Maryville’s new Walsh Academy in Niles schedules ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 18

NILES, IL - The Charles H. Walsh Sr. Academy & Career Tech High School (Walsh Academy for short), formerly Jen School located in Des Plaines, will officially celebrate its move to Niles with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Dec. 18 at 12 p.m.

The Walsh Academy is the first of its kind to open a career and technology education program designed for diverse learners in Illinois and possibly the country. It offers students, ages 14-22, a curriculum that combines academic courses and emotional learning with enhanced CTE programs. The goal is to prepare students to enter high-demand trades or be college-ready.

The new school at 6935 West Touhy Avenue in Niles offers 56,000 sq. feet of learning space, almost double the size of the former school in Des Plaines. The expanded space will have 12 academic and eight vocational classrooms, including a state-of-the-art culinary lab, an in-house media studio, a tech lab, spaces for carpentry, construction, HVAC and small engines as well as a new garden and a greenhouse.

Walsh Academy offers CTE classes in carpentry and woodworking; culinary arts and agriculture; HVAC; health science; computer tech, podcast and video production; and information technology and 3-D printing.

Ann Craig, principal and director of educational services at Maryville, said that the staff and administration are excited to be in a new space where they can create more opportunities for the students while helping them reach their fullest potential.

“Numerous people have worked behind the scenes, working hard to get our new location ready for our students and faculty. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed nor unappreciated,” Craig said.

Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled to start with a short program at the Walsh Academy gymnasium that will include a blessing by Bishop Mark Bartosic. Several dignitaries are expected to attend, including Niles Mayor George D. Alpogianis.

Walsh Academy broke ground at the former Niles School District 71 facility on November 9, 2022, and classes commenced at the new location after the Thanksgiving break.

The school is named after the late Charles H. Walsh Sr., an alum of Maryville Academy who served as chairman on the Maryville Board of Directors for several years.

Chuck lived in three different orphanages with Maryville as his last one. Through the many different vocational skills that he learned while at Maryville, Chuck went on to become a very successful businessman and part owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls.

For more information on Walsh Academy, visit

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