Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 28 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Stanley Rother
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

100 percent of a Chicago charter school’s seniors admitted to college (again!)


Urban Prep Academies

Zelda Caldwell - published on 05/06/17

In a city plagued by violence, Urban Prep Academies helps its young men achieve their dreams.

Seniors from Urban Prep Academies, an all-male public charter school in Chicago, had reason to celebrate again this year. For the eighth consecutive year 100 percent of the school’s graduating class is headed off to college.

For a city with a history of gang activity and violent crime, Urban Prep’s success is no mean feat. The charter school network, which has three campuses, offers an oasis of hope for its young students in the midst of a world of violence and despair.

Chicago has made national headlines for its shocking murder statistics — in 2016, the city saw 762 murders (a dramatic increase from the still high 468 reported murders in 2015). Urban Prep itself has not been immune to the city’s violence, with eight students or alumni killed since 2015, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Founded in 2002, the public charter school serves a lower income population — about 85 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. According to the Tribune, many started school reading at least two grades behind.

Tim King, founder and CEO of network of Urban Prep Academies, attributes some of the students’ success to the positive role models they see at the school.

“It’s tough to be what you don’t see. So it’s important that young people seek out positive role models and examples of excellence,” King told The Epoch Times.

Students wear a uniform shirt, tie and blazer each school day, and recite the Urban Prep Creed each morning.

“It is a statement of what we want our students to believe—an articulation of our core values or resilience, relentlessness, integrity, solidarity, exceptionality, selflessness, accountability, and faith,” King said. “Words have power. By saying the creed daily, our students embody the ideals it represents.”

At a signing ceremony at Daley Plaza, each young man stepped onstage before a large crowd of friends and family to announce where which college he had selected.“Our students received 1,500 letters of admission from over 170 colleges and universities,” said King, according to an ABC-7 report

DeAndre Jones, who will be attending Illinois State University, told ABC-7, “”From where I come from not a lot of people go to college but my family, having a strong support system. They pushed me.”

In a poignant reminder of the odds stacked against these students, one senior, Yuri Hardy, who was shot dead last December, was honored during the ceremony. His mother was presented with a tie symbolizing the next academic step.

“It is tremendous what they have to go through every day and they still come to school. They still want to pursue this dream of going to college,” King said.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
Cerith Gardiner
5 Ways grandparents impact our lives for the better
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.