WBEZ | high school http://www.wbez.org/tags/high-school Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Transgender teenager named Prom Queen http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 150116 Reyna Ortiz A bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When he was 12, Ray Ortiz packed a blue duffel bag and prepared to leave home forever.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no way in hell that I&rsquo;m going to live a life that I&rsquo;m not happy with,&rdquo; Ortiz remembers thinking.</p><p>&ldquo;At the time I didn&rsquo;t know what transgender was,&rdquo; Ortiz says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. Kids at school called him &ldquo;Gay Ray,&rdquo; so he assumed that he was gay.</p><p>He wrote his mom a letter saying &ldquo;not only was I gay, but that I wanted to be a girl.&rdquo;<br />She was supportive and gradually Ray transitioned to living life as a female, going by the name Reyna and using female pronouns. &ldquo;I just made a mental decision like: I&rsquo;m going to do what I want. And I don&rsquo;t care what anybody else has to say.&rdquo;</p><p>Ortiz has three brothers, one older and two younger. And they provided a lot of support when it came time for her to attend Morton East High School in Cicero.</p><p>Other students were &ldquo;horrendous,&rdquo; Reyna said. She told her older brother and she says he went to her high school, into her classroom and confronted her bully. She says kids never bothered her again.</p><p>Ortiz became friends with the most beautiful girls in school. &ldquo;And they were willing to fight and slap somebody if they disrespected me,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But eventually people just got used to me. By my junior year, I can honestly say, I ruled that school.&rdquo;</p><p>Emmanuel&nbsp;Garcia was a sophomore at Morton East when Ortiz was a senior. Garcia was struggling to come to terms with his identity as a gay Latino man. &ldquo;Seeing someone who was so open and out with their gender identity, it was intimidating,&rdquo; Garcia said in an interview recently. &ldquo;She carried herself so fearlessly.&rdquo;</p><p>During Reyna&rsquo;s senior year, she was nominated for Prom Queen. She went without a date, and sat by herself when the court was announced.</p><p>Then, they announced the winner: &ldquo;&rsquo;And the winner of Prom Queen of 1998 - Ray Ortiz.&rsquo; And I just remember everybody coming to the stage. When I turned around it was just flashing lights and paparazzi. Pictures everywhere and people applauding.&ldquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We always hear that the Latino community is full of machismo and we never hear about a community embracing their own,&rdquo; Garcia said. &ldquo;To have this person kind of pioneer sexuality and gender identity in 1998 was unheard of.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 What happens to people with autism when they age out of school? http://www.wbez.org/news/what-happens-people-autism-when-they-age-out-school-111326 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/artworks-000101028088-1nyuya-t500x500.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-2de977b6-abb8-ca6e-c072-bc877bdd2ffc">It&rsquo;s early in the morning. Josh Stern waits outside his house in Wilmette for a Pace van he calls every as his ride to work. The van arrives, Josh kisses his mom goodbye and pays his fare.</p><p dir="ltr">Stern is 25. He was diagnosed with autism when he was two. He has a photographic memory that allows him to sort through loan paperwork at great speed.</p><p dir="ltr">He takes one quick glance at the numbers, hits the calculator, files the forms in order and it&rsquo;s ready to go. It&rsquo;s a skill his co-worker Ricardo Ramos says he admires.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s like a computer almost,&rdquo; Ramos said. &ldquo;He literally just keeps on doing it and you know he doesn&rsquo;t miss a detail. That&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s great about him, once you train him, he&rsquo;ll just do it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Illinois has more than 19,000 minors who have autism. And that&rsquo;s just what the <a href="http://www.easterseals.com/explore-resources/living-with-autism/2014_autism_illinois.pdf">schools</a> are identifying. When these kids&rsquo; services expire from the state, they face the same choice as most young adults: school or work? But the transition to either of those worlds can be difficult depending on the disability.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>The day the bus doesn&#39;t come</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Josh&rsquo;s mom Linda Stern is all too familiar with what many parents refer to as &ldquo;the day the bus doesn&rsquo;t come.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They put so much effort and wonderful work into the school experience and for most people all that work all that effort all that wonderful enriching experience just disappears,&rdquo; Stern said. &ldquo;They don&rsquo;t even understand it, it&rsquo;s like how come I&rsquo;m not going to school and I&rsquo;m sitting at home with mom watching TV all day long.