School History & Mission



After growing up in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the late Gary Comer went on to become a world-class competitive sailor, founder of the direct merchant company Lands End in 1963, and a great entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Gary’s passion and dedication to the improvement of lives led to the founding of the Comer Science and Education Foundation. The Foundation’s core mission — to improve urban education and the lives of children — was realized with the opening of the Gary Comer Youth Center in May 2006. The center’s mission is to provide the support for all of its students to graduate from high school, prepared to pursue college and careers. Two years after the Youth Center’s inauguration, Gary Comer College Prep was opened, providing the next step of support to students in their pursuit of a college education.


On August 18, 2008, Gary Comer College Prep opened with its first class of freshmen. The first class of freshmen graduated in 2012 and the campus now serves over 755 students in grades 9-12.

In August 2010, we opened our state-of-the-art high school building. Our building shares an integrated campus with The Gary Comer Youth Center. GCCP students participate in Youth Center programming after school, on weekends, and during the summer.

In August 2011, over 65 sixth grade students were the founding class of Gary Comer College Prep’s middle school, currently based in the Gary Comer Youth Center. Eventually Gary Comer College Prep middle school will serve over 170 students in grades 6-8 and feed directly into the high school.

Currently, Gary Comer College Prep is at full capacity serving over 800 students in grades 9th-12th.


To ensure that Gary Comer College Prep scholars graduate from college as well-rounded and successful citizens, our scholars will master a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, will develop the discipline necessary to succeed in their future professions, and will honor the greater community. With enough grit, zest, optimism, and gratitude we believe anything is possible for our scholars.

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