According to WUSA-9, Each of the 170 students to cross the stage at Frank W. Ballou High School received a college acceptance letter.
It wasn’t easy for the Class of 2017. In addition to the violence and poverty surrounding Southeast D.C.’s Frank W. Ballou Senior High School, last year, only 3% of Ballou students met city-wide tested reading standards in school records.
They had the second lowest city public high school graduation rate according to the Washington Post, who uncovered the bombshell this year. In May, the paper reported nearly 200 D.C. public school teachers quit their jobs since August. Ballou had lost a quarter of its staff.
“It set us back, learning-wise. Grades couldn’t get put in. It was difficult,” said Me’Ashja Hamilton. She said the difference was this year, the students came together to work with the staff.
Ballou’s senior class decided last spring, they were all going to apply to college.
Me’Ashja Hamilton’s mom said her daughter picked Florida’s Bethune Cookman University. Penn State and Virginia State were other big school names represented.
“Stop underestimating us,” said Hamilton. “You just have to give them a chance. The opportunity to do better and you will so that a lot of students in Southeast in particular can do great things.”
The school’s principal said another 20 students will graduate in August.