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The transitional period out of the school system in Illinois starts at age 14 &frac12;. During that time, families work with the school to create post graduation goals based on the child&rsquo;s interests and skills.</p><p dir="ltr">Though federal law requires that every child receive a transition plan, parents like Bill Casey feel the system can leave parents frustrated and confused.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Parents don&rsquo;t understand what&rsquo;s offered to them by the community service organizations,&rdquo; Casey said. &ldquo;You really have to start digging to figure what&rsquo;s available. You really need friends like Julie and Michael Tracy to help guide you in some ways to find the right avenues.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Julie and Michael Tracy run an urban farm that caters to young adults with autism. The farm harvests everything from collard greens to fresh tomatoes, and all of that goes to food pantries across the city.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We&rsquo;re teaching them jobs skills, interviewing and resume, working with other people,&rdquo; said Gwenne Godwin, farm manager at the <a href="http://jmtf.org/portfolio/growing-solutions-farm/">Growing Solutions Farm</a>. &ldquo;We just happen to be using the medium of agriculture to do it in so that they can get a job in this industry or in any industry because they&rsquo;ve learned those vocational skills.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Casey&rsquo;s son Dan works at the farm. He feels it offers Dan an experience he didn&rsquo;t have in a school setting.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You know kids with autism don&rsquo;t have all the victories that we all have growing up,&rdquo; Casey said. &ldquo;The baseball, the football, the debates and the like, this is something for them.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">We asked the Illinois Division of Developmental Disabilities for response to Bill Casey&rsquo;s claims about these programs, but they didn&rsquo;t provide one. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Now, the National Garden Bureau is behind the program and these young workers are able for the first time to take home a paycheck. The non-profit has generated nearly $30,000 in donations and continues to raise funds for the farm.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Opportunities in higher education</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/6/1042">More than half</a> of people with autism struggle to find work and often don&rsquo;t seek higher education opportunities.</p><p dir="ltr">For those who do, they can turn to Jennifer Gorski. Gorski runs the Autism Clinic and TAP Training Center at University of Illinois, Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are hearing about these needs from people in our community quite a bit,&rdquo; Gorski said. &ldquo;We formed the ASPiE group which is a support group geared toward supporting college students that are on the spectrum.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">ASPiE (Adults Spectrum People in Education) meet once a week to have frank conversations that every college kid has such as, what&rsquo;s in store after college, questions about careers and managing course load.</p><p dir="ltr">Since social interactions can be a big obstacle for individuals with autism, ASPiE members like Jasmin Khoshnood say it helps them interact with their peers.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been really helpful to me in terms what do with with college and how to add to professional world,&rdquo; said Khoshnood. &ldquo;Meeting ASPiE college students has been good for me as well having a peer group that is more like me I can tell things that I couldn&#39;t tell to non-autistic, neuro-typical people.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">The program at UIC Khoshnood participates in is not the norm across the state.</p><p dir="ltr">United Cerebral Palsy <a href="http://cfi2014.ucp.org/data/">ranks</a> Illinois at the bottom for the way it handles its services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;My perspective is that it all comes down to funding,&rdquo; said Gorski from UIC&rsquo;s Autism Clinic and TAP Training Center. &ldquo;I think that the adults are a little bit behind in terms of the allocation of resources.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Come January, that funding could get even <a href="http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=71009">tighter</a> when the current income tax hike rolls back.</p><p dir="ltr">Kevin Casey from Illinois&rsquo; Division of Developmental Disabilities said in a statement, &ldquo;the loss of any funding will limit and delay our ability to provide services.&rdquo;</p><p>Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has said he wants to roll back the income tax hike.</p><p>What that means for the autism community remains to be seen.