U of C lauds CPS scholars

By Robyn Gee

Administrators, students, and community members recently celebrated the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Scholars program, which awards full U of C scholarships to five CPS students each year.

The University started the program in 2003 to encourage more students from the Chicago Public Schools to apply to the University.

“The program is important as part of our effort to gain more visibility in the Chicago Public Schools and attract more of their best students,” Michael Behnke, dean of enrollment at the U of C, said in an e-mail interview.

University President Robert Zimmer spoke at the October 19 reception at the Gordon Center for Integrative Sciences, along with Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan.

Assistant Director of Admissions Andre Phillips acted as the master of ceremonies, while Dean of the College John Boyer and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Jim Crown presented certificates to CPS Scholars.

The Crown Foundation funded the first four years of scholarships.

Numbers show that more CPS students have applied to the University in recent years, increasing from 137 students in 2001 to 308 students in 2005.

Third-year Greta Honold, recipient of the CPS Scholarship in 2004, attended Chicago Public Schools through high school.

“Being one of the top students in the system offers you a lot of opportunities that definitely are not being offered to all CPS students,” Honold said in an e-mail interview.

“The CPS Scholarship did cement my decision to attend U of C,” Honold added. “However, it did not change my greater outlook on education. I always had the expectation for myself that I would go on to pursue high-quality higher education.”

Third-year Mieka van der Ploeg, another 2004 scholarship recipient, said she attended magnet grammar and high schools in the CPS system.

“I got a really good education, and I’ve always been surrounded by nerds like myself, so I was prepared for that aspect of the U of C as well,” she said.