Chicago Urban Prep School celebrates 'College Signing Day' with entire graduating class accepted into college
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CHICAGO (WLS) — It seemed more like a college draft day than a high school tradition as graduates of this year’s senior class at Chicago Urban Prep were celebrated.

For an incredible 13th consecutive year, all of the school’s seniors have been admitted to a 4-year college or university.

“It has not been easy, but it’s been great all four years,” said Dorian Hill, a Chicago Urban Prep graduating senior. “College Signing Day means so much to me, just so we can change the narrative of young Black men not attending college.”

The 18-year-old is heading to Texas Southern University to study aviation management. He was accepted into dozens of schools and was offered over a million dollars in scholarships.

RELATED: College finance tips to avoid relying on student loans to pay for school

Dressed in blue blazers and gold-stripped ties, all 159 seniors from the school’s Englewood, downtown and Bronzeville campuses gathered in Daley Plaza for the afternoon ceremony.

In all, seniors at the all-boys public charter high school were admitted to 412 different high learning institutions with over 1,300 college acceptances, and received more than $18 million in scholarships and grants.

RELATED: Black woman named valedictorian nearly 40 years after high school graduation

“It’s one of our rituals. [It’s] particularly important because we haven’t been able to do it for two years although all of our seniors were admitted to college last year and the year before, but because of the pandemic, we weren’t able to publicly celebrate,” said Tim King, Founder and CEO of Chicago Urban Prep.

The signing part of signing day comes when each senior writes his name and the college he’s attending in a book the school calls their “Credimus Book.” Credimus is Latin for “we believe”.

The book has been signed by every graduate since the academy’s first graduating class in 2010.

RELATED: 26 Chicago high school students celebrate College Decision Day, $11.5M in scholarships

“I’m just so excited for him. I just am,” said Krystele Matthews, parent of a graduate. “I feel like he has a really bright future, like the skies the limit for him.”

Matthews couldn’t be prouder of her son Charles Byres IV, who offered this advice.

“It’s very difficult being young and Black and a man. “It’s easy to be like everyone else, but is hard to be different, so the things Urban Prep taught us is to be ourselves and believe in ourselves,” Byres said.

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