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Chicago Public Schools Celebrates the Class of 2022

09 June 2022

Class of 2022 awarded nearly $1 billion in scholarships

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

CHICAGO -  Thousands of Chicago Public School (CPS) seniors will walk the stage this spring in graduation ceremonies that began last weekend and continue through Thursday, June 16. The Chicago Public Schools’ Class of 2022 reflects the city’s rich diversity and the tenacity and resilience of students who have endured and triumphed through a global pandemic. 

With high school diplomas - and often college credits already attained - CPS  graduates are moving on to attend higher education powerhouses like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Morehouse, Dartmouth and institutions around the world. Some will stay closer to home with plans to attend a City Colleges of Chicago campus, DePaul or Loyola University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, or the University of Illinois at Chicago campus among others. Still, others will continue their training and apprenticeship programs in the culinary arts, cosmetology, automotive, and construction, and other skilled trades.  

"I am extremely proud of these Chicago Public School students who have demonstrated that with hard work and focus they can achieve anything," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "Their success would not have been possible without the everyday support of their parents, teachers and local communities. I look forward to seeing what these students will accomplish next and hope many return to contribute to our beloved city."

Districtwide, 160 high school graduation ceremonies will be held at schools, auditoriums and football fields across the District. The ceremonies celebrate a graduating class that has earned hundreds of academic and career accolades as well as nearly $1 billion in scholarships to date with final counts not available until fall 2022. 

“We are thrilled to share in the special accomplishments of these CPS graduates, from Dual Language scholars to those walking into college or careers with college credit and verified job skills, we are confident they will continue to shine and represent our city’s wonderful tapestry of culture, race and spirit,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez.  “I am certain our graduates will forge ahead as they meet life’s challenges and will take on leadership roles to actively contribute to our society.” 

CLASS OF 2022 by the Numbers 

The number of CPS graduates won’t be final until the fall of 2022, but the class includes 1,867 students shaped by the District’s rigorous and comprehensive International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. A total of 770 students earned the IB Diploma, while another 298 completed the IB Career-related Program and 779 completed program courses.

“Through this program, I took risks and summoned the courage to have my voice heard, uphold leadership positions and experiment with new experiences,” said Ashley Garcia, Prosser Career Academy who will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall. “As a first-generation college student from an underrepresented group, IB has given me the confidence to apply to and land a spot at a top-tier university.” 

One graduate, Jelila Adedoyin Surakat who completed the IB career-related program at South Shore International College Prep has been awarded a Gates Scholarship. The scholar was one of 300 recipients selected from more than 37,000 applicants for her exemplary academic achievement, community service, and leadership skills.

“In eighth grade, I had visions of myself being a Gates Scholar and alleviating the financial pressure of a college education for my parents,” said Adedoyin Surakat. “Due to my ambition and prospective thinking, I was able to make myself and my family proud, as well as, remind myself of the values needed to be successful.” 

Jelila will attend the University of Southern California in the fall and this highly selective scholarship will fully cover her tuition. 

The District also celebrates new schoolwide accomplishments that reflect some long-term commitments. Schurz High School is the first high school in CPS to implement a Dual Language Program. Four years after the program was implemented the first cohort of 18 students instructed in both English and Spanish are graduating. This program provides students with the support needed to become bilingual and bi-literate and prepares them to work in a global economy. 

Additionally, 1,844 students in 82 schools earned the Illinois Seal of Biliteracy in 24 world languages, the largest number of languages ever awarded at CPS.  Students who earn the Seal can qualify for two years of foreign language credit at any Illinois public university in Arabic, Bengali, Bosnian, Cantonese, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Twi or Akan and Vietnamese. Twenty-one students across seven schools earned the seal in two world languages. 

Another 675 graduates earned state commendations after receiving a passing score of three or its equivalent on the AP World Language assessment or ISBE-approved assessment. The commendation is awarded to 12th-grade students who receive a passing score of three on the AP World Language assessment or an equivalent score on another ISBE-approved assessment. 

The Class of  2022 is also on track to surpass the number of Career and Technical Education (CTE) certifications earned the prior year. Students earned roughly 4,500 certifications from industry-recognized organizations and leaders providing students with work experience or training that can help secure full-time employment or jobs to help pay for college. 

Finally, 31 CPS graduates, up from 11 last year,  have earned their associate degrees in addition to their high school diplomas, promising to accelerate their college journey and save money, through a partnership with City Colleges of Chicago. More than 460 CPS seniors earned 15-plus hours of college credit during their junior and/or senior years of high school, nearly double the number of students earning such credit last year. These students - from 47 schools across the District - have already earned more than 10,000 college credit hours.

“Earning my associate's degree built up my confidence,” said Back of the Yards High School graduate Emmanuel Urbina-Rodriguez, who will attend Malcolm X College in the fall. “I now know I can handle all of the coursework required in college.”