The History of Chicago
Harvard St. George High School
Chicago (population 2.8 million) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the center
of Cook County. It goes without saying, but directions or an explanation about this "town's" history, location,
and incredible growth are self-explanatory The city is famous for many different reasons and was a great influence on the growth
of the United States in the 1800's. It is, today, the third largest city in the United States and Illinois' largest
Harvard-St. George High School was the result of the merger between the all-boys Harvard School and the all-girls' St. George School for Girls, located right near each other in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, close to well-known landmarks such
as the Museum of Science and Industry as well as the University of Chicago. Both schools existed as separate entities until
the spring of 1962 when the two became united as one.
After a period of adjustment, the schools became as one as the formerly all-caucasian Harvard (which had
been declining in enrollment) meshed with a racially-diverse St. George (who had been growing). Under the tutelege of
school director Ann Tyskling, HSG grew into a notable independent school within the city during a period of radical change.
Harvard-St. George continued its growth spurt into the 1970's and continually looked for more space to flourish.
In 1979, the school purchased the Harris School on the city's North Side, and expanded into a two-campus school. Since it
served students from pre-school thru high school, the pre-schoolers and high school students were located on the North
Side at the former Harris location on Hawthorne Place, while grade school and junior high students remained at the South Side
campus on South Ellis Avenue.
But this arrangement only survived two school years when it was decided that it was not feasible to have
two locations, so the South Ellis campus became the home of all students at the renamed Harvard, which dropped the "St. George"
from their name after the purchase of Harris to keep from confusing people who thought the school had an affiliation to the
In the end, the school was unable to sustain continuous growth and later ended its' high school department
in 1993. Harvard did keep a grade school after then, but succumbed to financial problems and closed its doors for good
in 2003. Today, the building has been turned into a multi-family location.
Chicago Harvard St. George High School Quick Facts
High school closed: 1993
Year closed for good: 2003
School Team Nickname: "Hurricanes"
School Team Colors: Black & Gold
School Fight Song: unavailable
ATHLETICS & EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Harvard-St. George offered basketball to both boys and girls, and had baseball for the boys. Being a smaller
school, it did not offer football like it did when the school was an all-boys' prep school years before, but one would believe
that other sports filled the bill to give students an opportunity to compete in athletics. The same could also be said for
other activities, such as yearbook, music, and honorary societies, but we are looking for information about these items.
The Hurricanes competed in the Independent School League with the likes of Francis W. Parker, Chicago
Latin, Chicago University, Morgan Park Academy, Glenwood School, Winnetka North Shore Country Day, and Elgin Academy, winning the conference tournament title in 1970-71. Led by
star player Darnell Bush, Coach Clarence Harvill's team scored a 66-61 win over nearby University High in the ISL finals.
The Hurricanes also had a good season in 1981-82 when they compiled a 19-6 record for Coach Nick Nishibayashi.
1970-71 ISL Tournament Champs
Coach Clarence Harvill
1981-82 19-6 (good record)
Coach Nick Nishibayashi
Harvard-St. George offered this sport for the girls, but we are uncertain about its' beginnings. One fact
we were able to discover from the Illinois High School Association's website (www.ihsa.org) was Chicago Latin defeated the Lady Hurricanes 117-1 on February 14th, 1978. Unfortunately, this was one of the
biggest margins of victory ever in a girls' prep hoops game in state history.
Harvard-St. George got out on the diamonds of the South Side, and even set a precident in 1974. The Hurricanes
became the first school in Chicago to open it's baseball program to girls,
according to articles can be found in the Hyde Park Herald newspaper archives on-line.
Junior Beth Walsh's decision to join the baseball team raised more than a few eyebrows in the Independent
School League as well as the rest of Chicagoland. It even forced the conference to have a special meeting to discuss the issue
and as a result, the ISL reversed its stance of only allowing boys on boys teams only.
Unfortunately, there are no records to document the Hurricanes' success. We are hoping that an alumnus or
friend of the school may have information about the baseball program.
**From Beth Walsh (class of 1975):
"I attended the school Harvard-St. George from 1968 to 1975 and have many fond memories. Our school mascot
was the Hurricanes and our colors were black and gold. In 1971 I believe we won the Independent School league city championship
in basketball. The coach was Clarence Harvill, whom I believe played in the ABA league at one time. He was
a great man.
**From Valarie Graham (class of 1984):
"I am a 1984 graduate of The Harvard School. I see that your research is largely focused on the earlier years. I wanted
to let you know that if you google a woman named Ann Tyskling you can find out a lot about the schools later
years. She was the director as far back as 1968 and by the time I graduated in 1984 was still the director and a benefactor
of the school. The Harvard School colors were blue and gold. I kept my cheerleading
uniform for many, many years. I can't for the life of me remember the mascot though. I know we played basketball in the Independent
School League. The star basketball player in 83-84 was Pierre
Ellis. There is an alumni group on facebook."
From Joe Anzek:
"Susan Gibson was principal of the school prior to 1983 and on until 1987 when Mrs. Tyskling (what an
amazing school leader) retired, but remained a member of the Board of Directors, along with her daughter Karen, Dorothy Gleaves,
Timothy Rand, Lindsey Gorman, etc. Mrs. Gibson became director and I was named principal in 1983.
"Mrs. Gibson refined the curriculum, organized the administrative functions and opened a new Early
Childhood Center in 1985. The EC Center was very well-received and well attended. Mrs. Gibson left in 1987 to become
Principal of the Beye School in Oak Park, IL. I was named Director in 1987 and left in 1989 to lead a public school in New
"Some staff members I remember well are Max Fayn, who managed the library and taught French. Zeus
Preckwinkle taught 4th grade so lovingly. Kathy George was a marvelous English teacher. Mark Jackson was an industrious
math and technology teacher, Margaret Pennamon was the school secretary and did amazing work for such a long time.
"I'm not sure if I saw these alumni mentioned in your piece: Mandi Patinkin, the TV and Broadway
actor/singer; Bertram Goldberg, the great Chicago architect. William Shawn, maybe who was editor of the New Yorker
for a long time.
"It was exciting to see Valerie Graham responding to your piece and noting the brilliance of Pierre
Ellis for the basketball team. Ms. Graham was a superb student and student leader.
"The school tragically was the initiating point for the crime of the century when college students
Leopold and Loeb kidnapped Bobby Franks from the front of the school in 1924 and murdered him in south Chicago."
Principal 1983 to 1987; Director 1987 to 1989
From Pierre Ellis (class of 1984):
"I was searching the net and went down memory
lane, it landed me at this article about Harvard the school that changed me forever.
Sooooo much Ann Tyskling for giving your heart and soul for Harvard and your passion to make a difference in
the lives of young girls and boys in the big City of Chicago ILL.
"There were so many
caring educated adults who made a difference in my Life while attending Harvard in which I graduated in 1984. I currently
give back to our youth of tomorrow by coaching basketball and working with at-risk juveniles. Without Harvard St. George High
School, I would have been a typical inner city kid trying to survive in a urban jungle with no tools for success or progress."
Twitter address: @PierreEllis1