On an overcast and drizzly Tuesday morning, Mr. Jerry Pazin '90 had a special guest speaker lined up for his Chicago History class. Students knew it was an influential person who had a direct effect on Chicago; but the class was happily surprised to learn that the guest speaker on November 17, 2015 was the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history, Richard M. Daley.
Mayor Daley answered dozens of questions from Mr. Pazin and his junior and senior students in the elective class. When answering one question, Mayor Daley recalled important advice given by his father, the legendary Mayor Richard J. Daley, who served as the leader of the Chicago City Council from 1955 until he passed away in office in 1976. Mayor Daley shared he was told in 1974 by his father never to get mad at people despite professional disagreements. He said, "Don't get mad at the person."
The students learned interesting details of a few of Mayor Daley's biggest accomplishments as head of Chicago city government, specifically negotiating the tearing down of some of the largest public housing complexes in the nation, building many new schools and libraries, and constructing new park space, including Millennium Park and the transforming Meigs Field to Northerly Island Park. Mr. Mayor also talked about his respect for Chicago's teachers, firefighters and police officers, and reminded students about how important it is for them to live in the city.
Mayor Daley sat the entire class period in St. Rita's recently-renovated Van Leuven Family Research Center sharing aspects of his time as mayor of Chicago, as well growing up in Nativity of our Lord Parish in Bridgeport, and his loyalty to the Chicago White Sox. Mayor Daley mentioned that he is excited for the Cubs recent success; but he confirmed, much to the amusement of many Sox fans in the room (including St. Rita President Ernie Mrozek '71), "I'm a Sox fan, I grew up (a couple) blocks from Comiskey Park. Let's leave it at that."
Before taking a few photos with St. Rita Students, Mayor Daley shared one last thought with them, "There are great people in Chicago's neighborhoods. That one was of the best parts of it...meeting so many great people."
In closing, Mr. Mrozek presented Mayor Daley, an avid biker, with an official St. Rita Mustangs quarter-zip pullover from the Mustang Store that he can use on his rides as the weather turns colder.