When 7th grader Kacper grows up, he wants to be a chef. He sees High Jump as a base for meaningful education towards college—one that rounds out his Polish education at Norman Bridge Elementary. “High Jump teaches me things I wouldn’t normally learn in my homeschool and it’s fun meeting new people from different places in Chicago.” When he’s not engrossed in homework, Kacper plays computer games, helps his mom in the kitchen, and once made his own melting cake. Looking up to his peers, Kacper feels especially inspired in High Jump because of his 8th grade friend. “She’s going to one of the best high schools in Chicago because of this program.”
In both his academic and sports careers, 7th grader Makhi exhibits passion and perseverance. When this determined 7th grader began to play football, he says he wasn’t so great at it. Through competition and admiration for his college-attending brother, encouragement from his father and having to carry groceries for his mom, Makhi got stronger and now excels at the sport. All of these attributes follow Makhi in his academic life as he attends High Jump to gain a step ahead. Makhi aspires to be an international architect and believes that the math he does at HJ is exactly what he needs to get there. As for the international part, Makhi is learning Chinese in hopes that it will help him in business one day. “I want to be the fastest and the smartest.”
Natalia is a 7th grader with strong convictions and a big imagination. Aside from loving math, science and theater, Natalia is often wrapped up in the latest fiction novel she’s reading or observing the people around her. “I can see how people act. It makes me look at myself and not be so judgmental of others.” Like many students initially embarking on their High Jump experience, Natalia initially found it difficult to adjust to the amount of homework given at High Jump. Now, however, she is grateful for being challenged. She finds High Jump to be more open-minded and creative than her home school and believes that joining the program has led her to better chances of pursuing her desires to be an engineer, writer and life-long learner.
6th grader, Genesis became interested in High Jump when she learned about the Lorado Taft camping trip all 6th graders get to attend before their first summer session begins. When she began classes at HJ, she noticed that those same people she bunked with during the camping trip were just as hungry for an academic challenge as she was. “It’s nice to know you’re not the only smarty pants in your class.” She even switched day schools because after starting at High Jump, she and her family realized she wasn’t being challenged enough. During her free time, Genesis likes to write, create art, and read mystery books. Because of her time at High Jump she now believes that she can have a dream job doing the things that she loves. “If you graduate high school and college, you can make anything happen.”
David is a 6th grader who loves origami, soccer and watching the news. At High Jump, David finds his class Six to Sixteen to be especially helpful as it makes him think about how his academic choices now can prepare him for later opportunities. “It’s a little door to the future.” When he is not being active or playing computer games, David loves playing with legos and math class at High Jump. He wants to be an engineer and realizes that equations are in everything. He says that High Jump gives him an environment full of smart people. “My peers are really smart. The teachers are smart too. They have experience so they are teaching us through experience.” His mother, who always encourages him to practice and 18-year old sister who playfully uses him for karate practice, both serve as positive reinforcements for David’s attendance at High Jump.
Finding it hard to pick a favorite subject, Fatima is an 8th grade lover of math, science and writing. When this active 14-year-old is not in dance class, performing on stage or playing basketball in the summer and on weekends, she can be found in a High Jump classroom where she feels she is challenged most. With advanced subjects, like-minded peers and supportive parents, HJ fosters Fatima’s academically ambitious spirit.
To future applicants, Fatima says “It’s challenging, especially at the beginning,” but ultimately “it’s worth it.”