Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
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Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (locally known simply as Whitney Young) is a public 4–year magnet high school and middle school located in the Near West Side neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Young is operated by the Chicago Public Schools district. Young opened on September 3, 1975 as the city's first public magnet high school. The school is named after Whitney Moore Young Jr., a prominent African-American civil rights leader.
|Whitney M. Young Magnet High School|
211 South Laflin Street
|School district||Chicago Public Schools|
|Principal||Joyce Dorsey Kenner|
|Athletics conference||Chicago Public League|
The Chicago Public Schools announced plans for a public magnet school on the city's Near West Side in mid–1970. A proposal by community residents called for a high school to be built at 211 S. Laflin, which was an empty lot that had been burned out during the riots following the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. The school opened on September 3, 1975, as a selective enrollment school under the leadership of the school's first principal, Bernarr E. Dawson.
The founding staff 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. The staff met for months unpaid in the unused John Phillips Sousa school building while the Young building was under construction.
Admissions and Academic CenterEdit
Admission to Young is granted based on entrance exam performance, standardized test scores, and elementary school grades, and is open to all residents of Chicago, Illinois. The school consistently scores among the top high schools in the U.S. state of Illinois. In 2009, Young was awarded the Blue Ribbon Award.
The 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, Honors World History 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.
Science Bowl and Math TeamEdit
The school's Science Bowl Team won the Regional National Science Bowl Championship in 2016 and 2017. They advanced to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., representing the city of Chicago. Notable achievements include placing first in the Division Team Challenge at the National Finals in 2016. Young 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. The team won the 2013 and 2014 4AA Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Championship and finished second and third in 2015 and 2016 respectively. This four year streak is often considered the golden era of Young's math team.
The Academic Decathlon team has been the Illinois State Champions for 27 out the last 28 years and finished second place in the nation in 2012. During the 1995 Illinois State Championship, 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 Young. The situation involving the two schools was dramatized in the HBO film Cheaters.
A two-student debate team from 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.
Young competes in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). Young sports teams are nicknamed "Dolphins". Young has 52 athletic teams of 12 different sports. The boys' basketball team won the IHSA state championships four times (1997–1998, 2008–2009, 2013–2014 and 2016–2017). The girls' basketball team won the state championship three times (2007–2008, 2011–2012 and 2013–2014). The girls' tennis team won the state championship in 2017. The schools' chess team won the IHSA state championship four times (2010–2011, 2012-2013, 2013–2014, and 2015–2016).
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 Young Company") has performed such works as Tommy, 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 Young students worked to organize the student body and find faculty and administration support for the Gay Pride Club.
2009 investigations into admissionsEdit
In September 2009, Whitney Young principal Joyce Kenner and Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott were called to testify before a federal grand jury investigating how students were chosen for admission to Chicago's elite public schools. According to a July 21, 2009, subpoena released by school officials, prosecutors sought the names of students who applied to be among a select group of students hand-picked by principals of schools. The subpoena also sought e-mails and other correspondence with "public officials" about applicants. Two alderman acknowledged that they asked Kenner for help securing admission to the school for relatives and constituents. 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.
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- Anthony Sparks, playwright and television writer/producer (The Blacklist, Queen Sugar).
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