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 11:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/what-happens-people-autism-when-they-age-out-school-111326 Big sister shares tips on how to survive the loneliness of high school http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/big-sister-shares-tips-how-survive-loneliness-high-school-109219 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Lucy and Jennifer.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>When Lucy Zhuo left for college this fall, her little sister, Jennifer, didn&rsquo;t realize how much she would miss her. The two visited the Chicago StoryCorps&rsquo; booth recently to catch up.</p><p><strong>Jennifer</strong>: Honestly, it&rsquo;s been really lonely, since you&rsquo;re, like, my only sister ...</p><p>Jennifer said having her sister away at college was especially hard now because she&rsquo;s a sophomore this year, and is taking several junior classes. The other students are older than her, so she doesn&rsquo;t know them. She said the tendency of students to gossip limits what she shares with her friends.</p><p><strong>Lucy</strong>:.. I learned going into college how important it is not to get so sucked up into your work especially since your family&rsquo;s not around. You rely on your friends in college. You need to find those friends. You can&rsquo;t isolate yourself.</p><p><em>To hear the rest of Lucy&rsquo;s advice to Jennifer about how to survive (and even enjoy!) high school, click on the audio above.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/big-sister-shares-tips-how-survive-loneliness-high-school-109219 After hazing, one high school's story http://www.wbez.org/news/after-hazing-one-high-schools-story-104773 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GBN.jpg" style="height: 184px; width: 680px;" title="(Becky Vevea/WBEZ)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F74150373" width="95%"></iframe></p><p>Suburban Maine West High School is working through the school year under a cloud of outside investigation and internal questions around allegations of hazing on some of its sports teams.</p><p>Those questions include what the school staff knew about the alleged hazing and whether enough was done to stop it.</p><p>Ten years ago, another suburban Chicago high school saw a tradition take a turn for the worse&mdash;prompting many of the same questions.</p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s Becky Vevea spoke with school leaders at Glenbrook North High School about how they&rsquo;ve worked to rebuild.<br /><br />&ldquo;The story is powerfully recorded on video tape,&rdquo; Paula Zahn said at the beginning of a CNN report. It was 2003 and YouTube didn&rsquo;t even exist.</p><p>Still, the images made national headlines, girls in yellow jerseys throwing paint, mud and grime at another group sitting in a circle. It was a tradition gone wrong. The junior girls versus senior girls in what was supposed to be a powder puff football game.</p><p>It rocked the Northbrook community and left a stubborn mark on the school.</p><p>&ldquo;People were like, &lsquo;Oh you went to Glenbrook North, like, that&rsquo;s the hazing school.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s how everyone had heard about it,&rdquo; said Marly Schuman, a 2006 Glenbrook North graduate. I went to journalism school with Schuman and met her for coffee recently.</p><p>Even when she moved away to college, she tells me the hazing is what people knew about. Not Glenbrook&rsquo;s great academics or the championship basketball program or the decorated debate team.</p><p>It&rsquo;s now been a decade since the news trucks left and the messy lawsuits were settled.</p><p>School leaders say in some ways they&rsquo;ve become a stronger school and community &ndash;but they say that&rsquo;s because they confronted hazing head on.</p><p>&ldquo;Our realization was everyone in the community contributes to what we are, and for what this high school is,&rdquo; said Mike Riggle, superintendent of the Glenbrooks. He was principal of Glenbrook North in 2003.</p><p>Riggle says administrators and teachers scrutinized school culture. They eliminated any club that didn&rsquo;t have an official advisor, banned the tradition of &ldquo;toilet-papering&rdquo; houses, and wouldn&rsquo;t allow any negative chanting or cheering at games.</p><p>&ldquo;What we wanted to do is to make sure that the groups that were formed here were strong, healthy, vibrant, but any initiation or ritual that they had as part of their function was positive and healthy,&rdquo; Riggle said.</p><p>They launched all-school workshops to bring students together. Recently, one of those workshops morphed into a regular event called Spartans Connect. Ryan Bretag is a technology coordinator at Glenbrook North and he helps organize it.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a day, Bretag said, designed almost like a professional conference, where kids have a chance to take classes like yoga and Harry Potterology. The idea is to get them outside those cliquey teenage comfort zones.</p><p>But Bretag said the event alone isn&rsquo;t a cure-all, because at the end of the day, like anything in education, the work is never done.</p><p>&ldquo;Every year you have, 400 or 500 new students coming in, so it&rsquo;s not just changing it, it&rsquo;s growing it,&rdquo; said Bretag. