John Kass, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, was the guest speaker at Midtown Educational Foundation’s “Breakfast with Champions” this morning. Kass, a lifelong Chicago-area resident and Champion of the city, spoke of his time growing up on the Southside of Chicago and the sacrifices his immigrant father made to put him and his siblings through college.
A straight shooter in his columns, Kass also spoke candidly about the current state of schools in Chicago. He emphasized a long history that has led to the problems Chicago schools face today, painting a bleak picture. “There’s no way the schools are going to get out of this. Schools are in a difficult shape.” He continued by comparing the violent streets of Chicago to the Hunger Games for children, “How can you be expected to learn when you are constantly looking over your shoulder?”
His demeanor turned more hopeful when speaking of MEF, however. “There has never been a time in Chicago where a group like this (MEF) has been more important.” MEF’s focus on virtues and parents really struck a chord with Kass. “This organization is critical,” he said. “Talking about virtues really struck me. The people who provide virtues are parents.”
He was emphatic when speaking of the need to support MEF’s target population, “The sharpest kids will get help. But I wonder about those average kids. Those are the kids I worry about. Without them, we have no country.” Kass was blunt about the importance of MEF’s programming for these students: “Without you, I very much worry about this city.”
Kass entertained the audience with many other Chicago themed insights. He told tales of starting a family in Chicago as a “Beatnik,” hilariously revealed why he stopped referring to a former Illinois politician as “Gov. Jello,” and even answered the question “What exactly is a “Chumbalone?”
So what is a Chumbalone? Well, let’s just say you had to be there. Stay tuned for MEF’s next Breakfast with Champions and thanks again to John Kass for speaking this morning! We would also like to send a big thanks to FourStar Wealth Advisors for sponsoring this morning’s breakfast!