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Alumnus' Work Celebrated on Front Page of Chicago Tribune


CHICAGO, IL (January 2, 2007) – Today’s Chicago Tribune features a front page article about high school varsity football coach Elbert Kern C’92 and his transformational work with students at Steinmetz High School in Chicago. After losing every game of the 2005 season, Kern "became a life coach, not just a football coach," and led the team to a conference and a divisional championship in 2006, his 13th year with Steinmetz.

According to the article, some of Kern’s players were "young fathers juggling work, parenthood, athletics, and school." Kern helped with parenting advice, bereavement counseling, employment input, and academic tutoring. One player shared "I’m so grateful for what Coach has done for me. The man has taken an interest in me. He really means it when he says ‘Let me help you.’"

Steinmetz is a Chicago Public School with 2,450 students, 85 percent of whom come from low-income backgrounds and are African-American or Latino. In the article, Principal Eunice Madon reflects, "What’s happened this year sets a good example for all of our students to follow."

Elbert Kern played football at North Park University from 1988 to 1992, and continues to volunteer his time and talent on behalf of the Vikings. According to Vikings Head Coach Scott Pethtel, "Elbert Kern was one of the first coaches I met after taking over the North Park University football program last January. He has made it a habit to drop by my office regularly to talk about the players he has in his program at Steinmetz. North Park currently has several Steinmetz players on our roster and is recruiting a few more for 2007. Coach Kern definitely instills a sense of pride and work ethic in the young men that he comes in contact with."

Elbert also earned a master's degree in teacher leadership from North Park University in 2003. His thesis was titled, "A Decision-Making Curriculum for High School Adolescents About Healthy Living," which, according to the program's former director, Jacqueline Feare, "he obviously implemented. The results are clear!"

To read the article in its entirety, click here.