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s possible that something could happen, but our focus of being aware is much sharper.&rdquo;</p><p>School culture is a difficult thing to change&mdash;in any school&mdash;and it only takes a day or a single group to derail it. Even in inner city Chicago, schools grapple with creating a healthy school climate and are constantly challenged by violence and poverty.</p><p>But it&rsquo;s a challenge also for a place like Glenbrook North or other suburban schools, in part because those communities are so deeply invested in the public schools and play a big role in setting the tone academically, athletically, and culturally.</p><p>In countless hazing cases, often the first question asked is what the school knew about what was going on. But schools find themselves in a muddy place when it comes to bullying and hazing, especially in today&rsquo;s digital world, where they have to be aware of more than just what goes on inside the walls of the school.&nbsp;</p><p>Administrators can get flak for making change, like Glenbrook did when it tried to ban toilet-papering. After all, everyone does it and what&rsquo;s the harm in draping toilet paper over other people&rsquo;s trees?<br />That kind of resistance is not unusual, according to Susan Lipkins, a psychologist and expert in hazing and bullying.</p><p>&ldquo;These traditions, like Freshman Friday, often are integrated not only into the school, but into the community,&rdquo; Lipkins said. &ldquo;And oftentimes parents do know what&rsquo;s going on and they often have experienced it themselves and they feel like it&rsquo;s not so bad, it&rsquo;s a learning experience, it&rsquo;s fun, boys will be boys, it&rsquo;s going to make you tougher. And so they consciously and unconsciously support the hazing.&rdquo;</p><p>Lipkins said hazing happens everywhere in society, even in the workplace, where there&rsquo;s a pecking order and the new workers get jobs no one else wants to do.</p><p>It&rsquo;s common for teenagers to model that behavior, she added, but in an increasingly competitive culture, where academic, professional and athletic performance reigns, it can morph into something more harmful and abusive.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody feels that pressure to compete and excel, the students, the teachers, the administration, the parents, and we need to stop, take a deep breath and look at our culture and say what are we doing?&rdquo; Lipkins said. &ldquo;And what are the effects of this kind of competition?&rdquo;</p><p>As Glenbrook found, the effects of competition and &ldquo;seniority&rdquo; getting out of control, can be damaging for a long time.</p><p>&ldquo;This fall we were in a presentation, we were talking about school climate and the example that they used was the hazing that occurred here, in 2003, nine years ago,&rdquo; said Paul Pryma, Glenbrook North&rsquo;s current principal. &ldquo;There have been thousands of other examples, that&rsquo;s one that has kind of been etched and it hurts us each time that that comes up. Because in our minds, we&rsquo;ve addressed it, we&rsquo;re continuing to evolve, and yet every once and a while you&rsquo;re reminded on a Google search or whatever it might be something that caused a lot of pain.&rdquo;</p><p>For Maine West High School, that reality may only be beginning to sink in. &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 13:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-hazing-one-high-schools-story-104773 New Chicago high school grooms future lawyers http://www.wbez.org/news/new-chicago-high-school-grooms-future-lawyers-104582 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/steakpinball-gavel.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Founders of a new Chicago charter school hope to increase diversity in the legal profession.</p><p>The formula at Legal Prep Charter Academies includes a principal with a law degree, field trips to law firms and a biology class is inspired by the science of crime scene investigations.</p><p>The high school in the city&#39;s West Garfield Park neighborhood opened this year. It&#39;s the city&#39;s first high school with a legal theme. Sam Finkelstein and Rather Stanton are the two attorneys who founded the school. They <a href="http://trib.in/Yy0233" target="_blank">tell</a> the Chicago Tribune it took three years of unpaid 60-hour weeks to make their dream real.</p><p>The first 200 freshmen started in late August. The school will add a new class of freshmen every year.</p></p> Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-chicago-high-school-grooms-future-lawyers-104582 Black Friday specials for sports fans http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/black-friday-specials-sports-fans-103954 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_brian_kelly_and_irish_joe_raymond.jpg" style="height: 435px; width: 620px;" title="Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has led his team to a #1 ranking. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)" /></div><p>Today is a day of left-overs, Black Friday specials and plenty of sports news. You can sit on your couch for hours this weekend with high school and college sports, the Bears and the Bulls.