Chicago teachers strike adds stress for high school students applying to college

CHICAGO (WLS) -- High school seniors applying to college early have a crucial November 1 deadline, and many rely on their teachers for input and recommendations, things they don't have access to during the teachers strike.

Because it's such a busy and important time, students hope both sides can come to a deal soon.

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Strike days have allowed Whitney Young senior Ari Karafiol to give his dog many more walks, and while his black lab Juno is happy, missing school makes Karafiol worried. He is in the process of applying to eight colleges.

"It's a stressful time, I've got a to-do list a mile long for each of these schools," he said.

Fine-tuning his college essay is a priority, and Karafiol said he could definitely use some input from his teachers.

"I'm definitely missing mentorship from teachers and what they give in my college application process, and that is hard," he said.

Fall is a busy time for high schools. The strike has forced Whitney Young and many CPS schools to cancel and delay important events. Whitney Young's open house for prospective students, originally scheduled for last weekend, has been delayed until November. PSATs were rescheduled for juniors. College representatives originally scheduled to visit this week now have to come at a later date.

"It's a lot of rescheduling we, as principals, have to do within our system, but we are going to do everything we need to do in order to make sure our students aren't negatively impacted," said Dr. Joyce Kenner, Whitney Young principal.

However, AP classes must stick to a schedule no matter how long the strike lasts, according to Dr. Kenner. That adds to Karafiol's stress too; he's in three AP classes.

"It's definitely stressful knowing we will have to come back and make up those days and move quickly, it's hard to do that without losing something," he said.

For seniors who have been in the Chicago Public School system the whole time, this is their second strike. Karafiol said while it is stressful to be away from school, he would rather have the strike go longer if it means getting the right contract to avoid more strikes in the future.
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