Richton Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Southland College Prep Charter High School honored 62 students who earned Straight As in the school’s first semester with Golden Apples during a special assembly on February 8. Additionally, 129 Southland students who earned GPAs of 4.0 or better were feted in a second event on February 10. Both events featured live Zoom calls from John W. Fountain, an Olympia Fields resident, who is on leave from his post as a tenured professor of journalism at Roosevelt University and is a Fulbright Scholar teaching and conducting research in West Africa at the University of Ghana in Accra.
Fountain shared with the Southland honor students his own life story of growing up in poverty on Chicago’s West Side to become a journalist with the Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and for the past 12 years a Chicago Sun-Times columnist.
John Fountain told the honor students that “they can be anybody they want to be as long as they have hope.” He urged them to pursue their dreams and to understand that the struggles and strength of their ancestors should inspire them to know that “there is nothing you can’t do.”
During Q & A sessions with both groups of honor students, Fountain told of his experiences of living in Ghana, which he termed, “ the Motherland,” where, he said, he feels most comfortable as a Black man, free of the fears he encounters in urban America.
During his stay in West Africa, Fountain also is completing a research project: Africa Calling: Portraits of Black Americans Drawn to the Motherland.
“To learn of John Fountain’s many accomplishments as a husband, father, author, educator, and journalist were most inspiring and instructive for our students,” Dr. Blondean Y. Davis, Southland’s CEO, said.
“We’re especially proud that Southland’s first-semester honor roll, of students with a 3.0 GPA and higher, totals 385 students, more than two-thirds of the school’s enrollment,” she added.