Chicago Little Flower High School "Lancers"

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CLOSED HSs CHICAGO

Chicago Little Flower High School
chicagolittleflowerhsdav.jpg
Submitted by Liz Peters

Chicago Little Flower High School
chicagolittleflowerhs.jpg
Courtesy of Melody Larson and http://www.geocities.com/vmiller261/

The History of Chicago Little Flower High School
 

Chicago (population: 2.8 million) is located along the shores of Lake Michigan in northeastern Illinois. From its early days as a Potawatomie settlement, then as the site of Fort Dearborn in 1803, which led up to the formation of the city and its incorporation in 1833 and 1837, respectively, the "City of Big Shoulders" became a major location in the US for various reasons. Railroads and water transportation were two reasons why Chicago was one of the fastest growing cities in the country during the 19th Century.

Today, numerous railroads and highways of interstate, US, state, and local designations bring people together in the city on a daily basis, as does air traffic at O'Hare and Midway Airports. Chicago is a melting pot of people from many nationalities, making it ethnically diverse, and thus, is referred to as "the cultural, economic, and financial capital of the Midwest" (according to Wikipedia).

Little Flower High School was opened in September of 1957 at St. Therese of the Infant Child Jesus Parish on Chicago's south side, with 180 freshmen boys and girls attending classes. The school added a class on every year after that, and the first graduation took place in 1961. Little Flower was built in a way to provide a Catholic high school education to those who lived in the neighborhood that were members of the parish and provided a continuity for those students moving from grade to high school.   

The enrollment continued to climb to as high as 814 students in 1967-68, but then took a substantial drop as parish and school enrollments were victim of declining tutition revenues, plus the racial makeup of the neighborhood where Little Flower was located changed significantly from Caucasian to African-American, which meant that most of them were not Catholic and had no reason to support the school.

In October 1972, the Sisters of St. Joseph decided that they would close Little Flower after the June 1973 graduation due to mounting debts and lack of financial aid from the Archdiocese of Chicago. As head of the Archdiocese, John Cardinal Cody made the decision to back the sisters' decision to close, despite backings backing from a neighborhood group to raise money to cover any deficits, along with pledges from 150 eighth grade students from neighboring parish grade school to attend Little Flower had been received.

After its closure in 1973, the Little Flower building along with the community center that had also been built with the high school in 1955 were sold to the Chicago Board of Education. CPS renamed the school Scott Joplin School.  It is still used today as Clara Barton Elementary School

Melody Larson provided us the following link for those who graduated from Little Flower High School, or those who simply want to learn a little more about this school: http://www.geocities.com/vmiller261/   You should also check out the web address of www.littleflowerhs.org for more on Little Flower High School.    

FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO LITTLE FLOWER HIGH SCHOOL 

 
Year opened:                    1957
Year closed:                     1973
Building used today as:      Clara Barton Elementary School
School nickname:              the "Lancers"
School colors:                   Black & White
School song:                     unknown
ATHLETICS AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
 
Little Flower was a member of the Metropolitan Catholic, South Central Prep, and the Private School League Conferences while the school was open for business. We do know that football and boys' basketball were offered, and possibly baseball and boys' track. Anyone who might know anything about the history of the school's athletics and extra-curricular activities is invited to contact us at the addresses listed toward the bottom of this page.
 
 
FOOTBALL
 
Once the school was able to offer four years of education, Little Flower fielded a varsity team for the gridiron. Tom Sikorski was able to find out more for us about some of the better teams at LFHS: The school fielded their first football team in 1961 but did not win their first game until opening day 1963 when they beat Holy Cross 13-0. Gene Pagliaro was head coach during the 1962 and 1963 seasons. After a winless 1964 campaign, the program took off. Those highlights are listed below: 

1965  6-2     3rd place-Metropolitan Catholic Conference     Coach Bob Foster
                (Coach Foster played for Leo HS and Purdue Univ.) Asst Coaches Lord & Marcoline
1966  7-2                                                                                     Coach Jack Lord
1967  5-4                                                                                     Coach Jack Lord
1969  7-1                                                                                     Coach Frank Houlihan
1970  3-5-1  Co-Champs (3-way tie) 
                   South Central Prep Conference                            Coach Frank Houlihan
1971  4-3-1  3rd place-Private School League                        Coach Frank Houlihan
1972  7-0-1  Private School League Champs!!                       Coach Frank Houlihan
                   Last game a 18-8 win over Luther South
 
How's that for going out in style? Winning a conference title and going undefeated in the school's final season!! If the school could have stayed open another two or three years, it very well could have been a qualifier in the IHSA playoffs that debuted in 1974.
 
