Now that our first year of school officially wrapped up, we wanted to give you a glimpse into some of the exciting things that took place over here at Ryan Banks Academy over the last couple of months.

June 3rd would have been Ryan Banks’ 19th birthday, so we planned a special day for our students and their families in Ryan’s memory. First, all of our students and their extended family members (100 in total!) met at Ryan Banks Academy where we celebrated with cake and our students unveiled a mural project that they had been hard at work on, which honors Ryan but also includes an image that each student carefully painted which signifies something that is important to them. We are so excited to hang this incredible mural on our wall next year, and also to later take it with us to our permanent home so that our founding students will always be able to see the mark they left on this school.

Thanks to the support of a generous donor, we then poured into two mega buses and headed to the White Sox game! For most of our students this was their first time at a professional baseball game, and it was especially significant given the fact that we were also joined by family members of Ryan Banks.

Later that month, we were also honored to be featured at the Lincoln Forum event where our founder, Val Groth, was a featured panelist alongside former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and Managing Partner of Chicago Deloitte, Carl Alegretti. The event was entitled “A City in Crisis: Youth Violence and Breaking the Cycle” and you can watch the full event here.

Lastly, in June we were featured not once but twice on the news! ABC ran a segment about us which we don’t have a link to share, and then Val along with Brigette Banks (aunt of Ryan Banks) and Dawn Hood (current RBA parent) were featured on a live segment on Fox Chicago. We’ve been featured on the news before, but this was a special moment for us as it was the first time we were joined by an RBA parent! According to Dawn, RBA was “an answer to her prayers” and it means so much to us to hear about what a transformational experience attending RBA has meant to her son, and to her entire family.

Stay tuned for our next newsletter where we will humbly brag about the phenomenal academic results we saw over the past year. In the meantime, we hope you are having a wonderful summer!

With gratitude,
The RBA Team