Fraternal twins, Shaprice and Deprice Hunt of Chicago Illinois are rocking the University acceptances this spring. The two stellar students have been accepted to colleges across the United States, with Shaprice gaining acceptance into 35 colleges, and her brother Deprice into 27 schools.

Shaprice's acceptances:

Deprice's acceptances:

The siblings dedication to school is through two different passions, for which they have received a combined 48 awards during their high school career. Shaprice is a star basketball player, being offered full ride scholarships to five schools. In total she has been offered scholarships worth around $1.3 million USD. Deprice, is a youth activist, and was awarded two full scholarships, that totaled in value to $300,000 USD

The secret to their success: Attendance 

Shaprice and Deprice have perfect attendance records. High school attendance is a good indicator of a student’s level of academic success, which is why schools across the United States have been strict on reporting attendance data to the state and district governments. High attendance rates are also an indicator of even bigger issues: a student’s sense of belonging as well as entrenched, hidden poverty.

A class attendance list shows more than numbers. A closer look at the backgrounds of students who have poor attendance often reveals trouble at home, maybe even insecure family housing situations. Further, the data shows low attendance relates to low test scores, therefore placing these children at risk for dropping out altogether.

Absenteeism is a problem in the US and around the world. Barriers like those listed above are made worse when schools are too far away, lack proper sanitary facilities -particularly a problem for girls dealing with menstruation- or schools and families lack the ability to provide nutritious food.

The problem in their hometown Chicago

In Shaprice and Deprice’s hometown of Chicago, absenteeism and low attendance are too common.  Over the past 30 years, Chicago has reported around half of their high schools graduating classes fail to graduate.  In 2007, the city’s public school system decided to react and took steps toward alleviating the high drop out/low attendance rates.  

By matching students to certain teachers, and placing students into extracurricular activities that encourage students to set goals and regularly attend school, students were more likely to finish freshman year, and continue on until graduation. This creation of academic and social supports stemmed from research by the University of Chicago indicating that a student who makes it through their freshman year has a lower risk of dropping out.

From 2007 to 2014, the percentage of students who graduated from high school rose from 54% for the class of 2008 to 69% for the class of 2014. If this trajectory of success continues, 84% of students will graduate in the class of 2018!

Image: University of Chicago

Back to the twins:

There is a lot to be learned from the Hunt twins in terms of how attendance and support through extracurricular activities positively affect a student’s aptitude and their ability to set goals. The Hunt twins have had perfect attendance throughout their academic career, and are active participants in activities that promote skills obtained outside of the classroom.  

That is not to say that attendance is the magic potion for academic and collegiate success, but succeeding at something difficult, like making it through your first year of high school or getting your first college acceptance letter, paves the way for continued success. While their individual circumstances are different from many of their peers, Deprice and Shaprice are role models of academic success in a city that seems to have too few.

Deprice recalls what happened after he received his first college acceptance letter,

'I was really eager to collect more so I decided to go on a rampage to apply for as many [colleges] as I could!”

The Hunt twins are a phenomenal example of what a person can do. Chicago, and every school system needs role models to follow down the path of success. 


Defeat Poverty

Chicago twins combine for 56 university acceptances and $1.6 million in scholarship offers

By Katherine Curtiss