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Salute 2 The Real: Helen Hawkins

Helen Hawkins is a well respected educator in Chicago. She not only is the founder of Olive Harvey Middle College (A school designed to help Chicago Public high school dropouts earn a Diploma and not a GED) but she also started the Grammar school that I graduated from. Triumphant Charter School used to be located at 4935 S. Seeley in the Back of The Yards neighborhood on Chicago's southside. It modeled the makeup and philosophy of Olive Harvey Middle College, with it's mixed classes of 6th, 7th, and 8th Graders. Instead of being called a "Student" every child was referred to as a "Scholar", and treated as such. The atmosphere of the school was more like a family re-uniting everyday than attending school. And just like every family has a "Mother", Ms. Hawkins was ours. Ms. Hawkins was Sweet, but tough and she always let you know she was In-Charge. Last week I was invited to a Group on Facebook "Ms. Helen Hawkins Saved MY LIFE. What about you?" Upon entering the group I saw a lot of statements that were off. It asked for us to Support Ms. Hawkins at The Federal court building. 2. Ms. Hawkins was the one being prosecuted. Google bought me back up to speed about that situation.

I salute Ms. Hawkins regardless of her mistakes. Because for many years before she gave so many of us hope. She allowed many children from the worst parts of the city to travel around the world for a little bit of nothing. It was her school that inspired me to write. They wouldn't let me write for the school newspaper and I took into my own hands to write, edit and distribute a weekly newspaper. The encouragement to succeed was inspiring and for that I will forever Salute ms. Helen Stanton-Hawkins.


  1. Helen Hawkins: In FY 05, the OIG reported the results of an investigation that revealed that a charter school founder and principal charged more than $250,000 on the school’s credit card
    and used school funds to pay for questionable expenditures that included more than
    $32,000 of purchases from Lord & Taylor, Marshall Field’s, Louis Vuitton, Meystel’s
    Fashion, Coach, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Elan Furs, Tommy Hilfiger and the
    Sky Mall Airline Catalog; more than $2,000 in hair care and cosmetic products; $5,800
    for jewelry, $329 for appetite suppression pills; more than $18,000 in food and beverage
    expenses; $31,000 in expenditures for telephone and internet use; $71,000 in travel
    expenses; and hundreds of dollars in personal car repair expenses. The investigation
    also revealed that the principal commingled charter school funds with funds from another
    school in which she was involved, and the principal made large disbursements to family
    members. Following the OIG report, the charter school agreement between CPS and
    the charter school was terminated. In FY 09, the charter school principal was indicted
    and charged with the theft of charter school funds. In FY 10, following a jury trial in the
    United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the charter school principal was found guilty of the theft of charter school funds and was sentenced to serve a term of three years of probation and ordered to pay $48,370 restitution. (3614)

    1. In response to Enough is enough!: It is obvious that you were not a scholar at either of Mrs.Hawkins schools. It is obvious that you are an outsider looking in. Reporting numbers and what you read as factual is one thing, but being groomed into a successful professional and college graduate because of the experience you received through Mrs. Hawkins' school was priceless. Thousands of lives and families were made stronger due to the work of Mrs. Hawkins and the teachers she trained. She took children into her home when their families could not take care of them. She created opportunities for scholars to travel from the most dangerous parts of Chicago to countries all over the world. We attended college tours at a young age and were able to ride buses safely to school everyday. I can bet that given the opportunity, her students would pay double the amount of money owed on her behalf. So, "Enough is enough!", as an outsider looking in through FY documents and court statements, I say enough is enough. Crucifying a person because of their mistakes and allowing them to overlook the monuments of positive changes they created in the world is a moral and ethical crime in itself.

      Signed with Decency, Dignity and Diligence from a Live Long Learner. Lauren Preston


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