Kenwood football, soccer teams feeling fallout from teachers strike

Kenwood Academy teachers spent Thursday morning in Downtown Hyde Park explaining to people the issues CTU members were concerned about: smaller class sizes, nurses and social workers in all CPS schools, hiring more Black & Latinix teachers, libraries for all CPS schools. The teachers were Bethany Pickens (left to right), Lisa Jason, Conrad Gordon, Maddie Resch, Katie Frett, Richard Nunley and Christinia O’Leary. (Photo by Owen M. Lawson)

Sports writer

Kenwood Academy’s fall sports programs are feeling the crunch from the strike by the Chicago Teachers Union that began Oct. 17.

The boys soccer team’s season was cut short by the walkout, and the football team’s final scheduled game against Payton College prep was canceled. The Broncos’ status for the State Playoffs remains up in the air; the strike must end by Oct. 30 for them to be eligible for the palyoffs.

“As important as this has been to some of the Kenwood students, they have been very driven to stay conditioned and in shape,” said Karen Calloway, principal of Kenwood Academy. “It’s disappointing, but we will celebrate (our) students upon their return.”

Calloway said since the teachers strike began, student-athletes have worked hard to maintain their conditioning. Calloway pointed out that some athletes have taken advantage of the school’s new football field to work on plays,

In spite of their structured activities, both the football and soccer teams are taking the strike pretty hard.

“If they don’t come to an agreement by the state playoffs, it could potentially disqualify all CPS teams from the tournament,” said Broncos football coach Sinque Turner.

Turner said he hopes the strike will be over before by Saturday, when the seedings for the state playoffs will be announced. The IHSA State Playoff show will air Saturday evening on NBC Sports Chicago.

Turner also said that he was very disappointed that his team was unable to face division rivals Payton College Prep on Friday night. The game would have determined the Chicago Public League Illini Prairie State Conference champion.

Because classes were canceled for Oct. 24, eight CPS schools already lost their IHSA state playoff eligibility because they had not played the required eight games.

The schools were: Simeon Academy, Back of The Yards High School, King College Prep, Chicago Military Academy-Bronzeville, Solorio Academy High School, Chicago Vocational High School, Whitney Young High School, and Phoenix Military Academy.

“If it wasn’t for the strike, Simeon would have played their eighth game of the season this weekend,” said coach Turner, a former Simeon alum. “They would have qualified for the state playoffs, but instead, fell one game short of qualifying.”

Dozens of public league soccer teams were also set to begin their playoffs today. By rule, because the schools were on strike, they had to forfeit their games.