Construction of the John B. Murphy School began in 1924 with the initial cost of the building being about $572,092. The dedication ceremony was held on a Friday evening on January 22, 1926 at 8 pm. Unlike today, the first address given to the school was 3755 North Central Park. It is unknown when the change to our official address became as it is today at 3539 West Grace. Murphy School graduated its first class of 81 students in June of 1927. Over the past 88 years there have been eight principals with the longest term served by Elizabeth S. McCauley from 1934-1962.
Until 1992 our school served students in kindergarten through grade 8. After that time, and primarily due to overcrowding issues, Murphy School's seventh and eighth graders began attending the nearby Thurgood Marshall Middle School, established in the building formerly called Alvernia Catholic School for Girls. At the same time we acquired preschoolers so served children from preschool through grade six. Beginning in 2010 CPS approved the retention of our sixth graders moving to seventh grade and then eighth grade the following year. Thus, in June 2012 we held our first elementary school graduation in 20 years at Murphy School.
In October 2002 we celebrated our Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of 75 years of service to the community. Over 500 persons attended this on-site all-class reunion. We encourage all alumni to stay in touch with this grand school through a reunion tour, monetary support, supply donations or post a picture and memory on www.cpsalumni.org.
In May of 2012, 40 of our 8th graders took a class trip to Washington D.C. in celebration of our country and our accomplishments. In May of 2013, our 8th graders took a class trip to Camp Duncan to celebrate their connection to nature. Congratulations to our graduates. Our community knows that they will always remember the Halls of Murphy and never lose their “inner owl.”
Most recently, the Class of 1968 visited their special elementary school and celebrated the past. They generously donated funds that purchased a new guitar for our Fine Arts music program and established The Fehey Fund in order to honor students that inspire others such as their teacher Ms. Fehey inspired them. Such creative funding is needed to keep the Murphy spirit vibrant.
For over 10 years, Murphy School has been a CPS neighborhood magnet cluster Fine and Performing Arts school. Students regularly receive visual arts, music, dance and drama instruction. Our arts partnerships have included Old Town School of Music, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Ravinia Festival. Children thrive in this arts-rich child-centered environment. We believe that with the arts integration it is not surprising that correspondingly, our test scores have continued to increase. Please visit the www.cps.edu or www.iirc.niu.edu website for details on our outstanding test scores.