Performing Open Hearts fulfills its mission through our programs and services. We're are also committed to changing the way people think of themselves, the community, and the city.
We will be creating a documentary to inform and educate about a high school basketball program's rich history. Peoria, Il, and Manual High School itself is the most notable part of this documentary. Similar to finding a needle in a haystack, at 811 S. Griswold Street you would find a building with many great memories.
Throughout time the pride that has been created from students, and staff can be compared to other high schools across the country. The only thing about Manual High School history is that it deserves a stage and a conversation of its own.
Peoria is the birthplace of Richard Pryor, who is one of the world's greatest comedians and actors. It is also the birthplace and home to Three-Time, NBA world Champion Shaun Livingston. Until 2018 Peoria was Caterpillar Corporate World Headquarters.
Manual High School is solely responsible for names such as Al Smith, Howard Nathan, David Booth, and Frank Williams all of which have spent significant time in the NBA. Negro League Baseball and Kansas City Monarchs players Elmon Petty and Ed "Porky" Brooks are also alumni.
Carla McGhee, who is a 1996 USA Olympic Gold Medalist winner. Jonelle Polk, who at one time held the scoring title for both men and women at the University of Illinois. Rita Ali is also the first Black and Female Mayor of the City of Peoria.
David Booth is the National Basketball Association (NBA) Vice President of Basketball Operations. Jamere Jackson who is the Auto Zone EVP and CFO - elect, are both reflections of Peoria Manual High School academic and athletic programs.
All these individuals share a common thing outside of being great and that is being a product of Manual High School. Then you have individuals like Mark Clark who was killed alongside Fred Hampton that walked the same hallways that allow all to be proud of the history.
Peoria is located in central Illinois 166 miles southwest of the country’s third-largest city Chicago, IL, where the population is a little under 2.6 million, and Peoria is the 7th largest city in the state with a population of a little over 115,000. The city’s population will help you understand the significance of this documentary and how a small high school on the city’s south side had with the world at one point in time and in the High School Basketball world, how Manual High School sat on top of it.
The world only saw the 1997 Boys’ Basketball National Champions. Only the city and community within know how it happened and what led up to that moment.
Each jersey number is going to be essential in allowing us to revisit the rich history of some very unique men throughout some very special eras in time. With the assistance of actual players, alums, and people in the community, sports reporters, and basketball historians. We’re going to have a Peoria Manual All-Time Jersey Recognition display. This is how the story will be told and it will allow you to go "Beneath the Numbers".