Chicago Students Defy the Odds

All Urban Prep seniors admitted to a four-year college or university

“Being in a jacket and tie every day makes me feel important,” said Darelle Banks who will be attending Penn State in the fall. “On my way walking home, people would call me a nerd. But it didn’t bother me because I knew I was about to accomplish great things in my life.”

Banks got the news of his acceptance to Penn State via Facebook. He received a message from a Penn State admissions counselor that read “Call me right away.”

“When he told me I got in, I was really happy. I even cried,” recalled Banks, who intends to major in business management and dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Although math is not his strongest subject, he’s ready for the challenge.

Banks’ classmate, Milan Byrdwell, learned of his acceptance to the University of Rochester in New York state after coming home from hanging out with friends.

“The letter was the first thing I saw when I walked in the door,” said Byrdwell, who intends to major in mathematics and/or engineering. “It brought tears to my eyes because it felt so good to be accepted to such a great university, and to see how all the work I had put into it had paid off.”

Upon graduating from the University of Rochester, Byrdwell wants to become a math teacher for a couple of years to give back to his community, before pursuing his engineering career.

“I was coal at my old school. But Urban Prep gave me that pressure to make me into a gem,” said Byrdwell.

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  • Shelby J

    This article has re-inspired me to not give up hope for my young nephew and not to give up on myself! I feel enlightened! Thank you BE and Chicago-Urban Prep, keep it going!