Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012)|
|Whitney M. Young Magnet High School|
|211 S. Laflin Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60607
|School type||Public magnet high school|
|School district||Chicago Public Schools|
|Principal||Joyce Dorsey Kenner|
|Grades||7-12 (including Academic Center)|
|Athletics conference||Chicago Public League|
Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (commonly known as Whitney Young) is public 4-year magnet high school located in the Near West Side neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is operated by Chicago Public Schools. Whitney Young opened on September 3, 1975 as the city's first public magnet high school. The school consistently scores among the top high schools in the U.S. state of Illinois. In 2009, Whitney was accorded the Blue Ribbon Award. Admission to Whitney Young is granted based on entrance exam performance and elementary school grades, and is open to all residents of Chicago. Admissions are based on academic grades, standardized test scores, and entrance exam results. The school was named after Whitney M. Young Jr, a prominent civil rights leader.
Plans for a public magnet school on Chicago's Near West Side began in 1970. A proposal called for a high school to be built at 211 S. Laflin on an empty lot burned out during the riots following the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968. The school opened on September 3, 1975, as a selective enrollment school under the school's first principal, Bernarr E. Dawson. The founding teachers developed and planned the initial curriculum and policies for the school: Joe Korner (English), Jory Chelin (Math), Melanie Wojtulewicz (Science), Larry Minkoff (Social Studies), Roger Stewart (Tech), Sandra McKinley (Librarian), and Dr. William Marshall (Hearing Impaired). The Principal's Secretary was Lillian O'Neill. They met for many months unpaid in the unused John Phillips Sousa School Building while the Whitney Young facility was being constructed.
The Whitney Young High School Math Team competes in several local and national competitions, including the City of Chicago Math League, the North Suburban Math League, the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics competition, the American Mathematics Competitions, and the Mandelbrot Competition. They are the winners of the 2013 4AA Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Championship.
The Academic Decathlon team has won many city and state titles and has finished as high as second place in the nation. At the 1995 Illinois State Championship, Whitney Young was outscored by the team from Steinmetz High School, though it was later revealed that Steinmetz had obtained a copy of the test in advance. The Steinmetz team was stripped of the title and it was awarded to Whitney Young. This was dramatized in the HBO film Cheaters.
A two-student debate team from Whitney Young won the National Forensics League National Speech and Debate Tournament in policy debate in 2010, becoming the first team from an urban debate league to achieve a national championship. Whitney Young also won the NAUDL Chase Urban Debate National Championship in 2010.
Whitney Young has 52 athletic teams of 12 different sports. The boys' basketball team won IHSA state championships in 1998 and 2009. The girls' basketball team won the state championship in 2008 and 2012.
The Whitney Young Streaming Radio Station, known as WY Stream, was started on December 9, 2004 to showcase the achievements of students and staff. Stream TV was added in 2006, and includes shows about the school, as well as news clips and internal features. The Whitney Young theater company ("The Company") has performed such works as Tommy, Les Misérables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Beethoven's Last Night, Moulin Rouge!, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and West Side Story.
In 1996, several students worked to organize the student body and find faculty and administration support for the Gay Pride Club. One of the organization's founders later became a member of the Chicago School Board. Also, students were inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. The Whitney Young Chess Team won the IHSA state championship in 2010-2011.
The Academic Center
The Whitney Young Academic Center is an accelerated program for seventh and eighth graders. Seventh and eighth graders are immersed in an intense high school experience, taking courses for high school credit. Classes include Honors Algebra I and Honors Environmental Science in seventh grade, and Honors Geometry, Honors Survey of Literature, and Honors Biology in eighth grade. In addition, students are allowed to select up to two elective classes each year. There are many extracurricular programs for the students who attend the Academic Center, including basketball, cross country, track and math team.
In 2011, the Academic Center cross country team was the first of both boys and girls in CPS (Chicago Public Schools) to qualify for the Illinois Elementary School Association. The boys' team then went on to win the state championship for that year. In 2012, Keduse Worku went on to qualify for the IESA track competition, earning 1st place in the mile with the time of 4:43 and 3rd place in the 800m run.
On October 29, 2005 Whitney Young celebrated 30 years of providing education in Chicago. In conjunction with the school's celebration, known as Project 30, the school kicked off the "A Bridge to the World" campaign to raise $300,000 in funds to enhance the school's programming, development and facilities.
Investigations into admissions
Whitney Young principal Joyce Kenner and Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott were subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury investigating how students were chosen for admission to the elite public schools. School officials released copies of a July 21, 2009 subpoena demanding the names of every student who applied to be among a select group of students hand-picked by principals of the elite high schools. The subpoena also sought e-mails and other correspondence with "public officials" about applicants. Kenner testified before the federal grand jury in early September 2009.
In 2011, the Chicago Public Schools Inspector General recommended that selective enrollment schools reevaluate their use of "principal picks". Several political figures had used their influence to secure their children's admission into schools like Young. Kenner responded that she had used her principal picks on a wide range of students, and that only one of those students in 16 years had failed to graduate.
- Katrina Adams, tennis player
- Sharif Atkins, actor
- Dominique Canty, WNBA basketball player
- Don Franklin, singer, actor
- Joan Higginbotham, NASA astronaut
- Santita Jackson, singer and political commentator, daughter of Jesse Jackson
- Marcus Jordan, college basketball player, son of Michael Jordan
- Arlene Limas, first American to win an Olympic gold medal in taekwondo, 1988 Olympics
- Russell Maryland, NFL football player
- Lucas Neff, actor on Raising Hope
- Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
- Tonya Pinkins, actress
- Quentin Richardson, NBA basketball player
- Craig Robinson, actor and comedian
- Anthony Sparks, playwright and television producer
- Ethan Stoller, composer
- John Tobias, creator of Mortal Kombat
- Andy and Lana Wachowski, film directors, writers and producers, most famous for creating The Matrix series
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