Congratulations To Englewood Urban Prep’s Class Of 2010!!! Chicago Boys Break Stereotypes By Being Model Students

- By Bossip Staff

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! After all the negative news about young black men in Chicago, we are so proud to share this story about an all-male charter high school where the entire class is not just graduating, they’ve also all been admitted to four-year colleges. Pop the hood for A Lil Positivity!

Four years ago, Bryant Alexander watched his mother weep.

She stared down at a muddle of D’s and F’s on his eighth-grade report card and threatened to kick him out. He had barely passed elementary school, and high school wasn’t even on his radar.

“Something just clicked,” Alexander, now 18, said. “I knew I had to do something.”

On Friday, Alexander proudly swapped his high school’s red uniform tie for a striped red and gold one — the ritual at Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men that signifies a student has been accepted into college.

As the Roseland resident and 12 others tied their knots, Chicago’s only public all-male, all-African-American high school fulfilled its mission: 100 percent of its first senior class had been accepted to four-year colleges.

Mayor Richard Daley and city schools chief Ron Huberman surprised students at the all-school assembly Friday morning with congratulations, and school leaders announced that as a reward, prom would be free.

The achievement might not merit a visit from top brass if it happened at one of the city’s elite, selective enrollment high schools. But Urban Prep, a charter school that enrolls all comers in one of Chicago’s most beleaguered neighborhoods, faced much more difficult odds.

Only 4 percent of this year’s senior class read at grade level as freshmen, said Tim King, the school’s founder and CEO.

“There were those who told me that you can’t defy the data,” King said. “Black boys are killed. Black boys drop out of high school. Black boys go to jail. Black boys don’t go to college. Black boys don’t graduate from college.

“They were wrong,” he said.

Every day, before attending advanced placement biology classes and lectures on changing the world, students must first pass through the neighborhood, then metal detectors.

“Poverty, gangs, drugs, crime, low graduation rates, teen pregnancy — you name it, Englewood has it,” said Kenneth Hutchinson, the school’s director of college counseling, who was born and raised in Englewood.

He met the students the summer before they began their freshman year during a field trip to Northwestern University, the first time many of them had ever stepped foot on a college campus. At the time, Hutchinson was Northwestern’s assistant director of undergraduate admissions. Inspired by what he’d seen, he started working for Urban Prep two months later.

“I’m them,” he said Friday as he fought back tears. “Being accepted to college is the first step to changing their lives and their communities.”

Hutchinson plays a major role in the school, where college is omnipresent. Students are assigned college counselors from day one. To prepare students for the next level, the school offers a longer than typical day — about 170,000 minutes longer, over four years, than other city schools — and more than double the usual number of English credits, King said

Even the school’s voice-mail system has a student declaring “I am college-bound” before asking callers to dial an extension.

The rigorous academic environment and strict uniform policy of black blazers, red ties and khakis isn’t for everyone. The first senior class began with 150 students. Of those who left, many moved out of the area and some moved into neighborhoods that were too dangerous to cross to get to the school, King said. Fewer than 10 were expelled or dropped out, he said.

At last count, the 107 seniors gained acceptance to a total of 72 different colleges, including Northwestern University, Morehouse College, Howard University, Rutgers University and University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Alexander was accepted to DePaul University.

While college acceptance is an enormous hurdle to jump, school leaders said they know their job isn’t done; they want to make sure the students actually attend.

To that aim, King said, staff made sure that every student has completed the dreaded Free Application for Federal Student Aid, lest the red tape deter them.

Later in the year, the school plans to hold a college signing day where every student is to sign a promise to go to college, he said. Staff will stay in touch through the summer and hopefully in the first years of school.

“We don’t want to send them off and say, ‘Call us when you’re ready to make a donation to your alma mater,’ ” King said. “If we fulfill our mission, that means they not only are accepted to college, but graduate from it.”

For now, students are enjoying the glow of reaching their immediate goal.

Normally, it takes 18-year-old Jerry Hinds two buses and 45 minutes to get home from school. On the day the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana was to post his admission decision online at 5 p.m., he asked a friend to drive him to his home in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

He went into his bedroom, told his well-wishing mother this was something he had to do alone, closed the door and logged in.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” he remembers screaming. His mother burst in and began crying.

That night he made more than 30 phone calls, at times shouting “I got in” on his cell phone and home phone at the same time.

“We’re breaking barriers,” he said. “And that feels great.”

This is incredibly moving.

We swear we’re not soft, but keeping it all the way 100 — somebody pass us some tissue cuz we really just might cry y’all.


More Stories From Bossip


  • aleximaq

    THANK GOD!!!!! Some good news about Black men…bout time…

  • DreTruth

    Yes praise GOD – I don’t expect less.

  • UrHeinessDaQueen

    Congrats & wish them much more success!

  • knowledge773

    Chicago stand up!

  • Wendy

    This is fantastic! I love it!!!

  • attagirl

    This is the type of positivity we need to see as a black community. Black men take your places!

  • Carolyn

    This has made my day and proof that when we set our minds, anything is possible!!!! Amen!!

  • Ray


  • Don'tGiveAWhat


  • breeze

    great job!

  • fckedup patrol

    congrats! need more stories-and young men–like this

  • Shanell

    Yes, Yes, heellllll YEEESSSSS!!!!

  • real black is chocolate

    My Congratulations to brothers!

  • http://perryone779@yahoo,com a rose by any other name # 9304026339482056536 ™

    About time Chicago got recognizes for the good folks there…MIDWEST aint all that bad!! i know!! Go Chi-town!!

  • Apo6

    This is a great accomplishment, its a shame that more light is not shed on Victory for this depressed Wacka Flacka Chicago ravaged War torn area. Black MEN STAND UP !!! And hopefully the c-o-o-n-e-r-y of being stupid will die, and these young men will become leaders and fulful their true destiny…

  • chocalatetunda


  • The "Original" Brown Hornet

    And finally some good news…

    CONGRATS young men CONGRATS!!

    This might be the Marva Collins movemnt for the new Millenium

  • DMO

    Good and why can’t these parents talk to the idiots who let their children just grow up by themselves, and become convicts and gang members.

  • Ms. EJ

    I’m so proud and God is so good. CONGRADULATIONS MY BROTHAS!!!!!!! May God continue to bless you 🙂

  • Tish

    I cried…this story is very moving. Makes me so proud!!! BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL…

  • Human Racist

    It starts with the youth… start posting more positive stories like this and lay off of the ones with Lil’ D I C K head and his minion of buffoons!

  • GOD...

    …THANK YOU!!!

  • Butterscotch™

    Nice to read some positivity! Congrats, youn men!

  • Well Done!

    This is what happens when you have good parents who take an interest in their child’s education and well-being…they excel. They will win at life and be better able to cope and make a positive contribution to society. Even if you only have one parent you can still go a good job raising children if you are nuturing and place their needs above your own. Education Education Education is the best way to lift yourself out of poverty.

  • Nut Sack

    Some good news. Plus my friend go to this school his a Junior.

1 2 3 8
blog comments powered by Disqus