Magic Johnson has taken life after sports to a new level. Not only does he own everything from his now trademark Magic Johnson Theaters to Starbucks and Fatburger’s franchises, now he’s building schools. Next week, Johnson opens two new locations of his Magic Johnson’s Bridgescape Academy in the Chicago area. These schools add to the 15 other Magic Johnson schools around the country, geared toward helping high school dropouts get their diplomas.
“I’m just trying to help these kids, just like you are,” Johnson told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “I’m trying to get these kids back into high school to get their diploma. There are over a million students dropping out every year, 7,000 dropping off every day. At our schools, we do a one-on-one as well as groups and we can go online to specialize a program to fit that student. We’ve graduated about 350 students already.”
Through a partnership with Chicago Public Schools. Magic Johnson Enterprises and Edison Learning, Inc., Johnson has taken on the challenge to help struggling young people complete their education. The schools, to be located in Chicago’s South Shore and North/South Lawndale neighborhoods, use a flexible, online and offline program to help attendees achieve their goal of a high school diploma.
The schools offer counseling and resources to help students beyond graduation, including the Taylor Michaels scholarship, which assists its recipients through completion of an undergraduate degree. Johnson also offers scholarships through the Magic Johnson Foundation. His schools offer a valuable alternative to high school dropouts who don’t want to be left behind in the workforce.
“You graduate with a high school diploma, not a GED,” Johnson says. “We’re trying turn lives around. Even if you don’t go on to college, you can graduate and get a good job.”
The Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy has 17 locations in 6 states including Georgia, New Jersey and Ohio. The schools are free. Enrollment for the Chicago locations, which open August 26, is open and interested students can call (773) 238-2677.