Johnson College Prep Goes Back to School

Johnson College Prep’s freshmen experienced their first day of high school on Monday, August 21, and were greeted with a warm welcome. Faculty and a welcoming committee – including Noble’s Superintendent Mike Milkie, Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), and 20th Ward Democratic Committeeman Kevin Bailey – waited at the steps of JCP with high fives and cheers for students and their families, celebrating this new chapter for the young scholars. All Noble charter high schools in Chicago start their freshmen class several days earlier than the rest of their upperclassmen.                                                          

Principal Matt Brown of Johnson College Prep provided insight, “The freshmen come in two days early – we want to give them time to get acclimated to the school, the new environment, and our strict rules. Being clear, consistent, positive, and firm is our focus, and in these first few days, we prioritize being incredibly clear.”

Lamona Caldwell, mother of Imaia Peat, a new freshman at JCP, appreciates the firm structure at JCP. After dropping Imaia off for her first day, Caldwell share, “My oldest daughter was part of the first class that graduated from Johnson, so I know how Johnson helps students make it to college. They instill that discipline and determination to be able to complete college, and that’s what I really love about Johnson.”

Johnson College Prep alumni remember what it was like to come in as a freshman before the rest of the school. Larone Harrison graduated JCP in June 2017, and is entering college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with enough credits to already be in his sophomore year. He recalled, “As a freshman, I moved from a school out west, so I didn’t have any friends here. Coming in early and having the opportunity to meet everyone, beginning with a fresh start, and getting to know the people I’d be graduating with really helped.”

Ronnie Peterson also graduated in 2017. He will be starting school this fall at the University of Michigan on a full-ride scholarship. “As a freshman, it was hard to adjust to the new rules, coming from a grammar school that was not as disciplined as Johnson. Starting earlier than the rest of the student body helped us prepare for the year, open up as a new student, and get to know the school and the rules,” he remembered.

This first day of school is a new chapter — and maybe even a turning point — in these students’ lives. Principal Brown shared why the first day of school is so exciting to him, “I think the most amazing part, is just looking down and seeing these students who, in four years, will be looking at colleges. I’m going to get to shake this kid’s hand when they cross the stage and graduate. I’m going to see them go off to college and it’s going to be inconceivable how much they’ve grown.”