Two weeks ago, UChicago Charter Woodlawn (UCW) High School senior Sabirah Muhammad got some life-changing news: she was accepted to the University of Chicago Class of 2026! We are thrilled for Sabirah, who had described the University of Chicago as her top-choice college.

“UChicago was my top choice because of all the resources that they have,” said Sabirah. “I’ve done several programs with them like HPREP and ACHIEVE, and my mentor works at UChicago Medicine.” UChicago offers these programs for high school students seeking exposure to medical professions.

“ACHIEVE combined preparation for the medical field with community service in a sort of internship program,” explained Sabirah. Her educational trajectory has been shaped by her efforts to seek out challenges like these — she transferred to UCW High School at the beginning of her sophomore year with a strong desire to take advantage of the opportunities UChicago Charter School students have thanks to our connection with the University. Additionally, she has participated in Model UN and served as a teacher’s assistant in an Algebra I course at UCW.

Sabirah has also developed new passions since coming to UCW because of the opportunities built by our incredibly creative and dedicated staff. “I would have never had an internship like the one I have in the [UCW] garden,” said Sabirah. Gerber’s Garden is a school-based community garden initiative spearheaded by UCW Middle School instructional coach Ms. Kate Carter. Urban Garden Interns Sabirah, Jeremiah, and Beyonca have played a key role in the development and design of UCW’s green roof and entrance garden, which also support pollinating animals in our community.

The early development of Gerber’s Garden


“Through the garden, Ms. Carter helped me think of something bigger than myself — my community and how I can help others,” said Sabirah.

She also credits her teachers — particularly those who wrote her recommendation letters — and staff at the UCW College Graduation Office (CGO) for helping her in her personal and educational trajectory. “Ms. Kyles and Ms. Lynch [in the CGO] were very vital in my application process, and Mr. Richardson [in the CGO] was always so supportive — whenever I needed time to work on college stuff, he would give me that time and make himself available for me to work with him,” said Sabirah.

With the help of our expert staff in the CGO and her family’s community, particularly newspaper editor Starla Muhammad, Sabirah crafted a personal essay that reflected her thoughtfulness, ambition, and creativity.

Sabirah’s Honors Algebra teacher Ms. Flowers reflected on these qualities when she had Sabirah as a student: “She was diligent, inquisitive, and always prepared… Remote learning was extremely hard for some students to adjust to last year. When no one else asked questions and when others failed to respond to the questions posed during class, Sabirah always chimed in! Knowing that her classmates were struggling, Sabirah’s questions provided them with a way to better understand, and they were able to join the conversation.”

Sabirah’s qualities like these have added so much to the UChicago Charter community, and we will dearly miss her as she moves onto the next phase of her education. We know that her contributions to the communities she joins along the way will only grow, as she aspires to enter the medical field and build a career as an emergency room physician. We are incredibly proud of Sabirah, and wish her the most success in this next chapter of her journey!