KANSAS CITY, MO – When the 54 graduates from University Academy walk across the stage on Friday, May 23 to receive their diplomas, each of them also will be walking into bright college careers paid for with a total of nearly $3 million in scholarships, or an average of $50,000 per student. The individual awards range from $2,000 a year to a whopping $157,000 commitment over four years.
The scholarship total of more than $2.7 million this year surpasses the previous record of $1.35 million in scholarships for 40 graduates set in 2013, said Superintendent Tony Kline. Students were awarded scholarships from colleges and universities that they have been accepted to, as well as from sororities and fraternities, Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, Masonic lodges, the American Red Cross, and civic and community groups.
“This momentous achievement is the culmination of the hard work of the students and the adults who support them,” said Phyllis Chase, director of the Charter School Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which sponsors the school. “It demonstrates that when a community commits to a vision and mission of excellence, they are achievable.”
Students attending the K-12 charter school, located in the southern part of the Kansas City Public Schools’ boundaries, begin preparing in the early grades to be viable candidates to many of the leading colleges and universities across the country. The effort is paying off, making University Academy’s high school a bronze medal recipient for three years straight from U.S. News and World Report for having a large number of its seniors accepted into the nation’s top-rated institutions of higher education.
“Our students are not only doing better in terms of grades,” said Clement Ukaoma, high school principal, “but they’re becoming well-rounded students.” In addition to academic achievement, many students also are recognized for excelling in speech and debate, athletics, and leadership. The school has consistently scored among the highest in Missouri in annual assessments, and students also score high on the ACT and SAT college exams, earning near-perfect scores and Junior Merit Scholar status.
Attributing to the success of this year’s senior class, according to Kline, is the consistency of the student body. “This year’s graduating class has been at University Academy since 4th grade,” he said, with only one senior at the school since 6th grade. Kline and Ukaoma also credit the team effort of the board, teachers, parents and counseling staff, along with continuing support from the Friends of University Academy, which supports the students throughout their college years to insure a smooth transition into a productive career.