Positively Chicago: Free Science Program Paying Off For Chicago Twins

(CBS) — Their grades are great and test scores near perfect.  They’re the Cain twins, 14 years old and on their way to a magnet high school.

What’s made them special and given them the edge?  They will say the Chicago Pre-College Science & Engineering Program, known as “Shy-See.”

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports it’s Positively Chicago.

If you’re a parent, they might make you envious: With no cajoling from their mom and dad, they delay fun and do their homework.

“I usually finish it here during lunch. I don’t have to do when I get home.” says Kayla Cain.

It’s just the way Kayla and Alexis Cain go about their business.

“I like learning about new things, mostly about math,” Alexis says.

The eighth-graders at Kenwood Academy are straight-A students, and both earned near-perfect scores on the CPS Selective Enrollment test.

“They know the importance of education. I’m blessed in that. They’ve always seemed to just enjoy it,” their mother, Kris McDonald, says.

Their education and enjoyment are both enhanced at the Chicago Pre-College Science & Engineering Program. Kayla and Alexis have been attending Saturday classes since they were nine, foregoing the type of fun some of their friends may have been enjoying on the weekend.

“We were learning things about design and how to build a bridge to make sure it’s stable,” Alexis says.

The program is the brainchild of Kenneth Hill, a longtime educator trying to help young minorities master math and science, without charging them a dime.

“They begin to develop self confidence that they can do this,” Hill says.

The twins’ father, Edward Cain, says participants are doing science projects every weekend whereas their peers might do one project a year.

Alexis and Kayla are starting Whitney Young this fall –no doubt continuing their hard work with a big assist from Ken Hill and his program.

“I think it’s incredible. To do that for free for so many students says something about the type of person he is and how much he cares about the community,” McDonald says.

The Chicago Pre-College Science & Engineering Program goes from kindergarten to 8th grade, and it’s totally free. For more information or to make donations contact info@chiprep.org.

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