Leo, A True Winner!! by: Rich Furlong ’59

Semi-Finals Game 2013Recently, I, along with a group of 31 others, ranging from the class of ’46 all the way to ’97, chartered a bus to watch our beloved Lions play in the semi-final IHSA football playoff game. Although the outcome wasn’t what we had hoped for, we all had a great time. Despite the different ages and backgrounds, we all got together as “Leo” men and enjoyed the experience just as much as we did in our respective high school years. After the event, I received the following letter from a great alum, Rich Furlong ’59, that puts into perspective the special bond that we as Leo Alumni share and how we look at the world. Enjoy!

-Dan Stecich ’75

Leo A True Winner:
I didn’t need the newspaper to tell me on Sunday morning that the Leo Lions had lost a football game in the state semifinals. I had witnessed the game in almost sub human weather conditions the day before in Lena Illinois. Lena was the better team on this day and deserved to win the game and for that I congratulate them and wish them the very best in the state finals. However make no mistake about it the Leo Lions are winners.
Leo Wins, every May when it graduates 100% of it’s seniors as it has done for over the last half dozen years.
Leo Wins, at the end of it’s school year when 93% of it’s students proceed on to college or the trade school of their choice.
Leo Wins, when men such as Bob Foster and Dan McGrath never forgot where they came from and come back to take on the monumental task of running a school with a legendary history but dwindling enrollment.
Leo Wins, when it is determined that ACT scores among Leo seniors are nearly two points higher on an average than the senior averages at CPS top 10 charter schools.
Leo Wins, when it’s football team with far poorer facilities races thru the football playoffs and reaches the state semi finals against schools with superior facilities.
Leo Wins when it’s track team which must practice in the hallways wins 8 state track championships again over schools with beautiful outdoor track facilities.
Leo Wins when it’s basketball team wins one state title and on quarter final finish while playing on a sub sized third floor gymnasium then having to branch out into full size arena’s in the playoffs.
Leo Wins when every year over 600 graduates turn out for the annual banquet. Every year there are men from over 7 decades at those functions all remembering and reliving their great Leo memories.
Leo Wins when it turns out over 260 golfers for their outing arguably one of the biggest in the Chicago land area.
Leo Wins when it was recently learned that the school was in need of buses to bring students into the school. That problem was solved with the initiative of one caring and generous alum and hundreds and hundreds of others who kicked in enough to buy two buses.
Leo Wins, when young men from the track team are invited to the golf outing to sell Leo memorabilia and the spirit fostered amongst these young men and the older, 50,60 and 70 and 80 years old alums is priceless.
Leo Wins every time someone walks into the school and a young student walks up to them and politely extends a hand exchanges a firm handshake, introduces themselves and asks how they can help them.
Leo Wins when times such as yesterday when almost 40 Leo Men took a charter bus and went the 150 plus miles to support the football team. Nothing unusual about that  except half of the men were white and half of the men were African American . The friend ship shared on that bus is unmatched. Leo men do not see black and white Leo men only see Black and Orange.
So in conclusion Leo is a winner , always was , always will be.
I Love Leo High School
Rich Furlong ’59

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