</p><p>What a dandy way for top-ranked Notre Dame to finish the regular season: playing at USC. When the college season began, the Trojans held the top spot of the polls. I guess the saying, &quot;It&#39;s not how you start, but how you finish,&quot; is really true for the Irish. They better be careful, though. The Number 1 spot has been very wobbly &mdash;just ask Alabama and Kansas State; both posted losses as the top team. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly&#39;s team is 11-0, if they finish with a &quot;W&quot; Saturday in California. January 7th will be their next playing date in Miami for the NCAA crown. How many people predicted them to be there?</p><p>While Notre Dame is the king of the mountain, what can be said of University of Illinois and first-year head coach Tim Beckman? Well, let&#39;s see. They are winless in the Big Ten (0-13 going back to last year) 2 and 9 overall. Saturday, the Illini finish the schedule with bowl-bound Northwestern. The Wildcats are probably saying they should be undefeated with their 8-3 mark &mdash; late game miscues account for all the losses. Pat Fitzgerald&#39;s team really needs this win for a good post-season&nbsp;bowl invitation; Beckman&#39;s team would love to get the big upset. (Sorry, Illinois not happening.)</p><p>While I wouldn&#39;t want to be in Tim Beckman&#39;s shoes, I&#39;d gladly slip into Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren&#39;s sneakers. He has the Huskies make the Top 25 rankings this week, with a 10-1 record and 21-4 the past two years. His quarterback, Jordan Lynch, is having a record-setting year. Another bowl game and another win there. NCAA Athletic Directors will be courting Doeren to fill a bigger, renown head coaching jobs. What is his shoe size?</p><p>There will be championship football in Champaign this week-end &mdash; it&#39;s high school, but at least it&#39;s exciting. In 8A, Glenbard North meets Mt. Carmel; in 7A, Glenbard West takes on Lincoln Way East. Cary Grove and Crete-Monee vie for the 6A crown and Montini faces Morris in the 5A match-up. Who has more emotions in these outcomes, the players or their parents?</p><p>On the professional level: The Bears need to re-group for Sunday&#39;s meeting with&nbsp;divisional opponent Minnesota. Quarterback Jay Cutler may or may not at the helm; we&rsquo;ll see if this team can&nbsp;get their offense on track. Or did MNF shellshock this team?</p><p>The Bulls are still trying to find their identity without &ldquo;you know who.&rdquo; Tomorrow they end the long road trip up I-94 in Milwaukee.</p><p><strong>Some left-over sports news worth mentioning</strong></p><p>The Bulls are getting a new practice facility next to the United Center; DePaul is in play with either a new arena or free play at the UC. I wonder what the Cubs are thinking? When will Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the North Siders get on the same page about Wrigley renovations?</p><p>The weather may not conjure up thoughts of ice skating, however. Four of the city&#39;s seven lots, including the one at Wrigley Field, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/warm-weather-delays-opening-ice-skating-rinks-103972">will open late this year</a>. Maybe there will be a Ronnie &ldquo;Woo Woo&rdquo; sighting when it finally opens Wednesday.</p><p>Charity work is part of most people associated with sports and one of the biggest hearts can be found at Halas Hall.&nbsp; Twenty-four years ago, Bears equipment manager Tony Medlin began a coat drive. Now, he and the Bears have partnered with Jewel-Osco stores to collect thousands of new and gently used coats. Donations are being collected in boxes at Jewel-Osco stores. These coats are given to the Salvation Army and to Chicago-area public schools.</p><p><strong>Black Friday door buster</strong></p><p>Since today is a day to look for bargains, the local baseball teams are making some reductions in ticket prices. The White Sox have a real bargain for families on Sundays. All 13 home dates have huge reductions on tickets ($5-$15 available) and parking has been reduced to $10. If this doesn&#39;t sell tickets, it will be hard to figure what else they can do &mdash; except win. And that wasn&#39;t enough most of last season when they were in first place.</p><p>Leftovers, football, basketball and shopping. . . what more could you ask for?</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="http://&lt;https://twitter.com/Crayestout&gt;">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and Facebook <a href="http://&lt;http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame?fref=ts&gt;">Cheryl Raye-Stout #AtTheGame</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 23 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-11/black-friday-specials-sports-fans-103954 Tech companies partner with Chicago high schools http://www.wbez.org/story/tech-companies-partner-chicago-high-schools-96821 <p><p>Five Chicago Public High Schools are partnering with technology companies to offer career training in addition to a traditional high school diploma. Students at those schools will also have the chance to take college credit courses through the City Colleges of Chicago.