Celebrating Charter Schools Week with the Stories of Victory College Prep Alumni
Victory College Prep (VCP) is a K-12 independent charter school on the southside of Indianapolis. They serve close to 1,000 students and have nearly a decade of graduating classes that exemplify their impact on the Indianapolis community.
To celebrate National Charter Schools Week, we sat down with two VCP alumni to talk about how their experience attending VCP set them up for success in college, the workforce, and beyond.
Karim Morris, 2022 VCP Graduate and Freshman at IUPUI
Karim Morris graduated from VCP in 2022 and is about to finish up his freshman year at IUPUI. He is currently majoring in drawing and illustration while exploring what he wants to do long-term.
In high school, Karim took full advantage of VCP’s Early Ivy program, which is a dual-credit partnership between VCP and Ivy Tech Community College that allows VCP juniors and seniors to take Ivy Tech classes on-campus twice per week.
Q: What skills did you gain during high school that set you up for success when entering college?
A: The greatest skill I gained was through VCP’s early Ivy program. I got to see what college life was like and what being on campus entailed. It taught me that no matter how old you are, everyone is still nervous. When I realized that, I felt less nervous about the transition.
Early Ivy prepared me for college because it showed me that when you’re on campus, it’s all about your own will to succeed. It’s a huge turn compared to high school because even if you don’t want to succeed, your teachers will do everything they can to make sure you succeed. But in college, you have to want it.
Q: What do you appreciate most about Victory College Prep?
A: Even though it felt annoying when I was younger, VCP did whatever they could to help me succeed. I didn’t appreciate that when I was younger. Now that I’m older, I appreciate it. My grades could have been worse. Or I could have not had the college options that I did. But they made sure that I got to where I wanted to be no matter how I or they felt in the moment.
Q: What does it mean to know VCP educators care about your future and still check in even after you’ve graduated?
A: Well, it means a lot. It’s amazing to think there are teachers and staff who I was not close to during school but after graduation they are still checking up on my progress, seeing if I need any help. It’s nice to know they care about my success.
Q: What makes VCP a special place?
A: VCP is such a special place because it keeps improving every year. I don’t see that with other schools.
Q: What wisdom would you share with a high school student who is unsure about the future?
A: The main thing that I would tell a high school student is to keep going. In the end it is so easy to give up and be done with school. You never know what opportunities you will get if you just keep pushing.
Daijon Iguma, 2013 VCP Graduate and 6th Grade ELA Core Teacher at VCP
Daijon Iguma graduated from VCP in 2013, attended and graduated from Hanover College in 2017, and began working in the healthcare field. After a few years, she realized it wasn’t the right career for her long-term, so she decided to pursue education. Shortly after, she landed a job back at VCP as the 6th Grade ELA Core Teacher.
Q: Why do you love being an educator?
A: I love being an educator because it’s more than just an educator. It is being a mother, a friend, a nurse. It has so many roles. It’s fulfilling and rewarding to see how we impact students.
Q: What do educators at VCP do to make students feel at home?
A: Students get a lot of opportunities here. When it comes to academics and behavior, we work with students and don’t expect them to get everything right the first time. We talk to students about why they made their decision and what they can do differently next time. Even if they mess up again, the conversation becomes, “Okay, this is what we said we were going to do last time and we didn’t do that. So what are some other steps we can put in place to make sure next time we get it right?”
The biggest thing is that our school is full of cheerleaders for our kids. Not only teachers, you have counselors, nurses, administrators. We are all rooting for them and they know that.
Q: What makes VCP a special place?
A: The most special thing is, even looking back at my story as a 2013 graduate…There are teachers here who I had when I went here. They still check in on me. This school is special for the fact that you can tell teachers here care. That’s a big thing to have. The world is always moving and it can be hard to invest in people. But this school does that for each person.
Q: What wisdom would you share with students if they are unsure about their future?
A: The best advice I can give to a student is to not settle for less and give your best every day. That is the biggest thing you can do.