The 2017 class of Ballou High School, located in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., made history this year when every single senior applied to college.
WUSA9 reports that this is a first for the school, where just last year only 3 percent of Ballou students met the city-wide tested reading standards. The difference comes not only from the hard work of the staff at Ballou, but the students themselves who vowed to apply as a group. Every single one of the 170 students who graduated received an acceptance letter.
Ballou is in a very impoverished area, and D.C. public schools have recently lost hundreds of teachers who quit their jobs over difficult working conditions. Staff had to push themselves and students without much support. "Everybody just, they was betting on us failing, and we all came together and we graduated,” graduating senior Me’Ashja Hamilton told reporters.
And on the big day, the principal, Dr. Yetunde Reeves, sent a heartfelt message to the Class of 2017 on Facebook, congratulating them and thanking them for an incredible year:
My heart is absolutely full! Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was possible! I have a front row seat to school transformation! I've read about it, I've researched it, and every day, I get to see it right before my eyes! I'm so grateful for the CHAMPIONS I work with! It's incredible to see how much love my team has for our school.We've had ups, downs, twists, turns, and we still press forward. There are days where I can't believe that this is what I get to do every day! This year, while I've been tested in ways I never expected, I can say that I've grown the most this year! I've been able to fully trust my team and there is such freedom in feeling that.
Today, I saw the impact of vision, teamwork, and community! I'm so proud of the work that we are doing! The struggle, the tears, the frustration has been worth it! We graduated 164 students!The right people are on the bus and positioned to really change outcomes for black children! We've earned our short rest and then it's time to grind harder!Thank you to my team for being who you are and for the work that you! We have a lot to celebrate!
We've earned our short rest and then it's time to grind harder!Thank you to my team for being who you are and for the work that you! We have a lot to celebrate!
Even the Mayor sent a message:
Congrats to Ballou, who are making the future look bright!