Inner city students to take multi-city college tour

April 12, 2013 2:25:21 PM PDT
One hundred percent of the 2013 class at an inner city school on the city's South Side has been accepted to college and awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships.

Friday the school surprised the junior class with a college tour to visit a number of cities and colleges.

Fifty high school juniors from the Young Women's Leadership Charter School thought they were coming to class for a meeting and were surprised with a college tour sendoff party Friday morning.

The students will embark on an eight-city tour this weekend visiting a number of colleges, the United Nations, the Bronx and Times Square.

"My principal gave us the opportunity to do this, it is really amazing," said Bibe Manuci.

"Now i get to actually see the colleges," said student Kira Mangum. "In class we go to the website, but now I will actually be there and experience things that college students experience."

For many this is their first trip outside of Chicago and they are the first in their family to be attending college.

"I want to go to UIC close to home, but I think it is going to be a great experiment," said student Cindy Accetturo. "Maybe I might choose one of them."

Fifth Third Bank is a sponsor of the trip and Friday's party. They provided the girls with backpacks stuffed with goodies, and "cake bus," an inspired cake that looks like the bus they will ride.

"These young girls are going to be able to travel throughout the Unites States to different communities and see firsthand the colleges they may actually attend one day," said Fifth Third Bank Vice President Melissa Overton.

When seventh graders come to this school, they immediately learn that college is not negotiable. It is the only option out there and the school strategically prepares them for college.

"We begin and end everything with the end result and that is college," said principal Deniece Fields. "We thought the only way the girls can really become excited about going to college is getting them on the campus."

"I did not expect it," said student Samantha Reader. "I was really surprised."

At the event students also learned what to look for in a college, questions to ask and considerations in making their college choices.