Academics, COVID-19, Park Forest, Scholarships, Schools, Science

All 136 Members of Southland College Prep Class of 2020 Accepted by Colleges

Robert Lane, ( top center frame) director of college admissions and alumni relations, conducts a virtual “ All-In” event for Southland College Prep’s 136-member class of 2020. Every member of the class has been accepted to college with a school record of offers of more than $ 60 million in merit-based scholarships.
Robert Lane, ( top center frame) director of college admissions and alumni relations, conducts a virtual “ All-In” event for Southland College Prep’s 136-member class of 2020. Every member of the class has been accepted to college with a school record of offers of more than $ 60 million in merit-based scholarships. (Southland College Prep)

Richton Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Southland College Prep’s traditional “All-IN” ceremony to celebrate that every member of its class of 2020 has been accepted to college with a record number of merit-based scholarships, went virtual on the Internet today.

“All 136 seniors of Southland College Prep Charter High School’s seventh graduating class have been accepted by colleges and universities, with a record $60 million in merit-based scholarships, said Dr. Blondean Y. Davis, CEO of the only charter high school in Illinois to earn the highest designation of exemplary.

“Collectively, all seven Southland College Prep graduating classes have been offered $ 200 million or more in scholarships,” Dr. Davis added.

“In this unprecedented year, marked by school closures, the loss of so many traditional rites of passage, our seniors have made extraordinary accomplishments, said Dr. Davis.

“Despite the many challenges imposed to maintain the health and safety of all during this historic pandemic, our goals have remained the same—that every Southland senior graduate, is admitted to a four-year college or university and has the financial resources to attain a bachelor’s degree,” Dr. Davis explained.

Members of Southland College Prep’s first seven graduating classes  have been accepted by all eight Ivy League schools, all top 10 U.S. News & World Report national universities, including 46 of the top 50 ranked national universities and 8 of the top 10 ranked liberal arts colleges. 

Merit-based scholarships of $ 1 million or more were offered to 24 members in the class of 2020, including two students, Laniah Ephraim and Raul Rosas, who received offers of $4 million and seven others who were offered $ 2 million or more.  

Among the top-ranked members of Southland College Prep’s class of 2020 are three seniors, Micah Drigo, Anuoluwapo Ifeoluwapo Solola and Tochi Ufomba, all with 4.82 GPAs who will be class valedictorians.

Micah Drigo,17, of Park Forest, Illinois, plans to attend Stanford University. She also has been accepted to Harvard University, University of Illinois, Swarthmore College, Pomona College, Smith College and Spelman College with total offers of $ 2 million in merit-based scholarships.

The daughter of a native Chicagoan and a native immigrant from the small island of Dominica, Micah is graduating at a young age, just turning 17.  Her interests include, architecture, music, chorus, mathematics, and language.  She is a Southland Choir section leader and vice president.  Gifted at mastering multiple subjects and skills, Drigo has never earned anything less than an “A” her entire academic career.  Her first order of business at Stanford will most likely be forming a band so she can sing and play piano. When forced with the tough decision to choose between Harvard, Stanford, Smith, Spelman, and Pomona–as always for Micah, it was “easy!”  

Anuoluwapo Ifeoluwapo Solola , 18, of Olympia Fields, Illinois also plans to study at Stanford University where she will pursue a mechanical engineering degree.

Solola was also accepted to Georgia Tech, University of Illinois, Harvey Mudd College, Cornell University, Emory University and Howard University and received offers of a total of $ 1.5 million in merit-based scholarships. 

As the heartbeat of the class and president of Southland’s National Honor Society chapter, Solola is active in improving the school community and dedicating a great deal of her personal time to service. She is an avid trumpet player and one of the stars of Southland’s band. In the spirit of NASA’s human computer, the late Katherine Johnson of “Hidden Figures” fame, Solola wants to break barriers and help usher in ethnic and gender diversification in the engineering profession during her studies at Stanford University.  

Tochi Ufomba,18, of Matteson, Illinois, plans to major in political science and is interested in a career in medicine. Although undecided at the minute, he has been accepted to the University of Southern California, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, Brown University, Washington University and the University of Notre Dame.

A prolific writer and thinker, Ufomba and his family are deeply committed to faith via the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  He is most proud and inspired by his experiences visiting his native Nigeria and can talk domestic and global politics all day long.  In terms of outreach and greater purpose, he, his family, and his church have helped engineer large humanitarian projects, delivering over $50,000 in medical supplies to Africa.

Other high achieving members of Southland College Prep’s class of 2020 are:

Laniah Ephraim, 18, of Chicago Heights, Illinois, plans to study biomedical engineering and fashion design at the University of Southern California. She was accepted to Wellesley College, Georgia Tech, Emory University, University of California, University of Virginia and Fordham University.

Laniah is a first-generation college student who was a star volleyball player, fashionista, and respected for being an intellectual giant at Southland.  She was offered more than $4 million in scholarships and has a personal mission to help discover the cure for infertility someday.

Kayla Fletcher, Kyra Fletcher, 18, of Matteson, Illinois are identical twins who have a strong intellectual capacity and engaging personalities.   The Fletcher twins have stood near the top of their class since the very beginning of high school. Earning scholarship offers of nearly $4 million combined, Kayla is headed to Macalester College and Kyra will enroll in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Malik Fountain, 18, of Olympia Fields, Illinois, plans to study mechanical engineering at Columbia University in New York City.  He also was accepted to Brown University, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon and Washington University and earned total offers of more than $2.5 million in merit-based scholarships.

