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Landmark Graduation Held at Perspectives-Calumet High Schools in Auburn Gresham

(L-R) Perspectives co-founders Kimberlie Day and Diana Shulla-Cose take heed to the historic and first graduating class of Perspectives Calumet High Schools (Liberal Arts and Technology). Joining them are Shulla-Cose's son, Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church, and Rhonda Hopps-Perspectives' new CEO.

Ernest Sanders

Gleaming faces of excitement and unbelief filled the 1500 seat auditorium (at capacity) as 110 graduating seniors traveled down the processional aisle to the celebratory musical selection, Pomp and Circumstance.

“My child did it,” exclaimed a proud parent. “I just can’t stop crying,” a dad evoked during the announcement of his son’s name during the exchange of the diploma. "Oh I am so proud of my baby," a grandmother expressed as a stream of tears flowed from her eyes. 

(L-R) Perspectives Vaedictorian's Marquita McBride (Cal High) and Sade Johnson (Cal Tech) sit proudly on the main stage as they are prepared to give life changing remarks about their educational experiences at Perspectives.

Ernest Sanders

Formerly occupied by Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Calumet High School, Perspectives-Calumet High School graduates cleared hurdles of pessimism by becoming the first graduating class since the former Calumet High School’s last graduating class of 2006.

Because its incubation into the Calumet campus, Perspectives has provided its students a ‘College for Certain’ environment to ensure an unprecedented number attend various colleges and universities throughout the country. See a list of colleges and universities the students have been accepted to date.

A daunting task, Perspectives faculty and staff with support from stakeholders like Ernst and Young and the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation – GADC, overcame academic, health, social service and income support barriers by not only graduating its students, but also by projecting and accomplishing the following milestones: 

Anthony (Tony) Anderson, Vice Chair and Midwest Managing Partner for Ernst & Young LLP encourages Perspectives' 2010 high school graduating class what resource they are and can be to the world.

Ernest Sanders

  • Perspectives projects that 100% of our Perspectives Calumet High School and High School of Technology seniors will graduate this year, and of those, 95% are expected to attend college next fall. 
  • More than 70% of the graduating class has already been accepted to at least one college. Nearly all the college attendees will be first generation college students.
  • Perspectives projects a near 75% graduation rate for students who attended one of the Calumet high schools over the past four years.
  • Perspectives improve the educational outcomes for students in Auburn Gresham, where the previous graduation rate in 2004 was 35% over five years, and where few graduates went to college.
  • To date, Perspectives-Calumet 2010 graduates have earned over $1.5 million in scholarships.

Perspectives-Calumet High School principals (L-R) Christina Page and Tony Pajakowski (Cal Tech) and Glennese Ray (Cal High) warmly receive remarks from Tony Anderson from Ernst and Young about the success of the 2010 graduating class.

Ernest Sanders

There are numerous other activities, programs, and committees that contributed directly to these impressive outcomes. These include direct intervention from the Perspectives-Calumet’s Transactional Advisory Committee and their recommendation of Perspectives Charter Schools to CPS; civic support from Aldermen Howard Brookins (D-21) and Latasha Thomas (D-17), and State Senator Jacqueline Collins (L-16) and State Representative Mary Flowers (L-31).

Other key highlights that contributed to the Perspectives’ success include four comprehensive strategies from Auburn Gresham’s Quality of Life plan. They are:

  • Improve the quality of education for people in all ages and help students and parents maximize the school experience.

Perspectives-Calumet high school graduates share a proud moment in their pioneering efforts to become the first graduating since 2006.

Ernest Sanders

  • Strengthen support systems for health and social services, safety and workforce development.
  • Make enjoyment of the art, culture and open space part of the Auburn Gresham way of life.

  • Promote Auburn Gresham through a broad-based publicity program. 

It’s really evident that these accomplishments are the result of a village participating in the nourishment and sustainability of one of its most important assets. Congratulations to the first graduating classes of Perspectives-Calumet High Schools – Cal High and Cal Tech.

Click here to view a slideshow of the heartfelt moments of this historic event.

Posted in Community Highlights


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