A raft of past programs have failed to substantially improve the reading skills of middle grade and high school students. CPS is trying once again, as part of a federal project that aims to help teens learn how to analyze complex non-fiction.
What happened to the others
Catalyst Chicago was unable to reach all the students featured in the College Challenge series. Angela Serrano, who graduated from Hubbard High, enrolled at Morton Community College and wanted to be a veterinarian, and Lekena Figueroa-Forman, who graduated from Lane Tech, enrolled at Northeastern Illinois University and wanted to be a history teacher, could not be found. Based on public records and interviews with college administrators and other acquaintances, Catalyst found out what's happened to two others:
Aaron Price: From student to prisoner
Kenwood Academy graduate Aaron Price made a promising start to college and career. With help from his family, Price amassed some $65,000 in scholarships; he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. But the auspicious start ended abruptly and Price did not achieve his dream: In his sophomore year at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Price was convicted of aggravated assault and aggravated battery for attacking another student with a baseball bat. Price was expelled from Morehouse and sentenced to serve 10 years in a Fulton County, Ga., prison. In August, he was paroled to a halfway house.
James Snowden: An academic athlete
At Chicago Vocational Career Academy, James Snowden was an honor roll student and a talented athlete in track, basketball and football. In 2002, he graduated as valedictorian and won enough money to pay for about 70 percent of his tuition at the University of Chicago. Still, Snowden was concerned he would not be prepared for the rigors of an undergraduate curriculum. To smooth his transition into college-level courses, he participated in the Chicago Academic Achievement Program during the summer before his freshman year at the University of Chicago. In June 2006, Snowden graduated from the U of C with a major in law, letters and society. While there, he played football as a wide receiver and a defensive back.