Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The POWER of a TIE

At Urban Prep Charter Academy in Chicago, the only public, all male, all African-American school in the area, the students have a strict dress code.  The ensemble consists of khaki pants, black blazers, and red ties.

There is only one exception to the rule.

A student may switch to a red & gold tie once he has been accepted to a 4 year college or university.

This year the entire senior class, 107 students, have traded their red ties for red & gold ties.

Yep, its true.  The entire senior class has been accepted to, as of now, 72 different college/universities throughout the United States.  This is also the FIRST graduating class of the school since it first opened in 2006.  WOW!!  Urban Prep is a charter school that uses the "lottery" method to select students for enrollment, from discouraged neighborhoods.

As an entering freshman each student recieves a college conselor and a wrist watch.  Watches are given to signify part of the school's creed, "We make no excuses".

So far the students have also recieved $2.2 million in scholarships and grants.  Students and parents are required to attend workshops on how to gain finacial aid, to help pay for college.  The charter school is funded by the help of private donations.

The student's response to longer school hours (8am-4:30), strict dress code, and double english requirements, just to name a few things that distinguish this school from others, has been positive.

After all, who wants to be the only high school senior wearing a RED tie near the end of the school year?

Im excited about this school, and will try my best to keep track in four years to see how many make it through.  I know it has gotten harder and harder to pay for higher education, and its a shame that money is the reason so many people miss out.  This story is exactly what TALKSTILLCHEAP wishes to exemplify.  Tim King, and other educators, had a vision, set out to accomplish it, and BEAT THE ODDS!!!

NOT only did they speak about change in 2002, but they produced change by opening their first school in 2006 and graduating their first class in 2010 with 100% of the students, African American Males, accepted to a four year college/university.  NOW their Talk was NOT CHEAP :)

KNOW SOMEONE backing up their talk with some action?  Email me at  I would love to hear about them, and place their story on the site.

Morehouse launches FIRST Pride Week

Next week, March 21st - 27th, Morehouse College will hold its FIRST ever Pride Week.  The week is being brought to campus by an organization by the name of "Safe Space".  Safe Space is an organization on Campus that seeks to create an alliance between "straight" and "gay" students.

This announcement has not gotten a lot of media attention.  In fact, as of now the entire week's agenda has not been disclosed to the public.  I am not sure if this intentional or not. You may recall a post I did a while ago on a new dress code implemented on Morehouse's campus that banned the wearing of heels, durags, and other "inappropriate" clothing.  Since the new policy some have noted that the atmosphere has changed, a noted divide between the students.

One confirmed event, via twitter, is March 23 at 6:30, B. Scott will be speaking on campus.  B. Scott is a popular openly gay man, who has become famous due to his blog site , that focuses on celebrit news and fashion, he also has a youtube channel. 

My Alma Mater, Spelman College, also celebrtes Pride Week.  Safe Space is also active on other campuses.  However, I've seen some mixed reviews about Celebrating Pride at Morehouse.  I think that has a lot to do with the legacy of the college (Alumni such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Spike Lee) and the fact that the college is all male and primarily African American.

What do you think?