</p><p>IBM, Motorola, Microsoft, Cisco and Verizon will each partner with a high school in creating a curriculum that focuses on math, science, technology and engineering. The companies are also expected to provide internships and job interviews for graduating students.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he reached out to the companies.</p><p>"They have a shortage of workers. We have a student population ready to fill those jobs if they have the educational opportunities to do it," Emanuel said.</p><p>The changes will begin with this fall’s freshman class and Emanuel said he wants to see other schools follow this model in the coming years. IBM has developed a blueprint the city can use in creating future partnerships with businesses in other in-demand fields.</p><p>The high schools that will offer this new program are: Lake View, Corliss, Michele Clark, Chicago Vocational Career Academy and a new school being built at 7651 S. Homan.</p></p> Tue, 28 Feb 2012 23:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/tech-companies-partner-chicago-high-schools-96821 The one that got away http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-12/one-got-away-95498 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/48318218_116eedf293.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left;">By the end of high school, I was ready to graduate and get the hell out of Dodge. I didn’t even have that hard a time of it during those years, compared to some kids, but the stress of figuring out who I was, what I really wanted to do, who my friends were, where I wanted to go to college and the ways I knocked myself out to get in had taken its toll. I was tired of seeing the same people in the same halls every day and was ready for a fresh start, not only with new friends but maybe even with a new persona.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-12/5891767378_1f14d341e6.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" title="(Flickr/NWABR)"></p><p style="text-align: left;">Senior year ended more with a whimper than with a bang. Senioritis made classes seem interminable, prom was an overlong letdown after a stressful buildup, and the last day of school will be remembered not for hugs and yearbook signings but for a screaming match I had with a guy who had terminated our friendship. For graduation day, I cut off a big chunk of my long hair and wore a Georgetown t-shirt and gym shoes under my gown, almost to spite school: I wouldn’t pay it homage with a pretty dress and hairdo.<br> <br> There was one way though that my high school career could be salvaged, however, and that was by the Senior Awards ceremony.<br> <br> If there was one thing I was proud of in high school, it was that I had figured out that I was a writer. Dropping badminton and volleyball for the student-run variety show was one of the best decisions I ever made. Between writing for a few theater shows, writing and editing student newspapers all four years of high school, tutoring students, receiving a NCTE award and scoring an 800 on the verbal portion of my SATs (on the second go-around) and being a National Merit Semifinalist, I figured I’d be a shoo-in to win the English Department Award. Then, at least, I’d be recognized for what really mattered to me.<br> <br> At the awards ceremony, I remember this one particular teacher getting up to announce the award, listing the winner’s qualifications. &nbsp;He had never taught me, so I wondered how he knew how well rounded I was, how much I loved literature and reading. Then he started talking about good I was at French and soccer, and I realized that he was not speaking about me. (You idiots, an English award is not supposed to go to an athlete.) &nbsp;<br> <br> I lost to a girl who had also won Homecoming Queen, Prom Queen and Senior Leader, but the worst thing was that she was also a completely lovely person, smart and funny and kind, so I couldn’t even find solace in hating her for stealing away my award. On the way home from the ceremony, I cried on my best friend's shoulder (she had suffered the same fate I had, only in regards to the Journalism Award.)<br> <br> I don’t know why this loss was burned into my memory so vividly. &nbsp;It’s not like I wake up every day gazing at the empty space on the shelf where that trophy should be. Clearly, I didn’t need the award to confirm that I was and would be a writer. And while high school can be the pits, I realized that it’s like that for most everybody at times, and I didn’t even have it that bad.<br> <br> But still! I carry that as a little chip on my shoulder. I was out with some writer girlfriends this summer and found myself jokingly bitching about losing the award. And to my surprise, a colleague of mine who’s published three very popular books and is a beloved blogger confessed that she’s still mad that she didn’t win a poetry award in college.