Since graduating from the Excel Academy of Roseland three years ago, Kewhawn George hasn’t stopped furthering his education or finding ways to better himself. His strong dedication to self-improvement is something he credits the staff at Excel for helping him embrace.

Before enrolling at the Excel Academy of Roseland, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Options Network, George spent seven years away from school after dropping out. But in 2017, he was tired of sitting around with nothing productive to fill his time. When his sister mentioned her interest in the Excel Academy, George decided to take control of his future and enrolled as well.

“I earned all of my high school credits in just two years because I was ambitious,” George said. “I was always the first student to arrive. I gave 100%. I am a happy person and displayed that to everyone and helped them be happy, too.”

Before becoming an Excel student, George said he wasn’t a big school person and that his grades fluctuated quite a bit. But that changed when he walked through the doors at Excel and was met with a supportive staff that treated him with care and respect.

“I don’t even look at them as staff,” George said about the team at Excel Academy of Roseland. “I look at them as family. They greet you with open arms, talk to you, give you the real picture. They make sure they understand your problem and try to help. Even when I was just a little off track, they sat down and wanted to talk to me.”

While a student at Excel, George earned straight A’s. “I showed myself that if I put in the time and effort, something good will come from it.” And it certainly did. In 2019, George graduated at the top of his class and earned a full ride to Miles College in Alabama.

The compliments George received after delivering his valedictorian speech spurred him to pursue a minor in public speaking. He is still enrolled in college, majoring in animation. George started drawing when he was only 5 after he saw a friend sketching.

“From that day since, I’ve been drawing and writing stories,” said George. “That is where my heart is, telling people stories and giving people a visual.”

To further his storytelling skills, George recently completed a program in digital media production from the Illinois Media School in Chicago.

George is also interested in developing himself outside of the classroom. He is involved with the Dovetail Project, an organization committed to giving young African American and Hispanic fathers the skills and support they need to be better fathers for their children and better men in their communities. Leaders at the Dovetail Project selected George to travel to New York City as part of group who would accompany the organization’s Founder Sheldon L. Smith Jr. for his ringing of The Closing Bell® at the New York Stock Exchange.

“I grew up without a mom or dad and didn’t want to give that same energy to my 2-year-old daughter,” George said. “The Dovetail Project helped give me a better understanding of life, fatherhood and manhood.”

The memorable trip to NYC marked his first time on a plane and first visit to the Big Apple.

George wants prospective and current Excel Academy students to know that at the end of the day, you are your own person. “Be ambitious and don’t let other people’s opinions affect you.”

The Excel Academy of Roseland is an accelerated school-of-choice for students, ages 15-21 years old, who have fallen behind in their studies. Students can earn up to five credits per semester and 10 credits per year, allowing them to graduate in two and a half years or less.

Learn more about our school today.