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Urban Prep Sending Every Grad To College Again

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Urban Prep Academy Students

Students at Urban Prep Academy in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood celebrate the fact that, for the second year in a row, 100 percent of the school’s graduating seniors will be going to college. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – More than six of every ten African-American boys will not graduate from public high school in Chicago, but at a high school in one of city’s poorest neighborhoods, every single black student is headed to college.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports it was cause for celebration Wednesday, as every single student at Urban Prep Academy in Englewood was about to graduate and go to college.

It was a pep rally and a great big public pat on the back as the school celebrated its amazing achievement on Wednesday.

“As of today, 100% of the students in the glass of 2011 have been admitted to four year colleges and universities,” Urban Prep founder Tim King announced Wednesday.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

For the second in year in a row, every member of the Urban Prep Academy’s senior class is now college-bound.

How much of an achievement is that for the Englewood school? Ask senior Cedric Abdul Hakeem.

Asked what percentage of the young men in his neighborhood were going to college, Hakeem said, “Very, very, very small.”

City officials said that 60 percent of African American boys drop of high school in Chicago. The percentage is even higher in Englewood.

But Hakeem was planning to attend Grinnell College in Iowa.

“It means a lot. When I told my mom and my family, they said ‘Oh, my God, you got into Grinnell,” he said.

From the time they’re freshman at Urban Prep, students are told “you will prepare to go to college.”

“We worked hard at creating a culture and environment in which these young men really understand the importance of college and are willing to work hard to achieve that goal,” King said.

On Wednesday, Mayor Richard M. Daley addressed skeptics who, years ago, wondered if it could be done in Englewood.

“The facts are the facts. These young men are going to college here in Englewood,” Daley said.

Every day, every student at Urban Prep wears a red tie. On Wednesday, the college-bound seniors got red and gold ties, but they were told it’s just the beginning.

Of the 107 Urban Prep graduates who have gone on to college, 101 were still in college as of this year. The other six students were enlisted in the military or employed in full-time jobs.

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