Taking the Long Way Home: Senn High School Commuters

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By: Taiyana Levy (Senn Sophomore) 

Many Senn students live in under-resourced neighborhoods, where the schools lack proper funding, so they commute long distances, often via public transportation, to get a good quality education. 

Senn, which is both a neighborhood and a magnet school, has a graduation rate of 83.2%. Bowen high school, another performing arts magnet school, located on the southside of Chicago, has a graduation rate of 63.3%. Orr Academy, located on the far west side of Chicago, has a graduation rate of 46.7%.

Ramiyah Lee, a Senn Arts sophomore who lives on the southeast side of Chicago, starts her day early to get to school.

“I get up at around 5 a.m.,” the 15-year-old said. “My ride to school is about an hour and some change, and I take the Green Line and the Red Line. A lot of the schools in my neighborhood don’t have as many opportunities, so coming up north is the best option, and [Senn has] a really good arts program.”

Other students take more than just the train on their long commute. Some transfer lines on the CTA or have to get on the bus as well.

“I start my day at around 5 a.m. to take the bus, the Green Line, and the Red Line to get to school,” said Keynyla Jackson, a Senn Arts sophomore who lives on the far west side of Chicago. “The schools in my neighborhood don’t offer as much [as Senn]. The program range is limited, so I come to Senn because I have more range in choosing what programs I want to be in which can help me later on in life.”

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