BASKETBALL
 
Little Flower was also competitive on the basketball floor, where it also won an IHSA district title. Win-loss records and names of coaches are not available, but are certainly welcome for submission.
 
1966-67                District Champions                      
1971-72    7 - 16                                      Coaches John Niemiera & Frank Collins
1972-73  10 - 16                                      Coach John Niemiera
Baseball
 
1971-72                                                             Coaches Hrebic & Unavitch
1972-73   14 - 9     (Conference Record 12 - 2)      Coach Unavitch   
 
Boys Track & Field
 
1971-72                                                             Coach Frank Houlihan
 
From Steve Keane (Class of 1969):
 
"I was a member of the Track teams during the 67, 68 and 69 seasons. During the 1969 season we placed in an all-city meet. We took home several individual first and seconds during the meet as well."
 
Girls Volleyball
 
This sport was offered in the 1972-73 school year, according to research conducted by Melody Larson. The school, in fact, had two varsity teams competing that year! 
 
1972-73    10 - 0           (Varsity II - Conference Champs)    Coach Jane Surma 
                 9 - 1           (Varsity I)                                         "         "         "
 
Girls Basketball
 
This sport debuted in the 1972-73 school year as well.
 
1972-73     3 - 3
 
Boys Bowling
 
From Steve Keane (Class of 1969):
 
"I was a member of the Lancers bowling team during 1969 during which we won our division."
 
Other Sports Offered
 
Boys and girls track and field, as well as boys and girls tennis, were offered at Chicago Little Flower High School in its last year open.
 
MEMORIES
From Jim Bowen (Class of 1973):
 
"I WAS IN THE LAST GRADUATING CLASS AT LITTLE FLOWER. THIS WAS THE SCHOOL THAT WAS AT 79TH AND HONORE. THE GRADE SCHOOL WAS AT 80TH AND HONORE AND THE CHURCH WAS AT 80TH AND WOOD ST. SOMEONE NAMED MSGR. MCMAHON IS THE ONE WHO WAS FOR THE LACK OF A BETTER TERM, "IN CHARGE" OF THE LITTLE FLOWER PARISH. WHAT A GREAT PARISH TO GROW UP IN. GREAT FAMILY VALUES STILL IN THE MINDS OF ALL THE PEOPLE THAT GREW UP THERE. WE WERE VERY PROUD. 
 
THERE IS ONE THING I WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON YOUR STORY AND THAT IS THE REAL REASON THAT THE SCHOOL CLOSED DOWN WAS DURING THE 60'S AT ONE OF THE SCHOOL FUNCTIONS (SENIOR TRIP), THERE WAS A HORRIBLE ACCIDENT THAT HAPPENED TO ONE OF THE CLASS MEMBERS. THIS PERSON HAD SOME SERIOUS EFFECT TO HIS LIFE AFTER THIS ACCIDENT AND THE FAMILY SUED THE SCHOOL FOR THIS. THE LAWSUIT WENT ON FOR YEARS AND FINALLY CAME TO HEAD IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES. THE SCHOOL HAD TO CLOSE BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDS. 
 
IT DOESN'T SEEM THAT THERE IS ANY REMORSE OR BAD FEELINGS TOWARDS THIS FAMILY. WE ALL SEEMED TO UNDERSTAND. WE WERE SAD TO SEE OUR SCHOOL CLOSE BUT AS I SAID BEFORE, WE STILL HAVE A GREAT FAMILY AND SCHOOL VALUES TO THIS DAY.

THERE IS A WEBSITE FOR LITTLE FLOWER HIGH SCHOOL AT
WWW.LITTLEFLOWERHS.ORG ."
 
Information, please....
 
is requested about the history of Little Flower High School. Although it may have been open a short time, there had to be some good memories from an alumnus or someone who was close to the action at the school. A photo of the school would be nice as well. Please email us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net or send it to:
 
IHSGD Site
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL  60631