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  • From Gang Life To College Graduate: Inner-City Charter School Celebrates First College Graduates

    Jamil Boldian, Krishaun Branch, and Rayvaughn Hines are all recent college graduates–something that seemed nearly impossible just four years ago. The three young men are products of some of the worst environments, from the rough streets of Inglewood, California to Chicago, Illinois.

    Hines, Boldian, and Branch are also among the first of Urban Prep Academy’s all male charter school to earn a bachelor’s degree.

    Founded in 2006 by Tim King, Urban Prep Academies schools have seen all 167 of its seniors accepted into a college or university. Some 85 percent of the students at Urban Prep’s campuses come from low-income families and many of the students start at least two grade levels behind where they should be. 

    Many of these young men find themselves juggling financial hardships and academic deficiencies, while also struggling with loneliness and self-doubt.

    Branch, hails from the notoriously dangerous California area known as Englewood.

    In fact, most of Urban Prep’s graduates come from profound impoverishment. These young men are raised in destitute inner cities–neighborhoods where shattered families and unwed (regularly teenage) mothers produce unruly youths, who often perpetuate a crime culture that sucks up so many men.

    That’s a harsh reality that King says he is more than familiar with. However, Tim King says he makes a pledge to his incoming students that says: If they stayed disciplined and dreamed big, they’d get into college. And sure enough, every member in the Class of 2010, the school’s first, was accepted into four-year schools.

    It’s impossible to know exactly how many Urban Prep grads there are. King won’t release the number of four-year graduates until the end of 2014. But King told the Associated Press that the number will certainly exceed the 15.6 percent national average for young black men.

    EraseAs the battle for school choice wages on, Urban Prep Academy’s all male charter school proves itself as a perfect example (literally) that kids can escape lawlessness, pressure to drop out, and drug abuse and go on to achieve and compete academically.

    And men like Tim King are proof positive that under the right leadership, an academic course correction is possible in America.


    Jerome Hudson

    Managing Editor

    Jerome Hudson has written for numerous national outlets, including The Hill, National Review, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was recognized as one of Florida’s emerging stars, having been included in the list “25 Under 30: Florida’s Rising Young Political Class.” Hudson is a Savannah, Ga. native who currently resides in Florida.

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