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School daze

Stanley O. Williford | 8/31/2011, 5 p.m.

Frederick Price High stands alone academically, athletically
Part of Crenshaw Christian Center, it may be one of the best-kept secrets

A young man wanted to transfer to Frederick K.C. Price III School (FKCP) from a high school in Long Beach. An 11th-grader, he had been warned by his former school that he probably would not graduate because of his low academic scores.

Having languished in remedial and basic classes throughout his high school career, he was also told to give up the hope of getting into a four-year institution.

Further, as an aspiring athlete, he was advised that he did not have the talent to play football at either the junior varsity or varsity level.

The young potential transfer was crushed. He had come from a home where his biological father had pretty much disowned him and his stepfather had all but ignored him.

He was broken spiritually, mentally, emotionally and socially.

"I interviewed him," said Madeline Butler, who heads academic and counseling services at Crenshaw Christian Center's Price High, "and looking at the courses he had taken I knew it would be a difficult task to get him into a four-year school, but I went ahead and accepted him as a student."

Why?

"Because when we interview students we are not just looking at the black and white," she said. "If you have a 3.4 or 3.5 gpa you're going to make it pretty much anywhere. But we believe in looking at the spiritual side.

"I was led to give this young man an opportunity to help him make a change in his life. I had to begin to set his courses in order to get him into college. He had to make up courses, repeat courses, begin taking college prep courses and maintain a competitive gpa.

"Because Price is on the quarter system it was possible," Butler said. "On the quarter system students are able to take more courses or repeat courses they have not been successful in. This allowed me to set up an education plan for him to make sure he graduated and transitioned into a four-year institution.

"He began the educational plan, and joined the football team," she said. "He was passionate about football. He began to get mentored by his teachers; they saw the effort. The male staff learned about the situation with his father and stepfather, and they began to take him under their wings.

"He didn't truly know God, but for the next two years this young man grew spiritually, developing a relationship with the Lord. He was successful at making up courses and taking rigorous college prep courses. He made the honor roll, which is something he had never done before. He began to perform well athletically, and at the end of his 12th-grade year, he not only graduated but was accepted into several four-year institutions. Among them were some California State schools and some private schools."

"FKCP is a true college preparatory school," said Butler. "We're here to educate the whole student. We have true college prep courses and a step-by-step hands-on curriculum. College preparation means you're getting prepared to be accepted at a four-year institution, not just AP courses and honors courses."