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CHICAGO (CBS) — Fifty seniors at Christ the King Jesuit College Prep will receive their diplomas this weekend.
So what’s so special about that? Four years ago, the school didn’t even exist. It’s the first graduating class, and as CBS 2’s Rob Johnson reports, all members of the graduating class are going to college.
Among their destinations: Northern Illinois University; Wilbur Wright College; Alabama A & M; University of Iowa; Southern Illinois University; Texas Southern; Tennessee State; Marquette.
“We really see this as a means to an end. It’s not the end. Your degree is not an end. Your diploma isn’t an end,” says Father Chris Devron, president at Christ the King.
The school recruits middle-schoolers from the Austin neighborhood and covers most of the cost for those who qualify. A Jesuit background is not necessary, but embracing a Jesuit education is.
“That really is the motto of a Jesuit education, to become a young woman or man for others. I think every parent wants that for their kids,” Devron says.
Not everyone makes it. There is a dress code, there are high expectations for the academics and religious studies, and all students must work five days a month at a corporate job to help pay for their tuition. Rowshawn Treadwell spent four years at U.S. Bank in Oak Park.
But no matter student or administrator, for those who’ve embarked upon this journey, this is a special moment.
“I’ll be the first graduating class of my school, and the first graduating student of my family,” Shalamiyah Brown says.
“We’re the first to come in, the first to leave out together, as one. That’s why at graduation, it’s just going to be bittersweet,” Treadwell says.
All of the graduates will receive some financial aid. Either scholarships or grants will help pay their college tuition.
For more information about Christ the Kind Jesuit College Prep, click here.