I remember being a little arrogant in my first newspaper job when I saw that the local high school was pretty wound up over a National Merit Scholar graduating one year -- between my school and our crosstown rival, we notched 14 such scholars the year I graduated. Yes, I was one of them, and if you want to say that my presence on that list is a sign that some National Merit Scholars take standardized tests well but then don't don't exactly live up to that promise once they arrive on campus, I can't disagree. I have, after all, seen my GPA.
Anyway, the young men in the Class of 2011 at Chicago's Urban Prep Academy for Young Men bested our record, in terms of its seniors being accepted into college, by a long long way. Every one of the 104 class members has been accepted to college, for the second year running. And four years ago, when these guys started school at UPA, only eleven percent of them could read at their own grade level.
They take English twice a day, they go to school for two hours longer than their non-UPA peers and they have to wear a coat and tie to class every day. They abide by a specific code of conduct. Their teachers and staff are available to make the same extra effort the students make in order for the young men to succeed.
Our hats, should we be wearing them, are off to the UPA Class of 2011. Heck, with the kind of effort these guys are used to putting forth, I wonder if college will challenge them at all.
(H/T The McCarville Report)