Governors State University provost Deborah Bordelon (from left), Andrea Kidd, student Ian Katiku, Blondean Davis and Asia Jenkins pose during a recent school board meeting during which Katiku and Jenkins were feted. | Supplied photo by John Smierciak
Updated: January 23, 2014 6:18AM
Half of Southland College Prep Charter High School’s first commencement class has received early admission to top-ranked colleges and universities, and seniors had been awarded $1.2 million in college scholarship and merit funds as of mid-December, according to a press release from the school.
“Southland seniors have been accepted on an early-admission basis to 40 colleges and universities to date, including 22 private institutions,” school college counselor Ron Anderson said in the release. “Among the acceptances are nine of U.S. News & World Report’s 50 top colleges and universities: Columbia, Vanderbilt, Pittsburgh, St. John’s, Purdue, Monmouth, Kings College, Coe College and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.”
Ian Katiku, 17, of Park Forest, and Asia Jenkins, 17, of Olympia Fields, each received scholarships valued at $260,000 for four years of undergraduate studies at Columbia University and Vanderbilt University, respectively, the school said. A dozen of their classmates earned four-year renewable scholarships averaging $52,000 each, and others have received as much as $25,000 from colleges and universities.
“These college scholarship awards aren’t just about money — they offer something far more valuable — a hope for a future,” Southland College Prep CEO Blondean Davis said in the release. “The substance and size of these scholarship and merit awards to Southland seniors by first-rate higher education institutions, coupled with early admission to quality colleges and universities, are proof that our dream is becoming a reality.”
Southland’s students competed in a public lottery to earn one of 500 seats in the new charter school that opened in the fall of 2010 to serve nine south suburban communities.
“At Southland, students spend a nine-hour European model school day pursuing a rigorous academic curriculum of science, math, technology, foreign languages and fine arts that earns them 32 credits — more than one full year (extra) of courses (than) completed by most other Chicago-area high schools in the course of four years,” Davis said in the release.
Jenkins, a member of Southland’s National Honor Society chapter, plans to pursue chemical engineering, the release said. Outside of her high school activities, she has been active with Girls4Science and Project Syncere, two independent nonprofits that are focused on encouraging girls to focus on science, technology and engineering. Jenkins also is a volunteer at Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side.
Katiku, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, is treasurer of Southland’s National Honor Society chapter and active in the school’s Interact Club, which organizes and executes service projects for people in need. He also is an award-winning member of Southland’s speech team. Last year, Katiku placed second in Impromptu Public Speaking in the IHSA Regional tournament and took third place in Extemporaneous Speaking. He plans to pursue a career in finance and economics.
Admission to Southland College Prep is based on successful completion of elementary school and residence in District 227’s four elementary school districts, which include Country Club Hills, Flossmoor, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park and Tinley Park.
The school is at 4601 W. Sauk Trail Road, Richton Park.
The school’s first graduation is scheduled for May 24 in the Harris Theater at Millennium Park in Chicago.