At Walter Payton College Prep on the Near North Side, 16-year-olds Diamond Merrell and Skylar Ozoh performed an improv sketch in front of their giggling classmates.
In another classroom, Jamyah Hawkins casually worked on her freshman physics class work.
And during lunch, groups of students gathered in a hallway chatting with friends, texting and playing Ping-Pong.
It was just a regular day at the selective enrollment Chicago public school.
But it’s not a regular year for the high school.
For the first time, Payton ranks as the No. 1 high school in the entire state, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of school report card data released Thursday. Payton unseated Northside College Prep from the top spot it has held for 12 years. Payton had been No. 2 and No. 3 in previous years.