Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Alderman Ed Burke, 14th Ward, dedicated the Eric Solorio Academy High School Wednesday morning. The high school will open next Tuesday at the start of the school year.
"This is the history of Chicago. Sacrifice, fire, police, citizens sacrifice themselves to make a better way of life," said Mayor Daley.
Officer Solorio, 26, was a member of the CPD's elite gang unit. He was critically injured on January 17, 2006, while trying to conduct a traffic stop on a speeding. The squad car he was riding in swerved to avoid an accident, hit black ice and slammed into a tree and church near Marquette and Halsted. Officer Solorio died of those injuries about a month later in February 2006.
"This school, Chicago's newest, is founded on a miracle, the miracle of Eric Solorio," said Ald. Burke.
Officer Solorio grew up in the neighborhood near Eric Solorio Academy High School, located at 5400 S. St. Louis, and took pre-med courses in college before becoming a Chicago police officer and continued his education after joining the force.
"Curiosity and quest for knowledge helped him to achieve academically. He loved learning and he excelled in school," said Richelle Solorio, sister of Officer Solorio.
"He was not just a police officer. He had a badge and gun. He was part of a community. He understood about children and family and difficulties. But at the same time was a good police officer," said Mayor Daley.
The Eric Solorio Academy High School will have 1,200 students. It is the only high school to open in a new building this CPS school year.
"This is a truly extraordinary facility and we had hoped to make it a premiere neighborhood high school in the Midwest," said Victor Iturralde, principal.
Two new CPS elementary buildings will also open next week.