The families of Urban Prep Academy's 2016 graduating class shared a proud moment at the school's commencement on Saturday. But this ceremony had a special meaning, as school administrators say all 252 graduating seniors have been accepted into a four-year college or university.
"I'm so excited. I'm going to get emotional," said proud mom Ebony Muhammad.
The graduating seniors are all African-American males from the charter school's Englewood, West, and Bronzeville campuses. The class of 2016 is carrying on a tradition, as every single Urban Prep graduate since 2010 has been accepted into four-year colleges and universities.
"It's like a dream come true. I've been waiting on this a long time," one student said.
Graduating senior Rudolph Long said he's the first in his family to not only graduate high school, but to go on to college. And the young man from Auburn Gresham is doing so on a full-ride scholarship.
"I don't think it'll ever sink it. It hasn't, but it just means that I'm changing the narrative for people not only from my family, but for African-Americans as a whole," Long said.
Juwaun Cooper-Muhammad is going to Georgetown University in the fall.
"Urban Prep was the best thing that ever happened to me, along with my mother," Cooper-Muhammad said. "We're breaking barriers and this is a moment that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."
No one is more proud of Juwaun than his mother.
"I was a teen mom and it makes me know that we can jump over these hurdles," Ebony Muhammad said, choking back tears. "These obstacles that were in our way, we were able to do it."
To add to the joy of the celebration, the seniors were awarded more than $11 million combined in scholarships to help pay for their tuition.
And these students say that this milestone is just the beginning.
"I just want to give back to whole city really, for making me who I am today," Long added.