The senior class of a Washington, D.C., high school made a pact that they would apply to college and they all defied statistics by getting accepted, despite a 57-percent graduation rate last year.
Ballou High School graduates celebrated with song Tuesday, June 13, as they earned their diplomas from the struggling institution.
“They said I wouldn’t be nothing,” the students sing to Post Malone’s “Congratulations.” “Now they always say, ‘Congratulations.'”
The class of 2017 will be venturing to colleges around the country, including Penn State and Virginia State, and 20 more will graduate in August, the school principal told WUSA9.
“Everybody just … they was betting on us failing, and we all came together and we graduated,” says Me’Ashja Hamilton, who will attend the Bethune-Cookman University, a historically Black university in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The accomplishment was a huge deal for Ballou, where just 3 percent of students met state reading standards on D.C. exams and almost none met the ones for math, The Washington Post, reported. Located in a community ravaged by violence, it also ranks among the lowest-performing high schools in the city and all 930 students are impoverished. This year, Ballou faced another setback when it lost more than a quarter of its teaching staff.
“It set us back, learning-wise. Grades couldn’t get put it. It was difficult,” Hamilton says to WUSA9. “Stop underestimating us. You just have to give them a chance, the opportunity to do better, and you will see that a lot of students in the Southeast, in particular, can do great things.”