RICHTON PARK, IL—(ENEWSPF)–November, 23, 2016—A Southland College Prep Charter High School college counselor who champions the belief that all youth have the potential to graduate from high school, earn a four-year college degree and have adequate scholarship aid to make higher education a reality, was honored today by the Southland College Prep family for his extraordinary contributions to the education of African American students.
Ron Anderson, senior college counselor at Southland College Prep, received the National Alliance of Black School Educators W.E. B. Dubois Higher Education Award during the organization’s annual conference in Tampa recently.
Anderson was cited for his “advocacy of educational opportunities for African American students through guidance, counsel and securing merit-based college and university scholarships.”
Dr. Blondean Davis, Southland’s CEO who also is Superintendent of Matteson School District 162, whose enrollment in Chicago’s far south suburbs is comprised largely of African American students, received the Alliance’s Ida B. Wells Risk Taker Award in recognition of her “personal and professional sacrifices in the advancement of education for African American students.
“The national recognition of Southland College Prep by this historic premier association of African American educators is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary success that Dr. Davis and Ron Anderson have provided graduates of this six-year-old public charter high school, where all our students are selected by a well-publicized public lottery and not an admission test,” said Ron Bean, Southland College Prep’s chairman.
“Through Ron Anderson’s diligent efforts, every member of Southland College Prep’s first three graduating classes (2014 -2016), some 300 students, have been accepted by scores of top colleges and universities.
“Equally impressive is that through his careful analysis and patient counsel, collectively Southland’s graduates were offered more than $ 45 million in merit-based scholarships,” said Dr. Blondean Davis, CEO.
Dr. Davis noted that Southland graduates have been accepted by:
- seven of the eight Ivy League schools plus Stanford University;
- 38 of the 50 S. News & World Report’s top colleges;
- 12 of the 14 “Big Ten” schools;
- every major four-year public university in Illinois.
Southland graduates currently are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in five of the eight Ivy League schools—Columbia University, Cornell University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.
Southland alumni also are enrolled at other highly respected higher education institutions, such as: Bradley, Carleton, Coe, Duke, Grinnell, Hampton, Hofstra, Howard, Knox, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Stanford, St. John’s, Tufts, U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Alabama, University of Arizona, University of Illinois, University of Missouri, Vanderbilt, Washington University and scores of other private and public schools.
“Our vision for Southland College Prep is based on the premise that every young person has the capacity to learn and the ability to achieve the American Dream. Ron Anderson’s talent in guiding Southland’s graduates and their families through the maze of today’s college admissions process is of inestimable value in helping these young people achieve that dream,” Dr. Davis explained.
Amy Kwarteng, a 2015 Southland College Prep graduate and Yale University sophomore where she’s pursuing a career as a neurosurgeon, states that Anderson,“ is truly one of the most influential and impactful individuals I have ever met. If it were not for his unwavering and tenacious guidance, I would never have considered attending, let alone applying, to a school of the caliber of Yale University.”
Kwarteng is a Yale University student ambassador for the Midwest.
Anderson, a 66-year-old marathoner, has gone the distance for Southland’s graduates.
A product of Chicago’s North Lawndale community, Anderson graduated from the original Farragut High School in 1968 and earned a bachelor of science degree from Illinois State University with a triple major in history, sociology and economics. In 1973, he earned a master of science in public and urban policy from the University of Chicago.
After spending three decades in admissions, financial aid, career planning and administrative posts at Illinois State University and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Anderson came out of retirement in 2011 to join Southland College Prep as its senior counselor because he shared Dr. Davis’ vision that college is possible for every student who is willing to apply his or herself to master basic skills and data necessary to prepare for higher education.
Anderson, who says that his role is, “to help students tell their own stories,” believes that college applicants can “write their way into a top school.”
“In this day and age of talking and texting, writing is a valuable skill that very few people have mastered. I want our graduates to be able to tell college admissions officers a very compelling story about themselves,” he says.
“I’ve focused on ensuring that every one of Southland’s graduating seniors has an opportunity to be admitted to first-rate colleges and universities all across the U.S. and also have the means to do so in the form of merit scholarship and financial aid,” Anderson explains.
Anderson spends long hours throughout the school year working closely with Southland College Prep’s students, their parents and admissions officers at scores of colleges and universities across the U.S.
Often, he spends weekends visiting Southland alumni at college campuses around the U.S. to ensure that they are at ease with themselves and are making good progress in their studies.
During school lunch periods, Anderson’s office is often a den where small groups of students sit on the floor munching sandwiches and listening to his practical advice and recommendations on how best they can present their case to college admissions officers.
The father of two adult sons, Anderson is single. His hobby is long distance running which he does every day of the year so he’s well prepared to compete in the more than a dozen marathons that he’s completed.