It’s not very common that you hear about a high school whose entire senior class is going to attend college after graduation. It’s even more uncommon for that school to be in Chicago, an area that has a long history of education challenges. Considering these facts, I think it is fair to say that it is unheard of for a school facing these obstacles to accomplish this feat for three years in a row, but that is exactly what Urban Prep Academy has done.
The all-boys charter school is happy to report that all 85 members of the Class of 2012 have been accepted to colleges and universities across the country. There were even some standout students, like Vernon Cheeks, who were accepted to multiple schools; Cheeks was accepted to 14 different schools.
“It taught me how to be resilient,” Cheeks said about his time at Urban Prep Academy. “It also taught me how to be accountable for my own actions.”
The school is located in a neighborhood with a very high crime rate and is the middle of gang terrorizes. However, that hasn’t stopped the school or its students from succeeding. Founded in 2006, Urban Prep Academy has taken young men and helped them transition from barely reading at grade level to excelling and being accepted to university.
“No other public [school] in the country has done this,” said the founder of the school, Tim King, about his schools accomplishment of sending all of its graduates to college.
So, it’s very cool that the students get accepted to college, but what happens to them once they get there? Do most give up on earning a higher education and drop out? Surprisingly, no. More than 80 percent of the students who graduated from Urban Prep Academy in 2010 are still in college. The national average for African-American men who continue their education past their first year is only 35 percent.
I’d like to be one of the many who are sure to be congratulating these young men and give them my best wishes for bright and successful futures. Congratulations to Urban Prep Academy‘s Class of 2012!