Paul J. Adams III, an African-American man with activist roots in the 1960’s civil rights movement, came from a family of teachers. After being black listed himself as a teacher in Alabama because of his civil rights activities, he moved to Chicago, received a master’s degree in psychology, and then landed a job as guidance counselor at Providence St. Mel, an all-black parochial school on Chicago’s notorious drug-ridden, gang-ruled West Side.
A year after his arrival, Adams became principal, only to be told the following year that Chicago’s archdiocese was going to close the school. After orchestrating a fundraising campaign that received national and local media attention, funds poured in and enabled Adams to buy the school from the Sisters of Providence and convert it to a not-for-profit independent school. To ward off thieves and vandals, he literally moved into the empty nuns’ quarters of the convent inside the school.
He then set about achieving a new goal: To turn Providence St. Mel into a first rank college preparatory school, and its African-American student body into a corps of driven, disciplined, high achieving students.
That was over 30 years ago. Since then, 100% of Providence St. Mel graduates have been accepted to college, half of them, during the last seven years, to first tier and Ivy League colleges and universities.
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Sounds interesting. I’ll have to find out more.