Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among the officials at Urban Prep Academies – Englewood Campus recently as the boys-only charter school celebrated another milestone.
For the fourth time, 100 percent of the graduating seniors from Urban Prep's Englewood campus and the inaugural graduating class from its West campus, all African American males, have been accepted to a four-year college or university, school leaders announced at a special, hour-long assembly.
"I want everyone in this city, I want everyone in this country to look up here," Emanuel said, pointing to the young men lauded for their academic achievements.
Urban Prep students are distinguished by their school uniform – which includes a navy blue blazer and red tie.
Throughout the year, the school's seniors ceremoniously exchange their red ties for one with a red and gold striped design as they receive college acceptance letters. Thursday, more young men made the special exchange, signaling their recent college acceptance.
Students at the Englewood and West Campuses were joined by students from Urban Prep's Bronzeville campus for a collaborative commemorative event.
Urban Prep co-founder, Tim King, made national headlines three years ago at the first announcement of 100 percent college acceptance. The class of 2010 was the school's inaugural graduating class.
A spokesperson for the school said recently that Urban Prep continues to follow and mentor the former graduates, including the first graduating class, members of which are now mostly in their third year of college. Urban Prep officials said they have some 300 alumni enrolled in higher education.
Next fall, that number is expected to increase by 167 as members of the class of 2013 head for campuses around the country.
Urban Prep Academies is a nonprofit organization founded in 2002 by education entrepreneur Tim King and a group of African-American education, business and civic leaders. Urban Prep's mission is to provide a comprehensive, high-quality college preparatory education to young men that results in graduates succeeding in college.
The Urban Prep motto, "We Believe" is a constant reminder that Urban Prep students will not fall into the trap of negative stereotypes and low expectations. Instead, Urban Prep students believe in their potential and believe in their ability to exceed that potential. The Urban Prep family (teachers, administrators, staff, board of directors, community members and donors) also believe in these young men, and in their important and long lasting role in student lives.