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Urban Prep Again Sending All Grads To College

UPDATED 03/30/12 10:21 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An all-male charter high school on the South Side is celebrating Friday, as once again, all its graduating seniors have been accepted to four-year colleges.

As WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya reports, this is the third year in a row that every graduating senior at Urban Prep Academy – 85 of them – has been accepted to four-year colleges or universities.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya reports


Most of the students came in four years ago with a lot against them. They are African-American and male, and they come from poor Chicago communities.

But now, all of the 85 graduating seniors are off to college. Vernon Cheeks, 17, was accepted to 14 colleges.

"It taught me how to be resilient. It also taught me how to be accountable for my own actions,' he said.

Principal Dennis Lacewell says the keys to the school's success are high expectations and having a culture that expects students to go to college.

"The third line in our creed that we say every day is, 'We are college bound,' so from freshman year all the way through senior year, they're saying that every day," Lacewell said.

Lacewell says 83 percent of the Urban Prep class of 2011 is still in college – a figure higher than the national average.

The Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men, at 6201 S. Stewart Ave. in the Englewood neighborhood.

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