Chicago Vocational Career Academy, or CVS, opened as Chicago Vocational School in 1940 at 2100 East 87th Street, with an all-male class of 850. In June of 1941, the school was turned over to the United States Navy, as the country's entry into the Second World War was imminent. Mechanics who would build and repair aircraft received training here, while non-vocational courses were moved to Calumet High School.
In February of 1946, academic classes returned to the school, and some classes were being offered 24 hours a day to accommodate the returning veterans' schedules. The school's ROTC program began in 1958. Today, CVS has a co-ed enrollment of approximately 2400, and it's one of nine "career academies" within Chicago Public Schools. The school's most famous alumnus is Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, who played football at CVS and at the University of Illinois. Butkus was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979. The Dick Butkus Award is awarded annually to the top collegiate linebacker. Other alumni include late comedian and actor Bernie Mac, who was nominated for two Emmy awards and two Golden Globe awards and who won four NAACP image awards. Juwan Howard, professional basketball player and one of the University of Michigan's famed "Fab Five," played basketball here. Four-time Super Bowl champion Keena Turner, who played his entire NFL career as a linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, played football here.