Defying the odds of many of their counterparts, National Collegiate Preparatory Public Charter High School (National Prep) is having an academic signing day event for sixty (60) seniors who will be presented to the public. Over 150 community members, family and friends are expected to attend this first ever event.
While it is common for athletes to receive a signing day, it is not so common for graduating high school students. National Pep is recognizing academics and putting the accomplishments of its seniors on a pedestal for all to see. The seniors are wearing clothing and/or have banners representing the colleges and universities they will be attending. “The most important thing for us to do is to show these students that they matter, and that their academic success and college acceptance is worthy of celebrating. Our students come from the most economically challenged ward in the District of Columbia where just coming to school and going home daily can be a life or death situation. Last fall we lost a stellar graduate, Zoruan Otto Harris, to street violence as he was pushing citizens out of the way of a gunman at the Dorsey Day family event. We cannot afford to lose any more of our children. We want the community to join us in celebrating our students’ passion, dedication and perseverance over enormous odds and temptations to which they are exposed on a daily basis,” said Dr. Maurice Douglas, Electives Department Chair, Music Director and Senior Class Coordinator.
During the ceremony in the atrium, students will present the university or college of their choice. This year marks the first Ivy League selection for National Prep. Additionally, other universities include: Cornell University, University of MD, Virginia State University and top ranked HBCUs including Howard University and Hampton. Female students will be pinned and male students will be presented with a gold tie.
National Prep was founded to intentionally provide inner-city children a nurturing environment and an opportunity to go to college and to obtain a middle-class life. Compared to National Prep’s 100% graduation and college acceptance rate, the District of Columbia has graduated an average of 60.2% of its high school population over the last five years. National Prep students often remark about the ‘family environment’ of the school and how the ‘teachers and staff really care about you’. “What we believe is they [the students] get a first-rate private high school education here for the price of a uniform. We support them academically, socially and emotionally, because teenagers need additional support,” states Jennifer L. Ross, Founder & Executive Director. Completing high school with a diploma is no small feat for many students entering National Prep performing at a 3rd and 4th grade reading level. National Prep defines success as students completing high school and graduating within four years, as well as completing college and graduating. This year also marks the first college graduation year of National Prep’s inaugural class of 2013!