Metalworking changes course of West Side student’s life

June 11, 2013
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After winning a state competition that tested his skills on a computer-run lathe, Austin Polytechnical Academy junior Rene Kenney Plymouth Jr. will compete nationally at the end of the month.

Plymouth Jr. told Chicago Tribune reporter Alejandra Cancino that training for the competition and earning credentials from the National Institute for Metalworking skills helped him buckle down and improve his grades.

“I want to advance in life,” Plymouth Jr. told the Tribune.

Momentum like his is needed for the West Side school that has changed six principals in four years.

The academy struggles with poor attendance, high dropout rates, low test scores and poor recruitment, according to Ali Muhammad, the school’s acting principal.

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