Urban Prep Academy hosts inaugural graduation

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Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men held is inaugural commencement Saturday at the UIC Forum. The all-boys public charter school graduated 107 seniors who are all accepted to four-year colleges. Defender/Worsom Robinson

Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men held their first commencement ceremony on Saturday. The school captured the national spotlight earlier this year when it announced that 100 percent of its graduates had been accepted to college.

The charter school is the country’s first all-boys charter public high school.

Urban Prep was founded in 2002 by a group of African American education, business, and civic leaders, led by Tim King, founder of the school, who came together to start a non-profit organization designed give local residents the tools to succeed in college and to build a better future for themselves. After two unsuccessful attempts in 2005 to open the school, the non-profit organization was approved to open a school under the Renaissance 2010 initiative. The school then opened in 2006.

At the time that the school first opened its doors, only four percent of students read at grade level. Today, Urban Prep’s graduated seniors have received more than 3 million in grants and have been accepted to more than a hundred colleges.

Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., delivered remarks at Saturday’s ceremony, along with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-1st. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, addressed the commencement via videotape.

Last August Urban Prep opened its second school in East Garfield Park neighborhood. Later this year it will open a third school in the South Shore area.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender.

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