New football field opens for Michele Clark Magnet High School in Austin

Leah Hope Image
Friday, May 3, 2024
New football field opens for West Side high school
A new football field has officially opened for Michele Clark Magnet High School in Austin, Chicago.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An addition at Michele Clark Magnet High School is a win for the community.

"With all the things going on in the world, it's good to have something like this that the kids can focus on," said Leland Elementary parent Dee Blackmon.

On Friday, the new football field just east of the school building officially opened for the high school and surrounding elementary schools to use.

"All the things that overlaps that make it harder for our students to success, so to have something like this in their back yard means a lot," said Austin Community Action Council Co-Chair Cachetta Potts.

"There is a sense of family here that's critical in order for something like this to work, and the main reason it's worked is because these kids are loved. The leadership here loves the children and it makes a difference," said Clark LSC President and grandparent Henry McDavid.

Principal Charles Anderson said this has been in the works for seven years. With changes to Chicago Public Schools administration, red tape to acquire the property, re-zoning and building, it all took time.

He says the time and energy were worth it to attract and maintain talented students and give local kids a safe space.

"This is such a step in the direction of saying we are good enough, those who are in Austin, we are here," Anderson said.

Previously, the school's football team only had limited practices at park districts or vacant lots. Players say they are ready for next season.

"We not taking it for granted. We are going to put in the work we need to put in, and we are going to have a great season this year," said Clark Eagles football player Amarjae Devine.

Clark was originally a middle school, and its gym is too small for all the students.

The next project is getting the school a high school-sized gymnasium.

School and community leaders said they want to see the investment to continue for the good of their kids and their community.