Tony Moseley, 18, a Posse Scholar, center, is congratulated by friends James Cole, 18, left and Cedric Hakeem, 17, as he steps to the front of the auditorium to be recognized for his accomplishments during an assembly at Urban Prep on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. Every senior at Urban Prep Academy in Chicago has been accepted to a four year college and the school held an assembly.
----Nancy Stone/ Chicago Tribune
from The Chicago Tribune:
Urban Prep charter school again beats the odds
All seniors accepted to college for second year in row
By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Tribune reporter
9:32 p.m. CST, February 16, 2011
Fire broke out in Cedric Abdul-Hakeem's Englewood home Dec. 31. After making sure everyone was out safely, the 17-year-old re-entered the smoke-filled home to retrieve his laptop.
"My laptop had all my applications, and most college applications are due Jan. 1," explained Abdul-Hakeem. "I figured if my laptop burns, I'm through."
He got his laptop. He got the applications in on time. And so far, he's been accepted to half a dozen colleges, including Grinnell College in Iowa, where most of his tuition will be paid through scholarships and grants.
Abdul-Hakeem is yet another Urban Prep success story. For the second consecutive year, every single senior in Chicago's only public all-male, all-African-American high school has been accepted to a four-year college or university.
In all, the 104 members of the 2011 graduating class have been accepted to 103 colleges, including some of the country's most selective schools. With many acceptance letters still anticipated, the charter school, which has campuses in the Englewood, South Shore and East Garfield Park neighborhoods, is hoping at least one of its students this year will land an Ivy League invitation.
"We would never advocate that anybody run into a burning building to get a computer or essay or application, but what (Abdul-Hakeem's story) speaks to is how much our students are dedicated and focused on getting into college," said Urban Prep's founder and CEO, Tim King. "They recognize that with college they will have very different lives that will be transformative for them and their communities."
On Wednesday, Urban Prep Academy for Young Men celebrated its repeat with a tie-exchanging ritual in which the final three seniors to receive acceptance letters exchanged their red uniform ties for red-and-gold ones as the other seniors did before them. Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Public Schools' interim chief education officer Charles Payne were on hand. So was alum Israel Wilson, a freshman at Morehouse College in Atlanta, who said he has earned a 3.3 GPA and made the dean's list his first semester.
Skeptics last year had questioned whether grads would actually attend college and be able to succeed in higher ed programs. One of the school's missions is to ensure students earn that bachelor's degree, so King and his staff have helped secure money for plane tickets, driven students to college campuses, held workshops for alumni in the summer and winter, and checked up on them. Of the 107 seniors in 2010—the school's first graduating class—101 enrolled in college, King said. Three went into the military and another three joined the work force.
Just some good news this morning. Many blessings in the future for these young men.