Kenwood students talk about plans after high school

Jelani Hill (left), Kenwood Academy senior class president, and Maya Minter, student council president. (Photo by Samantha Smylie)

By SAMANTHA SMYLIE
Staff writer

Student council president, Maya Minter, and class president, Jelani Hill, of Kenwood Academy will be heading off to institutions of higher education to showcase their talents, leadership skills and ability rise to academic challenges upon graduating on June 10.

Minter, a resident of South Shore, started at Kenwood’s Academic Center in 7th grade. She will be attending Agnes Scott College in the fall where she hopes to major in business administration. She received a full-tuition scholarship from the Posse Foundation to the private, women liberal arts college in Decatur, GA. Her new home offers her many of the same perks as Kenwood.

“Coming from Kenwood where it feels like a family, I feel like going to a small school is really important to me. Being able to have one-on-one connections with my teachers is really important,” explained Minter. “Also, it’s in Georgia and right outside of Atlanta. I’ll still get that HBCU-feel because I’ll be around Spellman, Morehouse and Clark-Atlanta University.”

As student council president, Minter’s role has been to keep the school’s culture intact by planning large events for her peers, like homecoming, and inviting speakers to campus. Her favorite event that she has been working on since joining student government in her sophomore year is Winter Week.

“It’s something I started a few years ago. In December — around the holidays — we decorate cookies, people dress up, we have ‘Santa Hat Day’, and we have a movie night. That was one of my favorite events that we’ve done as a school.”

Even though Hill would not call himself popular, the Hyde Park resident was voted in as class president by his peers. Throughout the school year, he has been a liaison between the administration and the senior class.

“If a senior had an idea they wanted to pitch, my council and I would make sure that the administration would hear it. We try to make sure that the seniors get what they need,” said Hill.

Before attending Kenwood for high school, Hill attended the Muhammad University of Islam in South Shore. He wanted to attend Kenwood because he heard that the school helped students to receive scholarship money for college. Once he attended Freshman connection, he saw how close Kenwood’s community is and realized that he was a part of another family.

His favorite memory of high school is inviting Common, a Grammy-award winning rapper from the South Side of Chicago, to Kenwood. “I wanted him to talk to Kenwood boys because I wanted them to get some inspiration from somebody that looks like them, even though he is a celebrity he is someone who cares.”

In the fall, Hill will be traveling to Georgia to attend Morehouse College, a historically Black college in Atlanta. Since Hill looks up to Spike Lee and Ryan Coogler, he wants to pursue film and screenwriting in “Black Hollywood”, a nickname for Atlanta.

Minter and Hill will miss Kenwood because of the tight-knit community at school, the memories they have created over time, and the administration centering students’ input.

“Kenwood is the perfect place where you’re able to be who you want to be without being told, ‘You guys can’t do that because it’s against the rules.’ Students have a lot of input in things that we do, classes that we have to take and the activities that we have — which is something I really enjoy,” said Minter.

Both promise to visit Kenwood like many Bronco alumni, “Kenwood is a place that you can never really run away from. You’re going to come back,” said Hill.

s.smylie@hpherald.com