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Whitney Young Documentary 'SelectED' Debuts in Chicago Friday

By Stephanie Lulay | April 29, 2015 5:40am | Updated on April 30, 2015 8:39am
"SelectED," a documentary about Whitney Young Magnet High School, makes its Chicago debut Friday.
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NEAR WEST SIDE — A new documentary that follows real CPS students through the selective enrollment process at Whitney Young Magnet High School debuts Friday in the Loop.

The "SelectED" documentary will make its Chicago debut at 8 p.m. Friday at the Chase Auditorium, 10 S. Dearborn St. The 95-minute film, produced and directed by Chicago native Kayla McCormick, follows five CPS students at Whitney Young, and examines the truth and challenges of public urban education as their journeys progress.

View a trailer here.

Tickets to the Chicago premiere of "SelectED" are for sale online for $250. Tickets include a 7 p.m. reception with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, access to the 8 p.m. screening and a panel discussion following the film.

Proceeds from the screening will benefit the Whitney Young Campaign of Champions.

According to the film's trailer, 10,000 students apply annually to be admitted to the Near West Side high school. Only 350 will make the cut.

Whitney Young Principal Dr. Joyce Kenner said the raw emotion captured in the film left her speechless.

"We've known for decades that we have something very unique and fundamentally groundbreaking here at Whitney Young," Kenner said. "The process of filming this documentary brought into sharp focus that our little experiment from the 1970s is still a nationwide model for what really works in public education."

The film debuted at the Sarasota Film Festival earlier this month. It was commissioned by two Whitney Young parents who wanted to spotlight the school. On the flipside,  the film also explores the "dark side" of the stress endured by many Young students and parents, McCormick said last year.

Whitney Young, named after prominent Civil Rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr., opened in 1975 as the city's first public magnet high school and consistently ranks among the top in the country. Alumni include First Lady Michelle Obama, former Duke basketball player Jahlil Okafor, who is expected to be the first player selected in the 2015 NBA draft, and Lana and Andy Wachowski, the sibling creators of "The Matrix."

Okafor is prominently featured in the movie, which was filmed during his senior year.

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