March 19, 2009
Vol. 28 No. 12

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    Competitive program prepares high school students for college

    By Julia Morse
    News Office

    The University’s Collegiate Scholars Program will graduate 48 Chicago Public Schools seniors in its 2009 class. All have applied to many of the top schools in the country, and while some await acceptance letters, others have heard the good news of acceptance into four-year colleges and universities.

    The Collegiate Scholars Program’s Class of 2009 continues to set the bar high, just as their predecessors have done.

    “With each graduating class, I am so sad to see them go and so proud of what they have accomplished,” said Kim Ransom, Director of the Collegiate Scholars Program. “This particular class is full of creative, active, assertive leaders—a truly exceptional group of young men and women.”

    The 48 Chicago Public Schools seniors in the Class of 2009 have applied to some of the country’s top schools, including 15 who applied to Chicago. Other schools include Cornell, Harvard, Northwestern, Stanford and Yale universities, the University of Michigan and Spellman College.

    Although most final decisions have not yet been made, several Collegiate Scholars already have been accepted to some of their top choices, including Victor Scotti, a senior at Morgan Park High School, who is celebrating an early acceptance to Stanford University.

    Other students have been offered scholarships, including three students who have been given Posse scholarships, which provide four-year, full-tuition to a select group of students from around the country. Established in 1989, the Posse Foundation partners with high schools and colleges to identify outstanding students. Recipients of these awards have a 90 percent college graduation rate.

    In the Collegiate Scholars’ Class of 2009, Yonas Zewdie has received a Posse scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin, and Gabrielle Kelenyi and Ivette Guadarrama have received Posse scholarships to attend Pomona College.

    Established in 2003 for Chicago Public Schools students, the Collegiate Scholars Program is a free enrichment program. During the year, students participate in classes, tutoring, academic programs, community service and college preparation events. Many students also take classes at the University—something Ransom says is an excellent way for them to get excited about an undergraduate education and to prepare for life after high school.

    Ransom noted that members of the Class of 2009 have completed courses in the College, worked in the Medical Center and have studied entrepreneurship at Chicago Booth.

    The Collegiate Scholars Program is extremely competitive, and receives more than 600 applications annually from high school ninth-graders. About 50 students from each sophomore, junior and senior class are accepted into the program.

    “Our program started strong and is continuing to get stronger every year,” Ransom said. “Year after year, we are proud to see our mission of inspiring Chicago Public Schools students to reach their greatest potential turning into a reality.”

    Of the 154 current Collegiate Scholars, 64 are African American, 22 are Asian, 36 are Hispanic and 64 will be the first in their family to attend college.

    “To be able to provide a platform from which to grow, it is a privilege for me when I see these brilliant, talented young men and women make history in their own families,” Ransom said.

    For the first time this year, Collegiate Scholars raised money to help fund visits to 11 college campuses, including Georgetown University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    In May, the Collegiate Scholars Program will co-sponsor a graduation celebration with the Chicago Public Schools to honor the Class of 2009.

    Additional information about the program is available at http://collegiatescholars.uchicago.edu.