Famous alums or lifelong troublemakers -- you decide. | Bleader

Famous alums or lifelong troublemakers -- you decide.

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Twenty minutes ago I didn't know Chicago Public Schools alums had their own Web site. They do, and here it is, at cpsalumni.org.

"We don’t have any money for marketing," says Brad Harbaugh, who runs the site, "so I take what we do have --  information on alumni -- and put it together in interesting mixes."

The third mix, which he's just given me a heads up on, is called "CPS Alumni Journalists and Media Personalities." It's a handsomely put-together list of 99 names and bios, jauntily alphabetized by first names, and ranging from Anna Davlantes (Disney Magnet and Lane Tech), who won a local Emmy in 2005 as a Channel Five anchor, to the late William Paley (Schurz High), former president of CBS.

In the mix: the late best-selling author John Gunther and ABC News producer and multiple Emmy and Peabody winner Stuart Schwartz, both of whom I mention here because they're graduates of Lake View High, a block from my house, and those kids ought to know who came before them.

Harbaugh's site, underwritten by the Sloan Foundation, was launched last April by CPS, which hopes to kindle an allegiance among the system's three million living alumni to the city's public schools generally as well as to their individual alma maters. Harbaugh is not one of those alumni. He's from Niles, Michigan, he came to Chicago to act, and he spotted an ad in the paper.

He's produced two earlier lists of distinguished alums -- musicians, at www.cpsalumni.org/music, and Olympic Athletes at www.cpsalumni.org/athletes.

And here's a link to the master list -- those from all fields "whose accomplishments are unassailable." Among them, Edgar Bergen, who if the story I heard holds water, modeled Charlie McCarthy on a newspaper boy stationed outside Lake View High at Ashland and Irving Park.

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