Kenwood class leaders discuss their future

Kenwood Academy High School Salutatorian Amanda McIntyre, Senior Class President Ciara J. Evans and Valedictorian Summer Baptiste will graduate from Kenwood Academy on June 13. – Aaron Gettinger

Staff Writer

Three Kenwood Academy seniors are looking forward to bright, promising futures.

Kenwood senior class president Ciara J. Evans said she has immensely enjoyed her years at the school, including the advantages of living across the street from the high school. “If I take my shower at night, I’m not waking up until, like, 8:25,” said Evans, grinning. “I walk out of the house at about 8:55. I get here about 8:57. I’m in my desk by 8:59. And the bell rings at 9 o’clock.”

Evans said her tenure with Kenwood’s student council has been busy.

“Working with the school has really taught me a lot, and I definitely want to continue the government thing when I go to college,” she said. Her administration raised money for an end-of-school raffle and $1,200 at a student fashion show, organized pep rallies and worked with the administration to better connect students to community service and scholarship activities. An overnight senior trip did not come to fruition, but Evans is very happy about her planned June 2 senior class bonfire on Promontory Point.

Nevertheless, all things must come to an end, and Evans, the senior class president of Kenwood Academy, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., is set to attend Morgan State University this fall in Baltimore to study filmmaking. Her favorite filmmaker is Tim Story.

Evans explained that Morgan State’s filmmaking program is more than just film and production. After writing her own play and doing set-design in Kenwood’s drama class, she is particularly interested in the major’s writing component.

“At Morgan State, there’s a SWAN [screenwriting and animation] major where I could do playwriting, screenwriting, film and production, digital media as well as 3-D animation.”

Evans has made both documentaries and short films. Her current project, a short film titled “Downside Up,” is about gentrification and poverty on the South Side but also incorporates romance and comedy. The protagonist is black, and Evans said she was trying to convey that “people who look like her can also enhance an area. It doesn’t have to be a white person who comes in and enhances an area. It’s about opening people’s eyes up.”

After getting placed on the University of Southern California waiting list, Evans looked for schools that would provide her a foundation for attending graduate school there. She was attracted to Morgan State, a historically black college, for its networking opportunities and the individual attention its students receive. She intends to maintain her 4.0 GPA and expressed interest in studying for a semester in Los Angeles.

Additionally, Evans greatly looks forward to Baltimore’s warmer weather and access to Washington, D.C.

A sophomore transfer from the Chicago High School for the Arts, 2714 W. Augusta Blvd., Evans said she was at first apprehensive to start at Kenwood.

“But when I got here, I guess God does work in mysterious ways, because this school has really prepared me for college, in my opinion. Education, time-management, the rigorous work I have to do compared to ChiArts—it’s just way different. I just love Kenwood, period,” she said.

Salutatorian Amanda McIntyre, who lives in Jeffrey Manor, is set to attend the prestigious Dartmouth College in rural Hanover, New Hampshire. She said she fell in love with the campus over the course of a summer program.

“I like the isolation,” she said, adding that she looks forward to its wealth of outdoor activities absent in Chicago. Though talented in math and science (she plans on either studying chemical engineering or business), McIntyre’s favorite classes at Kenwood have been AP Literature (her favorite book was “The Invisible Man”), film studies and gender studies. “I learned a lot,” she said of the latter course. “I was very ignorant coming in about sexuality and gender expression. It made me change the way that I think and [become] more aware of what’s going on around me.”

Valedictorian Summer Baptiste, who lives in Auburn Gresham, will attend another lauded school, Emory University in Atlanta.

“They flew me out at the beginning of April, and I just fell in love with the campus,” she said. A self-described “city girl,” Baptiste said she needed a college with an urban setting and looks forward to swapping Midwestern winters for Southern heat. She already holds an associate’s degree from the Chicago Community Colleges and plans to study mathematics at Emory, saying, “I just love working with numbers, manipulating formulas, making your own. I just find it to be one big puzzle.” Baptiste is interested in getting a doctorate and entering academia, intending to focus on mathematics education. “I want to be as great a teacher as the teachers I’ve had at Kenwood,” she said.