For students at YES Prep School, it’s deadline day – the day when college admission applications are due for most local colleges. Students at YES Prep have been frantically preparing for this day for years. They have spent endless hours studying, written numerous practice essays, and completed many college applications.
They were definitely well-prepared, which is the entire goal of a prep school, right? Prep schools are pretty common in most upper-class communities. But in inner cities, these prestigious schools are not so easy to come by. Unless you live in Houston, Texas. YES Prep is located in inner-city Houston. Most of the students will be first-generation college students. Some, like Carol Cabrera, had parents who had not completed high school. YES Prep School students were used to not being expected to go to college.
“It’s more difficult to be successful if you’re ashamed to be the only person on time for a test, the only one doing homework,” said Fernando Luna, a student at YES Prep. “College was a goal for me, but not a tangible possibility.”
At least not until Luna enrolled at YES Prep.
YES Prep was founded in 1999 by Chris Barbic, a former Teacher for America. Barbic’s main goal was to enable every student to attend a four-year college, earn his or her degree, and then return to their home community and give back.
YES Prep is “designed to steer students away from stumbling blocks and onto success. Longer school days. A strict discipline code. A challenging curriculum. A small teacher-student ratio,” all of these components help to shape the student for long-term successs
So far, YES Prep has been very successful: 100 percent of seniors have been accepted to colleges since the first class graduated in 2001.
Many students at YES Prep spend their weekends in Saturday school, preparing for college. Sometimes this can be frustrating, but in the long run, YES Prep students know it is worth the extra work.
“We know that a lot of things outside school that have little to do with academics will affect academics,” said school director, Mark DiBella. “So we try to create a support system at this school. When they go back into their neighborhoods, they can hearken back to this community of like-minded people.”
Via USA Today.