<br> <br> I guess sometimes we need to hold onto these otherwise insignificant losses in order to maintain the motivation to do whatever it is we do. So please, in the comments, share your stories: even though we can all admit that we’re adults now and aren’t holding onto the past in a creepy way, let me know, is there an award, a role, a spot on the team that you didn’t get that you’re still the teeeeeensiest bit (jokingly) bitter about? Help me feel like I’m not alone.</p></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 16:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-12/one-got-away-95498 Louder than a Bomb, Chicago's youth poetry slam, takes an overseas tour http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-05/louder-bomb-chicagos-youth-poetry-slam-takes-overseas-tour-95313 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-05/Louder-Than-A-Bomb-Nova-Venerable.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The new documentary <em><a href="http://louderthanabombfilm.com" target="_blank">Louder than a Bomb</a></em> depicts the world’s largest youth poetry slam, which takes place here in Chicago. Every year, students from local high schools gather to tell their stories in the form of highly emotional, expressive spoken word poetry. And every year, the crowd goes wild.</p><p>But what happens when you try to share this quintessentially Chicago story with audiences abroad? Co-director Jon Siskel recently found out when the U.S. State Department chose <em>Louder than a Bomb</em> for an initiatve called the <a href="http://exchanges.state.gov/cultural/american-film-program/docshowcase.html" target="_blank">American Documentary Showcase</a>.</p><p>Jon traveled to the Netherlands and Angola to screen the film and soon he'll head to Burma. His collaborators took it to Malawi, Zambia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. He talks to <em>Worldview</em> about how this story, one that's rooted in Chicago's urban youth culture, translates abroad.</p><p><em>To listen to Louder than a Bomb finalists from the past six year recite their poetry, click <a href="http://www.wbez.org/ltab" target="_blank">here</a>. To hear full-length recordings of LTAB events, click <a href="http://www.wbez.org/contributor/young-chicago-authors" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Watch the trailer for <em>Louder than a Bomb</em>:</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/81hXGdFF6TQ" width="560" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>In this extra from the film, Nova Venerable reads her poem "Apartment on Austin":</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/FZMpePbF454" width="560" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Nate Marshall reads his poem "Super Tuesday":</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Rtakd3i_n44" width="560" frameborder="0" height="315"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 05 Jan 2012 16:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-05/louder-bomb-chicagos-youth-poetry-slam-takes-overseas-tour-95313 A cad in goth's clothing: My summer at camp before High School http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-09-28/cad-goths-clothing-my-summer-camp-high-school-92546 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-28/wet hot1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When I graduated from my small, K-8th grade Catholic school, I won the not-coveted “Most Likely to Do Her Homework Ahead of Time” award. Obviously, there was only one way to celebrate this achievement before heading off to high school: summer camp.<br> <br> I got to spend one final year as a camper before old age forced me to become a counselor. We campers mostly already knew each other from prior summers together, but that year, there was a new kid in the group I’ll call Dylan. It seemed strange that he would even be there, by the looks of him. He wore all black: leather jacket, black jeans, Converse All-Stars and a fedora over the long, greasy hair that fell limply over his birdlike frame. I was so used to the hale boys of eighth grade who played Bombardment with abandon that Dylan's rebelliously bony body was somehow exotic.<br> <br> Most guys at camp were the usual suspects: the quiet dorks; the outgoing jocks (one of whom I accidentally punched in the eye when he goaded me into hitting him the shoulder to prove how weak I am); and the frightening misfits, who were usually sweet when they weren't bragging about how much trouble they got into with the police. &nbsp;Dylan, however, fell into none of these stereotypes. He was new, and new was intriguing.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-28/wet hot1.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 325px; " title="Misfit campers seek guidance from David Hyde Pierce's Henry in 'Wet Hot American Summer'"><br> <br> What I did know about Dylan was that he was the bane of the counselors’ existence, largely thanks to his asking about the point of each campfire or hiking trip. &nbsp;At 14, Dylan, like many of us, was cool enough to question authority, but not enough to resist being packed-off to camp. Dylan pulled his usual routine one weekend when our group took an overnight tubing trip.<br> <br> “Why are we doing this?” he asked once again.<br> <br> “TO HAVE FUN,” Counselor Dave practically screamed.