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University Of Chicago Offers Free College Workshops For Students Kept Out Of Class By Teachers' Strike

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago teachers' strike is affecting families in more ways than one – with not just the present, but potentially their futures too.

CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported talked with some inspiring students and mentors Friday who are showing up to make dreams come true.

"My first place – my dream school – is Northern Illinois," said high school senior Maze Patrick.

Patrick's eyes light up when he talks about his college dreams. But like many of his classmates, he hadn't been in school for seven days as of Friday – and the missed time is costing them.

"I was going to go initially to my school's writing center, but unfortunately, because of the strike, I wasn't able to go," said high school senior Steffany Donis.

Nov. 1 is just around the corner, which means those early-action application deadlines are too.

But rather than stay at home, students like Donis and Patrick came to the one of the free college workshops held by the University of Chicago. The workshops were held at the Walker Museum on the U of C campus in Hyde Park, and at branch libraries in Rogers Park, Chinatown, and Back of the Yards.

"Everything was thrown together almost like the last minute," said college aide Yujie Huang, "and we had to play by ear, because we didn't know how long the strike was going to last."

But the organizers said they are not taking sides in the strike. Instead, they are focusing on those whom the missed classes affect the most – the students.

"They need someone to read over their college personal statement, and they need someone to look over their supplemental essays, and look for scholarships – so we're just trying to do whatever we can to support them in that capacity."

They wanted to make sure that anyone who wanted to show up and get help had a place to start.

"Just today, we had young people writing about how they want to reform the health care system, and how they want to bring in more athletes of color into the sport," said program coordinator Will Herald. "I tell everyone Chicago kids are going to save the world."

Meanwhile, yet another impact from the strike – the Chicago Public Schools confirm that ACT testing is canceled at all 6 sites this weekend.

However, the ACT is not required as an assessment for Illinois schools, and ACT said it is working with affected families.

Friday marked the seventh school day of the strike. Teachers marched in the Loop and in Grant Park – and seemed poised to attempt to march on Lake Shore Drive, but police blocked off the Drive as the teachers approached on Balbo Drive. The teachers later turned back west and then headed north on Michigan Avenue.

Later, CTU President Jesse Sharkey said the union had seen some progress during a long day of bargaining. With only a few issues remaining, the CTU and CPS have reached "stuff that matters the most, but is the hardest," Sharkey said.

Sharkey said there were no "critical breakthroughs," but he said the two sides are at a point where there is "not a huge number of issues."

Negotiations will continue through the weekend, Sharkey said.

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