Chicago International Charter School celebrates the alumni who are committed to completing and using their college education. Below are just a few examples of students that exemplified this value.

For more information on how to become involved in CICS the alumni network, please call the CICS network office at 312-651-5000.

CICS alumni are invited to join the Facebook and LinkedIn groups to reconnect and network!

Sean Hopkins
CICS Ralph Ellison, Class of 2010
Knox College

CICS Ralph Ellison alumnus Sean Hopkins believes that Ralph Ellison taught him the values of citizenship, respect, and community service. His principal’s belief that all citizens were connected to, and thus affected by, one other was exemplified by school assemblies, school speeches and school environment. As a result, Hopkins realized that he wanted to devote his life to creating these connections and to helping others. While in high school, he volunteered over a hundred hours of community service and decided to pursue a major in college that would help him to achieve this goal. 

While at Knox College, Hopkins saw a link between the education field and his ultimate aim of helping others. He decided to major in elementary and middle school education. He was also accepted into the University of Pennsylvania’s Grad Prep Academy, an extremely selective program aimed at preparing African American men for careers and degrees in higher education. In the fall of 2013, Hopkins worked as a student teacher at CICS Wrightwood. After graduating Knox in June of 2014, he would like to become a teacher in the CICS Network.

D'Angelo Hampton
CICS Northtown Class of 2008
Harold Washington College

As an artist involved in many organizations, CICS Northtown Academy graduate D’Angelo Hampton observed that all CICS Northtown classmates inspired one another. He was a devoted member of Northtown’s theater program, acting in multiple productions and working after school on shows. He helped to found Northtown’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). He became involved in “Literary Journal,” where he shared and wrote stories. He participated in Northtown’s “Culture Fest” as a singer and would often devise lyrics to songs for class projects. 

Hampton is now attending Harold Washington College and working towards a degree in music education and performance. He is already beginning to tutor his peers while working as a music facilities assistant. He also continues to work with About Face Theatre, a LGBT theater company that he connected with through Northtown’s GSA. 

The administrative and student support that Hampton received from CICS Northtown were crucial to facilitating his self-expression. He hopes to provide this same support to the next generation of artists by becoming either a high school or college music instructor.


Brooke Ray
CICS Ralph Ellison Class of 2010
Western Illinois University

CICS Ralph Ellison alumna Brooke Ray’s unwavering aspiration to becoming a lawyer did not prevent her from pursuing a variety of interests while attending CICS Ralph Ellison. Not only drawn to law-related classes, she adored her English class for its Shakespeare. She was also fascinated by her political science class, inciting her interest in the subject. She participated in the National Honor’s Society. She was also a member of the CICS Accenture Mentorship program, through which she shadowed an Accenture professional during a work-day. 

At Western Illinois University, Ray is continuing to expand her breadth of knowledge, taking morality and sociology classes in order to gain a deeper understanding of other cultural backgrounds. Ray has decided to major in political science, a topic that first captivated her at CICS Ralph Ellison. After graduating, she hopes to immediately start practicing law. She desires to be both a corporate lawyer and a prosecutor, two positions that she hopes will be intellectually challenging.

Carmela Twilley
CICS Northtown, Class of 2007
Northeastern Illinois University

Carmela Twilley graduated from one of the first classes at both CICS Bucktown and CICS Northtown. Most recently, Twilley graduated with a degree in psychology from Northeastern Illinois University in 2013. 

Twilley is responsible for creating the CICS Alumni Network Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Passionate about charter school legislation after her many years with CICS, Twilley pioneered the way for CICS alumni to organize around the 2012 Illinois bill that addressed the funding inequity between charter and traditional public schools. For Twilley, creating an alumni network was simply a way to give back. In the near future, she is interested in pursuing a career within the field of industrial-organizational psychology or in possibly becoming a teacher.


Elizabeth Allen
CICS Northtown, Class of 2006
Illinois Wesleyan University

One of the top three students in her graduating class, Allen also ran track, played in CICS Northtown’s band and was a member of the volleyball team. Once she arrived at Illinois Wesleyan University, Allen continued to apply the same attitude towards managing both school and extra-curricular activities that she cultivated at CICS Northtown. She was quickly elected as the Vice President of Public Relations for her sorority and graduated with a degree in International Relations, minoring in Spanish. 

After graduation, Allen interned with the International Red Cross’s Advancement Department in Chicago, which initiated her desire to pursue a career in community service. She worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and currently works with Chicago Cares, a Chicago based service organization. As the Senior Associate of Corporate Relations, she expands volunteer opportunities for corporate employees. She hopes to continue working in the non-profit sector and is considering education reform as a future career path.

Saadia Kabir
CICS Northtown Academy, Class of 2013
Loyola University

In the spring of 2013, CICS Northtown Academy graduate Saadia Kabir received $959,000 dollars in scholarship offers from colleges around the country. She credits her guidance counselor, Keith Herbert, as essential to earning this astounding amount. When she first began to apply to schools, Kabir felt overwhelmed, as she was passionate about multiple career paths. Herbert helped to translate her goals into potential schools. He also monitored her applications, tracking Kabir’s offers. By graduation, Herbert, not Kabir, was the only member of Northtown who knew the precise amount that Kabir had earned. 

During her senior year, Kabir took four Advanced Placement classes along with classes on law and theater. A member of Student Government, she spearheaded Northtown’s community outreach efforts, such as its involvement in the “Adopt A Child” program. Kabir also managed the junior varsity volleyball team, volunteered for Northtown’s annual Culture Fest, and wrote for Northtown’s “Literary Jounral.” In addition, she mentored sophomores in her senior year as a member of Northtown’s “Puma Pals” program. 


James Norris
CICS Longwood, Class of 2006

James Norris currently works at CICS Longwood as a Paraprofessional Educator instructing elementary and junior high school students. Other roles he holds at Longwood include head coach of the junior high football team, along with serving as a mentor to several students in the Longwood Mentoring Program. He is an active member in his community and takes part in numerous community service events. he truly believe his experiences as a former student Longwood helped shape him into the person he is today. The family environment there has given him a strong foundation of core values such as responsibility, leadership, hard work, and taught him the value of a quality education. These ideals have since landed him on the career path that he is on today and will continue to steer him into future endeavors. 


 Angelica Smith

CICS Ralph Ellison, Class of 2012
Indiana University

After graduating from CICS Ralph Ellison in 2012, Smith now attends Indiana University, double majoring in criminal justice and psychology. She currently works in IU’s Office of Admissions as a result of her strong passion towards her undergraduate experience. She gives tours, answers student questions, and aids in program development and recently trained to be an Orientation Leader. Eventually, Smith hopes to pursue a career as a forensic psychologist. 

While at CICS Ralph Ellison, Smith collaborated with her peers to improve the spelling program for elementary students at another CICS campus, CICS Wrightwood. Culminating with a spelling bee, Wrightwood’s third graders built up their vocabulary with the help of Smith as part of her senior project. Seniors at Ellison create self-devised assignments focused on community interaction, and Smith sought to improve the spelling program at a fellow CICS campus as a result of her belief that spelling plays a key role in understanding language.


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