TF North Senior Giving Back, Debunking StereotypesSeptember 26, 2014
TF North senior Warren Key was one of 20 high-achieving, young African-American males selected from applicants across the Chicagoland area to participate in the University of Illinois at Chicago's second annual Pre-College Leadership and Impact Program this past summer.
Students selected for this opportunity stayed on campus in a UIC dorm and received a modest stipend. The ten-day program was designed to help young African-American males develop and refine the leadership skills they will need to help improve their communities. Program participants, called leader candidates, also engaged in team building exercises and mentored a group of African-American males in grades second through fourth.
One of the highlights of the experience for Warren was engaging in meaningful, intellectual group discussions with his peers and the younger students they were mentoring. Warren said the program helped him consider other people's perspectives and reaffirmed his belief that "black males can be successful and change society in many positive ways."
Warren was encouraged to apply for the program by his guidance counselor, Lauri Like. Like said, "He (Warren) is an intelligent, articulate, caring young man who will do great things in the future and give back to his community in a profound way."
District 215 Superintendent Dr. Creg E. Williams said that more programs like this one are needed to help cultivate more African-American leaders, especially young men. Williams remarked, "With the barrage of recent negative news stories involving young Black men, this program is a shining example to the entire community that not all Black males fit the derogatory stereotype prescribed by some in our society."
Warren, who aspires to study civil engineering in college, has a 3.2 grade point average and takes Advanced Placement and Honors classes at TF North. An honor roll student, Warren has been a member of the school's Action Club, which performs various community service projects in the school and in Calumet City since his freshman year.