Education | Robeson Issue

More Than a Building

A look inside Robeson and the community it built

Olivia Obineme

When Robeson High School opened in 1977, it was actually too small for the student population at the time. Around 2,300 students enrolled, far more than CPS’s expectation of 1,500. Four decades later, CPS voted to close Robeson, citing severe under-enrollment.

Education | Robeson Issue

Community. Family. Everything.

Stories of support and resilience from members of the Robeson High School community throughout its forty-year history

Christian Owens, center, with her parents days before graduation. (Olivia Obineme)

In the years leading up to the closing of Robeson High School in June 2018, headlines spoke of dwindling student enrollment, violence within the community, and low student performance. Before the Chicago Board of Education decision in February 2018 to close Robeson High School, CPS hosted two meetings to gather community feedback. At the first of those meetings, a teacher at Lindblom High School spoke about the need for schools as sites of relationship-building that enable communities to solve problems together. “There are very few institutions in neighborhoods on the South Side that build these sorts of relationships between community members like neighborhood schools,” he said. “By eliminating all of the neighborhood schools in Englewood,” he continued, “you eliminate the institutions that forge these relationships.”