Posts Tagged ‘Graduation

12
Apr
10

Prepped for Success

As I sat watching television this weekend, most news coverage was devoted–and rightly so– to the recent deaths of the the Polish President, his wife, and among over 90 other politicians and military leaders in a horrific plane crash near Smolensk, Russia. It was early Saturday morning when the news broke, sending alerts to the Iphones of friends who were present with me at the time. Immediately, we felt a sense of grief. The mere thought of the loss of human life is saddening, but an accident such as this that claimed the lives of so many that an entire country look to for leadership–and above all, their most iconic figure? I couldn’t imagine the sense of loss.

In looking for some brighter news, however, I came across this story watching CNN last night, which apparently ran in the Chicago Tribune last month.

At Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men in Chicago, 100% of 2010’s graduating seniors have all been accepted into a four-year college. The school, which was opened in 2006  is the first of its kind. It is public, non-selective, and targets only African-American males based on a random lottery of applicants. This year’s graduating class contained only 107 seniors, but the school has grown in size since this year’s graduating class began matriculating through the first four years of its existence. The school is currently negotiating charters for other academies in locations that Tim King and its other community founders deem in need.

A location like Englewood is an unlikely for the success that the prep school has seen. The community, which suffers from high crime rates, gangs, poverty, drugs, teen pregnancy, and low high school graduation rates provided the Urban Prep Academy with a freshman class in 2006 in which only 4 percent of students read at their grade level.

This year, each and every senior will stand against statistics which claim only 1 in 40 young black men complete college. According the Academy’s home page, however, all 107 college-bound graduates will earn degrees at the the completion of their prospective university’s requirements. By assisting in ways that very few other high schools do, such as assigning every freshman a college advisor, providing a mandatory advanced-placement course-load, and providing tutoring around the clock, this school has clearly developed a model that gets results. A strict dress code provides a final coat of polish for the young professionals.

The reward for their news-breaking accomplishment? A future that many may not have seen or even imagined possible otherwise. Oh! And this year’s senior prom will be free for all graduates.

31
Mar
10

Senioritis

As I strolled across Hampton University’s campus today, I experienced an elated sensation of accomplishment. It was freeing, uplifting, and unexpected in the way it entered my body on the tail-end of a breath of warm air that filled my lungs. Exhaling, I experienced a momentary high, brought about, undoubtedly, by a combination of sunny skies, the cool and calm solitude that surrounded me, and the ever-present knowledge of my soon-to-be future. I’m leaving this place in little more than a month. For the past three and a half years, I have claimed a shared dorm on this campus as my temporary residence. I have attended plenty of classes, skipped a few others, and generally attempted to give my undivided attention to whoever it was presenting their interpretation of the course’s subject matter to the class. I have eaten side-by-side with hundreds of other undergraduate students in the same crowded cafeteria day in and day out, asking for little more than my neighbor to pass the ketchup. But on May 9th, I will ask for something more. Something I’ve earned.

My degree, my diploma, and my ticket outside of the walls of this tiny community called Hampton University and into the “real world.” But first, I must tackle a beast much greater than any obstacle of mundaneness that these past three years have set before me. This challenge will be greater than any I’ve faced as course-work for any number of classes led by the “hard” instructors. It has already proven to be a more imposing foe than any social situation could produce in the form of meeting new people or approaching a lovely young lady. It’s called Senioritis, and it has struck me hard and deep.

If you haven’t noticed, my posting has slowed.

I’m trying desperately to shake this affliction and re-rail my train of thought back on a track that will lead me through the gates of graduation with an honest desire to keep this thing going. I can only hope. In the mean time, however, I’ve found this type of writing to be therapeutic. It helps reveal to me that not everything I’ve accomplished during these past three years has been all towards the purpose of a good grade. This blog, I truly feel, is an expression that belongs to my passion for communication and my tendency to do so in abundance. In other words, this is fun.

I found this excerpt from the entry in Wikipedia for the term “Senioritis.”

Studies and Solutions

“To claim the term senioritis to be one of recent origin ignores the events on college campuses of the 1960s. Many public school administrators in the 1970s felt that changes in family and community life had failed youth in their transitions to adulthood. Writers like James Coleman, Chairman of the President’s Panel of Youth, urged changes in the high school curriculum to address the problem of senioritis. These concerns gave rise to the implementation of a “Senior Semester” in many high schools throughout the country, which allowed Seniors to spend time outside of the school or attend seminars in their specific interests. In 1974, for example, McKeesport High School in Pennsylvaniareceived a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to establish a “Senior Semester” Program.

The College Board, the National Youth Leadership Council, and other youth-serving organizations suggest that there are many ways schools can help young people make the most of their senior year instead of succumbing to the temptation to take it easy once graduation is assured. Giving young people opportunities to make their academic work more meaningful throughservice-learning, or other forms of experiential education, can increase students’ academic aspirations.

Some students who are experiencing senioritis believe that they can simply “get it out of their system” by taking weeks off at a time. This is a fatal error when dealing with this disease. It causes the near instant destruction of the grade point average, followed by the deflation of the student’s reputation with professional staff. This is because laziness is an addiction, and feeding it only causes it to become worse, exacerbating the condition of the afflicted individual. Senioritis has no theorized cure, and although research is being done there seems to be no slowing of the constant increase of infections as time goes on. Experts in the field recommend that teachers “leave the kids alone,” and “just give them A’s” especially in the difficult subjects (such as physics and chemistry) in order to discourage the active destruction of the classroom environment by those severely infected individuals. Some teachers who attempt to curb senioritis have been subject to horrible pranks from mischievous students, including but not limited to, surprise birthdays, flatulence noises in class, and random pencil breaking.”

I don’t know about the flatulence, but I do know that if sufferers of Senioritis need one thing–its rest. I’ll be out on the waterfront recovering.




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