Sunday Short: Urban Prep Success Story

Now here is a story I would like to see highlighted on CNN's Black in America 3 (but probably won't). In Englewood, one of Chicago's roughest neighborhoods sits the charter school Urban Prep. It was announced last week that all 107 seniors were accepted into college. Every. Single. One.

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.

The school is also going to assist the students in securing financial aid and follow up in summer to make sure they get 100% attendance. I wish this was front page news everywhere. Real life stories of snatching triumph out of adversity deserve the spotlight. So they are getting it here. Congratulations young gentlemen. Well done.