March 30, 2023, the Champaign County Community Coalition, Parkland College, Urbana 116, and Unit 4 came together to promote black student excellence. The inaugural “Rising Star” program recognized any 5th, or 8th grade African-American student that has shown academic promise and/or academic excellence.
Using a variety of data sets (including MAP, IAR, attendance, discipline, etc.) both Urbana and Champaign school districts identified the top 100 students in the two designated grade levels. Students and families gathered to celebrate those academic achievements. Staff from the City Manager’s Office, the Equity and Engagement Department, the Champaign Police Department, and City Council members were also in attendance to cheer on these students. The program was a graduation style ceremony with guest speakers from Parkland College, the City, a student ambassador, and both superintendents. Attendees dressed in college and Greek paraphernalia to celebrate this group of amazing scholars.