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Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy is a public selective enrollment four-year magnet high school and middle school on the extreme south side of Chicago, Illinois. The school opened in 1998 and is run by CPS. Brooks is named after the African-American poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Brooks is the fourth high school to occupy the location since 1915. George Pullman left $1,200,000 in his will to create and fund a "free school of manual instruction for the benefit of children of those residing or employed at Pullman." Mrs. Pullman donated a second contribution, and the Pullman Free School of Manual Training opened in September 1915. The first year class had 106 students. The school served the children of employees of the Pullman car company and the Pullman-Roseland areas, even though Pullman had become part of Chicago by this time. It was praised for its excellent vocational training and successful training of its students, who were also enrolled in basic academic disciplines like English, math, and science.
The school's endowment could no longer cover the mounting costs of operating as it grew to 600 students by the late 1940s. Pullman's bequest forbade the institution from charging tuition. So the school board decided to shift monies from the school into an educational scholarship foundation. It closed in 1950. The Augustinians quickly took over and formed Mendel Catholic High School. The Catholic high school ran from 1951–88. The Archdiocese of Chicago bought the property and opened St. Martin de Porres High School in 1988. The diocesan school only lasted until 1997 due to declining enrollment. The school and site were sold to the Chicago Public Schools, who constructed Southside College Preparatory Academy in 1998. The school was named after Gwendolyn Brooks, a former US Poet Laureate and Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress. Brooks is located at 111th and King Drive in Roseland, a South Side neighborhood twelve miles from the Loop along Lake Calumet. Roseland is near the Pullman Historic District. The Hotel Florence, the Arcade Building (destroyed in the 1920s), the Clock Tower and Factory, the Market Square complex, and Greenstone Church are all close.