A Gush Of Love, Sweat And Cleaning Supplies

Shaka Rawls sends a call out asking for assistance, and the community responded.

In August, Heide Stevens from the Chicago Tribune wrote an article about Rawls, the Leo Catholic High School principal, and the activist Danielle Stipe’s suggestion to hold a beautification day at the all-boys school located in the Gresham neighbourhood in Chicago.

When people walk in several of the school’s rooms, it feels like getting warped through time. This is what Rawls told Stevens during that time.

School beautification finally

The beautification day finally happened, with about a turnout of 150 volunteers that washed windows, mopped floors, scrubbed walls and dusted shelves.

Donations outpoured. Method gave 28 cases of products for cleaning. The Chicago Blackhawks gave a monetary donation. Nuance Solutions, a janitorial supply company based in the South Side, gave around 1,200 pounds of glass cleaners, bathroom cleaners and others. Sororities and fraternities sent their members to help. Some law firms also did the same. The alumni and students from Leo helped to clean.

Rawls was brought to tears. He mentioned that what happened was the most beautiful thing he has seen.

Rawls is a 1993 alumni of Leo, and he just recently began as a principal last fall. He is finishing a doctorate in educational policy studies. He worked at the Chicago Public Schools as an administrator previously. He mentioned that Dan McGrath, the president of Leo, and Mike Holmes, the vice president for institutional advancement, supported his idea and came to help during the beautification day.

Leo has a great history, as well as a 100% graduation rate. However, the enrolment declined in the past years. The turnout was a reminder that it is a successful foundation in their community.

According to Jeffery McGee, Nuance Solutions’ transportation manager, his company came to a decision to help as soon as they saw the August article.

The artist Carolyn Elaine gave a donation, a 6×6 foot mosaic of the United States president Barack Obama.

Lou’s Gourmet Sweets, a local artisan bakery, brought the volunteers some cookies.

Rawls mentioned that there are already plans for a painting project by Spring.


It doesn’t matter if this was a school cleaning in Chicago, or in Australia – school cleaning in Sydney – what matters is that it brought people and the community together for a single goal. That is: to help these young men succeed.