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Straight-A Student Blazing a Trail at Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys

Israel Dairo and staff

October 22, 2021 -- Eighth grader Israel Dairo stands out from his fellow scholars at Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys, especially on school uniform days. Israel is the only young man wearing a customized sleeveless burgundy sweater vest with his name and title: Platinum Scholar. 

“Having a scholar like Israel reminds me that one size does not fit all,” said Tai Cornute, Principal at Columbus Preparatory School for Boys. “Israel challenges me to ensure we are giving him real opportunities, exposure, and experiences that will impact his life for decades to come.” 

At Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys, you earn the vest if you get straight A’s three quarters in a row, which Dario accomplished in sixth grade. Dario did it again in seventh grade, maintaining a 4.0 for the entire year despite remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That earned Israel the title of platinum scholar, which is monogrammed on his vest. 

“This vest makes me feel proud every time I put it on,” said Dario. “The vest symbolizes perseverance.”

Israel DairoIsrael Dario is a strong contender for the W.E.B. Dubois Award, a prestigious honor bestowed on the scholar at Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys who maintains a 4.0 GPA their whole middle school career. The last time that award was given to a young scholar was in 2018. 

“My favorite subject is math, and my least favorite is social studies because it’s a lot of memorization,” said Dario, who is on the soccer team and plays four instruments: the drums, piano, alto, and tenor saxophone. 

“Israel is also pretty modest,” said Cornute. “He doesn’t play these instruments; he masters them.” 

Dario’s math teacher says having Israel in the classroom is a dream not only because of his academic excellence but Israel’s contributions to the entire class. 

“He is a moral, academic leader,” said eighth grade math teacher Fontine Pederson. “He walks around the classroom and helps other students allowing me to work one-on-one with scholars who might be struggling. I trust Israel not to give his fellow scholars the answer but explain it in a way that the scholar can figure it out themselves. Israel’s brainpower is way above what I would expect at an eighth grade level.” 

Jennifer Bradley is Israel Dairo’s homeroom teacher. She’s known Israel since the first day he walked into the school as a sixth grader. 

“Israel Dairo is a silent leader, and that’s what sets him apart from other scholars,” said Bradley, one of the original teachers who started at Columbus Preparatory School for Boys 12 years ago. 

“He leads by example and doesn’t say much,” said Cornute. “Israel leads by his actions and exemplifies what we ask of our scholars in our core values: accountability, respect, integrity, service, and excellence.” 

“Israel is the type of kid I would want my eighth grade son to be friends with,” said Nicole McKay, Dairo’s sixth-grade science and social studies teacher. “He is respectful, kind, and his assignments are always turned in on time, if not earlier. When we were completely remote during the last school year, Israel always came to the virtual classroom with a dad joke.” 

Next year Israel Dario will go from a Falcon to a Viking as he begins his high school career at Northland. He is interested in becoming a computer engineer and a pilot. Dairo’s mom prefers her son keep his feet firmly on the ground. The principal and teachers at Columbus City Preparatory School for Boys don’t think that will be a problem for Israel Dairo, who has already demonstrated he’s a trailblazer in and out of the classroom.