Fountain has played the alto saxophone since fourth grade. A two-time MVP of Southland’s cross- country team, Fountain is a captain of the team, a member of Southland’s band and the  National Honor Society chapter. Despite his multiple commitments, Fountain founded a musical group that played at area nursing homes as a tribute to his late grandmother. 

Fountain’s dream is to help develop new technology in prosthetics and become the real life “Tony Stark.” 

Kailah Hester,17, of Matteson, Illinois, plans to study qualitative social science and biology at Dartmouth College. She was accepted to the University of Illinois, University of Missouri and Hofstra University.

Hester is a QuestBridge Scholar, one of the nation’s highly regarded scholarship programs, which offered her a full, all expenses paid, four-year scholarship to Dartmouth College.  At Dartmouth she will be studying under the umbrella of one of the nation’s oldest and prestigious institutions for a potential career as a scientist and researcher.  Her sister, Alayna, was a member of Southland’s class of 2017.

Khalil Jefferson,17, of Olympia Fields, Illinois plans to enroll at New York University.

He was accepted to Occidental College, Carleton College, Fordham University, University of Illinois, Morehouse College and Xavier University of Louisiana. He has been offered $ 2 million in merit-based scholarships.

A former resident of Detroit and Chicago and a nephew to the legendary Malcolm X, Jefferson came to Chicago’s south suburbs for high school and has always remained his own person.  A huge fan of Southland’s Model United Nations program, he is fascinated with global issues and has traveled extensively in the Midwest with the UN team.  As a young man who loves discussing politics, new school hip hop, skateboarding and creative writing, Jefferson plans on finding his path at NYU, recognized as one of the most “global” universities in the world with campuses also in Paris, Dubai, and Ghana.

Autumn Johnson,17, of Richton Park, Illinois, plans to study biology at Johns Hopkins University. She also was accepted to Grinnell College, Emory University, New York University, University of California – Santa Cruz and Occidental College. Her merit-based scholarship offers total $2 million.

A first-generation college student, Johnson says she was inspired by a middle school science teacher and has never looked back.  Determined to gain access to the best places to study and research science, she amassed near-perfect grades.  While at first planning to go to California and begin her path to become a dermatologist, she passed up several attractive West Coast university offers to attend Johns Hopkins University which she holds in high regard because of its significant reputation in medical research and its current herculean effort to combat COVID-19.  

Ashley Meeky, 17, of Richton Park, Illinois, plans to enroll in Vanderbilt University to study international relations and economics. She also was accepted to Washington University, Claremont McKenna College, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, Tulane University and Spelman College. Meeky received offers of $ 3 million in merit-based scholarships.

Meeky qualified in the Illinois State High School Association tennis competition all four years of high school and is ranked number 12 in the state.  An ultimate self-starter and innovator, during high school, Meeky founded her own hair care business and started an organization committed to raising awareness among teens about domestic violence.  Her dream is to see the world and explore similarities and differences between cultures–and earn a living while doing so.

Raul Rosas,18, of Richton Park, Illinois, plans to study agricultural engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the school’s College of ACES –Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences.

Obsessed with finding the right school and being an attractive prospect for many schools, Rosas was accepted to over forty colleges and universities and offered more than $ 4 million in scholarships.

Among Rosas top choices were Case Western Reserve University, Penn State University, University of Florida, University of California-Davis and Ohio State University.

A first-generation collegian, Rosas has had a fascination of how things work since a child.  His motto “anything worth doing is worth overdoing” – is a mantra his grandfather instilled in him. Rosas believes his work ethic places him where he is today.

Southland College Prep Charter High School Background

In the ten years since its founding, Southland College Prep High School has established itself as one of the high performing high schools in the state of Illinois. Among its achievements are:

  • Southland is the only charter high school in the state to earn an “exemplary” designation by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for two consecutive years. Exemplary status is awarded to the top 10 percent of the state’s high schools.
  • Southland is the only public school in Illinois of any type with a population that is more than 90 percent African American to be ranked exemplary, according to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.
  • Southland’s first seven classes’ graduation rates have been 100 percent.
  • Southland is ranked among the top 100 high schools in Illinois for the third consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report.

Southland College Prep’s enrollment is drawn through a well-publicized annual public lottery open only to residents of the Rich Township District 227 school district in Chicago’s far south suburbs. Admission to Southland is on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to race, ethnicity, disability and religious preference. Enrollment is non-selective. The only criteria for admission are successful completion of elementary school and residence in District 227.

The school’s enrollment is capped at 600 students by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Located in a former corporate call center renovated into a fully wired 21st century schoolhouse, students earn 30 credit hours, eight more than are typically required of traditional high school graduates. Southland College Prep operates on a European-Asian school model nine-hour school day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week. The college prep curriculum is rigorous with a strong emphasis on math, science, technology, language and fine arts. After-school extra-curricular activities include sports, speech and forensics, band, chorus, dance and service projects.

In the fall of 2018, a new Performance Arts Center opened, consisting of a state-of-the-art band room accommodating more than 200 musicians and remodeled chorus and dance studio spaces. While not a performing arts school, more than half of Southland’s enrollment is engaged in dance, band, strings, choir and speech extra-curricular activities.

A new multi-purpose Fieldhouse, adjoining the Performing Arts Center, is currently under construction and scheduled to open in the fall.

This is news from Southland College Prep.