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Whitney Young Film to Show Stress, Joy of School's Students and Applicants

By Chloe Riley | April 16, 2014 6:39am
Whitney Young Documentary
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c/o New Chapter Entertainment

NEAR WEST SIDE — Whitney Young Magnet High School will be the subject of a full-length documentary, chronicling both students waiting to be accepted into the school and current Young seniors.

A six-minute trailer for the film was released last week and features Whitney Young Principal Joyce Kenner as well as top-ranked Dolphins basketball senior Jahlil Okafor. The clip also contains archived film footage from Young's early days, circa 1975.

The film was commissioned by two Whitney Young parents who wanted to give the school a nationally recognizable vehicle for its work with students, according to Kayla McCormick, the film's producer.

"I really wanted to underscore, why do so many people flock to Whitney Young?" said McCormick, executive producer at New Chapter Entertainment. "For many students, it’s their ticket out of poverty and their ticket into a really excellent school." 

On the flipside, McCormick said the film will also explore the "dark side" of the stress endured by many Young students and parents.

Around 10,000 students apply annually for just 350 seats at Young.

Test scores needed to get into Whitney Young's academic center — a middle school program that guarantees access into the high school — were also higher than ever this year. According to an analysis by SelectivePrep, a company that offers test preparation for students, sixth-graders looking to get into Young's academic center would need all A's, standardized tests scores in the top 1 percent nationally in both reading and math, and a score on the entrance exam in the top 1 percent.

McCormick said she hopes to complete the film by late October and make it available for public viewing sometime next year.