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Southland College Prep honors Straight A scholars who are told to “dream big”

Southland College Prep honors Straight A scholars who are told to “dream big”

Southland College Prep Charter High School honored 34 students who earned straight As during the first and second grading quarters and the semester during a luncheon at Holiday Inn Matteson in January. Students received golden apples to mark their accomplishment.

National award-winning columnist, journalist, publisher, author and university professor John W. Fountain addressed the students and encouraged them to “dream big.”

“Remember to dream your dream,” Fountain said. “You are free to dream your dream. Dream big. Dream big beyond imagination. Dream of limitless possibilities.”

Southland’s first semester honor roll, of students with a 3.0 GPA and higher, totals 344 students, more than two-thirds of the school’s enrollment.

In twelve years since its founding, Southland, located in Richton Park, has established itself as one of the high performing schools in the state of Illinois. Since 2018, the Illinois State Board of Education has issued annual designations for schools across the state with the exception of 2021 when they were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Southland is the only charter high school of 69 in the state of Illinois to be designated exemplary, the highest designation, all four years.

“These students have excelled despite the challenges,” said Dr. Blondean Y. Davis, Southland’s CEO and founder. “We are proud of their achievements. Excellence is our expectation and our students are meeting those expectations.”

This year’s Straight “A” CEO Scholar luncheon was a return to an in-person event after celebrating honor roll students virtually for the last few years. Last year, Fountain also was the guest speaker and addressed Southland honor roll students live via two ZOOM sessions on different days from Accra, Ghana where he was a Fulbright Scholar.

Fountain, a journalism professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago, spent last year teaching at the University of Ghana and doing a research project: Africa Calling: Portraits of Black Americans Drawn to the Motherland.

Fountain shared with the honorees his life story of growing up in poverty on Chicago’s West Side to becoming an award-winning journalist. Fountain, who is a parent of two Southland alumni, also told students about Southland’s history and success.

“Southland was once just a dream, a faint hope,” Fountain said. “Twelve years later, here you are–tangible fruit of the dream. Proof of hard work and excellence.”

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