How CPS Strike is Impacting High School Seniors Applying for College

As day four of the Chicago teachers strike comes to a close, there is still no deal between the city and the Chicago Teachers Union.

The strike is raising specific concerns for some high school seniors like Emely Gramajo. The Solorio Academy High School student is hoping she can make her parents proud.

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“It’s kind of like the American dream, because both my parents aren’t from here,” she said Tuesday. “So, they worked so hard for us to have a life, a life that we can gain opportunities with.”

Gramajo and the hundreds of other 12th graders at the Chicago Scholars On-Site College and Leadership Forum will be the first in their families to attend college – and some are walking away with on-the-spot admissions.

“I just got accepted into Columbia College with a $15,000 scholarship and it’s super surreal,” said Victor Luis Garcia, a senior at Chicago High School for the Arts.

Despite the opportunity that comes with being in this room, Gramajo fears her early admissions chances have already slipped away since she’s been out of school for the last four days.

“I was applying for early action in some of my colleges, and I couldn’t turn in my transcripts, so now I have to make sure and email them and let them know I can’t do early action anymore,” she said.

Because these students work with Chicago Scholars and other nonprofits that support college access, they’ve been working on college applications since the summer.

“Because of this program, I’ve been able to stay ahead, so I haven’t really needed to contact them for anything, but I’m sure that’s not the case with most students,” said Caleb Young, a senior at Whitney Young High School.

“We wouldn’t be here to have these amazing young people if it weren’t for teachers, if it weren’t for counselors, if it weren’t for the parents and the students themselves,” said Dominique Jordan Turner, CEO of Chicago Scholars.

Meanwhile, a former teacher who is now a presidential hopeful rallied with the Chicago Teachers Union on Tuesday morning.

“I’m here to stand with everyone of the people who stand for our children every day!” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said to a cheering crowd of teachers and staff.

But the end of the strike may seem farther off than when it began last week.

CTU President Jesse Sharkey tweeting this video encouraging supporters around the country to wear red on Thursday in support of the Chicago Teachers Union, signaling the strike could last until then.

Follow Brandis Friedman on Twitter @BrandisFriedman

Related stories:

Lightfoot Asks CTU to End Strike Before Contract Agreement is Finalized

How Parents of CPS Students Are Coping With Canceled Classes

Chicago Teachers Strike Enters Day 3 as Monday Classes Canceled

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