Over $170K raised for CPS teacher, family members wounded in Highland Park shooting

CPS officials said they had been in touch with teacher Zoe Kolpack Tuesday morning as she begins her recovery.

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Chicago Public Schools preschool teacher Zoe Kolpack.

Chicago Public Schools preschool teacher Zoe Kolpack was among the more than 30 wounded in a shooting Monday at a Fourth of July parade in the Highland Park.


More than $170,000 has been raised to help pay the medical bills of a Chicago Public Schools teacher — and three of her relatives — who were among the dozens wounded when a gunman opened fire Monday at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

Preschool teacher Zoe Kolpack was at the parade with her two young children, husband Stephen, her father Mike and brother-in-law Nick when the shots rang out as a rooftop gunman fired into the crowds of spectators, leaving seven deadand at least 30 more wounded.

Kolpack and her three adult relatives were shot in front of the kids and have to undergo “various surgeries, which will seriously impact these families financially,” Kolpack’s friend, Samantha Whitehead, who organized the fundraiser, wrote on the GoFundMe donation page.

Kolpack’s two children were not physically harmed, according to the fundraiser.

“I do not want this to be another burden on them as they will have many obstacles to go through in the months ahead,” Whitehead wrote.

“The continued support leaves us all at a loss for words. I will keep you all posted on their recovery. Your generosity is appreciated more than you will ever know.”

Chicago Public Schools preschool teacher Zoe Kolpack.

Chicago Public Schools preschool teacher Zoe Kolpack (right) pictured with her husband, Stephen, and two young children in an undated photo shared on a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for the family’s medical expenses after both parents were wounded Monday when a gunman opened fire at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park that left seven people dead and dozens more wounded. Also among the wounded were Zoe Zolpack’s father and brother-in-law ,who were attending the parade with the family.


Whitehead said Tuesday afternoon that Kolpack is still hospitalized and awaiting surgery that’s expected later in the day. Her husband and brother-in-law are recovering from their surgeries and hope to be discharged soon. Kolpack’s father was released and is recovering at home, she said.

“At this time, we are not sure what the recovery entails for each of the family members,” Whitehead wrote.

CPS officials said they were in touch with Kolpack Tuesday morning as she begins her recovery. Kolpack teaches preschool at Dever Elementary in the Northwest Side’s Belmont Heights neighborhood. She started working there in 2017.

The fundraiser, shared by the Chicago Teachers Union with a request for donations, had raised just over $170,000 from 3,000 donors by Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after it was created.

Dever Principal Jason Major told the school community in an email Tuesday that he was “very sorry to report that one of our preschool teachers, Mrs. Zoe Kolpack, was injured in the mass shooting in Highland Park on Monday.

“Our thoughts are with Mrs. Kolpack and her family during this difficult time,” he wrote. “Out of respect for the privacy of Ms. Kolpack, I am not able to go into any further detail, but we will do everything we can to support you and your child.”

Major said the district’s crisis management team was available to provide support for staff and students.

A CPS spokeswoman said administrators were “devastated” to learn Kolpack and her family were hurt.

“We are thinking of our William Dever Elementary colleague and her family, as well as all those impacted by this tragedy.”

The outpouring of support included fellow teachers and Dever parents. One father donated $100 and wrote “as a parent of a Dever Elementary School student, I am horrified to hear that this happened. I wish you both a speedy recovery and I am honored to be able to contribute any type of money to your GoFundMe.”

Another mother said, “Ms. Kolpack is one of my son’s previous teachers, she is one of the nicest, most patient, sweetest people you will ever come across. [We] will be praying for you and your family.”

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