Alumni Stories

"The PSM experience facilitated a dramatic turnaround helping me get to where I am now."

–Sam Sentongo, class of 2013
At Providence St. Mel, our students stand on the shoulders of our alumni. The Providence St. Mel School mission works because it provides opportunities for our students to grow into successful and productive members of society. Since 1978, 100% of our graduates have been accepted into 4-year colleges and universities.


Alumni_SentongoSam Sentongo, Class of 2013
“Entering my junior year, my potential was under question. With a lackluster GPA, an undeveloped work ethic, and a vacuous résumé, the notion that I would grow up to be a statistic was well-supported. However, this assertion was not true—I am a unique child with great potential, but for my years at my previous high school, I just had not been in an environment conducive to my scholarly development. Junior year needed to be the turning point, and my future hinged on it. By the grace of God, the PSM experience facilitated a dramatic turnaround helping me get to where I am now.”


Kimberlee Burt, Class of 1988
Kimberlee attended Northern Illinois University for her undergraduate degree and continued onto Howard University for her Master’s degree in Early Childhood. Kimberlee is the founder and owner of A Child’s Space in Chicago.

“Providence St. Mel gave me a richer life because it showed me my potential. I find daily inspiration in Providence St. Mel’s mission statement. I remind myself that I must “work, plan, build, and dream— in that order” with each new challenge and success. I earned an undergraduate degree from Northern Illinois University in 1992, and later, I earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood from Howard University. I am the owner of A Child’s Space here in Chicago—a successful Early Childhood Program that serves children from 6 weeks old to 6 years. At a Child’s Space we believe that children learn through play, and literacy is the cornerstone of our curriculum.”


John Abney, Class of 1996
John earned his undergraduate degree from Dillard University and my MBA from Purdue University. He currently works as a Finance Director at Nielsen.

“When I think of Providence St. Mel, I think of a community where “iron sharpens iron”. The leadership at Providence St. Mel has high expectations, so you get stronger and sharper…Providence St. Mel has given me lifelong friendships. The discipline and rigor of the instruction motivated me to do my best, and I formed study and work habits that have made me a reliable and responsible person. Providence St. Mel gave me a richer life by instilling within me the value of hard work. The strength of Mr. Adams and others at the school forged me into something stronger, and now it is my turn to do the same. “Iron sharpens iron”. Providence St. Mel helped me create an inspired life produced by the miracle of hard work.”

Jerald Gary, Class of 2003
Jerald attended the University of Illinois to study aviation and finance. He is currently the Chief Investment Officer of CCI Partners and the chairman of Chicago Regal Non-Profit in order to refurbish Bronzeville’s historic Regal Theater and create affordable housing and develop commercial sites to revitalize that neighborhood. Jerald was recently featured in Crain’s “30 Under 30” issue.

“My Providence St. Mel education was one filled with great memories and experiences that shaped my future…Providence St. Mel gave me opportunities to see the world. One of my greatest experiences was visiting Bangkok, Thailand as a participant in the school’s SOAL(Summer Opportunity of a Lifetime) program. The awesome experience of being an African-American kid in the middle of Bangkok opened up a world of new possibilities. Understanding the world globally influenced me to improve my community locally. Providence St. Mel gave me a richer life by showing me the possibilities of my future and knowing that my impact on the world is vital. Providence St. Mel helped me create an inspired life produced by the miracle of hard work.”