<br> <br> We drove down to the river, dropped black rubber inner tubes in the water, squeezed our butts into the donut holes and sailed downstream. We paddled with our hands in the water, hurrying to catch up with friends. We floated in doubles or groups and sang songs, passing time in a way that I cannot comprehend now that I’m old enough to drink.<br> <br> Unexpectedly, Dylan drifted beside me in his black swim trunks.<br> <br> "Hey," he said.<br> <br> “Hi,” I said. My heartrate picked up at this captivating line.<br> <br> The current quickly pulled him away from me, so we grabbed onto each other's wrists.<br> <br> I don't remember the rest of the conversation, but I still remember his hand on my wrist, just because the majority of boy-girl touching in my life prior to this was mandatory, like the square dancing in music class and even then some of the guys opted not to hold hands (they used a mysterious “force field” as an excuse.)<br> <br> When our collective rear grew numb from the chilly river water, our group set up camp on the riverbed. I was lodged with two other girls in the group: Anna, the belle of the camp who boasted an enviable mane of curly red hair, and her cute friend Elsie. Elsie and Anna traded J Crew bikini tops and bottoms throughout the camp session, which filled me with envy.<br> <br> After dark, Dylan crawled into our tent. While boys and girls usually visited each other's large, army-surplus tents back at the main camp, we now found ourselves in cozier accommodations. We spent the night gossiping, learning crude words and trading backrubs.<br> <br> This was the closest and longest I'd been next to a guy in my entire life. And this was a new guy, a guy with issues. He talked about his parents' divorce and how he didn't like his stepfather and how he though Christianity was bullshit. We talked about dreams and music and God. Eventually, Dylan fell asleep in our tent. For a while, I watched him. I was amazed by his pale skin and dark hair, as I lay wedged between him and the tent wall. What a damaged soul, I thought.<br> <br> The intimacy I felt while watching Dylan sealed my crush. It never occurred to me that maybe he used his tortured-guy persona to work his way into our tent. After all, we would have never let the rowdy jock or the scary violence-prone kid into our space, and the quiet nerd was too shy to attempt a break-in. We all fell for Dylan's perfect ploy.<br> <br> In the following days, I thought that if I exemplified my own deepness to Dylan, he'd see that I too was sensitive, and that he'd want to hang out with me. However, nobody approached me as I lay on top of a bunk bed outside my cabin, listening to the Indigo Girls on my Walkman. I tried to appear poignant, possibly even sorrowful. Everyone probably just thought I was sleeping.<br> <br> As our camp session came to a close, my feelings for Dylan grew more intense. We were starting high school soon, and who knew what that would bring? Who knew how much time I'd spend on homework and playing volleyball? And if I played volleyball, would Dylan still think I was deep while I ran around in kneepads? I had never cared about a guy like this, much less cared so much about what he thought of me.<br> <br> On the last night at camp, I decided to proclaim my feelings to Dylan. I needed to show him that I was as serious about my life as he was. The unbearable tension of my camp crush, not to mention the mosquito bites, pheromones and dirty laundry, were all too much to handle. I had to make a move.<br> <br> "Can I talk to you?" I asked when I found him. We walked a ways.<br> <br> I went with the basics. "I think I like you," I said.<br> <br> "Oh," he said. "That's cool."<br> <br> I felt ridiculous. I didn't say it right, which was so important when it came to impressing somebody like Dylan. Mainly I wanted him to know that underneath my proverbial school uniform, I was a person who understood him--and perhaps he understood me too. I wasn't just Most Likely To Do Her Homework Ahead Of Time. I was Most Likely To Be Unexpectedly Deep.<br> <br> Later that night, I saw Dylan kissing Anna. They weren’t exactly hiding it: they were making out while sitting on top of a picnic table. Then later on that evening, other campers buzzed about seeing Dylan stick his tongue down Elsie’s throat. Suddenly everything was clear: Dylan was perhaps more sensitive than the average teen boy, but not too sensitive to work it to his advantage. Dylan was a player, but just not in the typical skin. I remember hearing once that he would place a playing card in the band of his fedora to indicate his mood. I wondered which card could possibly represent this moment: "The King of Over-the-Shirt Fondling”?<br> <br> I found out later on that a lot of other girls freshman year of high school liked Dylan too. This disturbed me on some level, because I realized I wasn't the only one to discover my esoteric diamond in the rough, the first to board the Teenage Angst train. By liking the guy who everyone thought was hot for going against the grain, I actually was going with the grain. This was my first taste of why everybody hates high school.</p></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 15:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-09-28/cad-goths-clothing-my-summer-camp-high-school-92546