Academy of Scholastic Achievement
Spring-Summer 2014




From the spoken word presentation to the speaker's address, the social and economic justice theme of the Academy of Scholastic Achievement was on display at the graduation in June.

    Thirty-eight graduates and their families listened to remarks of hope and encouragement by keynote speaker, the Honorable R. Myles, Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, who cautioned that the justice system has become too punitive and needs to consider the social factors behind the behavior of young people who come before the court. ASA student Demetrius Ware delivered "Gun Play," the spoken word piece that won him attention at the 7th annual Chicago Youth Film Festival. Valedictorian Takeeyah Liggins and Salutatorian Ronisha Johnson offered words of inspiration to their fellow graduates.

       As a commencement highlight, each class was presented by its homeroom teacher who offered the graduates words of wisdom and encouragement. The standing-room-only gathering at the beautiful Columbus Park Refectory joined graduates in smiles and tears of joy and appreciation at this important accomplishment.  

Culminating Event Covers Wide Range of Topics 



All over the school in late May, students stood and presented their final projects for the Culminating Event, an end-of-school year wrap-up of all their research and learning. The topics ranged from planning for future economic success to crime, from determining what is deviant behavior to understanding different perceptions of Chicago, from exploring the social reasons behind drug abuse to examining its actual physical impact on the body and the brain. All topics tied into ASA's theme of social and economic justice. 

Students Work on Anti-violence Campaign  

Fifteen ASA students get a chance to voice opinions about violence in their community and come up with ideas for a campaign to stop it. The students are part of a pilot program sponsored by Austin Coalition on Healthy Lifestyles (ACHL) and administered by Prevention Partnerships, Inc.


Consultant Adam L. Bates lead students through the process of creating a communication campaign to counter violent images in music, television and video aimed at youth. "This is a youth-driven initiative to develop a campaign to stop the violence, a strong and aggressive campaign" that could include posters, videos and social media, said Bates.


He met with ASA students in May to begin the initial phase of the pilot: orientation, discussion of violence in the community, and career training in the form of free access to Career Cruiser, an on-line career development program.


During the discussion, students talked about the cycle of drugs and money that results in violence, as they came up with creative communication ideas to counter the violence.


The pilot program, which operates out of 12 locations including ASA, ends on June 30 when students will have ideas that can be polished for a professional campaign to spread the message against violence. Bates is anticipating that the program will get funding for a full-year project. The anti-violence message of the campaign aligns with ASA's theme of social and economic justice.

 Nancyann Adams, Sabrina Jones, Jacquel Weeks and Dyamond Deeds are among 7 students working this summer with Workforce Connection. 



Seven ASA students will be working this summer through Workforce Connection, a program of Goodwill Industries of Metropolitan Chicago. Students will be part of event service team members for several concerts, special events and sporting events throughout Chicago, including Navy Pier, Lollapalooza, Chicago Fire, and Soldier Field. In early May, the students went for a preliminary interview and were invited back for a job fair where they learned they had been hired for their summer jobs. Among the job requirements: friendliness, a sense of professionalism and strong communication skills. Students will work in a variety of customer service positions, including security. Students say they look forward to earning money this summer and maybe checking out some concerts and other events. The lucky students are: Jacquel Weeks, Sabrina Jones, Nancyann Adams, Tabitha Reece, Keiarra Coleman, Dyamond Dees, and Tareia McMahan.

Dual Enrollment Program Offers College Credit
Even before graduating,
Dyamond Dees, LaShai Gholston and Takeeyah Liggins are among four students who will graduate with college credits.
some ASA students had already earned college
credits, thanks to a dual enrollment program through City Colleges of Chicago. Dyamond Dees, LaShai Gholston, Ronisha Johnson and Takeeyah Liggins all earned three college credits for a business class they took at Dawson Technical Institute.

The class focused on basic business structure and practices, encouraging students to become entrepreneurs. For Dees, the chance to take a college class while still in high school was a "fun experience. It was challenging and beneficial." Gholston and Liggins say the class provided them with insights into college life.
The dual enrollment program is sponsored by Youth Connection Charter Schools (YCCS), offering high school students a "jumpstart on earning college credit," says Ms. Campbell, ASA counselor. The program "reduces the time and money students need to spend" on college. To participate in the program, students need to be in good standing, have a solid academic record, and demonstrate the responsibility necessary to attend a class outside of ASA.

Dees, Gholston, Johnson and Liggins are all graduating seniors with plans to go on to college -- with three credits already earned.

Volume: 6   Issue: 2 
In This Issue
Culminating Event Covers Wide Range of Topics
Students Work on Anti-violence Campaign
ASA Students Hired for Summer Jobs
Dual Enrollment Program Offers College Credit
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ASA students Albert Franklin, LaShai Gholston and Demetrius Ware (along with film instructor Whitney Smith) picked up the award for the best film at the Chicago Youth
Community Film Festival. The students' film "Beauty and Brains" tied for first place in the competition, sponsored by Alternative Schools Network and Community TV Network.   




ASA won second prize in the Youth Connection Charter School (YCCS) competition to register youth to vote. The competition was part of the 2014 Civic Engagement Initiative, recognizing the nation's long and hard-fought history of civil rights and voters' rights movements. The idea is to get youth engaged in the process, to understand and appreciate the privilege of voting rights. ASA registered more than 100 students during the campaign. As the second prize winner, ASA received $100 gift cards for five student registrars and a $500 gift for the campus.


ASA Featured in Video for ASN Website
In late May, a videography crew visited ASA to film student Takeeyah Liggins for a video for the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) website. Liggins was one of a number of students chosen to share their experiences with alternative schools. The video will promote the mission of ASN and the important role that alternative schools play in providing choices for public school students in Chicago. 


Raffle Brings In Funds for ASA 

Students drew the winning tickets in the fund-raising raffle for ASA in late April. Pulling the lucky numbers were Lovarion Troop, Takeeyah Liggins, and Tareia McMahan, while Dr. Simpson looks on. First place prize was $1,500 in cash, second place was $1,000 in cash, and third place was $750 in cash. The raffle raised more than $11,000. 


Crisis Managers  
Talk to Students   

Students listened attentively to Sarah Ford and Nestor Flores of  the Pilsen Heath Center as they described services they offer for mental health and crisis management. 
Providers' Day  

Sharniece Ott was among students taking advantage of the materials and resources offered by representatives of organizations from health care to training to  transportation providers at the fourth annual event, held in April.  In addition to displaying information, providers offered discussions and question-and-answer sessions regarding their services. 



College & Careers Day
Sabrina Jones and Ronisha Johnson greeted and registered visitors for ASA's annual College & Careers Day, featuring 16 local colleges, universities, and trade schools, as well as the U.S. military, to give students plenty  of options after graduation.



 ASA Mission 
To accept students where they are academically, socially, and emotionally by educating, supporting, celebrating and empowering students to achieve a higher quality of life.


 ASA Vision  

To cultivate compassionate, self-sustaining, globally-minded, critical thinkers who can compete and succeed in the world economy.




 ASA Core Values






Academy of Scholastic Achievement
4651 W. Madison Street ~ Chicago, IL 60644
p: 773-921-1315 ~ f: 773-921-1121

A Youth Connection Charter School Campus