Alternative High School Marks 40th Anniversary

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationIn an age of high drop-out rates, Chicago’s Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School – PACHS – has defied the odds and graduated hundreds of students in the last four decades who were largely written off as uneducable by the city’s public school system. On Saturday, PACHS celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala gathering and educational symposium with some of the nation’s leading educators and advocates of student-centered education grounded in the principles of self-determination, rigorous educational standards and a commitment to teach accurate history and usable life-skills.

PACHS was founded in 1972 in response to shocking drop-out/push-out rates among Puerto Rican students. The alternative high school focuses on self-determination, self-actualization and self-reliance – grounded in a historic practice of resistance to colonial conditions on both the island of Puerto Rico and the diaspora. The school was named for one of Puerto Rico’s most treasured independence advocates, Dr. Albizu Campos – the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard, a WWI veteran, labor leader, President of the Nationalist Party and political prisoner. The name links PACHS to a long history of Puerto Rican struggle and resistance against colonial domination on both the island and in the Diaspora.

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