Hillside Academy more like jail than ...
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#149 Apr 16, 2013
First off you shouldn't talk out of your ass unless you know what your talking about. First off I own my own business that I have owned successfully for 15 years now and on top of that I'm getting my masters in criminal justice so again before you talk shit maybe you should know what your talking about first just saying.
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#150 Apr 16, 2013
mike wrote:
Also, when I got back into the Berwyn school district during my 7th grade year, I was struggling hard to learn how to write proper sentences and to spell more words right. I was struggling to learn how to use proper punctuation, how to indent paragraphs, the fact that sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a period. It took me nearly 3 months to learn all of that and get it into my mindset after I left Hillside for good.
I was also in that class what years were you there I learned the most from mr stacks class he had animals and he actually tried to teach students who wanted to learn.
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#151 Apr 16, 2013
I have to say my hardest issue was changing classes I was so used to 1 class all day it was difficult when I went to morton east
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#152 Apr 16, 2013
Former hillside student wrote:
Other stuff I remember about Hillside Academy too; there was no recess, there were no clubs or fun activities except when the class went on a field trip which was an extremely rare occurance. There was no snowball club, no snowflake club, nothing that taught the phrase "hugs, not drugs", there was no homecoming, no turnabout, no prom. Of course, there was also the fact that there were only a maximum of 3 girls at any given time at that entire school and the rest of the students were boys. And with a population of around 180-200 students, you're literally talking just 1 girl for every 60 to 70 boys!
Well the drug issue the teachers were involved with the selling of drugs and when I was there they tried to do a homecoming dance yea three girls and a bunch of boys and it was forced to go like really who put this place together
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#153 Apr 16, 2013
Robert Joyce wrote:
Do anybody out there remember robert joyce who went to hillside academy in the early 80s? If u do, reply. I knew a girl named Sherry who use to go there, and Charlene. They stayed on 43rd in the projects. If yall know them give me a holla.
Hi rsh i loved Mr and Mrs Kulivas they were great teachers what years did you attend
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#154 Apr 16, 2013
time is now wrote:
mr young im not 16 any more im 32
I got his bitch ass fired sometimes people need to stand up to that place my mom did and I will forever love her for that
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#155 Apr 16, 2013
keith wrote:
i went to hillside academy from 95-97. i was in mr. k's class is 96-97. i went to 4 other alternative schools and hillside was by far the worst. u had thugs as teachers all swoll waiting to whoop your ass. mr. white(the 500lb thug teacher) was the only cool teacher there. i was a lil white kid from the far south burbs.there was only 2 or 3 of us in the high school part in those years,95 expecially. fights every single day between gangs. i was slammed once by jackson and scott and it was not fun. i laid in the timeout room all fucked up.
I so remember brian collins I had to ride the van with him that poor kid should have never been there the learning disability students deff didn't belong there. Brians favorite saying "Don't look at me your evil"
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#156 Apr 16, 2013
toni r wrote:
I went to hillside for 2 yrs in 89/90. Left bcuz someone (rival gang member) threw a desk at my stomache while I was pregnant. We were the ones who made the school that way. Teacher(altho some definitly bad) can only do so much. H.a. taught me as well as being on streets of cicero that I CAN RIZE ABOVE AND THRIVE IN ANY SITUATION. My female african american teacher (can't think of name) was a wonder and blessed with patience. Heard she was killed by drunk driver. Thanks 2 this school even tho it was bad and hard. I was a booker. Troublemaker. Fighter. And even tho these odd were stacked against the teachers. I still earned more credits than in my hs history. The students need 2 accept responsibility 2. Altho there were teachers that should never NEVER b able to b around kids again. I can honestly say after attending H.A. I have NO FEAR OF ANYTHING. So that I guess is a blessing coming out of there.:)
Hey toni who was your teacher
student from the past

La Grange, IL

#157 Apr 16, 2013
Blaxican wrote:
Yo, lets try this for fun, does anyone remember a RAPPER name BLAXICAN.. Someone tell me where John Norris, Charles Delany, is ?? lol.. School was fucked up, anyone who made it out and is still living and is not in prision, you made a hard road in life, lol... Do those kids still beat tha crap out of anyone who is not Black or barly mexican ??????? lol.. I love you MS Grimly and Ms Berry and Mr Scott, lol
Charles Delany was the only student that stood up for me when I was there boys messed with me all the time but he protected me as much as he could till he just never showed back up
Former student

