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Documentary To Look At A Year At Whitney Young Magnet High School

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 16, 2014 1:45PM

The competition and pressure students place on themselves to gain enrollment to the magnet high school of their choice can often be daunting. As a teen I remember the stress I felt waiting to hear if I would attend Lane Tech; the relief that washed over me once I was finally able to walk those halls as a student was soon replaced by the pressure to keep up with other academically gifted students. You realize, once you’re admitted, you’re no longer the smartest student in your class and will have to work a little harder in order to succeed.

The competition for a limited number of open placements is the focus of an upcoming documentary looking at a year at Whitney Young Magnet High School, widely regarded as one of the best academic high schools in Illinois and the U.S. DNAInfo Chicago spoke with Kayla McCormick of production company New Chapter Entertainment. The film was commissioned by two parents of Young students who wanted to raise the school’s already prominent national profile.

"I really wanted to underscore, why do so many people flock to Whitney Young?" said McCormick, executive producer at New Chapter Entertainment. "For many students, it’s their ticket out of poverty and their ticket into a really excellent school."

Whitney Young, named after civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr., opened in September 1975 on the site of a building that was burned down during the riots following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The competition to become a student at Young is daunting—nearly 10,000 students apply for 350 open seats at the school annually. The film will follow incoming freshmen and graduating seniors, including basketball star Jahlil Okafor.

We’ve included a trailer for the film below. To keep updated on the film, follow their Facebook page. The movie is expected to be released sometime in 2015.