In Southeast DC, quality education isn’t a given. In an neighborhood notorious for its crime and poverty rates, the public schools have suffered a drastic loss of staff, with 200 teachers quitting their jobs last year.
Ballou High School was in particularly dire straits, losing a quarter of their staff, and only three percent of the student body meeting city reading standards.
But never say never to Ballou’s Class of 2017.
In a stellar turnaround, Ballou went from having the second-lowest graduation rate of any public high school last year to seeing every single one of its 170 class members accepted to college this year. This is the first time this has ever happened in the history of the school.
The graduates, beaming with pride and proud of their against-all-odds achievement, sang and danced on the field together, as you can see in the video below, saying, “They said I wouldn’t be nothing / Now they always say congratulations!”
That is an incredible achievement for any high school, but all the more miraculous considering the odds stacked against them. It’s a testament to both the power of following your dreams and working together.
The class made an agreement that they would all apply for college, and they worked with each other and the faculty to turn their prospects around. Another 20 students will reportedly graduate in August.
The class’s united effort sends a powerful message. By all of their members passing the finish line and into a brighter future, they prove that any school, is capable of great things and can’t be written off as a statistic.
Also incredible is how impressive the colleges are. Bethune-Cookman University, Penn State and Virginia State were among the top schools mentioned.
Toss your caps high and proud, Ballou High. You deserve it.