Cicero, IL

#158 Apr 16, 2013
mike wrote:
Forgot to mention too; just a few years later, I was rather hurt and heartbroken when I learned that Miss Alegria was killed in a car crash. And it wasn't car vs car either, it was car vs pickup truck.
In case anyone was interested, by the way, her full name was Stefanie P Alegria.
Former student

Cicero, IL

#159 Apr 16, 2013
A news article about what happened to her can be found at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-03-26...
More tales from Hillside

Cicero, IL

#160 May 13, 2013
I seem to remember another thing during my first year especially at Hillside. Those timeout rooms were practically intolerable, and I used to lay down on the floor with my feet pointing at the door, and I would kick the door like crazy. Second semester of my first year, I had a teacher called Miss Thomas, who was quite a hard teacher, and of course Miss Johnson, a huge black teacher. I can remember one day when I was put in the timeout room in Miss Johnson's room and I was laying down on the floor in the timeout room, stomping on the door with my feet, first Miss Johnson barged in viciously saying; "You better stop kicking the door right now!" and then left. About a minute later, Miss Thomas barged in saying "Now, you gonna stop kicking the door! I'm not gonna have this playing in here!" And Miss Thomas and another staff slammed me to the floor and restrained me right in the timeout room. They then asked; "Are you gonna stop kicking the door?" again and again, and then they left and closed the door.

Also, my first restraints at Hillside were so intolerable for me that I used to bend my arms so my elbows went up into the air, jabbing the restraining staff, as if I were to cause them to roll off of me. But no matter how hard I struggled, they remained about as steady as a table.

United States

#161 Jun 21, 2013
I attened hillside for 3yrs. Watched kids get wooped by staff. I got in many fights myself they say ignore the bully and they will go away. No not at hillside you learned to stand up for yourself thats for sure. Also i only attend 3weeks of 8th grade. Moved out of district never graduated. A year later living with my aunt and uncle they tried enrolling me in 8th grade hillside had a whole file on me apparently i graduated according to them.

Addison, IL

#162 Sep 16, 2013
I go to hillside now and it's only worse now they forreal on some bullshit.
rebel school psych

Niles, IL

#163 Sep 19, 2013
Hi former students and students: Reading these comments is heartbreaking and disillusioning. These experiences that you guys are reporting are NOT AT ALL what we envision of what “behavioral rehabilitation” and “corrective educational experiences” are supposed to be like. Abuse never solves anything. Some of us school staff live and work with the intention of being at least one safe adult in a kid’s corner regardless of their behavior.

Your descriptions of daily fighting, powerlessness, and physical/emotional abuse from adults are traumatic life events. The on-going adult symptoms of anger, anxiety/fear/mistrust in relationships, difficulty self-soothing (calming yourself down), feeling paranoid or unable to trust others’ intention (this is called hyper-vigilance), shutting down emotionally or withdrawing from others (this is disconnection/detachment), feeling sad, anxious, or hopeless about trusting others, ongoing nightmares/sleep disturbances, checking out from emotions or relationships or sex either mentally, physically, or sexually (this is dissociation); memories that you can erase or that are triggered uncontrollably (this is intrusion); reliving experience or having flashbacks where your heart races and you feel overwhelmed, upset, or panicky or ready to fight or “book”/flight (this is re-experiencing/ flashbacks/intrusion). Feel dead on the inside, suicidal, feel like avoiding life or escaping yourself through substances (this is dissociation; or de-realization). People will do what they have to do to survive, it is in our nature.

Symptom info:


The traumatic responses and symptoms described by surviving Hillside are in line with a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnoses (Chronic, Acute). While PTSD can be treated somewhat effectively for many people, traumas are never forgotten, but pain can be lessened and life can be lived well. Our bodies and minds are hard-wired to remember violations and threats to our bodily integrity in service of future self-protection (let me just say, flip-mode. You understand, yes?). It takes dedicated effort on your part to move from surviving life to thriving in life, more like training for a marathon than a race.

It may be hard to trust help from others, but help yourself. If PTSD symptoms are getting in the way of you living the adult live that you want to live and deserve to have, I hope this info from these websites can be helpful:

https://1in6.org/men/get-information/online-r... (breakdown of good parts from a Great book)




videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/HealMyPTSD

http://www.rapevictimadvocates.org/trauma.asp (free short-term counseling services)



cope: http://ptsdtreatmenthelp.com/how-dbt-can-help...

cope: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/fslist-se...

cope: http://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-a...

