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All 134 graduates of predominantly black high school were accepted to college and offered $50 million in scholarships

In all the countries — Southland College Prep Charter High School in Richton Park, Ill., is celebrating the 11th consecutive year that all members of the senior class have been accepted to college.The school announced at its annual “All In” event in April that the class of 2024 at the predominantly African-American school in Chicago’s south suburbs had been offered $50 million and scholarships based on merit and need. The Class of 2024 is expected to exceed $60 million in scholarship offers, according to administrators.

Southland seniors have been admitted to some of the nation’s top colleges and universities, including valedictorian Knyiema Martin, 18, of Matteson, who was accepted to 28 schools and offered more than $5 million in scholarship offers based on merit and need. Martin, who earned a 4.89 GPA on a 4.0 scale, was named a Gates Millennium Scholar, the third student to receive this prestigious scholarship in the school’s history. Martin plans to attend the University of California at Berkeley and major in psychology.

Southland College Prep’s Class of 2024 has been accepted to several of the top 50 national universities and liberal arts colleges in the United States, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of California-Berkeley, University of California Southern, Stanford, Northwestern, Columbia University, Vanderbilt, Howard University, University of Chicago, The University of Michigan, Barnard College, Wellesley College and many other institutions of higher education.

The Class of 2024 faced a more stressful college admissions process than usual due to issues with the rollout of a new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form that delayed offers of financial aid to universities, said Robert Lane, Southland’s principal. college admissions.

Despite FAFSA delays and the challenges of their high school years during a pandemic, members of the Class of 2024, the school’s 11th graduating class since its founding in 2010, have made remarkable achievements, according to school administrators. ‘school.

“Our students have been faced with unprecedented challenges and they have taken on each one and largely overcome them,” said Dr. Blondean Y. Davis, Southland CEO.

Dr. Davis, who is also superintendent of Matteson School District 162, said that when she founded the school in 2010, opponents told her that “students from our area would not be able to get to the Ivy League or to the best schools in the country.”

Fourteen years later, not only are students admitted to these schools, but Davis said it’s important that students also have the financial means to stay in school. Davis noted that Southland’s first graduating class, the Class of 2014, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year and that many alumni from that first class have graduated from college, graduate school and started careers in law. health, education and the army.

“This is what happens when what seemed impossible becomes a reality and a vision is realized,” Davis said. “This is what happens when a community’s dreams for its children come true. »
Collectively, Southland’s 11 graduating classes have earned more than $400 million in merit and need-based scholarships, according to Lane.

“These college admissions and the financial aid and scholarships these students have worked hard for and earned represent hope for the future not only of these students and their families, but also for our suburban communities South,” Lane said.

Lane said admissions to top schools are important, but it’s just as important that each member of the class finds a school that’s a good fit. For example, Lane said, several seniors have been accepted to historically black colleges and universities, including Howard, Spelman, Morehouse, Xavier University of Louisiana and Hampton, and a record number of Southland students have been admitted to one of the best universities in the country. , North West.

Every year since its first class in 2014, Southland, whose enrollment is not selective but chosen by annual lottery, has recorded a 100 percent college acceptance rate.

For press inquiries, contact Monica Fountain, director of communications, Southland College Prep Charter High School at [email protected] or 708-203-5023.