Life Before (And After) CPS

kay stepkin.jpg

There were five neighborhood landmarks during my childhood growing up at Halsted and Roscoe in the 1970s:  Varela's corner market, Cafe Pergolesi, the playground halfway between Broadway and Halsted, Brett's Bookstore, and -- this is long before Firehook or even Whole Foods -- the Bread Shop, where my mom worked for a time as a cookie maker.  So you can imagine how nice it was to find out that the Bread Shop's founder, Kay Stepkin had ended up among other things teaching at Stewart elementary.  I don't know if she's still there (let me know if you know) but it's a good reminder that there are lots of interesting people who find their way in (and out) of CPS over the years as part of wide-ranging careers. Who's the person you know who had the most colorful life or career before they joined CPS, or who went on to something interesting or notable after leaving CPS? 


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  • from a reader: Andrea Cohn, teacher at Nobel School, was a Director of Marketing for several multinational firms in the past. Chk out the good work she is doing for Hispanic kids on the West Side. She has a great story about her journey in CPS.

  • Hi Kay,

    I often wondered how you are doing. I am the youngest of the Varela Kids. Growing up on Halsted was interesting to watch the area change and businesses grow. I am glad you are teaching. You were always so patient. Anyways I wanted to say hi. Do you still have the recipe for the veggie pizza you use to make and sell? It was the best pizza.

    Would love to hear from you. All the best.

    Dan Varela

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