A Cause for Hope

As we struggle to build a better future for our youth, it is important that we take time to recognize the large and small successes that transpire in our schools every day.

Just this past week, two of our open-admissions high schools have given us reason to celebrate. Sci Academy held a Senior Signing Day to honor the accomplishments of its first graduating senior class. Over 94% of their 55 graduates were accepted to a 4-year college. And Lake Area New Tech Early College High School reported that 100% of their 125 graduates were accepted to either a 2 or 4-year college.

For these two high schools,

  • Over 90% of their graduates will be the first generation in their families to enter college. More than 95% qualify for free or reduced lunch. At Sci Academy, 10 entered high school on a waiver, having failed the 8th grade LEAP.
  • Their seniors have been awarded over $2 million in financial aid and scholarships.
  • Graduates of both schools received acceptances from local favorites, such as Tulane, Loyola, UNO, Xavier, and Dillard, but also from out of state schools such as Amherst, Sewanee, Vassar, Wesleyan, Smith, Boston University, Middlebury, Millsaps and Bard College.

When the levees broke in 2005, the graduating class 2012 was in middle school. Their lives and their education were disrupted. Yet, they have reached higher levels of academic attainment than ever before.

Our young people continue to face many challenges. Over the past few days, this was once again made painfully clear when the lives of two promising young KIPP students, Brandon Adams and Christine Marcelin, were cut short by the violence that has plagued our community for decades. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and the KIPP community.

We have lost at least 7 students this year to the violence of the streets. Providing our students with better educational and lifetime opportunities is critical to breaking the cycle of violence that has stolen too many lives. The success stories of Sci Academy and Lake Area New Tech Early College High School give us hope.

As we mourn the loss of these young lives, let us honor their memory by resolving to fight even harder to see that the youth of our city are given the necessary tools to live out their dreams.