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104 Students Celebrate College Acceptance With A White Sox Game

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U.S. Cellular Field (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

U.S. Cellular Field (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (WBBM) — Urban Prep High School Wednesday honored its 104 Englewood campus seniors with a day out in a White Sox skybox, because every one has been accepted by a four-year college.

WBBM’s Bob Roberts reports that Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and Sox GM Kenny Williams were among those who congratulated them.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts Reports

It is the second consecutive year that the Englewood campus has achieved that distinction.

Mayor-elect Emanuel praised the collective effort of students and staff, and said Chicago’s public schools could do well to emulate the positive reinforcement that is one of Urban Prep’s hallmarks.

White Sox General Manager Williams said Urban Prep’s 100 percent graduation rate was one of the few things that could make him smile the morning after Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano threw a no-hitter against the Sox.

Emanuel says every Chicago high school can learn from Urban Prep, with its emphasis on studies and the expectations it builds of success:

“We need the culture of expectation (that says) you’ll be going to college,” he said.

Each of the students took a turn at the microphone, many telling how many schools had accepted them in addition to their choice.

Many were accepted by a dozen or more schools. Alfonso Henderson was accepted by 31.

“It made a decision very tough,” he said.

First, Henderson said, he narrowed his choices from 31 to three. He took summer courses at Wheaton College, but ultimately decided that he would attend Denison University, where he intends to major in political science and economics.

Other students said they would be attending schools such as Cornell University, Syracuse University, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Michigan, as well as the full complement of state universities in Illinois.

The most popular choice was Kentucky State University.

Emanuel said the positive reinforcement and heightened expectations are only two facets of Urban Prep’s model the could work in any Chicago Public School.

He said that he wants to institute a program in which every student suggests possible career choices and colleges as early as the sixth grade, with an update in the eighth grade and each year of high school.

Student Deontae McLachlan said his decision to go to the University of Rochester was easy compared with the every day rigors of Urban Prep.

“The work that went into it — the countless hours of studying math and social studies, countless revisions of papers and essays, countless hours getting tutoring from my math teachers and my science teachers, getting advice — there was a lot of effort making sure that I was prepared as possible,” McLachlan said.

Urban Prep is a boys-only charter school, but Emanuel said he is open to the idea of public high schools that are restricted to boys or girls only.

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