CPS Students Honored For Hanging In There

31 CPS Students Awarded For Overcoming Challenges
Photo credit Courtesy of Martina Dauphin

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- More than 30 Chicago Public School students who don’t usually earn awards for best attendance or most athletic are being given awards this month for being tenacious and becoming better students.The Tenacity Awards are given to students where the dropout prevention organization Communities In Schools of Chicago has a presence. One award is given to one student in each of the 31 schools."All of our students are facing some sort of challenge or obstacle that’s getting in the way of them being successful in school," said Paul Fagen, field supervisor in charge of special projects.Fagen continued, explaining that "lots of end of year celebrations where all sorts of superlatives are being given out. Best attendance, most athletic, most artistic and our students are often students who historically have gotten left out of those awards."

For many of the students, it's the first time they've been recognized for something positive, he added. Communities In Schools of Chicago works with about 1,400 students in the 31 elementary and high schools.

"We see dropping out not as a singular moment but as a series of progressive moments that lead to a final decision," Fagen said. One of the honorees this year is Victorious Comehn, who is going to be a sophomore at Baker College Prep.  Comehn is an immigrant, having come from West Africa two years ago."I think it was an amazing step in my life ‘cause I wasn’t expecting it. I was surprised," she said.Although she already spoke English when she came to the United States, Victorious said she had a hard time trying to understand the American accent.Victorious' mother, Martina Dauphin, proudly said she named her daughter Victorious because she knew her daughter would be something great. "That was a big achievement for her. It was hard at the beginning. Trust me, it was very hard but she adjusted so fast and so quick."Victorious and the 30 other winners this year were honored in individual virtual ceremonies that had everything from collages, videos and playlists.  Honorees were given a "Tenacious." T-shirt, a certificate of recognition and a gift card.