Whitney Young High School

Whitney Young High School

Infobox School
name = Whitney M. Young Magnet High School

imagesize = 275px
established = 1975
fundingtype = Public
schooltype = magnet high school
students = 2,119
grades = 7-12
principal = Dr. Joyce Kenner
address = 211 South Laflin
city = Chicago
state = Illinois
zipcode = 60607
country = USA
campus type = City
oversight = Chicago Public Schools
mascot = Dolphins
colors = Navy and Orange color box|navy color box|orange
website = http://www.wyoung.org
newspaper = The Beacon

Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, (commonly known as Whitney Young), is a highly selective-enrollment Chicago public school that opened its doors to students on September 3, 1975 as the city's first public magnet high school. The school has earned numerous accolades and consistently scores among the top high schools in the state of Illinois. In 2005, the school earned recognition as one of the top schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report, ranking it among the top 10% of high schools nationally. This ranking includes both public and private high schools.

The school was established with the mandate of creating a diverse student body. Admission to Whitney Young is granted based on entrance exam performance and elementary school grades, and is open to all residents of Chicago. More than 9,000 students applied for the 450 spots in the 2007-2008 freshman class. 99% of Whitney Young students go on to college, and graduating seniors average a score of 26.2 [http://cbs2chicago.com/local/local_story_296195034.html] on their ACT exams.

The students who began the 2005 school year commute to the school from all over the city. The student population is highly diverse—32% African-American, 28% White, 22% Hispanic and 17% Asian.

The school was named after Whitney M. Young, Jr., a prominent civil rights leader. Young died while swimming in the river in Lagos, Nigeria.


Plans for the school started in 1970, for a school to be built at 211 S. Laflin on an empty lot that was burned out by arson fires from the turbulence of the rioting that had been sparked by the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in April, 1968. The school opened on September 3, 1975, as a selective enrollment school with seven teachers, headed up by the school's first principal, Bernard Dawson.

Academic Achievements

Whitney M. Young is known to be a top rate quality high school within the Chicago Public School system. It holds a long length of academic achievements garnered by its talented and hard working students. 100 graduates were named Illinois State Scholars, and the Whitney Young Math Team finished first at the Chicago Citywide Math League. Additionally, the Class of 2005 had 21 National Merit Semifinalists, the third highest in the State of Illinois.

Academic Decathlon

Whitney Young is known for its record of achievement. The Academic Decathlon team won their 20th state title and finished fourth at the national competition in 2005. The Academic Decathlon Team have been longtime champions of the Academic Decathlon (USAD).

Whitney Young has been the winner of the City Academic Decathlon 24 out of the last 27 years (beaten by Northside College Preparatory High School in 2003), state champion for 22 of the last 23 years, and finished in the top five nationally for 14 of the last 16 years. Since 1996 Mr. Brian Tennison has been the coach. Ms Hagen (Mrs. Susan McCannon was coach through the 2007 competition), have also coached. These teachers are known for their unwavering dedication to the team and its competitive excellence. Every year that the Academic Decathlon team goes to the National Finals, the school holds a pep rally in support of the team.

In 1995 the Whitney Young team was beaten by the team from Steinmetz High School who had obtained a copy of the test in advance. This was dramatized in the movie Cheaters. After a few weeks of well publicized controversy the Steinmetz team was stripped of the title and it was given to Whitney Young.

The team placed 2nd in the nation in 1995 and 2007. And as of 2008, Isabel Salovaara holds the title of fourth highest score in the Academic Decathlon competition, at 9300 points. She earned this score at her city meet, beating out Demidec Dan who held the record at 9297 for fourteen years previously. But the record was broken three times more at nationals 2008, with scores of 9301, 9304, and 9321. The highest score is currently held by Alli Blonski of Waukesha West.

chool Sports

Whitney Young's soccer program has a history of success. In addition to winning four city titles, it regularly has successful runs in the IHSA State Playoffs.ihsa.org On May 8th, the girls team won another City Championship by beating Payton CP. In 2007, two players from Young signed letters of intent to play for NCAA Division I programs. Alumni Willy Lara is currently playing with the U20 US National Team and at DePaul University. In 2007-2008, two more players have signed to play Division I soccer. Junior Jasmine Espino was named All-Midwest.

In 2007, Whitney Young Volleyball became the first public league team to win a bid to IHSA state finals. They lost to Neuqua Valley Naperville in state quarterfinals.

The school also has one of the best track and field programs in Chicago. Young, which has won two boys city championships in recent years, was listed among four other schools within CPS that could hold their own against suburban and downstate teams by a Chicago Sun Times Article. Whitney Young Baseball won its first ever varsity city championship in 2007. In addition, by beating Mount Carmel High School, the team made history by being the first public league baseball team to make it to a state super-sectional. They lost to Saint Rita High School in the super-sectional 4 to 2. The Chicago Tribune ranked the Whitney Young 2007 Baseball team #8 in the state in the final rankings for 2007. [http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/highschool/cs-2007baseballrankings,1,2954133.htmlstory]

In addition to Whitney Young's recent Chicago City Baseball Championship at the Varsity level, the Whitney Young Sophomore baseball team has won three straight Chicago City Baseball Championships in a row. The Dolphins beat the Lane Tech Indians 14-0 at Northeastern University on May 23, 2007 to secure the three-peat, and the schools first ever sweep of the top two baseball levels. Also, to top it off, the starting pitcher for the Dolphins threw a no-hitter. [http://nbusports.com/pdf/2007SophCPSCityChamps.pdf]

The school's rivalry with Lane Tech is one of the most intense in the Chicagoland high school sports.

