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TF South receives top scores at National Educational Equity Lab ceremony


LANSING, Ill. (February 8, 2023) — Six students at Thornton Fractional South High School were honored for achieving top scores in college courses. The students were inducted into the Fall 2022 National Education Equity Lab Honor Society.

Prestigious universities

During the 2021-2022 school year, a new partnership was formed between District 215 and the Ed Equity Lab. Through the collaboration, district students were able to take college courses taught by professors from prestigious colleges and universities.

Courses offered came from schools including Howard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Wesleyan University, Georgetown University, Arizona State University, Brown University, Spelman College, Barnard/Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, University of Connecticut, and Yale University.

In the fall 2021 semester, students were able to take “Poetry in America: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop,” taught by Harvard University professor, Dr. Elisa New.

In the spring 2022 semester, Howard University professor, Dr. Bahiyyah Muhammad taught students about the principles of criminal justice.

In the fall 2022 semester, personal finance was taught through the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. Through their participation in the dual credit class, six students at TF South ranked in the top 10-20% in the nation for the course work and semester grade.

Top scores

The students who received top scores were sophomore Isabella Torrado; juniors Angel Ruiz, Naiya Hawkins, and Sam Townsend; and seniors Aboolwakitan Miracle Akinlagun and Viviana Herrera.

On January 31, during the virtual ceremony celebrating the Fall 2022 National Education Equity Lab Honor Society inductees, TF South principal Jake Gourley expressed his pride for the students’ success.

“Our partnership with National Equity Lab allows local students the opportunity to earn college credit at top-tier universities and interact with peers across the country led by a college professor and facilitated by an in-house teacher. This marks the third consecutive semester that TF South students have been recognized for being top performers nationally and we are very proud of them and to offer them such a tremendous experience,” said Gourley.

The ceremony featured families, university professors, high school teachers, district leaders, members of the National Education Equity Lab board, and founder and CEO Leslie Cornfield.

TF South one of two schools from Illinois

District 215’s TF South along with Chicago Public School’s Urban Prep Academy Englewood Campus were the only two schools in Illinois who were top performers in the college courses at the ceremony.

“These scholars’ success in rigorous college courses reinforces the fact that talent is evenly distributed, opportunity is not. We aim to change that. Talented students from under-resourced high schools belong in the best matched schools for them, including our nation’s top universities,” said Cornfeld in a statement.

According to their website, the Ed Equity Lab allows high school students from historically underserved communities to take college courses, making the transition to college more equitable.

As presented on the Ed Equity Lab website, 120 Title 1 high schools across 90 cities have participated in the program since its inception, serving over 11,000 students.

Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University and his Master of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University. In addition to reporting for The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, he volunteers with 100 Black Men of Chicago, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Burst Into Books, and various other organizations. A south suburban resident since 2004, Quinton is passionate about telling the unsung stories of the community.