Academic enrichment program opens third location in Hyde Park- Hyde Park Herald
Academic enrichment program opens third location in Hyde Park
By Allison Matyus
October 6, 2015
Through an academic enrichment program, students from across the South Side are getting excited about learning and challenging themselves in their education.
High Jump is an academic enrichment program, and its third location is in Hyde Park at the University of Chicago Lab School, 1362 E. 59th St., Lab Campus Director and former High Jump student, Paty Perea, said that there are currently 112 students enrolled; that accounts for 63 7th graders and 49 8th graders.
The program started in 1989 in Chicago, and Perea was accepted as a student in 1999. She went on to volunteer with the program through high school, and came back as a staff member after graduating from the University of Illinois.
“For me, High Jump was the first time that I was challenged,” she said. “School to me was very easy and I would coast through it. I was also a very quiet student so High Jump really taught me how to be more confident in myself and not to be afraid to share my thoughts and ideas.”
Students accepted into the program attend High Jump classes for six weeks during the summer, and then twice a month on Saturdays from September to April. Teachers and supplies are provided by the program, and classwork involves the usual homework assignments, quizzes and projects, but at a higher level.
“The classwork that they are getting from us is two to three years above grade levels, so they need to be able to handle it and willing to take on the challenge,” Perea said.
Interested students are required to have at least a B average, and of course are willing to give up some of their summer vacation and a couple weekends.
“The idea of giving up your summers and Saturdays is not appealing for a lot of students, but all the students that we have are excited about the work and they get to see things here that they don’t get to see at their regular schools,” Perea said.
She said that students come from as far south as 130th Street and Halsted Street and as north as the Loop downtown. High Jump opened the Hyde Park location to incorporate the many South Side students that were eligible for the program, but did not want to travel as far as the other campuses.
The summer of 2014 was the first year at the Lab School location for High Jump, and they started out with 7th graders. Now, they have a new group of 7th graders and an 8th grade group that is getting ready to move on to a high school education come next year.
“We haven’t had a graduating class yet here, so this is a new experience for all of us. But in terms of success stories, I do have a student who is in the 8th grade and is very excited to apply to boarding schools and is asking questions and doing her research,” Perea said. “We feel their excitement and upcoming success already.”