ChiTech’s DeMarco Hughes Selected for Prestigious 2021 Surge Fellowship

Director of Culture and Climate DeMarco Hughes

Chicago Tech Academy, a tech focused high school, has been engrained in Chicago’s near west side for more than a decade and is a proven education model for Black and Latinx students from low income backgrounds to find success. 

DeMarco Hughes was selected as part of this year’s Surge Chicago Fellowship–the second ChiTech school leader to be selected for this competitive fellowship program. 

“DeMarco’s growth and development over the last few years makes him a great fit for the Surge fellowship. His commitment to speaking openly and honestly about transforming educational spaces for students of color and even moreso, the actions that back up those words have been greatly beneficial to the team at Chicago Tech Academy,” said Tiara Whealtey, ChiTech’s Senior Director of Corporate Engagement and Philanthropy and 2020 Surge Chicago alumna. “I am excited to see DeMarco matriculate through the Surge Fellowship and even more excited about how his work with Surge will benefit our students and staff.” 

This Surge Chicago Fellowship program brings together a group of 20-25 diverse education leaders through 11 months of individual goal-setting and 360 feedback, executive skills development, personalized coaching, connecting to aspirational leaders, and building transformative relationships.

“I am extremely excited to hear DeMarco has been accepted into the 2021 Surge cohort. He continues to be a leader here at ChiTech, and I know this experience will support him in learning even more skills, as well as help him elevate his voice within our community,” said Keith Palz, ChiTech principal.

The Surge Institute first began serving Chicago communities in 2015, and the total number of Surge Chicago Alumni reached nearly 100 education leaders of color this past August. Congratulations, Mr. Hughes!

“When I left my school on March 13th to begin our state-mandated stay at home order, I thought I was preparing for COVID-19, not COVID-1619 – this deadly, racist virus has raised a myriad of emotions and feelings in me in the recent weeks. Feelings that often get suppressed by the busyness of life. My life’s purpose is to serve youth and work against systems of oppression that put Black and Brown children further behind, silence their voices and work directly against their advancement. Beyond that, our time is NOW!” said DeMarco Hughes. “Our world’s current racial tensions show that there is a need, now, for Black and Brown leaders to create and transform spaces for our people, that benefit our youth and communities that advance us. Most recently my Pastor shared this quote and I immediately thought of Surge: ‘Purpose is not independent. There is purpose found in your partnership’ – this is why Surge, and this is why now.”

Chicago Tech Academy is an educational community whose mission is to educate, empower and connect a diverse next generation of entrepreneurial thinkers to discover their passions, succeed in college and thrive in a digital world.

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