Proving Ground

University of Chicago Magazine by Maya Dukmasova

On a sunny Tuesday morning in early June, with the end of the school year already palpable, three girls were hard at work in a Chicago Vocational Center Academy classroom. The Chicago Public Schools high school is a sprawling Art Deco building on the southernmost edge of Avalon Park, on the South Side of Chicago. About 98 percent of its students are African American, and nearly 94 percent come from low-income families.

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