Signing Day

Urban Prep graduates pick their school on Signing Day. — Chicago Defender

The Urban Prep legacy continues.

For the 10th consecutive year, 100 percent of the seniors at Urban Prep – all African-American males who come from mostly low-income families – have been admitted to four-year colleges and universities.

Their annual College Signing Day event was held at Daley Plaza in Chicago, where the students announced their college decisions in front of Urban Prep staff, family, alumni, and supporters.

Urban Prep Academies’ Class of 2019 has 150 seniors from three campuses. The ceremony included a speech from Tim King, Founder and CEO of Urban Prep Academies, an award presentation and the graduating seniors coming to the microphone one-by-one to announce their college decisions.

“We’re real proud of these guys and the fact that they’ve been able to have this level of success at Urban Prep and across the country. They really defy the stereotypes that Black boys aren’t going to be able to get to and through college,” said Tim King.

At Urban Prep, seniors are presented with red and gold striped ties throughout the year to commemorate their acceptance to four-year colleges and universities.

During Signing Day, the students ceremoniously put on a baseball cap representing the college/university they intend to enroll in the fall. Since 2017, the hats have been donated by Top of the World Hats.

This year, in addition to providing hats for the graduating class, they awarded a scholarship to Class of 2019 member, Kierre Purches who was admitted to 34 colleges—more than any other senior across the network of schools.

Urban Prep’s legacy not only boasts 100 percent college acceptance, but also college completion and career readiness. Urban Prep graduates outpace Black males in Chicago and nation-wide in college enrollment, persistence and completion, both locally and nationally. Upon earning their college degrees, several Urban Prep alumni have returned to Urban Prep as mentors and full-time employees.

Graduates from the network have entered careers in teaching, higher education, healthcare, finance, advertising, communications, IT, social work, music and entrepreneurship.

Urban Prep’s students are changing the narrative for young Black men from one of negative stereotypes to the real story of success. Purches plans to enroll in Indiana State University in the fall.

“I really appreciate my experience and the things I had to go through to get where I am now. And I feel like if I wouldn’t have gone to Urban Prep, I wouldn’t have achieved this goal,” said Purches.

Students from the Class of 2019 have been admitted to 162 different four-year universities, including the University of Rochester, Georgetown University, DePauw University, Howard University, Gettysburg College, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Morehouse College and the University of Virginia.

Urban Prep seniors have received more than 770 college admissions and $10 million in scholarships and grants to date. — (Chicago Defender)

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