motivate today’s refugee students.

Pam proudly points to the plaque mounted adjacent to the Center’s front door, bearing a few of Ellen’s quotes written just prior to her death in 1988: “Look for the good in life, enjoy it. If you are down, go help someone. Make yourself useful. Enjoy people. Love your family."

Sullivan has a long history of welcoming refugees and immigrants to the school. More recently, in May 2016, Chicago Magazine published a well received article entitled “Welcome to Refugee High,” by journalist Elly Fishman.

Positioned in front of the podium from which the speakers addressed the crowd was a stunning eye catching new poster created by Sullivan’s dedicated teacher and students, bearing the timely message: “All are welcome here.”

Friends of Sullivan encourages supporters of the school and the new Global Center to consider supporting a range of needs benefiting all of Sullivan’s students. Check out Friends of Sullivan’s website to learn more or to make a gift (or write a tax deductible check to “RPBA/FOS” - mail to “Rogers Park Business Alliance, Attn: FOS, 1448 W. Morse Ave. Chicago. IL 60626.”)

* Friends of Sullivan's non profit status is pending, and donors can make tax deductible contributions through our fiscal agent, the Rogers Park Business Alliance. Some photos below by "In the Light Studios, LLC"

Mike Glasser and Chad Adams with memorial placque to Ellen Glasser