Heal yourself: http://www.psychologytools.org/ptsd.html



heal yourself: http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/freedownloads2.h...

Disability: https://www.disability.gov/

We cannot go back and change the past, but every day offers an opportunity for us to change our lives and accept a different possibility for the future. With much respect for your journey, Dr. A.S.K.
john mccarthy

United States

#164 Oct 5, 2013
ated. About hillside academy was the charts you had to carry around with you. To collect. "Tokens" which were nothing more tthan a teachers. Initials

Cambridge, MA

#166 Oct 13, 2013
what happened to the hillside academy im hillside illinois?

Cicero, IL

#167 Oct 28, 2013
John wrote:
I was at Hillside Academy from the beginning and even before that when it was located in nearby Stone Park in the Scalabrini Monastery.
I agree with many people here that Hillside Academy was a non-stop nightmare with no real purpose but to keep things from sliding into chaos on a daily basis. It's almost impossible to describe to anyone what it was like to go there for years. There are words that scratch the surface like "Stockholm syndrome" or post traumatic stress disorder. It was a violent place populated by people who were discarded from their schools and society. The only thing you could be certain of at HA was that you were at the very bottom of life, almost like you had no value at all and the program at the school did nothing to change that perception. You were worthless and the program and staff reminded you of that as often as they could.
I remember that we had to carry around a folder which was called a "chart" and we had to keep it with us all day long and it was a way of monitoring and evaluating our behavior on an hourly basis. The chart was the brainchild of Kenneth Cosi who was one of the founding members of the school. The time-out rooms were part of his contribution to the atmosphere of hell which was part of the daily routine at Hillside Academy.
I say this truly that if someone told me that I had to relive to those years when I was at H.A. I'm pretty sure I would open up a vein and just bleed out because when I was younger I could take it, I didn't know any better and thought this life was all about being shuffled around by people who valued obedience over creativity or compassion, now I know better - but there are still deep scars left by this place.
The staff was a mixed bag. Many were well-meaning young teachers and student teachers. Some were rejects from the profession but a few had a genuine kindness about them and I could tell they didn't approve of what happened at the school but they had to make a living, right?
I remember Ms. Yaz, and Loretta, Nitza, Ms Kearney; those were some of the teachers who tried to be real human beings. The lessor teachers included Reggie to whom we used to sell grass and any other drugs. Mr Fowler who had an abnormal interest in boys.... man, that guy was scary.
The school at that time was run by Ken Cosi and Karen Evans who should live in fear that there is no statute of limitation on lawsuits for child abuse.
Some of the students I remember from that period are:
Barb Worth
Rich Poltrock
Martina Jiske
Don Cosi (yes, he was the Ken Cosi's nephew)
Dan Hicks
Beth Loftus
Mike Johns
Jennifer Bell
The place really was prison, like a prison of war camp. You got to go home at night but I'm sure for many, like myself, that was just as bad. So you were moving between two hellish places.
So, if you survived your time at Hillside Academy, don't sell yourself short, you have a real inner strength. It was bad, but as they say, that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger and H.A. nearly did me in.
Anyway, I could tell some gory stories about this place. I saw too much and the memory persists.
If you attended H.A. during that same period and want to contact a fellow survivor, feel free to email me at nijinsky@comcast.net
Be well everyone, and take comfort in the fact that life may be hard but the worst is surely over.
Usually, when I have dreams and/or thoughts of Hillside Academy, I usually think that, if I were enrolled again at Hillside Academy, especially with Miss Alegria now deceased, that I would simply get lost in the neighborhood before the bus came to my house. More than likely hide out in a park, a wooded area, or something, and if by chance I got on the bus and they took me to Hillside, that I would not even report to class, but simply walk home (weather permitting of course), possibly making it look like I was never in the building.

Cicero, IL

#168 Oct 28, 2013
Many times, when I have dreams/nightmares and/or thoughts of Hillside Academy, I think that if I were ever enrolled at Hillside Academy again, or if I knew better about school, especially now with Miss Alegria deceased, that I would either disappear into the neighborhood (park, wooded area, alley, etc) before the bus arrived, or if I got on the bus, instead of going to class, hide in the basement and then walk back home, weather permitting.
Monique Howard

Chicago, IL

#169 Nov 19, 2013
This school changed me for the better

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