Willowbrook alumnus named as member of The Washington Program class of 2025

Willowbrook alumnus Eric Veal Jr. (pictured above, class of 2022) has been named as a member of The Washington Program class of 2025.

According to https://theinstitute.net, The Institute for Responsible Citizenship “selects some of the nation’s best and brightest African American male college students to participate in its Washington Program.” It is a two-summer program, during which scholars live together in a university residence hall and work at high-level internships in their fields of interest. They participate in a challenging seminar on economic and constitutional principles, engage in private meetings with prominent leaders from the public and private sectors, attend personal and professional development workshops and enjoy a variety of social activities. The experience is designed to prepare participants for impactful lives and careers. For more information, go to https://marsal.umich.edu/news/secondary-education-student-eric-veal-jr-selected-washington-program and https://theinstitute.net.

During his time at Willowbrook, Veal Jr. was very involved with initiatives, committees and programs that focused on fostering equitable and culturally reflective classrooms, including the following:

  • Chaired Willowbrook’s Black Organization for Student Success (BOSS)

  • Served as Co-President of his class

  • Member of Willowbrook’s Youth Equity Stewardship (YES!) program, which strives to prepare students to recognize and learn from the diversity around them

  • Served on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Student Advisory Council (SAC), including as President

  • Appointed by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to sit on a task force that developed resource materials to support the Jett Hawkins Law, which bans discrimination in schools for hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture

  • Appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Educational Equity Task Force – the first student to co-chair a legislatively mandated task force

  • Helped implement two courses into the District 88 curriculum (United States History: American Mosaic and Equity and Justice in America)

  • Cofounded and cohosted The Brook Channel, Willowbrook’s student news channel

Veal Jr. is a sophomore at University of Michigan and is pursuing a dual degree in political science and secondary education. He also serves as a member of the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes Youth.