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.

Chicago International Charter School is looking to expand its alumni outreach programming. For more information on how to become involved in CICS the alumni network, please visit our Facebook page and LinkedIn profile. Please direct any questions or suggestions to Meghan Schmidt at mschmidt@chicagointl.og.

Alumnus: Alante Ward

CICS Campus: CICS Ralph Ellison, Class of 2011

College: Ohio State University

Long after classes ended for the day at CICS Ralph Ellison, Alante Ward could often still be found on school premises and tracking him down wouldn’t have been an easy task. Maybe he was facilitating a meeting as the Senior Class President. Perhaps he was helping a teacher grade papers or clean their classrooms. Or, as co-captain of the dance team, he could have been practicing for Ralph Ellison’s Community Showcase. As a member of one of Ellison’s first graduating classes, Ward was eager to integrate himself into his school’s community in any way possible.

Ward now attends Ohio State University, where he is majoring in business and specializing in real estate and urban analysis. Considering minoring in either city and regional planning or dance, Ward hopes to pursue a career in real estate. Eventually, Ward hopes to save enough money to start his own dance company.

Most recently, Ward served as a Recruitment Intern for CICS Ralph Ellison in 2013, meeting with eighth graders in schools around the city. Seeing his position as a way to support his high school, he also views his job as a serving as an example of a college student for younger students. Ward regularly shares the fundamental lesson that he carried away from his four years at CICS: his success today would not have been possible without his “team,” CICS Ralph Ellison, alongside him.

Alumna: Angelica Smith

CICS Campus: CICS Ralph Ellison, Class of 2012

College: 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.

Alumnus: Anthony Driver

CICS Campus: CICS Ralph Ellison, Class of 2011

College: Howard University

In his senior year of high school, CICS Ralph Ellison graduate Anthony Driver won first place in a citywide entrepreneurship competition. His proposed company, “Charge N’ Go,” creating kiosks in commercial centers where patrons can charge their phones, was praised for its innovative business model. In addition to winning a competition entered by hundreds, Driver excelled in other areas. He was co-captain of his basketball team and a member of Ralph Ellison’s debate team. He also succeeded academically, becoming the President of Ellison’s National Honor Society.

While at Howard University, Driver has assumed multiple positions. He worked on the hill as an intern for Danny Davis. He is the Technology Director for the School of Education, and the 2013-2014 Teach for America Campus Ambassador. He is also the co-creator of Howard University’s “Project Seed” program, which aids high achieving seniors in the college application process. Similar to his role in “Charge N’ Go,” Driver has been heavily present in every aspect of Project Seed. He reads applications; looking for determined students who lack only the means to succeed. He fundraises for the program; soliciting donations. He plans the trip that Project Seed participants take to Howard University, where they will see lectures, other campuses, Howard classes and a football game. After graduating, he is considering entering the education policy field. 

Alumna: Brooke Ray

CICS Campus: CICS Ralph Ellison Class of 2010

College: 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.

Alumna: Carmela Twilley

CICS Campus: CICS Northtown, Class of 2007

College: Northeastern Illinois University, Class of 2013

Twilley was 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.

Alumnus: D’Angelo Hampton

CICS Campus: CICS Northtown Class of 2008

College: 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.

Alumna: Elizabeth Allen

CICS Campus: CICS Northtown, Class of 2006

College: Illinois Wesleyan University, Class of 2010

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.

Alumna: Saadia Kabir

CICS Campus: CICS Northtown Academy, Class of 2013

College: 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.

Kabir will begin to attend Loyola University in Chicago in the fall of 2013. She is still interested in a wide variety of subjects, but, after seeing the results of her many college interests, she now understands that having a broad scope of curiosity can have some large benefits as well.

Alumnus: Sean Hopkins

CICS High School Campus: CICS Ralph Ellison, Class of 2010

College: 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.



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