I drive by the building that used to be Woodruff High School all the time and for years I’ve assumed there’s nothing going on in there because I knew that the high school closed up a while ago. Well the other day I noticed some cars and school buses in there and drove up and saw a sign saying that school was back in session. I did some research online and found out that Woodruff High School is still a school, but it’s now called Woodruff Career and Technical Center. I thought that this calls for a trip to Woodruff to see if we can take a look around and document the place with the MBIP Camera and so it’s off we go!
Here we are at Woodruff Career and Technical Center. I found out that Woodruff High School opened up here in 1937 and then closed for one year in 2010. In 2011 it reopened as Woodruff Career and Technical Center. I thought this place was closed. I wish someone would let me know this stuff or I would’ve come here sooner! Okay, let’s go inside, it’s freezing out here! Have I mentioned that I hate winter? Oh, good!
There’s a rug from the old days, I went down the corridor and made my way into the Principal’s office and it felt good walking in knowing I wasn’t going to get suspended! I met Rosalind who informed me that the Principal of Woodruff, Michael Kuhn was out of the building, but she told me that she’s the substitute Principal and she said she’d be happy to give me a tour of the school. Very nice, and so it’s off we go!
Rosalind showed me a couple signs which show what the current Woodruff offers as far as classes and learning experiences go. Some of the classes include Auto Body Repair, Construction, Cosmetology, Barbering, Culinary Arts, Engineering, Metal Manufacturing and more. You can find more about the school by clicking right here.
The first stop was the front foyer which is really spacious and grand. It’s got a nostalgic feel with trophy cases filled with trophies and memorabilia from the past. There’s a plaque honoring Charley Gross who’s in the Woodruff Athletic Hall of Fame.
As you can see, the gym is still in pristine condition! Very cool!
Cosmetology is a popular class here and while the classroom was locked for the day, I got a shot of the cosmetic stations in the room. At the bottom are two of the Cosmetology teachers, Demetria, who’s with Cierra who just graduated and below them is Laura.
One cool thing I noticed while walking around with Rosalind is that every single class from Woodruff has their graduation pictures on the wall. I even found the class of 1976, which is the year I (barely) graduated from Bergan High School.
This is Pete, who teaches Auto Body classes here. Pete’s a popular teacher and was voted Teacher of the Month last September. Here’s the room where the classes are taught and as you can see from the work art work on the hoods, it’s a hands-on class!
Barbering is another popular class here at Woodruff and this is the classroom where it’s taught. That’s Shon at the bottom who teaches the class. And they don’t stop at just teaching the fine art of being a barber here...
They practice what they’ve learned in this barber shop that’s located in the building. This barber shop is open to the public and hair cuts and styling cost between five to seven bucks! The shop is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to five and the first and second Saturdays of every month from nine to two in the afternoon.
There’s also health and medical assistance programs taught here and two of those teachers are, Sherella and Lari. I love that sign at the bottom! I bet that’s a tough rule to enforce these days!
As you walk through the hallways you see a lot of memories from Woodruff’s past like this painting that was a present from the class of 1961.
The last stop was the wall featuring some of the distinguished alumni from Woodruff’s past. I saw two familiar faces there: Comedian, Royce Elliott and singer/songwriter, Dan Fogelberg. Royce's son Brett is the Principal of Richwoods High School and we met him when we got a tour of that school. And we recently published an oral history of Dan's first band, The Coachmen.
This was really cool taking a tour of the new Woodruff which still is packed with memories from days gone by. Thanks to Rosalind for the tour and everyone in the school for being so nice and welcoming! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
1800 NE Perry Avenue