Extracurricular Activities

Currently, there are over 100 student organizations available to WYHS students. Whitney Young encourages students to actively participate in extracurricular activities, and has over 60 clubs and organizations.

The school is also known as being one of the first public high schools in the nation to use podcasts for its school radio. The school's podcasts have been featured on WLS-TV news. The Whitney Young Streaming Radio Station, known as WY Stream, was started on December 9, 2004 by orchestra teacher Martha Murphy and assistant principal Melvin Soto, as a vehicle to showcase the many talents of the Whitney M. Young High School family. The 100th episode was recorded in November 2005. The podcast can be found [http://stream.wyoung.org/ here] . Stream TV was added in 2006, and includes shows about Whitney Young High School, as well as news clips and internal features. Stream TV is located [http://stream.wyoung.org/tv/index.htm here] .

The Whitney Young theater company ("The Company") has gained a reputation for taking on large, difficult, and technically strenuous productions. Past shows include Tommy, Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Beethoven's Last Night, Moulin Rouge, both of which used music transposed by the students, and West Side Story.

Whitney Young Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. (NJROTC) is one of the top NJROTC programs in the nation. Students within the NJROTC program are involved in such teams as the Physical training, Orienteering, Color guard, Armed Exhibition drill Team & Unarmed Drill team.

In 1996, Whitney Young was the first Chicago Public School to recognize an organization for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender students. Three students who led the charge, Katie Lubin, Tiffani St. Cloud, and Miguel Ayala, worked to organize students and find faculty and administration support for the Pride Club. Though it proved be an uphill battle, the students were able to finally get the school to recognize the Pride Club, and the organization continues to exist to this day. One of the organization's founders went on to become a member of the Chicago School Board. [http://www.personproject.org/Alerts/States/Illinois/board.html] Also, both Tiffani St. Cloud [http://www.glhalloffame.org/index.pl?item=94&todo=view_item] and Miguel Ayala [http://www.glhalloffame.org/index.pl?item=96&todo=view_item] were inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.

Whitney Young is also one of the few high schools in the Chicago Public School System to have competing dance teams compete at the state level. For the 2005-2006 school year, Whitney Young's Pom Squad and Guys and Dolls Dance Team placed in the top ten at the IDTA State competition.

The Whitney Young Chess Team, currently led by Paul Kash, is also one of the strongest in the state. The team has taken third place in 2006 and second place in 2007 and 2008 at the IHSA State Finals. The team also placed 8th at K-12 Nationals in 2008.

The Whitney Young Swim Team placed first at City Championships beating Lane Tech. This had been the first time winning this title in ten years. The team also won the title of City Relay Championships for the fourth consecutive year.

Whitney Young's Cheerleading team has garnered recognition in the past 10 years when they began competing at State and City level competitions and began taking home the 1st place trophy for 8 of the ten years they competed at the City Championships.

The Academic Center

For more than 25 years, the Whitney Young Academic Center has been setting the standard in gifted education for 7th and 8th grade students. The Whitney Young Academic Center is accelerated, and has been nominated five times as best middle school in Illinois from ISATS scores in the Sun Times.There are many awesome programs for the super- duper smart children that attend the academic center, including a math counts team (As of the 2007- 2008 school year the seventh graders placed first in Illinois and the eight graders placed second.) a track team, and a pom- poms cheerleading team.

Project 30

On October 29, 2005 Whitney Young celebrated 30 years of providing education in Chicago. In conjunction with the school's celebration, known as Project 30, the school kicked off the "A Bridge To The World" campaign to raise $300,000 in funds to enhance the school's programming, development and facilities. Dr. Joyce Kenner, who is the school's third principal, said, "I think it is time to let people in the city understand how this school actually got started."

Noteworthy alumni

*Sebastian Gawenda, youngest Partner in Ernst & Young history
*Julian Kenner, Chicago White Sox, 2008, 45th round draft pick
*Jennifer Christenson, WCIU-26 TV Personality, DOES MERIT MENTION
*Alan Guevarra, founder of A3Entertainment
*Mawusi Arnett, Olympic Gold Medal sprinter
*Michelle Obama, wife of Barack Obama
*Craig Robinson, Head basketball coach at Oregon State
*Joan Higginbotham, NASA Astronaut
*Quentin Richardson of the New York Knicks, used to date Brandy
*Andy and Larry Wachowski, writers and directors of "The Matrix"
*Sharif Atkins, NBC's "ER" series regular - Dr. Gallent
*Russell Maryland, NFL Super Bowl Champion, former #1 overall NFL draft pick
*Tonya Pinkins, Tony Award-winning actress and author
*Anthony Sparks, NAACP Image Award-nominated television writer and producer (2008)
*Ethan Stoller, Music producer/film score composer
*John Tobias, Video Game Programmer, co-creator of video game series "Mortal Kombat
*Katrina Adams, WTA tennis pro (1988-1999), Tennis Channel broadcaster (2003-)
*Dominique Canty of the Chicago Sky, WNBA
*Arlene Limas, Olympic Gold Medalist, Taekwondo

External links

* [http://www.cpsmagnet.org/schools/?dir=Selective%20Enrollment&s=Whitney%20M%20Young%20Magnet%20High%20School&rn=5888 Chicago Public Schools High School Directory - Whitney Young]
* [http://www.wyoung.org Official Site]
* [http://www.wysoccer.blogspot.com Soccer Site]
* [http://www.young.illinoispreptoptimes.com Girls Track & Cross Country Website]


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